Another year has come to an end, and another 12-month stretch of frantic commodity trading can go in the books. As is par for the course, this year saw a number of big movers throughout the space, as these assets maintained their reputation for general volatility. This year saw its share of winners and losers, as a number of macroeconomic factors combined to guide the commodity space to the finish line. Below, we outline the five commodities that outperformed their competition in 2012 [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
- Lumber: Though it does not get the attention it deserves, lumber has been one of the best-performing assets in the past century and lived up to that reputation this year. Lumber futures shot up over 38%. As the housing sector has continued its recovery, lumber has been the beneficiary, especially as the year has drawn to a close. Should the rise of the housing/construction industry continue, lumber could be set for a big 2013.
- Soybeans/Soybean Meal: Soybean meal raked in an impressive 36% on the year while soybean futures gained a respectable 16.7% over the same time period. As was the case for a number of agricultural products, soybean futures and prices soared this summer as a crushing drought afflicted much of the nation. These will be good commodities to watch in the coming year as weather patterns hopefully return to normal and supply increases.
- Corn: Another major beneficiary of this summer’s drought, corn futures rose approximately 15% in 2012. This year will go on record as the hottest in U.S. history, and as the world’s largest producers of corn, weather patterns in the states have a major impact on this commodity. Note that corn is one of the most actively-traded contracts of the CME Group exchanges, as its wide use in our daily lives has made it a key holding for many active investors and speculators [see also 50 Ways To Invest In Agriculture].
- Gasoline RBOB: Crude oil may have had a tough time finding its footing this year, but gasoline certainly did not. RBOB futures jumped more than 12% and trading volumes have been surging throughout 2012. These contracts spiked in the summer only to take a hit after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the east coast. The last month of the year, however, has seen positive momentum return to these futures [see also Breaking Down the Cost of a Gallon of Gas].
- Platinum: Though this precious metal rarely receives the attention that gold and silver do, it had a solid performance for 2012, gaining more than 7%. The biggest news to hit the platinum space this year was the mining strikes in South Africa, by far the biggest producer in the world. As tensions remain, many are calling for platinum to climb higher in 2013.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.