Van Eck Plans ‘Minor Metals’ ETF

June 29, 2010

Van Eck builds on its commodities expertise with plans for a ‘minor metals’ ETF focused on companies that produce some of the rarest and most thinly traded industrial materials on the planet.

Van Eck Global, the New York-based fund firm that’s known for its commodities expertise, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a new ETF that will track an index of so-called minor metals, such as titanium and cobalt, that are thinly traded.

The Market Vectors Minor Metals ETF that’s in the works will replicate the performance of the Minor Metals Index, which comprises a group of about 30 publicly traded companies engaged in the mining, refining and manufacturing of such metals, the filing said. The index is provided by Frankfurt, Germany-based Structured Solutions AG.

The new fund is the latest foray by a U.S. ETF sponsor into minor metals, an area of increased investor interest amid surging global demand for materials like gallium, which is used to make a host of specialized high-tech equipment, including cell phone chips and solar cells. New York-based ETF firm Global X filed in April for a lithium-focused ETF. The first minor metals ETF, the REE Fund, received approval in May to trade exclusively in
Switzerland
.

In the filing, Van Eck identified unique risks associated with investing in this corner of the market. Demand for minor metals frequently strains supplies, and precipitous short-term price swings can subject companies that operate in the minor metals space to things like cash flow problems. Also,
China
, which produces 90 percent of the world’s rare earth minerals, is considering a ban on their export.

Van Eck will invest at least 80 percent of fund assets in the Minor Metals Index and expects to achieve a correlation between the fund’s performance and the index of 95 percent or greater.

Van Eck didn’t specify an expense ratio or a ticker symbol for the new fund.

 

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