In the modern day world of technology, metals have never been more important for society to continue moving forward and maintain the infrastructure already in place. Though the mining and processing of metals has matured with the cultures that rely on them, man's reverence and dependence on metals is anything but new. Historically, metals have always been seen as an investment regardless of how technology changes and demand for these highly conductive products grow. Used to portray wealth and power through the ages, metals drive markets and define cultures.
Metals are usually classified as either precious or non-precious, depending on their rarity, worth and usage. Precious metals are rare and can be used in currencies or for industrial needs. The most common metals markets are gold, silver, platinum, palladium, aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc which can be traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and the London Metal Exchange (LME). These are not the only exchanges that trade metals, gold is especially popular, but they are the most commonly used for futures and options.
Gold - Arguably the most revered metal and volatile of all the metals contracts, gold has a long history of affecting cultures even before the written word. With the evolution of technology to incorporate precious metals and a long standing history of representing affluence, gold is a heavy hitter that moves other markets when it moves.
Silver - Like gold, silver is regarded as both ornamental and practical. Used for jewelry and tableware as well as industrial uses such as photographic emulsions, electronic circuits, and batteries, silver remains one of the most traded metals on the market.
Copper - Although copper is a non-precious metal, it is widely used to conduct electricity and because of this our electrical and communication infrastructure is completely dependent on this malleable metal. It is also used to produce brass and bronze. At our current state of technology, copper has consistent demand.