The difference between forex and commodity trading

Forex and commodity trading are two of Singapore’s most popular forms of financial investments. Both offer attractive opportunities for individuals to grow their wealth but differ significantly in structure, risk level, and potential returns. This article will delve into the key differences between forex and commodity trading in Singapore, providing insights that can help readers make informed investment decisions.

Market structure

The market structure of forex and commodity trading in Singapore is a key distinguishing factor. Forex, short for foreign exchange, involves buying and selling different currencies to potentially make a profit. The forex market operates 24 hours a day, five days a week, making it highly accessible to traders worldwide.

On the other hand, commodity trading involves buying and selling physical goods such as gold, oil, and agricultural products. The commodity market in Singapore mainly operates through the Singapore Exchange (SGX), which offers a diverse range of commodities for traders to invest in.

One of the key differences between these two markets is the level of liquidity. The forex market is highly liquid, with a daily trading volume of around $6 trillion, making it one of the most liquid markets in the world. In contrast, the commodity market in Singapore has significantly lower trading volume, which can lead to less liquidity and potentially higher transaction costs for traders.

Risk level

Another significant difference between forex and commodity trading is the level of risk involved. Forex trading often involves leverage, which allows traders to control a more prominent position in the market with a smaller amount of capital. While this can potentially result in higher returns, it also exposes traders to a significant level of risk. The high-risk, high-return nature of forex trading may attract inexperienced traders. However, it’s crucial to understand that it involves considerable uncertainty and market volatility.

On the other hand, commodity trading tends to have less risk than forex trading. Since commodities are physical assets, their prices are less volatile than currencies. However, this doesn’t mean that commodity trading is entirely risk-free. Prices fluctuate significantly due to supply and demand, current events, and weather conditions.

Traders must also consider the risk of market manipulation and fraud in forex and commodity trading. As with any investment, it’s essential to do thorough research and only trade with reputable exchanges or brokers, like a Saxo forex broker, to mitigate this risk.

Investment size

Forex trading generally offers lower minimum investment requirements compared to commodity trading. Therefore, individuals with smaller capital can participate in the market and potentially make a profit. In contrast, commodity trading often requires a more significant initial investment due to the higher costs of buying physical goods.

Forex trading also offers more flexibility in terms of investment size. Traders can enter or exit the market anytime, depending on their preferences and risk appetite. In contrast, commodity traders may need to wait for physical delivery or sell large quantities of goods, which can limit the flexibility of their investments.


Volatility is a crucial factor to consider when comparing forex and commodity trading. As mentioned, the forex market is highly volatile, with prices fluctuating rapidly due to various factors such as economic data releases, current events, and central bank decisions. This volatility can present both opportunities and risks for traders.

On the other hand, commodity trading tends to be less volatile than forex trading due to the nature of physical assets. However, specific commodities may experience significant price fluctuations depending on supply and demand dynamics or natural disasters.

It’s essential to note that volatility can work in favour of traders or against them, and it’s crucial to manage risk carefully and have a comprehensive understanding of the market before making any investment decisions.

Trading strategies

Due to the differences in market structure, risk level, and volatility, traders often employ different techniques when trading forex and commodities. Forex traders may use technical analysis, fundamental analysis, or a combination of both to determine entry and exit points for their trades.

On the other hand, commodity traders focus more on supply and demand factors and often utilise hedging strategies to manage risk. Hedging allows traders to protect their investments from adverse price movements by taking opposite positions in the market.

Potential returns

The potential returns in forex and commodity trading can vary significantly. Forex trading offers the potential for high returns due to leverage, but this also means that losses can be substantial if the market moves against a trader’s position. On the other hand, commodity trading may offer lower returns but involves less risk.

Another factor to consider is that forex trading occurs in pairs, so traders must make accurate predictions about the relative movement of two currencies. In contrast, various factors can affect commodity prices and may not always move in tandem with currency movements.