Commodity Trading: Is it Profitable/Risky? We Look at the Research!

Unveiling the Thrills and Profits: Exploring the Dynamic World of Commodity Trading

The world of commodity trading can be both challenging and profitable for retail investors. This article is based on several academic sources, shedding light on the risks of commodity trading and its potential profitability.

But should independent investors trade commodities, and what are the risks? We perform deep research into the truth behind commodity trading.

Commodity Trading: Is it Profitable & What are the Real Risks?
Commodity Trading: Is it Profitable & What are the Real Risks?

What are commodities?

Commodities are tangible goods such as food, metals, and energy that traders can buy or sell in the financial markets. These commodities are traded on global exchanges, and their prices fluctuate based on supply and demand.

Commodities were traditionally physical goods or raw materials such as sugar, maize, barley, pork bellies, milk, cocoa, cotton, gold, silver, or copper. However, the commodities exchanges have expanded to encompass more modern items such as energy and computer RAM chips.

Types of Commodities

Commodities are divided into four main categories: energy, metals, meat and livestock, and agricultural products. Some of the most popular commodities to trade include crude oil, natural gas, gold, silver, copper, wheat, corn, pork bellies, coffee beans, and cocoa. Trading these commodities can be lucrative for investors to diversify their portfolios.

Understanding Commodity Trading

When trading commodities, traders can use derivatives such as futures and options contracts to speculate on the direction of a commodity’s price. These instruments are used by investors to hedge against price fluctuations, allowing them to manage their risk exposure.

Investors can also trade commodities through exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These funds track the performance of an underlying commodity or basket of commodities, providing investors with exposure to the markets without owning the underlying asset.

Finally, it is important to remember that commodities are traded in the futures market, which involves a contract between the buyer and seller. In this type of transaction, the seller agrees to provide a certain amount of a commodity at an agreed-upon price by a set date in exchange for payment from the buyer. This type of contract helps to reduce risk since the investor knows ahead of time exactly how much they will pay and what they will receive in return.

How to Start Trading Commodities

To get started in commodity trading, you must open an account with a broker. Before selecting a broker, compare each provider’s fees and services, such as account minimums, commission rates, margin rates, and available markets.

How I Trade Crude Oil Commodity Futures on TradingView (See this chart now)
How I Trade Crude Oil Commodity Futures on TradingView (See this chart now)

Start Trading Futures, Stock & Currencies with TradingView

Next, select the markets you want to trade in. Commodity trading mainly involves agricultural products and metals. Each market has its risk-related dynamics, so it is important to understand them before investing your capital. Some brokers also offer educational resources to help understand different markets and their associated risks.

Once you’ve determined the markets you want to focus on, research each to develop an appropriate trading strategy that meets your risk appetite and investment goals. This may involve analyzing price trends, evaluating historical data, and news events related to the commodities being traded.

Finally, execute trades based on the strategy you developed while monitoring them regularly for any changes or potential losses.

Risks of Trading Commodities

Trading commodities can be risky, as prices for these goods are often volatile and subject to large fluctuations. One of the main risks in trading commodities is that they are heavily influenced by external forces such as climate, politics, and economic and market conditions. As commodities are physical assets, their prices can be strongly affected by the supply and demand in the market.

Commodity trading involves buying and selling commodities like gold, oil, or wheat. It can offer high returns but also comes with a particular set of risks 1.

This means that if an investor is not careful and doesn’t monitor the markets closely, they could lose money due to sudden price fluctuations. Additionally, trading commodities carries more risks than stocks or other financial instruments since it involves higher leverage levels, increasing exposure to the underlying commodity.

It is important to note that trading commodities can be a profitable endeavor. Still, it requires an understanding of market conditions and the ability to take advantage of changing market dynamics. To minimize the risk associated with trading commodities, it’s essential to do thorough research and learn as much as possible about the markets before investing.

Research: The Risks Involved in Commodities

  • Market Volatility: Commodities are subject to price fluctuations due to economic news, weather patterns, and political instability 2.
  • Leverage Risk: Investors often use leverage in commodity trading, magnifying profits and losses 3.
  • Regulatory Risks: Changes in government policies can significantly impact the commodity markets 4.

Data: Profitability in Commodity Trading

Studies indicate that investing in commodities may infer the same risk as other investment avenues, but the potential for high returns is considerable 5. However, the days of making a profit of $100,000 in commodities trading are over 6.

Investor Behavior

Behavioral aspects also play a significant role in commodity markets. Risk-seeking behaviors of active individual investors often drive market fluctuations 7.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Commodities Trading

Commodities trading offers several advantages, such as leveraging investments, low spreads, increased liquidity, and access to various asset classes.

  • Leverage allows traders to open bigger positions using less capital, leading to larger profits.
  • Low spreads reduce the cost of entry and exit for trades, while liquidity ensures you can enter or exit at an agreeable price when necessary.
  • Accessing a wide range of asset classes means you can diversify your portfolio with commodities such as metals, energy, livestock, and agriculture.

On the downside, commodities trading does come with certain risks. Margin requirements can be high depending on the broker and asset class being traded and require additional capital or margin calls if prices move against a trader’s position.

Furthermore, price fluctuations driven by supply and demand can be difficult to predict, potentially leading to losses if not managed properly.

Explainer Video: How the Commodities Market Works

Strategies for Successful Commodity Trading

One of the most important strategies when trading commodities is diversification. This involves splitting your capital into different asset classes, which can help reduce overall risk if any assets experience a downturn. Likewise, it would be best to spread your trades across multiple commodities rather than focus on one or two specific commodities. This way, you can have exposure to more markets and take advantage of any price movements.

