Futures Trading Basics

Futures trading is another method of investment available for people to invest in. and just like any other form of investment, success requires that the investor get to know the market and the process of trading. Without the necessary knowledge in futures trading, it would be difficult for any investor to make money out of their investment capital effectively. They would even be risking their money from possible investment loss.

For starters, investors should know what futures trading is all about. The simplest definition to understand about futures trading is that it is a type of trade wherein a type of commodity is being traded on a market with transactions noting a particular type of commodity sold and bought at a specified price and deliverable from a specified time in the future.

What futures trading is all about can be summed up in a typical transaction between two parties. One party is a producer of a certain commodity while the other is the buyer. The producer offers the buyer a certain commodity deliverable in the future, lets say, six months from now. The buyer, who may be looking to ensure that he has ample supply of the said commodity in the future, would surely be interested. Both parties then make up a contract wherein a specified amount of the commodity may be deliverable for a particular time in the future is agreed upon. That, in a nutshell, is what futures trading is about.

For others, it might still be a little bit complicated to understand. But the essence of futures trading lies in the understanding between the commodity supplier and the buyer of the commodity. Sometimes during the course of time between the agreement and the time of delivery, the contract may change hands as the buyer may wish to trade the contract for other lucrative opportunities.

Futures trading started with grains such as wheat as the main commodity traded. Trading eventually comes to include other commodities such as lumber, crude oil, coffee and even orange juice. Precious metals such as silver, platinum and gold also have their own futures trading market.

Futures trading transactions usually happen in places called future exchanges. They may operate much like the stock exchange. Only this time, it is the commodities that are being traded instead of stocks. The futures exchange tries to standardize all of the futures contracts being traded in order to facilitate faster and more convenient liquidity upon the contracts expiry date.

The futures exchange trading floors are usually divided into certain pits or rings where traders stand facing each other. Each ring has their designated type of traded futures contract. The exchange can house different futures trading for a variety of commodities. It can be quite common to see a pit trading wheat alongside a pit trading in crude oil and soybean. The futures exchange trading floor usually only allow members to trade and speculate. Non-members have to go through brokers or partners who hold memberships in order to trade. Just like any other type of investment, futures trading also has its own advantages and disadvantages. It takes a wise investor to first learn about the ins and outs of futures trading before venturing out into the opportunities that it may provide.

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