Commodities: Broad Market

BCD Top Performer Intra-day
Price $24.82
Today’s Change 0.00%(0.00)
4:00pm 04/20/2017
GSP Bottom Performer Intra-day
Price $13.40
Today’s Change -0.24%(-1.76)
3:58pm 04/21/2017
  • Overview
  • Efficiency
  • Tradability
  • Fit

ETF.com Insight

The broad commodity ETF space has no clear winner. There's no "right" way to index commodities, so many disparate choices here are equally valid.
We've chosen toDBC isn't perfectly neutral, but its strategy makes sense benchmark against the popular S&P GSCI, a production-weighted index which gives nearly 3/4 of its weight to energy, and nearly 1/2 to oil alone. Two funds—GSG and GSP—track this index directly, while others track variations.
Another established choice is the Bloomberg Commodity index (formerly the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index). It takes a more nuanced view by weighting its components by both production and liquidity, and capping exposures at both the commodity and sector levels. DJCI and DJP track it directly.
Alternative strategies abound, with funds that select and/or weight their holdings by things like consumption, contango, or momentum. At the extreme is FTGC, the first actively-managed commodity ETF.
Many funds in the space attempt to mitigate the effects of contango. This could be as simple as holding a fixed ladder of contracts up to a year out, or it could mean complex optimization schemes. Most of these funds cost more than their front-month counterparts.
You'll also need to make a decision about structure. Commodity pools have complex tax implications that could help or hinder you. ETNs are simpler at tax time, but come with counterparty risk.
Finally, you'll need to be sure the fund you want is accessible. Traders who demand liquidity above all else will want to stick with DBC or DJP, but plenty of other options exist for those who don't mind slightly higher trading costs. Be aware that about half the funds in the segment see subpar tradability, ranging from somewhat illiquid to untradeable at all sizes. A handful of funds are at risk of closure due to weak investor interest.
We've chosen DBC as our Analyst Pick. It isn't perfectly neutral, but its strategy makes sense—it caps our benchmark's heavy weighting to energy, while optimizing contract selection. It's also eminently liquid. (Insight updated 04/21/17)

All Funds (24)