Another strategy for successful commodity trading is to look for market inefficiencies, such as when prices diverge from their expected value or supply and demand dynamics are out of balance. By identifying and acting on these scenarios quickly, traders can often capitalize on price discrepancies or opportunities presented by unexpected events such as global macroeconomic shifts or natural disasters. This type of trading requires knowledge and experience and careful monitoring of the markets so that traders can act swiftly when necessary.

Finally, traders should always ensure they understand a trade’s full scope before entering it by researching its past performance and fundamental drivers behind the commodity’s price movements. This allows them to better prepare themselves for potential risks and rewards associated with each trade.

Should beginner investors trade commodities?

No, beginners should approach trading commodities with caution and take the time to educate themselves on the markets before considering a position. Commodity markets are complex and volatile, so it is important to understand the fundamentals of how each market works and how macroeconomic events may affect prices.

Are Commodities like Sugar, Maize Barley, and Oil something for the Average Investor to Trade, or is there Too Much Risk Involved?

What is Commodities Spot Trading?

The participants in a commodities spot trade usually expect to receive immediate or near future delivery of the actual goods they have purchased. This is a way for the corn farmer to find a buyer for his corn on the open market. Because of the short delivery time, spot trading will usually occur in a wholesale market and allow the buyer to inspect the goods.

What are Commodities Forward Contracts?

A forward contract is an agreement to exchange goods at a specified time for a price agreed upon today. This protects the corn farmer from falling prices and the corn oil producer from rising prices. This minimizes the risk for both parties to do business.

What are Futures Contracts?

As discussed earlier in the futures section, commodities can be traded as futures contracts meaning that the buyer and seller of the contract do not necessarily expect to receive delivery of the commodities they have purchased; they receive the cash equivalent.

In the U.S., the regulating body for the commodities exchanges is called the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

Should I Invest In Commodities?

As a commodity investor, you need to understand that particular commodity’s supply and demand variables. For example, a farmer will have more insight into the fluctuations of sugar or wheat than you will see as an average investor. It may be worthwhile if you have a lot of specific industry insight.


What is the best software platform for trading commodities?

The best platform for trading commodities is TradingView, offering powerful analysis tools and a wide selection of futures contracts, including energy, agriculture, and metals. Additionally, TradingView provides data from major exchanges worldwide, giving you access to real-time market information.

What is commodities trading?

Commodities trading involves the buying and selling physical goods such as agricultural products, energy products, metals, and even financial instruments. Commodities trading is a way to diversify your investments and hedge against potential losses.

Is commodity trading profitable?

Commodity trading can be very profitable when done correctly. It involves a certain degree of risk, but with the right strategy and knowledge, you can generate profits even in volatile markets.

How risky is commodity trading?

Commodity trading is very risky because of the unpredictability of markets. Commodity prices can fluctuate quickly due to unforeseen political or environmental events. As a result, traders must be prepared to take losses and profits.

When is the best time of day for commodity trading?

The best time of day for commodity trading varies depending on the type of commodities being traded. If you are trading energy commodities such as oil or natural gas, the best time to trade is when the markets open in the morning and close in the evening.

What are the behavioral aspects of commodity trading?

The behavioral aspects of commodity trading include patience, discipline, and risk management. Patience is required to wait for the right opportunity to enter a trade. Discipline is needed to stick with a strategy even when things are not going in the trader's favor.

What are the top 5 traded commodities in the world?

The top 5 traded commodities in the world are crude oil, natural gas, gold, silver, and copper. Crude oil is currently the most popular commodity due to its widespread use and demand worldwide.

What is the safest commodity to invest in?

Gold is often considered a haven because it tends to retain its value over time and has averaged a 6% gain yearly over the past 30 years.

How do I get into commodity trading?

The easiest and safest way to start commodity trading is by using a paper trading account on TradingView. TradingView is free, and when you are ready, it can connect you to an approved secure broker to start futures trading.

Can you make money day trading commodities?

Yes, you can make money day trading commodities, but it comes with a greater risk than investing in stocks and bonds. To succeed, day traders must have strong analytical skills and a deep understanding of the markets.

Which commodities will rise?

To estimate which commodities will rise, you have to look at the supply and demand of that commodity. For example, if there is an increase in the demand for oil while the supplies remain steady, then the price of oil should go up. Analyzing economic factors like political developments, natural disasters, or global events that can influence market prices would be best.

What is the most priceless commodity?

The most priceless commodity is that which has the least supply or is the hardest to come by. For example, diamonds are a priceless commodity due to their rarity and high demand. Gold and other precious metals also fall into this category, as do rare artwork and antiques.

What is the best way to invest in commodities?

The best way to invest in commodities is to join a TradingView community of serious commodity traders, share ideas and learn before you take your first steps as a futures trader.

What is the most traded asset in the world?

The most traded asset in the world is foreign currency. Global currencies are traded daily by investors and traders, with trillions of dollars exchanged daily in foreign exchange markets. This makes it the largest and most liquid market in the world.

Are commodities more risky than stocks?

The data shows that commodities are generally riskier than stocks. Commodities can be volatile, and prices can fluctuate wildly quickly, so it is important to be aware of the risks when investing. Additionally, the cost of trading commodities is usually higher than stocks, as extra fees are associated with trading futures contracts.

Which is better, stocks or commodities?

Stocks provide more upside than commodities but also come with more downside risk. Commodities provide a hedge against certain economic conditions and can be used to diversify your portfolio.


  1. Futures trading and investor returns: An investigation of commodity market risk premiums
  2. Can deep learning predict risky retail investors? A case study in financial risk behavior forecasting
  3. Commodities Rising: The reality behind the hype and how to really profit in the commodities market.
  4. Commodity trade and international risk sharing: How much do financial markets matter?
  5. The Complete Guide to Investing in Commodity Trading and Futures: How to Earn High Rates of Returns Safely
  6. Behavioral aspects of commodity markets


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