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Understanding Commodity Indices

Imagine buying gold and not having to hold on to it physically. Would it not reduce a lot of transportation, storage, and stress for you to resell it to a third party? Let’s not forget the carry costs you will be saving.

This is exactly what a commodity index does.

What is a commodity index?

A commodity index tracks prices and returns on a basket of underlying commodities. These underlying could be a combination of commodities or a single commodity. These indices when available for trading are listed on an exchange. Prices of these indices are based on the underlying set of commodities.  Price fluctuations in an index are based on the proportion of the constituent commodities.

Commodities provide diversification in an investment or trading portfolio. Hence a commodity index would also. A commodity index generally has a low or negative correlation with an equity market.

A commodity index could be considered as an alternate investment vehicle whereby it provides an opportunity to take position in commodity derivatives.

Commodity indices in India

MCX iCOMDEX was launched by MCX in the year 2019. Salient features of iComdex are: -

  • MCX iCOMDEX series of commodity indices are excess return indices which consist of a composite index (constituting futures contracts across different commodity segments), two sectoral indices (Bullion Index and Base Metals Index) and four Single Commodity Indices (Gold Index, Silver Index, Copper Index and Crude Oil Index).
  • The underlying constituents of all the indices under the MCX iCOMDEX series are liquid futures contracts traded on MCX.

Other indices at MCX

In addition to iComdex, MCX has launched three sectoral indices, viz; BULLDEX, METLDEX and iComdex ENERGY Index. All these indices are available for trading at MCX in the form of Futures. iComdex Energy Index is the latest entrant. All these indices are sectoral indices and represents composite prices of a sector. For example; BULLDEX is based on precious metals (bullion), METLDEX is based on base metals and iComdex Energy Index is based on crude oil and natural gas.

How do I trade in a commodity index?

One can trade in multiple commodities at the same time either by trading in a commodity index or taking positions in multiple commodities separately. A commodity index is based on the future prices of the constituent commodities in a predefined weight and provides an opportunity to take an exposure in multiple commodities using a single futures contract.

Returns from a commodity index would depend on the weight and movement in the future prices of each underlying constituent.

Why the BULLDEX (Bullion index) is so popular?

MCX BULLDEX is a mix of Silver (30 kg) and Gold (1 kg) futures contract. Any investor who wants to take an exposure in these precious metals, may take a position via a single contract. Investors can also use this to diversify their portfolio because of the low correlation with other asset classes

Even though a commodity index might be a new term in the Indian markets, it’s gaining momentu

Key takeaways:

  • A commodity index is a basket of commodities.
  • An index evens out the volatility of the constituent commodities and it becomes relatively easier to track different commodities through one index.
  • Commodity indices could be used effectively to diversify a portfolio.


ICICI Securities Ltd. (I-Sec). Registered office of I-Sec is at ICICI Securities Ltd. - ICICI Venture House, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai - 400 025, India, Tel No: 022 - 6807 7100. I-Sec is a Member of National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (Member Code :07730), BSE Ltd (Member Code :103) and Member of Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (Member Code: 56250) and having SEBI registration no. INZ000183631. Name of the Compliance officer (broking): Mr. Anoop Goyal, Contact number: 022-40701000, E-mail address: complianceofficer@icicisecurities.com. Investment in securities market are subject to market risks, read all the related documents carefully before investing. The contents herein above shall not be considered as an invitation or persuasion to trade or invest.  I-Sec and affiliates accept no liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any actions taken in reliance thereon. The contents herein above are solely for informational purpose and may not be used or considered as an offer document or solicitation of offer to buy or sell or subscribe for securities or other financial instruments or any other product. Investors should consult their financial advisers whether the product is suitable for them before taking any decision. The contents herein mentioned are solely for informational and educational purpose.

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