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The management of
commodities

The raw materials market is particularly volatile and therefore requires a real understanding of how it works. Exchanges and transactions on this market are totally dematerialized. Ensuring both buyers and sellers a price fixed at the time of the transaction, this market allows companies to anticipate the amount obtained through the sale of their production. On the buyers’ side, buying at a price fixed at the time of the transaction enables them to anticipate possible increases. In order to fully understand how this market works, we present here in detail its functioning and the management of the prices of the different raw materials.

To better manage your strategy on the raw materials market, we offer you today our SaaS solution to guide you and help you improve your risk management. Thanks to our particularly complete management tool, you will be able to follow the evolution of the market and simulate the effects of your possible decisions. With DeftHedge, companies can thus considerably improve their positioning on the commodities market and optimize the impact of their sales and purchases. To be well supported in your hedging strategy, do not hesitate to call upon our SaaS solution for companies.

What is raw materials management?

The concept of raw materials encompasses all the products from the earth that must be processed to be used in the manufacture of finished or manufactured products. Raw materials also include the energy commodities needed to produce finished products. In order to clearly identify what we mean by the concept of raw materials, it can be divided into three main categories:

Agricultural raw materials :
wheat, oils, coffee, rice…

Precious Metals :
iron, gold, nickel…

Fossil fuels :
oil, coal, gas…

These various raw materials are listed on the stock exchange, where they are the subject of permanent transactions between buyers and sellers. This management of raw materials in the stock market sector is done at an international level and has a direct impact on their availability and price.

How does the raw materials market work?

Presentation

Before being used by industrialists, raw materials are at the heart of many stock market transactions. All types of materials are thus subject to sales and purchases on a constantly evolving market. Specific contracts are thus signed between the different parties to certify the transaction. Many investors today speculate on this market in order to diversify their stock portfolio. Trading the price of a raw material can only be done if it is interchangeable with another product of equivalent quality. In order to determine the quality of each raw material, they can be divided into two categories:

  • Hard” raw materials: precious metals and fossil fuels
  • Soft” raw materials: agricultural products

Among these categories of raw materials, several products are the subject of particularly intense transactions: gas, oil, gold, silver, wheat, rapeseed, rice… These numerous transactions have a direct impact on the scarcity and value of the various products on this market.

How the market works

Depending on the specific contracts signed between buyers and sellers, the terms and conditions of the transactions may vary. For example, on the spot market, transactions on raw materials imply immediate settlement as soon as the transaction is validated. Conversely, on a futures market, the payment of the transaction as well as the delivery take place at a later date. In a futures market, this type of operation has advantages for both parties involved in the transaction.

Indeed, by selling his production forward, i.e. before it is harvested, the producer knows in advance the selling price of his crop. Whatever the evolution of market prices, the transaction will take place at the price fixed at the time of the agreement between the two parties. If the price of its production falls between now and delivery, this type of sale allows the company to be protected. On the other hand, if the product it harvests increases in value in the meantime, it will not be able to benefit from this increase. At the time of the agreement with the buyer, it is therefore necessary that the purchase price is appropriate for the producer.

On the buyer’s side, the futures market allows him to negotiate the purchase price of a raw material upstream. In order to anticipate a possible increase in the price of the product he wishes to acquire (example: oil), the futures transaction allows him to buy a product that will be delivered to him at a later date without being impacted by market developments. As for the seller, this criterion can be to his advantage or disadvantage depending on the developments.

How is the commodities market organized?

All transactions are carried out on organized markets or on the OTC (Over The Counter) market. The main difference between these two types of market is that an intermediary validates the transactions on the organized markets: the clearing house. On the OTC market, transactions are more flexible since they are concluded directly between sellers and buyers. The commodities market is a totally dematerialized market that has different financial places among which we find in particular :

  • CBOT (Chicago Board Of Trade): wheat, corn, rice, oats, soybeans, oil, flour, milk, wood…
  • NYME (New-York Mercantile Exchange): cocoa, arabica coffee, sugar, orange juice, cotton…
  • COMEX (New-York Commodity Exchange): precious metals, gold and silver
  • LME (London Metal Exchange): aluminium, copper, tin, nickel, lead, zinc, steel, strategic and precious metals…
  • LBMA (London Bullion Market Association): gold, silver, oil…
  • ICE (Intercontinental Exchange): energy, gas, cocoa, coffee, sugar, cotton, orange juice, cereals…

Note: the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is today the world’s leading market for agricultural commodities.

