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Metals

GOLD:

The term ‘carat’ will be familiar to many – what it represents is the amount of gold contained in the item it describes. ’24 carat’ is pure gold. Gold is held both as a long term investment and as a short term hedge in times of insecurity or instability in the markets. The price of gold therefore often becomes more volatile in times of political or economic uncertainty than it does by pure demand/supply dynamics in the underlying physical market. There is a commonly held conception that, due to non-delivery of physical gold, the ownership of gold exceeds the volume of gold that actually exists.

COMEX Division Spot gold and futures provide an important alternative to traditional means of investing in gold such as bullion, coins, and mining stocks. Gold futures contracts are also valuable trading tools for commercial producers and users of the metal. Commercial concentrations of gold are found in widely distributed areas: in association with ores of copper and lead, in quartz veins, in the gravel of stream beds. Seawater contains astonishing quantities of gold,
but its recovery is not economical. Gold has primary correlation with the US dollar and will be used as an alternative hedging tool when the dollar is showing signs of weakness.



Silver:

Silver is commonly regarded as the second most-favoured precious metal after Gold, having been used in jewellery, coinage and ornaments for centuries. As well as its investment properties, silver is also widely used in commercial and industrial processes, with the largest silver production being in North and South America.

Silver is sought as a valuable and practical industrial commodity, and as an appealing investment. The largest industrial users of silver are the photographic, jewellery, and electronic industries. Newly mined metal provides most of the needed supply, and Mexico, The United States and Peru are the primary producers. Secondary silver sources include coin melt, scrap recovery, and Dishoarding from countries where export is restricted. Secondary sources are particularly price sensitive. Mining companies, fabricators of finished products, and users of silver-content industrial materials can use the COMEX Division silver Spot and futures contracts to manage their price risk. As a precious metal, silver also plays a role in investment portfolios.



Copper:

Copper is the world's third most widely used metal, after iron and aluminium, and is primarily used in highly cyclical industries such as construction and industrial machinery manufacturing. Profitable extraction of the metal depends on cost-efficient high-volume mining techniques, and supply is sensitive to the political situation particularly in those countries where copper mining is a government-controlled enterprise. Copper market participants across the board use COMEX Division high-grade copper futures to mitigate price risk, and the copper contracts are used as investment vehicles, as well.

Copper is a ductile metal, with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable. It is used as a thermal conductor, an electrical conductor, a building material, and a constituent of various metal alloys. Copper metal and alloys have been used for thousands of years. In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, hence the origin of the name of the metal as Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum.

There may be insufficient reserves to sustain current high rates of copper consumption. Some countries, such as Chile and the United States, still have sizeable reserves of the metal which are extracted through large open pit mines. Profitable extraction of the metal depends on cost-efficient high-volume mining techniques, and supply is sensitive to the political situation particularly in those countries where copper mining is a government-controlled enterprise. Copper market participants across the board use COMEX Division high-grade copper futures to mitigate price risk, and the copper contracts are used as investment vehicles, as well.


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