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Commodities trader

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Summary of occupation

Commodities traders negotiate and arrange the sale or purchase of physical goods or raw products such as gold, natural gas, livestock, electricity or coffee. They research and obtain information about particular commodities and market conditions, correspond with their clients about the purchase and sale of these commodities, negotiate delivery, condition, and other settlement guarantee details, and calculate and record the cost of transactions. They may also be involved in spot trading, where the delivery of goods takes place immediately, as opposed to future delivery, which is the way other commodities trading is undertaken.

ANZSCO description: Operates as an independent agent to bring together buyers and sellers of commodities, negotiates private sales and arranges sales through established market places.
Alternative names: Commodities Broker
Specialisations: Energy Trader, Grain Buyer, Livestock Trader, Media Buyer, Wool Broker
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A commodities trader needs:

  • strong maths skills
  • strong logic and problem-solving skills
  • analytical and interpreting skills
  • strong communication and negotiation skills
  • decision making skills
  • the ability to work to deadlines
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Working conditions

Commodities traders generally spend most of their time in trading rooms or commodities exchanges, but may also work in office environments. Many commodities traders also travel to meet with clients. They usually work long but regular hours that coincide with the hours that commodity exchanges either in the eastern states or overseas are open. They may have to sit or stand for long periods of time, and when working in commodity exchanges their work environment may be stressful. Although they mostly work in cities, they may work independently from finance companies and can therefore work in other parts of the state.

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Salary details

On average, commodities traders, classified under financial brokers, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a commodities trader develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Commodities traders spend a large amount of time on the phone. They also use computers, in particular financial tracking and data management software. They also use mobile phones and laptop computers to stay in touch with their clients and key contacts while they are travelling or away from the office.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a commodities trader you usually need to complete a degree in commerce or business majoring in accounting, commerce, economics, finance, or actuarial science.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

You may be required to obtain an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence to work in this field. Contact the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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