GCC $190.99 M 190993954.965 Expensive

B 5
E
84
84
T
88
88
F
5
5

PDBC $588.16 M 588159264 New; No K-1

B 0
E
79
79
T
98
98
F
0
-1

GSG $1.03 B 1033979430 Commodity pool version of GSP

C 91
E
66
66
T
98
98
F
91
91

DJCI $112.01 M 112009192.62 Cheapest in segment

C 48
E
83
83
T
61
61
F
48
48

DBC $2.11 B 2107073165.5618 Most liquid

C 26
E
67
67
T
98
98
F
26
26

BCM $51.01 M 51007906.1205 Optimized version of DJP

C 24
E
83
83
T
63
63
F
24
24

DJP $874.88 M 874879133.8194 Liquid ETN

C 18
E
72
72
T
99
99
F
18
18

USCI $537.45 M 537448142 Selects by contango

C 11
E
67
67
T
95
95
F
11
11

UCI $98.06 M 98055466.608 Cheap alternative take

C 0
E
78
78
T
58
58
F
0
-1

FTGC $120.73 M 120727466.97338 Active 40 Act ETF

C 0
E
72
72
T
81
81
F
0
-1

SBV $637.5 K 637499.434 High closure risk

D 62
E
73
73
T
59
59
F
62
62

RJI $231.46 M 231459244.5328 Broadest exposure

D 28
E
57
57
T
83
83
F
28
28

CMDT $23.26 M 23262850 High closure risk

D 0
E
74
74
T
53
53
F
0
-1

GSP $26.11 M 26107997.5996 ETN version of GSG

D 0
E
59
59
T
65
65
F
0
-1

GSC $114.83 M 114828400 Very expensive

F 88
E
51
51
T
47
47
F
88
88

CSCR $1.05 M 1046306.71232 High closure risk

F 16
E
63
63
T
38
38
F
16
16

DWAC $2.44 M 2437948.758 N/A

F 0
E
56
56
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

RCOM $8.8 M 8800100.286 N/A

F 0
E
62
62
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

COM $15.06 M 15060625.101 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

BCD $3.73 M 3726669.8443 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

UCIB $20.81 M 20808000 same index as UCI

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

BCI $2.48 M 2475254.7523 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

DPU $394.8 K 394800 Closed to creations

F 62
E
66
66
T
30
30
F
62
62

CSCB $1.11 M 1110000 High closure risk

D 32
E
76
76
T
37
37
F
32
32

ETF.com Grade as 04/12/17

Commodities: Broad Market

Performance Dispersion
Performance  [as of 04/20/17] 1 Month 3 Month YTD 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
Benchmark: S&P GSCI0.73%-5.36%-5.87%-0.19%-23.44%-14.88%--
B 5GCC190993954.965GCCWisdomTree Continuous Commodity Index Fund-2.28%-5.41%-2.22%-3.62%-12.93%-8.41%--
B 0PDBC588159264PDBCPowerShares Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy No K-1 Portfolio0.98%-4.53%-4.34%7.04%------
C 91GSG1033979430GSGiShares S&P GSCI Commodity Indexed Trust0.64%-5.85%-6.51%-1.21%-24.21%-15.70%-9.83%
C 48DJCI112009192.62DJCIETRACS Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return ETN-0.95%-4.85%-3.70%0.20%-15.79%-10.05%--
C 26DBC2107073165.5618DBCPowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund0.99%-4.66%-4.48%6.70%-17.17%-11.63%-4.71%
C 24BCM51007906.1205BCMiPath Pure Beta Broad Commodity ETN0.08%-3.54%-1.77%4.01%-13.61%-9.69%--
C 18DJP874879133.8194DJPiPath Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return ETN-0.90%-5.03%-4.17%0.43%-16.88%-10.82%-7.59%
C 11USCI537448142USCIUnited States Commodity Index Fund-0.53%-3.83%-2.70%-6.85%-13.40%-8.53%--
C 0UCI98055466.608UCIETRACS UBS Bloomberg Constant Maturity Commodity Index TR ETN-1.21%-4.55%-2.46%6.74%-13.63%-8.95%--
C 0FTGC120727466.97338FTGCFirst Trust Global Tactical Commodity Strategy Fund-0.89%-3.84%-1.91%-4.48%-16.71%----
D 62SBV637499.434SBViPath Pure Beta S&P GSCI-Weighted ETN0%1.11%0.05%21.84%-20.31%-13.04%--
D 28RJI231459244.5328RJIElements Rogers International Commodity Index-Total Return ETN-0.59%-4.19%-3.08%2.86%-16.64%-10.46%--
D 0CMDT23262850CMDTiShares Commodity Optimized Trust-0.64%-3.22%-2.34%3.41%-12.99%----
D 0GSP26107997.5996GSPiPath S&P GSCI Total Return Index ETN1.04%-6.21%-6.96%-0.50%-26.42%-17.13%-10.55%
F 88GSC114828400GSCGS Connect S&P GSCI Enhanced Commodity TR Strategy ETN4.47%-3.37%-3.30%11.67%-22.89%-15.02%--
F 16CSCR1046306.71232CSCRCredit Suisse X-Links Commodity Rotation ETN0.04%-0.03%0.04%-0.76%-12.91%----
F 0DWAC2437948.758DWACElkhorn Commodity Rotation Strategy ETF0.29%-2.31%-0.73%--------
F 0RCOM8800100.286RCOMElkhorn Fundamental Commodity Strategy ETF1.67%-1.58%1.11%--------
N/A 0COM15060625.101COMDirexion Auspice Broad Commodity Strategy ETF--------------
N/A 0BCD3726669.8443BCDETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated K-1 Free Strategy ETF--------------
N/A 0UCIB20808000UCIBETRACS CMCI Total Return ETN Series B0.43%-3.56%-0.54%15.10%------
N/A 0BCI2475254.7523BCIETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF--------------
F 62DPU394800DPUDB Commodity Long ETN51.99%7.14%7.14%-15.20%-17.69%-14.92%--
D 32CSCB1110000CSCBCredit Suisse X-Links Commodity Benchmark ETN0%-10.77%0%-20.43%------
All returns over 1 year are annualized. All returns are total returns unless otherwise stated.

