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].
In the commodity world, active trading reigns supreme; many investors measure their holding period by minutes and hours rather than by weeks and months. Among the most popular items to trade, soft commodities have found a particular niche with those who can stomach their risk. Made up of cocoa, coffee, cotton and sugar, the soft commodities are among the most volatile on the market and, as such, have become a trader’s dream [for more soft commodity news subscribe to our free newsletter].
As markets prepare for another four years of Barack Obama, it is safe to say that trading has been anything but smooth. With most benchmarks suffering a poor string of sessions last week, many are looking to the near-term or have focused on exactly what happened last week. But with commodity investing, it is always important to take a look at longer-developing trends, as they can often signal how a particular asset will perform in the near future [for more softs news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
As markets re-open their doors on Halloween, investors will be scrambling to make up for lost time. But while today’s trading will be in a frenzy, we wanted to take Halloween day to look back on some of the more frightening commodity performances over the past few years. We found three of the worst commodity ETFs in the trailing five years to give you your share of terror on this holiday [for more commodity ETF news subscribe to our free newsletter].
The commodity cocoa, refers to cocoa beans, which are the dried seeds from the, Theobroma Cacao, or cocoa tree. The tree is native to the Americas, specifically the Southern Hemisphere, and has been a major part of the area’s history, though now the vast majority of the trees exist in West Africa. In fact, cocoa beans were used as a common currency in many areas prior to the Spanish conquest. Now, cocoa is used all over the world to create chocolate, and other products such as cocoa butter. Many consume cocoa beans because of the benefits associated with them, as they are thought to have positive effects on cardiovascular health among other things. As an investment, cocoa has become a popular commodity for investors looking to cash in on the sweet gains it can provide [for more cocoa news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Investors have long been intrigued with cocoa, as this sweet commodity has surely made a name for itself in the financial universe. Although its uses are limited, the market demand for this resource is quite massive. Cocoa is primarily used in the production of chocolate, but can also be used to make cocoa butter, which is used in a number of pharmaceutical drugs. Additionally, cocoa makes an appearance in cosmetics, including various kinds of makeup, lotions, and even soap.
Given all of the turmoil in markets this year, we have seen a number of investors change their positions on statements made in the past. Jim Rogers, for example, has now stated that he is looking into investing in Russia after snubbing the country for his entire investing life. But there is one thing that Rogers is still as bullish as ever on, agricultural commodities. It has been no secret that he has been a fan of these hard assets for quite some time, but a recent interview shows that he still loves these commodities and is as bullish as ever [for more agricultural news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].