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A commodity is a basic good used in commerce that is interchangeable with other goods of the same type. These are often used as inputs in the production of other goods or services. Examples of commodities include metals, energy, agriculture products, and even foreign currencies.


The phonetic transcription of the word “Commodity” is /kəˈmɒd.ɪ.ti/.

Key Takeaways

Three Main Takeaways about Commodity

  1. Flexible Nature : A commodity is a basic good or raw material in commerce that individuals or institutions buy and sell. Commodities are interchangeable with other goods of the same type, which allows for flexible trade and market fluidity.
  2. Price Determination : The price of a commodity is determined by the market, it is subject to changes in supply and demand. If the supply of a commodity is greater than the demand, the price will drop, and if the demand is greater than the supply, the price will increase.
  3. Investment Potential : Commodities provide a potential hedge against inflation. When prices rise, often the value of commodities goes up. For this reason, many investors include commodities in their overall investment strategy.


A commodity is an important term in business/finance because it refers to basic goods and raw materials that are either consumed directly, such as food, or used in production processes of other goods, like oil, steel, or gold. These are usually interchangeable with other goods of the same type and they play a critical role in understanding economic conditions globally. Commodities form the base for futures contracts in the exchange markets, offering opportunities for risk management and speculative gains for investors. The prices of commodities often reflect geopolitical, environmental, and economic forces, making them significant indicators of inflation trends, currency movements, and the health of an economy.


The purpose of a commodity in the world of finance and business revolves around its role as a basic good used in commerce that is interchangeable with goods of the same type. Commodities are most often used as inputs in the production of other goods or services. The quality of a given commodity may slightly vary, but it is essentially uniform across producers. When they are traded in the financial markets, commodities must also meet specified minimum standards, also known as a basis grade.Commodities play a crucial role in determining the prices of goods, as they are a primary factor in the supply chain. The global economy’s stability can often be gauged by the prices of common commodities like oil, gold, natural gases, grains, among others; they tend to react to global events and changes in economic health. Additionally, commodities are used by traders and investors for speculation, and to hedge against various risks. In essence, commodities serve as a crucial economic mechanism for markets, industrial sectors, and investors.


1. Oil: This is perhaps the most often-traded commodity across the globe. Oil includes crude oil, gasoline, heating oil, and diesel. Prices are often driven by geopolitical developments, natural disasters, and changes in the economic climate.2. Gold: Another widely traded commodity, Gold is often used as a safe-haven investment during times of economic uncertainty. It is also used extensively in the manufacturing of jewelry and electronics. 3. Wheat: As one of the most significant agricultural commodities, wheat is traded across exchanges and its price can affect food prices globally. The price of wheat can be influenced by weather conditions, soil quality, and international politics. These are just a few examples and there are many more commodities like silver, natural gas, coffee, corn, and livestock.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a commodity in finance and business?

A commodity is a basic good or raw material in commerce that is interchangeable with other goods or raw materials of the same type. Commodities are often used as inputs in the production of other goods or services.

Can you give examples of commodities?

Examples of commodities include gold, silver, crude oil, natural gas, wheat, corn, coffee, and livestock.

How are commodity prices determined?

Commodity prices are determined by supply and demand factors in the global market. These factors include weather patterns, geopolitical tensions, economic indicators and more.

How can I invest in commodities?

You can invest in commodities through futures contracts, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), commodity mutual funds, and buying the physical goods.

What is a commodity market?

A commodity market is a physical or virtual marketplace for buying, selling, and trading raw or primary products.

What is commodity trading?

Commodity trading involves investing in physical substances like gold and oil. Traders in commodities can profit from price variations.

Are commodities risky to invest in?

Like all investments, commodities can be risky. Prices can fluctuate due to various factors including economic and political news, supply and demand, and currency movements. It’s important to carefully research before investing.

What is commodity futures contract?

A commodity futures contract is a legal agreement to buy or sell a particular commodity at a predetermined price at a specified time in the future.

What are hard and soft commodities?

Hard commodities are natural resources that are mined or extracted, such as gold and oil. Soft commodities are agricultural products or livestock, such as corn, wheat, coffee, and pigs.

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