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Commodity trading specialists negotiate and arrange the purchase or sale of raw materials such as coffee, electricity, natural gas, livestock, gold or other types of physical goods. Through extensive research, commodity traders obtain up-to-date information about market conditions, communicate with their clients about the sale and purchase of specific commodities and ensure settlement guarantees. Also known as commodity brokers, there are many types of commodity traders who specialize in a wide range of specific commodities.


Commodity Trading Employment Outlook and Salary  
The average earning potential for a commodity trader in the United States is $78,582 per annum with salaries ranging from $48,843 - $184,705. In the United Kingdom, commodity traders receive an average salary of £49,665 per year with wages ranging from £27,181 - £104,376. Salary varies from person to person based on commodity trading skills, industry knowledge, expertise, and experience.
Demand for commodity trading specialists is increasing, with employment for all commodities, securities, and financial services traders and sales agents expected to grow by 10% between 2014 and 2024. 

Job Description  
Commodity brokers buy and sell physical commodities on behalf of commercial or private clients, and are compensated on a commission basis. The main goal of a commodity broker is ultimately to make money for clients.
While the role varies based on the specialization in question, the responsibilities of a commodity trader are likely to include:

  • Agreeing on selling or buying prices, optimizing for profitability
  • Making offers or bids to sell or buy commodities and securities
  • Sell or buy stocks, commodity futures, bonds, or foreign currency based upon the client’s requirements
  • Develop and maintain client and supplier relationships 
  • Analyzing investment opportunities in order to inform buying, selling and investment decisions
  • Identify opportunities for sale or purchase of commodities or securities 
  • Formulate appropriate hedge strategies and trading options 
  • Monitor market conditions, including price, volume, dynamics, and competition
  • Ability to analyze a multitude of factors that may affect price movement, including weather conditions, trade policies, political developments or changes to supply and demand conditions
  • Make arrangements for transportation of purchased or sold commodities 
  • Preparation of detailed financial reports

Typical employers for Commodity Traders Include:

  • Commodity brokers
  • Investment banks
  • Financial clearing houses & exchanges.

Key Skills & Qualifications

Commodity brokers typically come from a range of different backgrounds, however, an understanding of the technical aspects of trading and complex financial topics is essential. Additionally, commodity trading requires an interest in trading business and trading markets, as well as the ability to perform well under stressful conditions. Commodity traders must possess strong numerical skills as well as  having a natural ability to negotiate. A Commodity Trader also should possess the following skills:

  • Strong mathematical, problem-solving, analytical, and logic skills
  • Ability to negotiate and communicate effectively, 
  • Work under pressure, adhere to deadlines, and be decisive.