Commodities Trader’s heritage

“I like cluttered, old, dark-wood antiques. I like character.”
Martha Plimpton

Commodity trading and shipping are one of the oldest industries out there, with rich history and huge significance for the wealth of cities and nations through the centuries.

Starting from the ancient Rome, where its citizens underlined the importance of commodities coining the term Cura Annonae (“care for the grain supply”).

The grain supply to the city of Rome could not be met entirely from the surrounding countryside. The city therefore became increasingly reliant on grain supplies from other parts of Italy and from elsewhere in the empire, particularly the provinces of Sicily, North Africa and Egypt. These regions were capable of shipping adequate grain for the population of the capital amounting to 540 million litres / 540,000 cubic metres or 16.8 million bushels annually, according to some sources. The provinces and the shipping lanes that connected with Ostia and other important ports thus gained great strategic importance. Whoever controlled the grain supply had an important measure of control over the great city of Rome.

A might of cities as Venice, Amsterdam and London has been built upon the growing demand for commodities fuelling the socio-economical changes at the times of Golden Age of those cities. Venice would not be the same without its salts and grains trading, as Amsterdam without its coffee or London without its sugar and copper trade.

It is of importance for modern day’s trader’s to not lose the sight of this heritage. Relating to the past can bring more understanding and joy to daily grind of trading and execution.

While the collection in your cabinet and boardroom has a potential to elevate the meetings and plays a role of original conversation starter effectively replacing the boring banalities of discussion on the weather and commute.

Nothing shows the character of the man in charge better than the understanding of a bigger picture. Precious artefacts from the past long gone are perhaps the best material manifestation of that sort of thinking.



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