Futures & Commodity Trading Basics

As mentioned in the previous lesson, this short course on commodity trading is intended to teach you the basics and give you suggestions for furthering your education.  In this short lesson, I'll also point out some of the more confusing aspects of futures & commodities that create roadblocks to understanding.  In fact, the terms futures and commodities  themselves are often a source of confusion, but don't worry - they are basically synonymous (more on this in the 'What are commodities?' lesson). 

Also, for those already familiar with trading stocks and bonds, futures and commodities may seem especially confusing.  For this reason, people without any prior experience with stocks sometimes pick up the fundamentals of futures markets more quickly.  The differences between these markets and their instruments will be touched on throughout the course.    

The amount of knowledge and experience necessary to competently trade futures is vast.  So, please don't make the mistake of thinking that you can learn it all quickly.   Just focus on gaining a solid understanding of the basics of commodities first.  The more esoteric topics will come to you in time, after you've mastered the basics and gained some actual trading experience.

Also, gaining the requisite knowledge about futures markets and the mechanics of trading is only the first step.  After that you must learn the all important skills of self-discipline as well as risk management in order to achieve long-term success.


Many concepts in this course will not seem immediately comprehensible at first, but they will make more sense with time.  So, be patient, and if you don't understand something at first it is best to keep reading and return to the subject later.  The final lessons will recommend some futures trading books for beginners and online resources for futures trading education.  Try to remember - Anyone who is patient and willing to devote the time to learning how to trade futures can do so.


Ok, let's get started with our first lesson about the history of futures markets.