News tagged with commodities
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services.
The more specific meaning of the term commodity is applied to goods only. It is used to describe a class of goods for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market. A commodity has full or partial fungibility; that is, the market treats it as equivalent or nearly so no matter who produces it. Petroleum and copper are examples of such commodites. The price of copper is universal, and fluctuates daily based on global supply and demand. Items such as stereo systems, on the other hand, have many aspects of product differentiation, such as the brand, the user interface, the perceived quality etc. And, the more valuable a stereo is perceived to be, the more it will cost.
In contrast, one of the characteristics of a commodity good is that its price is determined as a function of its market as a whole. Well-established physical commodities have actively traded spot and derivative markets. Generally, these are basic resources and agricultural products such as iron ore, crude oil, coal, salt, sugar, coffee beans, soybeans, aluminium, copper, rice, wheat, gold, silver, palladium, and platinum. Soft commodities are goods that are grown, while hard commodities are the ones that are extracted through mining.
There is another important class of energy commodities which includes electricity, gas, coal and oil. Electricity has the particular characteristic that it is either impossible or uneconomical to store, hence, electricity must be consumed as soon as it is produced.
Commoditization (also called commodification) occurs as a goods or services market loses differentiation across its supply base, often by the diffusion of the intellectual capital necessary to acquire or produce it efficiently. As such, goods that formerly carried premium margins for market participants have become commodities, such as generic pharmaceuticals and silicon chips.
There is a spectrum of commodification, rather than a binary distinction of "commodity versus differentiable product". Few products have complete undifferentiability and hence fungibility; even electricity can be differentiated in the market based on its method of generation (e.g., fossil fuel, wind, solar). Many products' degree of commodification depends on the buyer's mentality and means. For example, milk, eggs, and notebook paper are considered by many customers as completely undifferentiable and fungible; lowest price is the only deciding factor in the purchasing choice. Other customers take into consideration other factors besides price, such as environmental sustainability and animal welfare. To these customers, distinctions such as organic-versus-not or cage-free-versus-not count toward differentiating brands of milk or eggs, and percentage of recycled content or forestry council certification count toward differentiating brands of notebook paper. Larger considerations can enter these equations, such as systemic socioeconomic unfairness (as poor people point out, "sure, it's easy to buy the expensive food when you've got plenty of money") and deception and authentication (e.g., a brand may greenwash its product and consumers lack practical ways to authenticate the claims).
This text uses material from Wikipedia and is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.
"There is significant penetration by multinational processed food manufacturers such as Nestle, Kraft, PepsiCo, and Danone into food environments in low-and-middle income countries, where consumption of unhealthy commodities ...
Health Jun 26, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
Some 56 evidence-based interventions will sharply reduce the 358,000 women who still die each year during pregnancy and childbirth and the 7.6 million children who die before the age of 5, according to a massive three-year ...
Health Dec 15, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
"Would legal regulation and control of drugs better protect children?" is a question posed by former President of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso in an editorial to be published in the January issue of Elsevier's International Jo ...
Medications Nov 22, 2011 | not rated yet | 3
Wegmans Food Markets has recalled 5,000 pounds of pine nuts sold in the bulk foods department of its stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland after salmonella sickened 42 people.
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes Oct 27, 2011 | not rated yet | 0