How to manage raw material prices?

The cost of raw materials can fluctuate strongly from one day to another according to many criteria: political, economic, climatic… The evolution of the price of raw materials is therefore not linear and can be different from one day to another. In order to achieve the best possible risk management, it is therefore essential to closely monitor and analyze these changes. This market thus requires companies to have a certain knowledge of how it works and to anticipate the different evolutions as well as possible.

A specific sector

In this market where speculators have a particularly important weight on the evolution of raw material prices, it is therefore advisable to have a good hedging strategy. To be able to invest in this highly volatile market, it is important to know that several supports exist to carry out your management strategy: Trackers (Exchange Traded Commodities) or derivatives. Trackers make it possible to replicate the price of raw materials, while derivatives offer the possibility of investing in the underlying in order to limit the risks to the premium invested. Some of the derivatives available for your company include :

  • Forwards (over-the-counter contract)
  • Futures (forward contracts)
  • Options (Call / Put)
  • Warrants
  • Turbos
  • Commodity swaps
  • What are the profiles of players in this market?

As raw material prices are particularly volatile in this market, the risks for buyers are very high. For this reason, not everyone can invest in the commodity market. Some of the main investor profiles include :

Producers: anticipation of the sale of their production in order to avoid a possible drop in value.

  • “Hedgers”: purchases and sales of raw materials to offset their risks.
  • Speculators: objective of the leverage effect of derivatives to obtain the best return on investment.
  • What are the main risks of raw materials?

The market for raw materials is particularly broad since it encompasses many products intended for the production of a finished product. Among the various operations that are carried out, there are several raw materials that are favoured by the participants:

  • Brent / Oil / WTI
  • Aluminium
  • Carbon
  • Electricity
  • Fuel oil
  • Gas
  • Precious Metals
  • Wheat
  • Butter
  • Plastic
  • Forex

In order to choose the products to which it is most interesting to turn, it is advisable to use the adapted financial tools. For this reason, we have developed our SaaS software DeftHedge to support your company in the management of raw materials.

A market regulated by the clearing house

On organized markets, transactions are guaranteed by a commodity clearing house. This institution guarantees the proper settlement as well as the delivery of the purchased securities. The presence of this clearing house ensures the smooth running of the transaction and avoids any counterparty risk. The missions of commodity clearing are multiple for this organization:

  • Single counterparty: intermediary between buyers and sellers
  • Security deposit: a security deposit is required for each transaction.
  • Transaction management: ensures the execution of orders with stock exchange operators.
  • Product management: monitoring of treatable products on the market
  • Account balance: obligation to settle the balance of the operators at the close of each trading day.

Why choose the solution
SaaS DeftHedge for the management of commodities ?

To help companies make the right decisions in the commodities market, we invite you to use our DeftHedge SaaS solution. This software is a quality tool that greatly facilitates the daily management of your trading portfolio in this specialized market. By using our tool, you will benefit from many advantages:

  • Management of currencies and commodity prices
  • Automation of daily management
  • Creation of hedging strategies
  • Data centralization and security
  • Improved financial gains

With our comprehensive tool for managing your hedging operations on the commodities market, you can significantly improve the management of your hedges and save a lot of time on a daily basis. Thanks to the economic and accounting monitoring that our application offers you, you will also be able to protect your margins as well as possible and accurately assess the risks related to commodities. Depending on the information entered in our software, you will have access to customized hedging strategies thanks to our “SmartStrategy” simulator.

With the numerous quality features of our software, you will be able to significantly improve your positioning and strategy on this highly volatile market. DeftHedge is the ideal solution to guide your company in the purchase and sale of raw materials. Our team is at your disposal to advise and guide you in your strategy and alert you to possible market risks. With DeftHedge, you are therefore more serene and you can carry out the best possible operations on the commodities market.

In order for your hedges to be as effective as possible and to best evaluate the impact of the risks taken, the use of our management tool appears to be indispensable. DeftHedge provides you with personalized advice adapted to the accounting and financial situation of your company, making it a perfectly adapted solution for managing your risks on the commodities market.