A commodity exchange is the type of market where commodities are dealt with. Almost any article of trade are bought and sold in commodity exchanges. Most of the leading commodity exchanges are found in USA and the UK. There are commodity exchanges existing in various other countries too. Based on the goods that are being traded and on their location and size, commodity exchanges differ significantly.
Certain exchanges are famed for trading in particular products. For example, the Chicago Board of Trade, the largest futures exchange, is famous for its trading activities in coffee and sugar. London is known for its metal exchange and petroleum exchange and so on and so forth. One can find commodity exchanges spread throughout the world in places like Brazil, China, Canada, South Africa, Japan, and Russia, to mention only a few countries.
Commodity exchanges commonly deal with agricultural products like Soya products, sunflower seeds, corn, beans, coffee, or other grains. Dairy products and meat are also items which are extensively traded through commodity exchanges. The closing prices set by leading commodity exchanges have huge impact on the trade around the world. Petroleum products like crude oil, gasoline, and precious metals are also dealt widely by commodity exchanges.
One can trade in futures or options in these commodity exchanges. When it comes to futures, one is bound by a contract which specifies the delivery of a commodity at a specific date, whereas in the case of options, it is not so. Buying of options does not bind one to buy anything. Instead, one is given the right to buy certain products for a price, but one need not do so, if required. The flip side with options is that the deal expires after a specified time period.
Most of the commodity exchanges make their closing prices public. Trading is typically done on a large scale. This is the reason why smaller producers and investors don?t trade in large commodity exchanges. However, the bigger traders on the commodity exchanges work closely with smaller traders and businesses, giving them an opportunity to trade their products on a global scale. The traders on commodity exchanges charge a fee from the smaller businesses for doing so.