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What is a commodity index? How do investors use commodity indexes?
The prices of commodities such as oil, natural gas, gold and grain have a significant impact on the economy and capital markets. How do investors and financial media monitor the price trend of commodities? The short answer is commodity index.

Learn more about commodity indexes, including how they work, how investors use them, and examples of major commodity indexes.

What is a commodity index?

Commodity index is a benchmark or indicator to track the performance of a specific group of commodities. The index is used as a benchmark or reference point to measure the overall price trend and performance of commodities in various fields such as energy, metals and agriculture, or a basket of various commodities.

How does commodity index work?

Commodity indices are usually constructed using weighted averages or other methods to reflect the relative importance of different commodities in the index. Weights may be based on factors such as market value, production level or other criteria. These indexes provide investors and market participants with a standardized way to monitor and analyze the performance of the entire commodity market or specific industries.

What are the examples of major commodity indices?

Commodity indices can be broad, covering a wide range of commodities, or narrow, focusing on specific sectors or subsets of commodities. Each index may have its own method, composition and weighting scheme. Investors can use these indexes as benchmarks or reference for analyzing the performance of commodity markets.

Here are some examples of commodity indexes in major markets:

  • Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM):Bloomberg Commodity Index is a widely watched index, which tracks the performance of diversified commodity futures contracts in various industries including energy, metals and agriculture. It represents a broad vision of the global commodity market.

  • S & amp; P GSCI:Formerly known as Goldman Sachs Commodity Index, S& P GSCI is one of the most recognized commodity indexes. It measures the performance of diversified commodity futures contracts such as energy, industrial metals, precious metals, agriculture and animal husbandry. The index aims to reflect the economic importance of each commodity in the global economy.

  • Dow Jones Commodity Index (DJCI):The Dow Jones Commodity Index is another well-known commodity index that covers a variety of commodity industries, including energy, metals and agriculture. It aims to provide a representative view of global commodity markets through futures contracts that include physical commodities.

  • Rogers International Commodity Index (RICI):Rogers International Commodity Index is a widely diversified index created by Jim Rogers, a famous investor. It includes a package of commodities in the energy, metals, agriculture and natural resources sectors. RICI is famous for focusing on the long-term trends and fundamentals of commodity markets.

  • Thomson Reuters/Core Commodities CRB Index:The CRB index is one of the oldest commodity indexes, tracking the performance of a basket of commodity futures contracts. It covers industries such as energy, metals, agriculture and animal husbandry. The index aims to measure the overall commodity price trend.

How do investors use commodity indexes?

Commodity indices can be used by investors to access commodity markets or as a benchmark for evaluating the performance of commodity-focused investment products such as commodity mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or futures contracts.

Investors can use commodity indexes in many ways:

  • Benchmarks:As a benchmark, commodity index can be used to evaluate the performance of commodity-centered investment products. Investors can compare the returns of commodity mutual funds, ETFs or other commodity-related investments with the performance of related commodity indexes. This helps to assess the effectiveness of investment strategies and the skills of fund managers.

  • Performance analysis:Commodity index enables investors to analyze the historical performance and trends of different commodities.

  • Investment in commodity funds:Commodity indexes can be replicated through investment products such as commodity mutual funds or ETFs. Investors can invest directly in these funds, which are designed to track the performance of related commodity indexes. This gives individuals access to a diversified commodity basket without having to invest directly in physical commodities or futures contracts.

How do investors buy goods?

Although investors cannot directly invest in commodity indexes, they can obtain opportunities for a single commodity or a package of commodities through a series of securities types (including futures contracts, ETFs, mutual funds, exchange traded notes (ETN) and physical ownership).

Investors have many choices to buy goods:

  • Futures contracts:One way to invest in commodities is through futures contracts. A futures contract represents an agreement to buy and sell a specific quantity of goods at a predetermined price and date in the future. Investors can participate in commodity futures trading by opening an account in commission merchant or trading platform.

  • ETF:Commodity ETFs provide commodity exposure without directly owning physical assets. These ETFs usually invest in commodity futures contracts or other derivatives to track the price movements of specific commodities or commodity indexes. Investors can buy and sell stocks of commodity ETFs through brokerage accounts, just like trading stocks.

  • Mutual funds:Commodity mutual funds pool investors' funds and invest them in diversified portfolios of commodities or commodity-related securities. These funds can be invested in commodity futures, stocks of commodity industry companies or other commodity-related investments. Investors can buy stocks of commodity mutual funds directly from fund companies or through brokerage accounts.

  • Exchange traded notes:ETNs are debt securities issued by financial institutions that track the performance of specific commodities or commodity indexes. Investors can buy ETNs through brokerage accounts. ETNs are different from ETFs because they are debt instruments rather than funds, and their returns are linked to the performance of the underlying index.

  • Ownership in kind:Some investors choose to own physical goods such as gold, silver or agricultural products. This usually involves the purchase of gold bars, coins or other goods in physical form. Physical ownership of goods may require special storage and security arrangements.


Commodity indices can be used to track price movements for specific commodities, such as oil, gold or wheat, or for a basket of commodities. Although investors cannot invest directly in indexes, they can gain exposure to their components by using various investment securities (including futures contracts, ETFs, ETNs and mutual funds).

It is worth noting that investing in commodities may involve unique risks and considerations, including price fluctuations, supply and demand factors, geopolitical events, weather conditions and regulatory changes. Therefore, individuals interested in investing in commodities or commodity-based products should carefully assess their risk tolerance and financial objectives before making investment decisions.

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