Raw materials can be invested in various ways. An investor can buy shares of companies whose activities depend on commodity prices, or buy mutual funds, index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that focus on commodity-related companies. The most direct way to invest in commodities is to buy a futures contract. A futures contract requires the holder to buy or sell goods at a predetermined price on a delivery date in the future. The sale and purchase of commodities is usually done through futures contracts on exchanges that normalize the quantity and minimum quality of the traded commodity. For example, the Chicago Board of Trade requires that a wheat contract apply to 5,000 bushels and specifies which varieties of wheat can be used to fulfill the contract. More recently, the definition has been extended to financial products such as foreign currencies and indices. Technological advances have also led to the exchange of new types of goods on the market. For example, mobile phone minutes and bandwidth. You can buy options on many commodity futures to participate in the market at a lower price than it might cost you to buy the underlying futures.
You can also invest through commodity funds. In the United States, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulates the futures and commodity options markets. The CFTC`s objective is to promote competitive, efficient and transparent markets that help protect consumers from fraud, manipulation and unscrupulous practices. Commodity market regulation remains in the spotlight after four major investment banks were involved in an investigation into precious metals manipulation in 2014. All kinds of commodities are traded: coffee, soybeans, foreign exchange, even energy emissions. But a precious metal like gold is different from other commodities like oil or wheat, which meet people`s specific needs because it is thought to have so-called intrinsic value. This means that the value of gold is relatively safe in times of financial crisis, such as a recession or depression, and its value increases as other commodities become more volatile. For example, if a county`s currency loses value, people can invest in gold to protect their losses.
If the currency recovers, they might try to sell their gold, which instead devalues the value of the gold. Energy products: This is a subcategory within hard commodities that refers to assets such as oil, coils, and natural gas. Given that the world has a strong (and arguably growing) appetite for energy, energy commodities are a popular investment choice for traders looking to make big profits. The most commonly traded type of energy product is crude oil, with more than 87 million barrels traded every day. Other important types of energy products include natural gas, which is used for everything from heating homes to cooking meals, and coal, which accounts for 20% of the world`s total energy consumption. Uranium, electricity, solar, ethanol and wind energy are other types of energy products. These apps can help you organize and invest your finances. In order to diversify their investments and mitigate the risks associated with inflationary currency depreciation, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds invest capital in unlisted assets such as commodities and commodity-related infrastructure.  In classical political economy, and in particular in Karl Marx`s critique of political economy, a commodity is an object or good or service (« product » or « activity ») produced by human labor.  Objects are outside of man.  However, some objects acquire « use value » for people of this world when they prove to be « necessary, useful or pleasing in life. »  « Use value » makes an object « an object of human desires », or « a means of subsistence in the broadest sense. »  There are many different types of goods, but the basic idea is that each type of product is the same, regardless of its producer. For example, one portion of grain from one producer is unlikely to be different from another portion of grain from another producer.
Before Marx, economists noted that the problem with using the « quantity of labor » to determine the value of commodities was that the time an unskilled worker would spend on the same commodity would be longer than the time a skilled worker would spend on the same commodity. Thus, according to this analysis, the commodity produced by an unskilled worker would have more value than the same commodity produced by the skilled worker. Marx pointed out, however, that in society as a whole, an average amount of time would occur, which was necessary to produce the commodity. This average time needed to produce the commodity that Marx called « socially necessary labor time. »  Socially necessary labor time was the right basis for justifying the « exchange value » of a particular commodity. A commodity market is a physical or virtual market for buying, selling and trading raw or primary products. There are currently about 50 major commodity markets in the world, which facilitates trade in about 100 primary raw materials. The three economists above rejected the theory that labor represents 100% of the exchange value of a commodity. To varying degrees, these economists have turned to supply and demand to determine commodity prices.
Marx argued that the « price » and « value » of a commodity were not synonymous. The price of a commodity would vary depending on the imbalance between supply and demand at a given time. The « value » of the same commodity would be consistent and reflect the amount of value of labor used to produce that commodity. While raw materials have traditionally been considered material goods, they have recently expanded to include abstract products such as electricity, measured in megawatt hours. Even cryptocurrencies can act as both a financial instrument and a commodity, with Bitcoin being classified as a commodity by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Goods are goods that are virtually interchangeable with each other, often represented by agricultural products, raw materials, industrial or precious metals, or chemicals such as ethanol and sulfuric acid. If someone buys a barrel of oil, they can expect it to look like any other barrel of oil.
He doesn`t really want to own the goods – what would he do with 1 million barrels of oil if he didn`t have a refinery? — but it relies on consumer demand to generate a good return on investment. Those who choose to physically invest in raw materials will encounter the problem of storage. Although several companies now offer safe storage of assets, direct investors in commodities incur the additional costs of storage and insurance, as well as the costs associated with buying and selling. In order for the investor to ensure that he buys raw materials at a good price, he must also invest in large quantities of the commodity. For example, Coca-Cola is a branded product that receives loyalty and a higher price due to its perceived differentiation from other cola drinks. A low-cost store brand is more of a commodity because it doesn`t differ much from other store brands. It is bought mainly because of its low price, not because of its taste. A significant part of the trade takes place in oil, gold and agricultural products.
Since no one wants to transport these heavy goods, they instead trade futures contracts. These are purchase or sale agreements at an agreed price at a specific time. Commodity contracts are valued in U.S. dollars. Thus, when the value of the dollar increases, it takes fewer dollars to buy the same amount of raw materials. This leads to lower commodity prices. Before Marx, many economists debated the elements that constituted exchange value. Adam Smith claimed that exchange value consisted of rent, profit, labor, and the cost of wear and tear on livestock instruments.
 David Ricardo, a disciple of Adam Smith, changed Smith`s approach to this by asserting that labor alone was the content of the exchange value of a good or service.  Although Ricardo asserted that the entire exchange value of the goods came directly from the hands of the people who made the commodity, he found that only a portion of the exchange value of the commodity was paid to the worker who made the commodity. The other part of the value of this particular commodity was labor that was not paid to the worker – unpaid labor. This unpaid work was retained by the owner of the means of production. In capitalist society, the capitalist owns the means of production and therefore unpaid labor is retained by the capitalist as rent or profit. Means of production means the place where the goods are manufactured, the raw products used in production and the instruments or machinery used in the manufacture of the goods. .