Commodities In Review: October 2019

Precious metals had a great time during an otherwise bleak month for commodity ETFs.

Reviewed by: Heather Bell
Edited by: Heather Bell

August was a month of extremes for commodity ETFs, with the top-performing fund, the iPath Series B Bloomberg Nickel Subindex Total Return ETN (JJN), up a stunning 23.93%. Meanwhile, the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 11.55%, and the Aberdeen Standard Physical Platinum Shares ETF (PPLT) up 7.51%. There were a lot more funds with negative returns than positive if you look beyond the precious metals space. The worst performer was the United States Gasoline Fund LP (UGA), down 10.49%; followed by the iPath Series B Bloomberg Sugar Subindex Total Return ETN (SGG), down 8.65%; and the iPath Bloomberg Cocoa Subindex Total Return ETN (NIB), down 7.99%. Inflows were impressive, mostly due to investors turning to gold, plowing $2.6 billion into the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), while SLV pulled in $539.5 million and the United States Natural Gas Fund LP (UNG) pulled in just $37.7 million. Outflows were much more muted, with the Invesco Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy No K-1 ETF (PDBC) losing the most, at $191.7 million; the iPath Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return ETN (DJP) losing $68.1 million; and the Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund (DBC) losing $62.9 million.


Sources: Bloomberg and FactSet. Data from 07/31/2019 to 08/31/2019. ETFs chosen to represent each sector based on the most liquid ETF in each segment of the ETF Classification System.


Heather Bell is a former managing editor of She has also held editorial positions at Dow Jones Indexes and Lehman Brothers. Bell is a graduate of Dartmouth college and resides in the Denver area with her two dogs.