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The umbrella term 'commodities' covers all sorts of product that can be traded on financial markets. From trade support jobs in London through to broker positions all over the world, commodities jobs can be found in trading, sales and structuring, whether the commodities are the actual physical materials traded by the commodities trading houses or the many derivative products favoured by investment banks.
Commodity traders are usually responsible for one particular commodity in which they have expertise. The trader is expected to generate a profit by either buying or selling the commodities themselves or the derivatives that arise from them at the right price and time. This role involves regular in-depth market analysis as well as extensive commodity research in order to make the strategic short and long term investment decisions required to maximise returns.
For commodity traders working with actual physical products, further factors such as shipping and storage costs must also be assessed. Often, these traders will also use derivative products to hedge the risks they face.
Sales positions within the commodities market are mainly found in larger investment banks. The targeted clients will be both commodity producers, who might wish to use derivative products to reduce their price exposure, and potential investors looking to make money from buying and selling commodities at the right time, again often using derivatives. Sales positions are ideal for those who can find and develop client relationships, combined with a good analytical brain.
Commodity sales persons will need to keep up with the latest market conditions in order to explain to their clients the rationale behind strategies that could be used to service their account. The role of creating the commodities products offered to clients tends to be so statistically focused, so most banks will require applicants to hold a Masters degree in a mathematically focused subject to achieve even a junior role. However, though such a role can be highly demanding, tracking the success of a product you have created ensures great rewards for anyone who is successful in this role.
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