LeoGlossary: Commodity

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Commodities are basic goods and materials that are widely used and are not meaningfully differentiated from one another. Examples of commodities include barrels of oil, bushels of wheat, or megawatt-hours of electricity. Commodities have long been an important part of commerce, but in recent decades, commodities trading has become increasingly standardized.

Commodities are generally divided into two broad categories: hard and soft.

  • Hard commodities are natural resources that must be mined or extracted, such as gold, rubber, and oil.
  • Soft commodities are agricultural products or livestock, such as corn, wheat, coffee, sugar, soybeans, and pork.

Commodities are traded on exchanges all over the world, and their prices are determined by supply and demand. Investors buy and sell commodities for a variety of reasons, including:

Commodities are an important part of the global economy, and they play a vital role in many industries. For example, oil is a key commodity for the transportation sector, while wheat is a key commodity for the food industry.

Here are some examples of commodities:

  • Agricultural commodities: corn, wheat, soybeans, coffee, sugar, cocoa, cotton, cattle, hogs
  • Energy commodities: oil, natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, electricity
  • Metal commodities: gold, silver, copper, aluminum, nickel, zinc
  • Other commodities: rubber, lumber, orange juice, milk, eggs

Commodities can be a complex and volatile asset class, but they can also offer opportunities for investors to diversify their portfolios and generate returns that are uncorrelated to the stock and bond markets.

Commodities Impact on the Economy

Commodities affect the economy in a number of ways.

  • Inflation: Commodity prices are a major input to consumer prices. When commodity prices rise, it can lead to higher inflation. For example, higher oil prices can lead to higher gasoline prices, which can in turn lead to higher prices for goods and services that are transported.
  • Economic growth: Commodity prices can also affect economic growth. For example, if commodity prices are low, it can boost the profits of businesses that use commodities as inputs. This can lead to increased investment and hiring, which can boost the economy.
  • Financial markets: Commodity prices can also affect financial markets. For example, if commodity prices are volatile, it can lead to increased volatility in stock and bond markets. This can make it more difficult for businesses to raise capital and invest, which can hurt the economy.

Here are some specific examples of how commodities can affect the economy:

  • Higher oil prices: Higher oil prices can lead to higher gasoline prices, which can make it more expensive for consumers and businesses to get around. This can reduce consumer spending and corporate profits, which can hurt the economy.
  • Lower agricultural prices: Lower agricultural prices can hurt farmers' incomes, which can lead to job losses in rural areas. This can also reduce demand for goods and services, which can hurt the overall economy.
  • Higher metal prices: Higher metal prices can make it more expensive for businesses to manufacture goods. This can reduce profits and lead to job losses.

Overall, commodities play an important role in the economy and can have a significant impact on inflation, economic growth, and financial markets.

It is important to note that the effects of commodity prices on the economy can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type of commodity, the severity of the price change, and the overall state of the economy.


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