ETF.com Efficiency Insight

DJCI has an edge over its peers in Efficiency thanks to a lowest-in-class expense ratio, excellent tracking and a tax-advantaged structure. The ETN charges just 50 bps, lags its indexFor those willing to pay a bit more, the range of options widens considerably within by roughly the amount of its fee, and is taxed at ordinary capital gains rates. In contrast, the remaining funds charge 55-125 bps and many follow their indexes at a much wider pace.
That said, most funds in the broad commodities segment are at least viable, and track more or less in line with their fees. For those investors willing to pay a bit more, the range of options widens considerably.
One of the more important considerations here is fund structure. Most of the segment is made up of ETNs, which are taxed at normal capital gains rates and have no special tax implications. They do, however, come with counterparty risk—currently low for all funds.
A handful of funds are structured as commodity pools. These distribute a K-1 at tax time and are marked to market, meaning you will be taxed on all gains and losses at year-end whether you sell or not, at a blended long-term/short-term rate.
Two somewhat recent launches, FTGC and PDBC, are structured as open-ended 1940 Act funds. That's the most common structure for equity funds, but it was unheard of in the commodity space until 2013.
About 1/3 of the funds in this segment are at high risk of closure due to little or no investor interest. Most of these are ETNs, which sometimes "close" by de-listing without returning capital, leaving investors to either hold their shares until a distant maturity date or try to sell them OTC, a particularly nasty dilemma. We recommend caution in holding these funds. (Insight updated 04/21/17)

All Funds (24)

84
83.803495
83
83.131842
83
82.914264
79
78.539252
78
78.291294
74
73.692115
73
73.118996
72
72.29263
72
72.135135
67
67.444073
67
66.805311
66
65.556535
63
63.008322
62
61.788706
59
59.172102
57
56.810324
56
55.684582
51
51.203771
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
66
66.14409643339
76
75.505219103754

ETF.com Grade as 04/12/17

Commodities: Broad Market

Tracking Difference (12 Month)

Ticker Expense Ratio Median Max. Upside Max. Downside Max LT/ST Cap Gains Rate Rule Legal Structure Fund Closure Risk Efficiency
GCC WisdomTree Continuous Commodity Index Fund 0.69% -1.23% -1.04% -1.46% 27.84% / 27.84% Low 83.803495
RCOM Elkhorn Fundamental Commodity Strategy ETF 0.75% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% High 61.788706
GSC GS Connect S&P GSCI Enhanced Commodity TR Strategy ETN 1.25% -1.49% -0.59% -2.07% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 51.203771
COM Direxion Auspice Broad Commodity Strategy ETF 0.70% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
BCM iPath Pure Beta Broad Commodity ETN 0.70% -0.63% -0.52% -0.78% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 82.914264
GSG iShares S&P GSCI Commodity Indexed Trust 0.48% -0.88% -0.21% -2.20% 27.84% / 27.84% Low 65.556535
BCD ETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated K-1 Free Strategy ETF 0.29% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
CMDT iShares Commodity Optimized Trust 0.48% -1.04% -0.63% -1.56% 27.84% / 27.84% Medium 73.692115
GSP iPath S&P GSCI Total Return Index ETN 0.75% -2.53% 6.13% -4.48% 20.00% / 39.60% High 59.172102
BCI ETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF 0.29% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
PDBC PowerShares Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy No K-1 Portfolio 0.60% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 78.539252
CSCR Credit Suisse X-Links Commodity Rotation ETN 0.85% -0.80% -0.54% -0.96% 20.00% / 39.60% High 63.008322
RJI Elements Rogers International Commodity Index-Total Return ETN 0.75% 0.01% 1.13% -1.83% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 56.810324
DBC PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund 0.39% -1.30% -0.75% -2.46% 27.84% / 27.84% Low 67.444073
SBV iPath Pure Beta S&P GSCI-Weighted ETN 0.85% -0.54% -0.45% -0.76% 20.00% / 39.60% High 73.118996
DJCI ETRACS Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return ETN 0.50% -0.59% 0.66% -1.23% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 83.131842
UCI ETRACS UBS Bloomberg Constant Maturity Commodity Index TR ETN 0.55% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 78.291294
DJP iPath Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return ETN 0.70% -0.99% 2.50% -2.83% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 72.29263
UCIB ETRACS CMCI Total Return ETN Series B 0.55% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% High 0
USCI United States Commodity Index Fund 1.02% -1.32% -0.89% -1.66% 27.84% / 27.84% Low 66.805311
FTGC First Trust Global Tactical Commodity Strategy Fund 0.95% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 72.135135
DWAC Elkhorn Commodity Rotation Strategy ETF 0.99% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% High 55.684582
DPU DB Commodity Long ETN -0.72% -0.44% -1.14% 20.00% / 39.60% High 66.14409643339
CSCB Credit Suisse X-Links Commodity Benchmark ETN -0.48% -0.40% -0.67% 20.00% / 39.60% Closing 75.505219103754

