2011 was a tough year for commodities, with the majority of investors watching their positions turn sour as equity markets wreaked havoc in the commodity space. But while finding gains for the year was a tall order, it is clear that investors are looking more and more to exchange traded products to make a play on the commodity space. Inflows to commodity ETPs surged this past year for a number of products, as these investment vehicles are quickly becoming the go-to space for exposure to this asset class [see also 12 High-Yielding Commodities For 2012].
It is not much of a surprise to see ETPs catch fire with commodities, as they offer a number of benefits that other options simply cannot compete with. ETPs are transparent instruments that offer high liquidity and low expenses for their investors. They span all across the financial field and offer exposure to areas that may be otherwise hard to reach. With futures contracts being particularly dangerous and complex, ETPs have allowed for investors of all kinds to establish a position in their favorite commodity without having to deal with the hassle of managing a futures position [see also Lessons Learned From Gold in 2011].
Below, we list the ten biggest commodity ETP inflows of the year, to show investors where the money is going, and which funds have turned into hot commodities themselves. Note that some funds have higher inflows for 2011 than total assets, this is attributable to losses in a particular ETF. So while ZSL may have had inflows of $323 million, the losses that the fund exhibited shrunk assets to well below what it actually took in for the year.
|Ticker||ETF||Net Inflows (mm)||Assets|
|MOO||Market Vectors-Agribusiness ETF||$3,681||$5,850 M|
|GDX||Market Vectors TR Gold Miners||$2,763||$7,341 M|
|IAU||COMEX Gold Trust||$2,731||$9,027 M|
|AMJ||Alerian MLP Index ETN||$1,146||$3,649 M|
|GDXJ||Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF||$908||$2,169 M|
|DBC||DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund||$571||$5,601 M|
|AGQ||Ultra Silver||$493||$653 M|
|SGOL||Physical Swiss Gold Shares||$392||$1,741 M|
|ZSL||UltraShort Silver||$323||$205 M|
|WDTI||Managed Futures Strategy Fund||$300||$257 M|
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.