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gandra
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ma1 The Three Categories of “Players” in the Futures Game and their Roles

on Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:10 pm
These individuals and/or firms actually produce or process the commodity that is being traded.
Whether it be silver, gold, petroleum, corn, live cattle, lumber, sugar or currencies, these are the people
who make the goods available either by mining them, harvesting them, raising them, growing them or
lending them.

They need to lock in costs. In other words, they have a product they want to sell at a determined price.
They may do this in order to guarantee a profit on an actual commodity they have on hand or have
produced, or they may want to lock in a price on an item in order to avoid losing more money on it if
it is already declining.

Finally, they may not have the goods at all. Rather they may be protecting themselves from a possible
side effect of declining or rising prices.

For example, a jewelry store with considerable gold and silver jewelry on hand may fear a decline in
the price of precious metals. They stand to lose money on their inventory as prices decline. Therefore,
they may choose to sell futures contracts of silver and/or gold in expectation of the decline. Thus, they
have profited from the futures sale.

End-Users

These are the people who will use the stuff that’s sold by producers. They need to lock in the cost of
their production by advance purchase of raw goods.Therefore, they will buy either on the futures market or they may make a forward contract (previously defined). At times, the end-user may become a seller as opposed to a buyer.

Assume, for example, that too much has been purchased or that the final product is not selling well. In
such an event, the end-user may switch to the sell side.The producer may, at times, switch sides as well.
Assume the producer does not have enough production to meet obligations to others. The producer
may then become a buyer as opposed to a seller. As you can see, roles in futures trading can change.

Speculators
This is the largest group of futures traders. These people are sandwiched between the end-user and the
producer, providing a market buffer.Perhaps no more than one to three percent of all futures contracts is actually completed by delivery.The balance is closed out before any actual exchange of goods occurs.
Suffice it to say that speculators are often willing to take risks in markets at times and at prices that
may not be attractive to the other two groups.

Speculators do this in expectation of large percentage profit returns on price fluctuations.The chart below shows the general relationship between the three basic groups of market participants.More details will be given as your understanding of basic concepts increases.

Players in the Futures Markets & their Usual Roles
ProducersSell to lock in profits.· Can buy at times.
· Are usually farmers, banks,
mining firms, manufacturers, etc.
· Often called ‘hedgers.’
SpeculatorsBuy or sell to make a profit,but not to use the actual goods or products.· Often called ‘traders’
(among other things).
· Do not take delivery of the goods.
· Often trade for short-term swings.
End-UsersBuy in order to use the product in their processing or business concern.· Can be sellers at times.
· May not actually use the goods they buy.

For now, I’ll spare you specifics of how futures contracts work. These mechanical things will be
learned later. What I want you to learn now are the concepts of futures trading.
The basic issue is, of course, why trade?
Summary
The futures markets operate on very specific factors which, when, understood, can allow you to trade
profitably. To understand the markets, you must learn the underlying structure and functions of
commodity trading.
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