Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. A commodity market is a market that trades in primary economic sector rather than manufactured products. A financial derivative is a financial instrument whose value is derived from a commodity termed an underlier. Futures are traded on regulated commodities exchanges. Gold ETFs are based on “electronic gold” that does not entail the ownership of physical bullion, with its added costs of insurance and storage in repositories such as the London bullion market.
Commodity-based money and commodity markets in a crude early form are believed to have originated in Sumer between 4500 BC and 4000 BC. Sumerians first used clay tokens sealed in a clay vessel, then clay writing tablets to represent the amount—for example, the number of goats, to be delivered. Early civilizations variously used pigs, rare seashells, or other items as commodity money. Since that time traders have sought ways to simplify and standardize trade contracts. Gold and silver markets evolved in classical civilizations. At first the precious metals were valued for their beauty and intrinsic worth and were associated with royalty. In time, they were used for trading and were exchanged for other goods and commodities, or for payments of labor.