ETF.com Tradability Insight

There are two highly liquid funds in the broad basket commodities segment; DBC and DJP. DBC is by far the most frequently traded, with over $40M changing hands on a typical day, while DJPDBC is by far the most frequently traded sees about half that. That's enough volume to accommodate multiple creations and redemptions daily for both funds. The two funds also see the segment's narrowest average trading spreads.
Moving down the rankings, you will find multiple funds with more than enough volume for most retail traders, and average spreads that are a notch wider than the two segment leaders but still very workable. USCI in particular stands out for its tight spreads and strong volume.
Be careful trading funds with less than about $1M changing hands daily. The spread figures here are only the average inside spread, and the low volume of these funds implies that even modestly sized trades could blow open the order book. Near the bottom of the list are several highly illiquid funds that often go days or weeks with no trades at all.
Lastly, beware of DPU. It's been closed to creations since 2012 and is extremely illiquid, leading it to trade at very wide premiums and discounts against its NAV. The fund is effectively untradeable at all sizes. (Insight updated 04/21/17)

All Funds (24)

99
99.26224
98
98.333502
98
98.09101
98
97.848765
95
94.985786
88
87.921584
83
82.698366
81
81.355485
65
65.126891
63
63.196797
61
60.895754
59
58.91968
58
57.750497
53
52.841579
47
46.737653
38
37.540012
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
30
30
37
37.3421488

ETF.com Grade as 04/12/17

Commodities: Broad Market

Ticker Median Daily Volume ($) Average Spread Creation Unit/Day Market Hours Overlap Underlying Volume/Unit % Creation Cost Per Unit (%) Impediment to Creations Score - Tradability
PDBC PowerShares Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy No K-1 Portfolio $3.07 M 0.07% 1.87 100.00% -- 0.03% None 97.848765
RJI Elements Rogers International Commodity Index-Total Return ETN $841.68 K 0.35% 0.33 100.00% -- 0% None 82.698366
SBV iPath Pure Beta S&P GSCI-Weighted ETN $0 0.39% 0 100.00% -- 0% None 58.91968
BCM iPath Pure Beta Broad Commodity ETN $46.14 K 0.28% 0.03 100.00% -- 0% None 63.196797
UCI ETRACS UBS Bloomberg Constant Maturity Commodity Index TR ETN $260.64 K 0.38% 0.37 100.00% -- 0% Potential 57.750497
CMDT iShares Commodity Optimized Trust $18.02 K 0.58% 0.01 100.00% -- 0.06% None 52.841579
UCIB ETRACS CMCI Total Return ETN Series B $0 1.03% 0 100.00% -- -- None 0
USCI United States Commodity Index Fund $1.69 M 0.16% 0.87 100.00% -- 0.02% None 94.985786
CSCR Credit Suisse X-Links Commodity Rotation ETN $0 1.43% 0 100.00% -- 0.13% None 37.540012
DWAC Elkhorn Commodity Rotation Strategy ETF $9.13 K 0.47% 0.01 -- -- 0.04% None 0
DBC PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund $30.95 M 0.07% 10.33 100.00% -- 0.02% None 98.333502
RCOM Elkhorn Fundamental Commodity Strategy ETF $4.37 K 0.51% 0.00 -- -- 0.04% None 0
DJCI ETRACS Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return ETN $60.16 K 0.30% 0.08 100.00% -- 0% Potential 60.895754
COM Direxion Auspice Broad Commodity Strategy ETF $31.4 K 0.48% 0.01 100.00% -- 0.04% None 0
DJP iPath Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return ETN $4.73 M 0.04% 6.57 100.00% -- 0% None 99.26224
BCD ETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated K-1 Free Strategy ETF $29.99 K 0.48% 0.02 100.00% -- 0.02% None 0
BCI ETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF $8.42 K 0.53% 0.00 100.00% -- 0.02% None 0
FTGC First Trust Global Tactical Commodity Strategy Fund $527.67 K 0.17% 0.52 100.00% -- 0.05% None 81.355485
GCC WisdomTree Continuous Commodity Index Fund $763.63 K 0.19% 0.80 100.00% -- 0.02% None 87.921584
GSC GS Connect S&P GSCI Enhanced Commodity TR Strategy ETN $9.15 K 0.72% 0.00 100.00% -- 0% Potential 46.737653
GSG iShares S&P GSCI Commodity Indexed Trust $3.0 M 0.08% 4.18 100.00% -- 0% None 98.09101
GSP iPath S&P GSCI Total Return Index ETN $74.82 K 0.27% 0.18 100.00% -- 0% None 65.126891
DPU DB Commodity Long ETN $0 0 100.00% -- 0.31% Full 30
CSCB Credit Suisse X-Links Commodity Benchmark ETN $0 0 100.00% -- 0.13% None 37.3421488

