Commodities market refer to tangible goods that can be sold and traded across markets around the world. Some examples of commodities are agricultural products, industrial metals, and energy sources like crude oil. While they are typically traded directly in the trading market, it is also possible to buy and sell them as futures, options, and other financial derivatives. Derivatives refer to financial contracts that let investors trade the underlying asset or security at a predetermined rate at a particular settlement date.
Commodity brokers are an important part in facilitating trading. Irrespective of whether the trades are executed online or over the phone, you will need a commodity trading broker to carry out the trades in an efficient way. A “commodity broker” is someone who places commodity trades on behalf of their clients. It may even be used to refer to a brokerage firm that looks after commodity forex trades.
To cover registration requirements, brokerage firms are typically designated as introducing brokers (IB) or futures commission merchants (FCM). Individuals are referred to as associated persons (AP).
For instance, let us assume that a car manufacturer needs to buy aluminum for production purposes. The company can roll out a futures contract for the amount of aluminum that needs to be delivered at a specified date in the future. The commodity broker would help in carrying out the trade by quoting the price and executing the contract. However, they may charge a fee or a commission in return for their service.
No matter how the aluminum price moves in the future, the manufacturer will be able to buy the raw material at the fixed contract price by the settlement date of the contract. Hence, in this case, the commodity broker would have played an integral role in helping the client hedge the cost of the raw materials.
How do these brokers work?
Commodity brokers help investors by facilitating trading in the commodity markets. If you are trading in a commodity pit or if you want a seat at the exchange you may not need a broker’s services but in any other situation, a broker is necessary for your trades.
Commodity brokers can help you largely in two ways. One is they will do so through their traders on the floor who will execute your trades, or they might have built a trading platform that places and executes trades digitally. Brokers are the ones who bring business to an exchange. They would typically have their own set of rules to determine the way the brokers conduct business.
It’s simpler to carry out business with a limited number of brokerage firms than to allow thousands of people to place trades directly with an exchange.
Several people depend on commodity brokers when it comes to trading advice and recommendations. Commodity markets can be challenging and several investors may never want to trade if there’s no broker to assist them. Brokers can be very helpful for those who are new to commodity trading. Until the 1990s, commodities were traded exclusively on commodity pits on exchanges. The majority of the orders were placed over the phone via a full-service broker.
Online Commodity Trading
If you are trading online, you will first log into your broker’s trading platform. Then, you choose the market you wish to trade in, along with the type of order, price, and quantity. It takes just about a few clicks to go through the entire process. When you’re convinced about your order, click on “Buy” or “Sell” button to send the order through. In an instant, the order is redirected to the exchange’s trading platform and matched with other orders that are similar to yours. In general a market order is filled quickly and you may receive a confirmation on your system within a second or two.
While there is no doubt that online trading is quicker, cheaper, and far more efficient, you can still go for a full-service broker to discuss trading opportunities and understand your options. Several brokers now offer a combination of the two—you can connect with a broker and also place your trades online.
Skills to be a broker
Here are some skills that can improve your effectiveness in the job:
The ability to perform in-depth market research may be an underrated skill but it is extremely important. It helps you identify new investment opportunities and analyze their potential risks as well as rewards. The information one gets from market research lets brokers advise their clients on the best trades that can bring maximum returns on investment.
One cannot emphasize enough the importance of risk management. You could be a hedger or a speculator, you may end up incurring losses if there is even the slightest of miscalculation. Here, an effective broker will be able to assess the potential risk of a trade or an asset class so you can make informed and calculated decisions.
Brokers would typically use technical analysis to identify market trends and assess traders’ behaviour on exchanges. Having a thorough understanding of how different strategies work is extremely important for brokers and comes in handy for performing technical analysis. It is necessary for them to be good at using various software as well as traditional tools to be able to make sound investment recommendations to investors.
One needs to have impeccable communication skills for a role like this as it entails collaborating with a diverse set of people. One should possess a good command of language in both writing and speaking while also having excellent public speaking abilities. Writing reports, collaborating with teams, liaising with clients and regulators, and even traveling to various markets are more likely to be part of your role and thus great communication skills are important.
Ability to work under pressure
Time is of the essence in commodity trading. Even the most minute changes in conditions can affect commodity prices. If you are able to act quickly, then you will be able to make huge gains.
Good commodity brokers are well-equipped to take the right decisions to help clients cut down risk and boost gains. Analytical skills are important for any broker who wants to make the right decision for their clients. If you have the ability to study the market accurately and speculate how the traders might behave on the basis of ongoing factors, you will be in a better position to make the right decisions.