Any product that can be used for commerce or an article of commerce which is traded on an authorized commodity exchange is known as commodity. The article should be movable of value, something which is bought or sold and which is produced or used as the subject or barter or sale. In short commodity includes all kinds of goods. Forward Contracts (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1952 defines “goods” as “every kind of movable property other than actionable claims, money and securities”.
In current situation, all goods and products of agricultural (including plantation), mineral and fossil origin are allowed for commodity trading recognized under the FCRA. The national commodity exchanges, recognized by the Central Government, permits commodities which include precious (gold and silver) and non-ferrous metals; cereals and pulses; ginned and un-ginned cotton; oilseeds, oils and oilcakes; raw jute and jute goods; sugar and gur; potatoes and onions; coffee and tea; rubber and spices etc.
The trading of commodities consists of direct physical trading and derivatives trading. Exchange traded commodities have seen an upturn in the volume of trading since the start of the decade. This was largely a result of the growing attraction of commodities as an asset class and a proliferation of investment options which has made it easier to access this market.
The commodity based products offer a huge array of benefits that include offering risk-return trade-offs to investors, providing information on market trends and assisting in framing asset allocation strategies. Commodity investments are always considered as defensive because during the times of inflation, which adversely affects the performance of stocks and bonds, commodities provide a defense to investors, maintaining the performance of their portfolios.
Commodity markets have a huge potential in the Indian context particularly because of the agri-based economy. With the government’s initiative for agricultural liberalization, commodities’ trading in India has gained increased momentum in activities. To increase the efficiency of the markets the Forward Markets Commission (FMC), the governing body of commodities trading in India has taken several initiatives for the establishment of national level multi-commodity exchanges in India.