Trading volume in commodity markets has risen more than seven-fold from levels seen just ten years ago, and the dollar value of futures contracts traded in commodity markets currently exceeds many times the dollar value of common stocks traded on all U.S. stock exchanges. The leverage in trading commodity markets is impressive. Typically the margin requirement will be as little as 3-6% of the total cash value of the contract. It is this leverage which is simultaneously the biggest advantage and greatest danger in futures trading, and is the reason why many otherwise successful investors have difficulty in mastering these markets.
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