In economics, a commodity is an economic good or service that has full or substantial fungibility: that is, the market treats instances of the good as equivalent or nearly so with no regard to who produced them.
The price of a commodity good is typically determined as a function of its market as a whole: well-established physical commodities have actively traded spot and derivative markets. The wide availability of commodities typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (such as brand name) other than price.
Most commodities are raw materials, basic resources, agricultural, or mining products, such as iron ore, sugar, or grains like rice and wheat. Commodities can also be mass-produced unspecialized products such as chemicals and computer memory.
Soft commodities are goods that are grown, such as wheat, or rice. Hard commodities are mined. Examples include gold, helium, and oil. Energy commodities include electricity, gas, coal, and oil. Electricity has the particular characteristic that it is usually uneconomical to store, and must, therefore, be consumed as soon as it is processed.
Trading commodities have evolved from placing orders on landline telephones to cell phones, computers and now mobile devices. It used to be nearly impossible to keep up on the markets when you were outside the office or away from your computer, but much has changed.
Now it's easy to get quotes on the market through your smartphone, as well as current updates through brokers' websites and Twitter feeds. And most online commodity brokers have introduced mobile applications to allow clients to place trades with their smartphones. You can use mobile apps for commodity trading. The applications have most of the bells and whistles of desktop trading platforms, but they fall a little short of sharing all the same capabilities. Mobile isn't quite ready to replace the desktop platform, nor is it really intended to, but it does provide traders with a much-needed tool to supplement the regular trading platform. Having the assurance to monitor trades and the markets are very important to a trader.
Mobile applications for trading commodities can open the door for attracting new traders, such as investors who were concerned that they had to be attached to a computer in the office all day. Many people work jobs that don’t allow for trading, including those who travel frequently, those who are regularly outside the office, or those who just don't work in a career that involves sitting at a desk.
Most online futures brokers have mobile trading platforms. Most of them have similar features. Some are a little behind the curve and they don’t yet have apps that are ready for all the operating systems, but fixing this is expected to become a priority. It's likely that the best desktop platforms out there will eventually have the best mobile trading platforms in the future.