What are Commodity Futures: Meaning, Types and Benefits

Commodity futures, a cornerstone of India’s financial landscape, have a rich history dating back to the 19th century. In recent years, they have garnered increasing interest from Indian investors. If you’re eager to understand what commodity futures are and explore the different types of future contracts available in India, this comprehensive guide is your key to unlocking the potential of futures trading.

What Are Commodity Futures?

Commodity futures are financial instruments intricately tied to the prices of underlying assets. They represent agreements between two parties to buy or sell a particular quantity of a commodity at a predetermined price, with the transaction taking place on a future date. In India, these futures extend to a wide array of products, including agricultural commodities like wheat and cotton, energy resources like petroleum and natural gas, and precious metals like gold and silver.

Understanding Commodity Futures with an Example

Let’s delve into a practical example to grasp the concept better. 

Imagine a cotton farmer in India anticipating a bumper crop of cotton in a few months. However, the farmer is concerned about the fluctuating cotton prices. To secure a stable income, the farmer enters into a futures contract to sell a specified quantity of cotton at a fixed price per unit after the harvest. If cotton prices decline in the market, the farmer can still sell at the agreed-upon price, shielding against potential losses. Conversely, if prices surge, the farmer is obligated to sell at the predetermined price, missing out on higher profits. For many producers, the assurance of a fixed price outweighs the allure of speculative gains.

Benefits of Commodity Futures

While commodity futures serve as a shield for producers against price volatility, they also benefit buyers, traders, and even speculators. Buyers secure a predictable cost for essential resources, while traders capitalize on price fluctuations to earn profits. Speculators, on the other hand, engage in futures trading solely for profit, even if they have no intention of using the underlying commodity. This dynamic and multifaceted market plays a pivotal role in India’s economic landscape.

Types of Future Contracts

1. Agricultural Futures

In the heart of rural India, agricultural futures contracts take center stage. These contracts revolve around commodities like wheat, rice, cotton, and soybeans. Farmers, processors, and traders actively participate in agricultural futures to hedge against price fluctuations.

2. Energy Futures

Given India’s growing energy demands, energy futures have gained prominence. Crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products feature prominently in energy futures contracts. Investors keen on tapping into the energy sector’s potential often turn to these contracts.

3. Metal Futures

In a nation with a rich tradition of gold and silver ownership, metal futures hold considerable allure. Precious metals like gold and silver, as well as industrial metals like copper and aluminum, are actively traded in this segment.

4. Currency Futures

Currency futures offer investors the opportunity to speculate on exchange rate movements. These contracts are crucial for businesses engaged in international trade, enabling them to hedge against currency risk.

5. Equity Index Futures

Equity index futures, such as Nifty and Bank Nifty futures, provide a pathway to engage with India’s stock market. Investors can gain exposure to a basket of stocks without owning individual shares.

6. Interest Rate Futures

Interest rate futures are linked to the future interest rates of government bonds and securities. These contracts serve as essential tools for managing interest rate risk.


Commodity futures are an integral part of India’s financial landscape, offering diverse opportunities for investors and traders. By understanding what commodity futures are and exploring the various types of future contracts available, you empower yourself to make informed investment decisions. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or new to the world of futures trading, this guide serves as your gateway to navigating India’s dynamic and ever-evolving commodity futures market.

FAQs: Commodity Futures

What are futures commodities examples?

Futures commodities are contracts for buying or selling specific commodities at a set price and date. Examples include gold, silver, oil, natural gas, wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton, and sugar.

What are commodity futures in India?

Commodity futures in India are contracts based on local commodities like agricultural products, metals, energy sources, and spices. They are regulated by SEBI and traded on exchanges such as MCX, NCDEX, and ICEX.

What is futures in MCX?

Futures in MCX are contracts tied to commodities on the Multi Commodity Exchange of India. MCX offers trading in bullion, metals, energy, and agriculture. It also provides options trading in gold and crude oil.

What are examples of commodities?

Commodities are essential, uniform goods used in commerce. Examples include coffee, cocoa, sugar, wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton, oil, gas, coal, gold, silver, copper, and platinum.


Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.