Today’s market takes root in the agriculture markets of the 19th century, when farmers began to sell contracts to deliver their crops at a later date. This was done to anticipate the needs of the market and stabilize supply and demand during poor crop seasons. Like goods and services, the contracts themselves soon became seen as valuable. A grocery store chain, for example, might want to bid on such a contract to ensure that they, and not their competitors, have fresh strawberries during the winter.
1. The Futures Market
The current futures market, of course, includes far more than just foods! It is a market for all sorts of commodities including manufactured goods, agricultural products, and financial instruments such as currencies and treasury bonds. A futures contract states what price will be paid for a product at a specified delivery date.
2. Playing The Futures Market
When an investor plays the futures market, the actual goods are not important and there is no expectation of a real delivery. After all, locusts or the elements of nature could destroy the crop. As such, the value of the contract itself changes daily according to the market...