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Indian markets have recently thrown open a new avenue for retail investors and traders to participate: commodity derivatives.

For those who want to diversify their portfolios beyond shares, bonds and real estate, commodities is the best option.

Till some months ago, this wouldn't have made sense. For retail investors could have done very little to actually invest in commodities such as gold and silver -- or oil seeds in the futures market. This was nearly impossible in commodities except for gold and silver as there was practically no retail avenue for punting in commodities. However, with the setting up of three multi-commodity exchanges in the country, retail investors can now trade in commodity futures without having physical stocks!

Commodities actually offer immense potential to become a separate asset class for market-savvy investors, arbitrageurs and speculators. Retail investors, who claim to understand the equity markets may find commodities an unfathomable market. But commodities are easy to understand as far as fundamentals of demand and supply are concerned. Retail investors should understand the risks and advantages of trading in commodities futures before taking a leap. Historically, pricing in commodities

futures has been less volatile compared with equity and bonds, thus providing an efficient portfolio diversification option. In fact, the size of the commodities markets in India is also quite significant. Of the country's GDP of Rs. 13,20,730 crore (Rs. 13,207.3 billion), commodities related (and dependent) industries constitute about 58 per cent. Currently, the various commodities across the country clock an annual turnover of Rs. 1,40,000 crore(Rs. 1,400 billion). With the introduction of futures trading, the size of the commodities market will grow many folds here on.

Like any other market, the investor for commodity futures plays a valuable role in information pooling and risk sharing. The market mediates between buyers and sellers of commodities, and facilitates decisions related to storage and consumption of commodities. In the process, they make the underlying market more liquid. At Uniglobal, we provide facilities of buying and selling all commodities from any where supported by our

research-intensive data. Trading in commodities is as easy as buying stocks of Satyam or IPCL, but some help is required initially to understand the markets better.

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