History of Commodity Market in India

The history of organized commodity derivatives in India goes back to the nineteenth century when Cotton Trade Association started futures trading in 1875, about a decade after they started in Chicago. Over the time datives market developed in several commodities in India. Following Cotton, derivatives trading started in oilseed in Bombay (1900), raw jute and jute goods in Calcutta (1912), Wheat in Hapur (1913) and Bullion in Bombay (1920).

However many feared that derivatives fuelled unnecessary speculation and were detrimental to the healthy functioning of the market for the underlying commodities, resulting in to banning of commodity options trading and cash settlement of commodities futures after independence in 1952.

The parliament passed the Forward Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1952, which regulated contracts in Commodities all over the India. The act prohibited options trading in Goods along with cash settlement of forward trades, rendering a crushing blow to the commodity derivatives market. Under the act only those associations/exchanges, which are granted reorganization from the Government, are allowed to organize forward trading in regulated commodities. The act envisages three tire regulations: (i) Exchange which organizes forward trading in commodities can regulate trading on day-to-day basis; (ii) Forward Markets Commission provides regulatory oversight under the powers delegated to it by the central Government. (iii) The Central Government- Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution- is the ultimate regulatory authority.

The commodities future market remained dismantled and remained dormant for about four decades until the new millennium when the Government, in a complete change in a policy, started actively encouraging commodity market. After Liberalization and Globalization in 1990, the Government set up a committee (1993) to examine the role of futures trading. The Committee (headed by Prof. K.N. Kabra) recommended allowing futures trading in 17 commodity groups. It also recommended strengthening Forward Markets Commission, and certain amendments to Forward Contracts (Regulation) Act 1952, particularly allowing option trading in goods and registration of brokers with Forward Markets Commission.

The Government accepted most of these recommendations and futures’ trading was permitted in all recommended commodities. It is timely decision since internationally the commodity cycle is on upswing and the next decade being touched as the decade of Commodities. Commodity exchange in India plays an important role where the prices of any commodity are not fixed, in an organized way. Earlier only the buyer of produce and its seller in the market judged upon the prices. Others never had a say.

Today, commodity exchanges are purely speculative in nature. Before discovering the price, they reach to the producers, end-users, and even the retail investors, at a grassroots level. It brings a price transparency and risk management in the vital market. A big difference between a typical auction, where a single auctioneer announces the bids and the Exchange is that people are not only competing to buy but also to sell. By Exchange rules and by law, no one can bid under a higher bid, and no one can offer to sell higher than someone else’s lower offer. That keeps the market as efficient as possible, and keeps the traders on their toes to make sure no one gets the purchase or sale before they do.

Since 2002, the commodities future market in India has experienced an unexpected boom in terms of modern exchanges, number of commodities allowed for derivatives trading as well as the value of futures trading in commodities, which crossed $ 1 trillion mark in 2006. Since 1952 till 2002 commodity datives market was virtually non- existent, except some negligible activities on OTC basis.

In 2002-03, Prime Minister, Shri. A. B. Vajpayee, in his Independence Day address to the nation on 15th August 2002, demonstrated its commitment to revive the Indian agriculture sector and commodity futures markets. The GOI in that very year took two steps that gave a fillip to the commodity markets. The first one was setting up of nation wide multi commodity exchanges and the second one was expansion of list of commodities permitted for trading under (FC(R) A).

In India there are 25 recognized future exchanges, of which there are three national level multi-commodity exchanges. After a gap of almost three decades, Government of India has allowed forward transactions in commodities through Online Commodity Exchanges, a modification of traditional business known as Adhat and Vayda Vyapar to facilitate better risk coverage and delivery of commodities. The three exchanges are: National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX) Mumbai, Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited (MCX) Mumbai and National Multi-Commodity Exchange of India Limited (NMCEIL) Ahmedabad. There are other regional commodity exchanges situated in different parts of India.

Read More: Commodities Exchanges in India

Source: Scribd.com

About Abey Francis

Abey Francis is the founder of MBAKnol - A Blog about Management Theories and Practices - and he's always happy to share his passion for innovative management practices. You can found him on Google+ and Facebook. If you’d like to reach him, send him an email to: [email protected]
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