Despite continued rising demand pressures from emerging markets, many natural resources still operate on a cyclical bias. For example, natural gas demand and prices generally rise in the winter as more people begin to heat their homes. Conversely, when the weather is warmer, natural gas supplies build and prices drop. For investors or traders, using commodities’ various seasonal and cyclical patterns can prove profitable [for commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
This past year has certainly been a volatile one for the commodity space, but the majority of these assets has been able to net a positive return on the year. Lumber and soybeans led the pack, as each appreciated more than 35% for the year. But bringing up the rear are a few commodities who are no strangers to volatility and weak performances. Below, we outline the five worst performing commodities of 2012 to give investors a better idea of how the year shaped up [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].
When it comes to futures investing, contango and backwardation are two phenomenons that traders should always keep an eye on. Backwardation is simply the process whereby near month futures are more expensive than those expiring further into the future, creating a downward sloping curve for future prices over time [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
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].
As we wrap up the third quarter of 2012, many look ahead to finalize their portfolios for the year. By most equity standards, 2012 has been a very successful year, but the same cannot be said for commodities. As always, the commodity industry has picked its darlings and singled out its laggards, making profits for some and drawing up big losses for others. With nine months of the year in the bag, it will be a good time to reassess your holdings to see if it may be the right time to reallocate or if there are more promising opportunities out there [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].