Gold derivatives are financial instruments whose value is derived from the price of gold.
As instruments, gold derivatives allow investors to gain exposure to gold without physically owning the metal. People trade gold derivatives on various financial markets and are using them for hedging, speculation, and portfolio diversification.
Here are some common types of gold derivatives:
- Futures Contracts: Gold futures contracts are agreements to buy or sell a specified amount of gold at a predetermined date and price. You trade these contracts on commodity exchanges and they allow investors to speculate on the future price movements of gold. Producers and consumers also use Futures contracts to hedge against price volatility.
- Options Contracts: Gold options are contacts that provide the holder with the right to buy or sell gold, but this is not an obligation. Buying or selling happens at a predetermined price (strike price) before or at the expiration date. Options offer flexibility and that is allowing investors to participate in gold price movements with limited risk.
- Forward Contracts: Similar to futures, forward contracts are the agreements between two parties to buy or sell gold in the future. You do this at the predetermined price. However, unlike futures, typically you trade them over-the-counter (OTC) and they are also customizable.
- Gold ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds): Gold ETFs are financial instruments and they represent ownership in physical gold or gold futures. Investors can buy and sell shares of these ETFs on stock exchanges. That way they are providing a way to gain exposure to the gold market without holding physical gold.
- Gold ETNs (Exchange-Traded Notes): Gold ETNs are debt instruments that track the performance of an underlying gold index. These are the unsecured debt securities which are issued by financial institutions. Also, their value is linked to the performance of the index they track.
- Gold CFDs (Contracts for Difference): These are the financial derivatives that allow investors to speculate on the price movements of gold. This happens without owning the underlying asset. CFDs are contracts between a buyer and a seller, that you settle in cash because of the difference in the gold price between the opening and closing of the contract.
- Gold Swaps: Gold swaps are the type of derivatives that involve an exchange of cash flows between two parties. These are based on the return from gold price movements. Central banks and financial institutions are often using them for financing or managing their gold reserves.
- Structured Products: Financial institutions are creating structured products linked to gold derivatives. They are offering investors exposure to gold and they’re adding features, such as principal protection or leveraged returns.
It’s important to note that while gold derivatives provide opportunities for investors, they also involve risks. Prices can be volatile, and derivatives trading carries the risk of financial loss. Investors should have a good understanding of the gold market and derivative products, and they may seek professional advice before engaging in derivative trading. To learn about the latest gold movements, we advise you to keep track of our InProved weekly gold snapshots. For any additional questions about how to invest in pure gold bars you can reach out to our analysts via this form.