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What is Derivatives Trading? Types, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Personal Finance

Derivatives meaning: derivatives are financial contracts that derive their value from an underlying asset. They can be bought, sold, or traded on any market. They represent a type of financial instrument. Trading derivatives involves risk and should be used wisely by investors and traders.

Understanding derivatives’ meaning is vital before starting to trade derivatives. Read on to learn more.

Basics of Derivative Trading

A derivative is a financial contract with a value that is derived from an underlying entity. The value of derivatives can be affected by changes in the price of their underlying instruments. This includes commodities, precious metals, and currencies, to name just a few. Derivatives can also be used for investments that aim to profit from changes in market prices. That, too, without any ownership rights to the asset being traded.

Derivatives are often used by banks, hedge funds, and other large investors. They want to increase their exposure to specific markets. But without having to take on significant credit risk themselves (i.e., lending money). Common examples of underlying entities can include commodities, precious metals, currency, bonds, and stocks. Now we will look at the types of derivatives.

Types of Derivative Contracts

After understanding the derivative definition, now it’s time to learn their different types. There are many different types of derivative contracts. They all fall into one of two categories: long-term contracts and short-term contracts. Long-term contracts will have a specific date when the contract expires, or “matures.” These are generally long-term contracts that last between 3 and 5 years. Short-term contracts have no set ending date and expire at a specific rate. For example, a contract may state that a rate of interest of 12% will be applied to the contract if it isn’t closed before a specified date.

Limiting Risk with Long-Term Contracts

Long-term contracts, such as forward and futures contracts, are generally used for managing risk. These types of derivative contracts will allow a company to lock in a certain rate for a certain amount of time. For example, a company might use a forward contract to lock in a rate for a certain amount of widgets that it will purchase in the future. If the market rate goes up and the widget company wants to buy the widgets for less, it can close the contract and be refunded the difference.

Hedging with Short-Term Contracts

Short-term contracts are generally used for hedging against risk. Hedging is when an individual or business locks in a rate by buying a derivative contract. Businesses will often hedge against rate fluctuations. This will ensure that they can recover the money they’ve invested in the project. For example, a construction company may hedge against interest rate fluctuations by purchasing a contract that has a specified rate.

Advantages of Derivatives Trading

Derivatives are traded in the over-the-counter (OTC) market.

Derivatives are traded in the over-the-counter (OTC) market. This is a market for financial instruments that are not listed on an exchange, but instead trade privately between two parties. In this way, derivatives can be bought and sold without going through a broker or other intermediary.

Why is trading in derivatives essential?

Trading in derivatives is used to gain exposure to that particular underlying asset without actually owning it. This is done by trading contracts that are based on the performance of an underlying asset, such as shares or commodities.

You can trade derivatives without owning the underlying asset by buying a contract for difference (CFD). You do not have to buy any physical assets or go through the hassle of setting up a company and hiring employees if you want to trade CFDs instead.

The price of the derivatives

The price of a derivative is derived from the price of the underlying asset. It does not always imply the same thing; for example, if you bought a call option on Apple stock, you would expect its value to rise in tandem with Apple’s share price. If it did not, then your investment would be worth less than what you paid in.

To trade derivatives successfully, traders must understand how and why they work, as well as the risks associated with them.


A derivative contract has a fixed expiry date, after which one needs to enter into another contract for further speculation on that underlying asset’s price movement.

For example, if you purchase a stock option that expires in three months and do not want to sell your shares before then, you can purchase another option that expires at the same time as your original option or at some point before its expiration date.

This is called replicating an existing position—in this case, buying another option on the same underlying asset (i.e., buying two options with different strikes).

Derivatives trading is riskier than trading in physical assets as these contracts involve leverage. You only have to deposit a small amount and borrow from your broker the rest of the money needed to buy the contract. You can lose more than your initial investment and lose all your money. This is why understanding derivatives and the types of derivatives is important before investing.

Risks associated with derivatives trading

Trading derivatives involves risk and should be used wisely by investors and traders.

Diversification is the key to success. However, it is crucial to remember that not all investments are created equal. Some assets produce large returns but also carry high risks. Then there are others who don’t have any upside potential at all (and may even lose money).


The derivatives market is an extremely complex field. But there are some basic rules that you should follow if you want to make money with them. First and foremost: never invest more than you can afford to lose! Don’t risk more than 10% of your savings or retirement accounts on any single trade. If something goes wrong (and it will), it will take years before they even begin recovering from the damage done by investing. Working with major finance firms like Piramal Finance will help you understand the procedure inside and out. They also have many blogs and articles on these topics to help you acquire key financial skills.