In a year in which stocks have struggled and bonds have done worse, commodities are an isolated bright spot.
The S&P GSCI Spot Index is up 33% on a year-to-date basis, a phenomenal move in just under three months. For context, the S&P 500 is down 3.7% in the same period, while the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is down by 6.5%.
Importantly, investors in commodities have been able to capture all of this year’s gains in underlying raw materials prices. Usually, roll costs from contango eat into returns, causing investment performance to deviate from the performance of spot indices like the aforementioned S&P GSCI Spot Index. But not this year.
Supply concerns have caused many commodity futures curves to shift into backwardation, temporarily erasing worries about roll costs. The iShares S&P GSCI Commodity Indexed Trust (GSG) gained 34.2% year-to-date, giving it a return that’s even slightly better than spot prices.
A good chunk of GXG’s outperformance comes from its holdings of energy commodities like oil and natural gas. Similarly, when we look at the best-performing commodity ETFs of the year thus far, many of the top performers are energy ETFs.
As everyone is well aware, energy prices have surged this year on the back of supply concerns related to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
The conflict’s repercussions have been felt not only in energy markets, but commodity markets across the board. A whole host of commodities are exported from either Russia or Ukraine, including wheat, corn nickel, palladium and more.
The iPath Series B Bloomberg Nickel Subindex Total Return ETN (JJN) and the Teucrium Wheat Fund (WEAT) spiked 72.8% and 43.6%, respectively, this year.
Along with exchange-traded products targeting single commodities, several broader commodity ETPs also found themselves on the commodities top 20.
The Elements Rogers International Commodity Index-Energy TR ETN (RJN), which tracks a basket of energy commodities, is up 60.2% year-to-date, while the iPath S&P GSCI Total Return Index ETN (GSP), which tracks a production-weighted basket of global commodities, is up 50.6%.
It will be interesting to see whether commodities can keep up this sizzling performance through year end.
For a full list of this year’s best performing commodity ETFs, see the table below:
Best Performing Commodity ETFs Of The Year (ex. leveraged/inverse)
Note: Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through March 25.
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