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The Best Way to Battle Commodity Price Volatility

Crude oil prices spike. Copper tanks. Cotton and coffee can’t make up their minds. The price graphs you see look more and more like they’re tracking major seismic activity or a sprinter’s heart rate, not the markets.

If you’re a buyer of these or other commodities, you’re no stranger to the volatile nature of commodity markets over the past decade. The real headache for manufacturing organizations isn’t high or low prices -- it’s that prices jump from high to low unpredictably, and often for no apparent reason.

Another problem for manufacturers: it seems no one is helping them.

"Nobody has successfully identified the specific strategies and technologies organizations can use to reduce commodity price risk,” said Jason Busch, editor of Spend Matters, the largest procurement and supply chain information website.

By hosting a unique manufacturing conference in Chicago next week along with sister site MetalMiner, Busch says, “We aim to fill that market need.” 

MetalMiner focuses on providing manufacturing firms with market intelligence so that they can improve their sourcing decisions. Price risk, of course, plays a big role in a company’s bottom line.

Lisa Reisman, MetalMiner’s editor, has written frequently on the topic. “Uncertainty, underpinned by volatility, makes people question when they should buy, how much they should buy and even what they should buy,” she said.

So what is the best way to fight uncertainty? According to Reisman, a combination of learning current market trends, applying forecasting models and considering hedging strategies could steer a manufacturing organization down a more certain path.

Learn more about MetalMiner and Spend Matters’ upcoming conference, Commodity EDGE: Sourcing Intelligence for the New Normal.



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