As 2013 draws to an end, we take a moment to reflect on the happenings in the commodity world from this past year. All-in-all, it was a tough year for a number of hard assets, as the S&P GSCI Commodity Index struggled to find any momentum, losing approximately 2% for the year. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has jumped more than 26%, as equities have dominated throughout the year. While the story has been grim for some, there are a handful of commodities that have been able to turn in a solid performance in 2013 [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Below, we outline the top five commodities of 2013, with some of the usual suspects as well as a few surprises.
1. Cocoa Up 22.9%
Cocoa started the year off in a downtrend that it would not snap until early March. After making a high in May the commodity bounced lower until finally finding support in late June. From there, it has been all uphill for cocoa, gaining more than 26% since the June low. Now, the commodity sits at a two-year high as there are signs that global production will fall short of demand. Keep a close eye on cocoa in 2014, as any sign of increased production or curtailing demand could send cocoa into a sharp correction.
2. Soybean Meal Up 15.08%
Soybean meal is a flour that is produced from the residue of soybean oil production and is used as a source of protein for livestock. Though not quite as popular as soybean futures themselves, soybean meal contracts still see a fair amount of volume each month. The chart below displays quite a year for the commodity, as it experienced two major run-ups in late May and early August. The latter surge saw its price jump approximately 25% in just a matter of a few weeks.
3. Orange Juice Up 10.87%
Orange juice is not one of the most popular commodities by any means, as its futures are primarily used by farmers and producers as a hedge. With that said, OJ futures climbed a handsome 10.87% in 2013. As the chart below demonstrates, OJ has been extremely volatile on the year with a notable jump in November. That recent jump also came on the back of supply concerns as Florida’s crop came in at its lowest level since 1990.
4. Gasoline RBOB Up 7.67%
A jump in gasoline prices may hurt consumers, but it helped out a number of traders this year, as RBOB futures jumped 7.67% on the year. RBOB is generally a speculative commodity, as traders love to utilize its futures ahead of big economic announcements and any other event that is known to move oil and gas prices. As such, its chart is all over the place, though it has made a nice run-up since the beginning of November [see also Breaking Down the Cost of a Gallon of Gas].
5. Brent Crude Up 6.63%
Brent crude fell just behind gasoline’s gains for the year, though the commodity has been making headlines for reasons other than its performance. Similar to gasoline, Brent is used as a speculative trade and has subsequently traded all across the board this year. For now, Brent crude is up 6.63% on the year and looks to be trending upward into the end of 2013.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.