ETF.com/ Block Liquidity

BCM
5
4
3
2
1
CMDT
5
4
3
2
1
CSCR
5
4
3
2
1
DBC
5
4
3
2
1
DJP
5
4
3
2
1
FTGC
5
4
3
2
1
GCC
5
4
3
2
1
GSG
5
4
3
2
1
GSP
5
4
3
2
1
PDBC
5
4
3
2
1
RJI
5
4
3
2
1
SBV
5
4
3
2
1
UCIB
5
4
3
2
1
USCI
5
4
3
2
1
COM
5
4
3
2
1
BCD
5
4
3
2
1
BCI
5
4
3
2
1
DJCI
5
4
3
2
1
GSC
5
4
3
2
1
UCI
5
4
3
2
1
DWAC
5
4
3
2
1
RCOM
5
4
3
2
1
DPU
5
4
3
2
1
CSCB
5
4
3
2
1

This measurement shows how easy it is to trade 25,000 shares of each ETF.

ETF.com Fit Insight

The broad commodity baskets differ greatly from each other. The commodities space is a difficult one to index, and each index provider approaches it in a different way. For example, theThe commodities space is difficult to index most commonly cited index, the S&P GSCI, is a production-weighted index of 24 commodities. It heavily weights energy, and crude oil in particular. In contrast, the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index caps individual commodities and commodity sector weights to produce a more balanced portfolio, and there are a dozen variations in between. Since the indexes pick commodities and determine commodity weights differently, it's no surprise that the resulting portfolios are enormously different.
The range of funds is plain to see, even just looking at the sector allocations. GSC, GSG, GSP and SBV—which track versions of the GSCI—allocate about 72% of their portfolios to energy, leaving about 18% for agriculture and livestock, and about 10% for the various metals.
At the other end of the spectrum, GCC equally weights its 17 commodities, resulting in an energy allocation of just 18% and an agriculture allocation of nearly 60%. USCI also equally weights its commodities—which it selects dynamically based on momentum and term structure—and allocates 21% to energy and 64% to the ags, as of this writing.
In between are the products that track versions of the Dow Jones-UBS index—DJP, and DJCI—with about 30% in energy, 15-30% in agriculture and 20-30% in metals. BCM, UCI, RGRC and RJI also hold reasonably balanced portfolios, with 35-45% in energy each. The last products—DBC, DPU, CSCB and CSCR—have much higher allocations to energy (about 50-60% each), but are still more balanced than the GSCI-based products.
Although all of the broad commodities baskets use futures contracts for their exposure, they pick them in different ways. DJCI, DJP, GSG, GSP and RJI hold the front-month (or nearest-to-expire) contracts on each of their commodities, while the other products dynamically pick contracts to try to dampen contango. The choice of contract can sometimes have as big of an impact on performance as the choice of commodity, so neither can be safely ignored in your quest for the right commodities fund.
Ultimately, investors will need to look carefully at each commodity basket to find the one that comes closest to their needs, while ensuring that the methodology for picking and rolling futures contracts is also in line with expectations. (Insight updated 04/21/17)

All Funds (24)

91
91
88
88
62
62
5
5
48
48
28
28
26
26
24
24
18
18
16
16
11
11
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
62
62
32
32

ETF.com Grade as 04/12/17

Commodities: Broad Market