Commodity Derivatives Market in India: Development,
Regulation and Future Prospects
The Indian economy is witnessing a mini revolution in commodity derivatives and risk management. Commodity options trading and cash settlement of commodity futures had been banned since 1952 and until 2002 commodity derivatives market was virtually nonexistent, except some negligible activity on an OTC basis. Now in September 2005, the country has 3 national level electronic exchanges and 21 regional exchanges for trading commodity derivatives. As many as eighty (80) commodities have been allowed for derivatives trading. The value of trading has been booming and is likely to cross the $ 1 Trillion mark in 2006 and, if all goes well,…show more content… Commodity futures trading in India remained in a state of hibernation for nearly four decades, mainly due to doubts about the benefits of derivatives. Finally a realization that derivatives do perform a role in risk management led the government to change its stance. The policy changes favouring commodity derivatives were also facilitated by the enhanced role assigned to free market forces under the new liberalization policy of the Government. Indeed, it was a timely decision too, since internationally the commodity cycle is on the upswing and the next decade is being touted as the decade of commodities.
Why are Commodity Derivatives Required?
India is among the top-5 producers of most of the commodities, in addition to being a major consumer of bullion and energy products. Agriculture contributes about 22% to the GDP of the Indian economy. It employees around 57% of the labour force on a total of 163 million hectares of land. Agriculture sector is an important factor in achieving a GDP growth of 8-10%. All this indicates that India can be promoted as a major centre for trading of commodity derivatives. It is unfortunate that the policies of FMC during the most of 1950s to 1980s suppressed the very markets it was supposed to encourage and nurture to grow with times. It was a mistake other emerging economies of the world would want to avoid. However, it is not in India alone that derivatives were suspected of creating too much speculation that would be