As the U.S. economy finally picks up its pace, many investors are returning to the corner of the market that was one of the primary sources of the 2008 financial crisis: housing. Across the board, housing stats have been on the rise in recent years, including home prices, housing starts, building permits and construction. As such, interest in the raw materials involved in housing have also benefited from the uptrend, particularly lumber [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Natural gas is one of the most popular commodities in the world and it often ranks among the CME Group’s most traded futures contracts; however, the commodity had been stuck in a rut since the 2008 recession before it finally saw some relief as 2013 opened. From natural gas’s peak to the beginning of the year, the fossil fuel had declined by more than 92%, as a number of macroeconomic factors weighed on the commodity. Just as it finally picked up steam in 2013, NG sputtered into May, dipping more than 9% through the first week of the month [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
It’s been an interesting time for investors in the natural gas space. As hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have become the extraction method of choice for E&P firms, production of the fuel has skyrocketed and led to a surplus of supply and high storage inventories. The huge surpluses have combined with slack demand for the fuel, causing prices to crater. At one point they were below $2 per MMBtu [for more oil news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
While many commodity investors and traders primarily focus their attention on larger natural resources like gold or oil, there are plenty of other opportunities in the space; one of them lies within the soft commodity of cotton [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
When it comes to agribusiness stocks, there is perhaps no name bigger than Monsanto Company (MON) – the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate and the second biggest producer of genetically engineered seeds. Headquartered in St. Louis, the firm has grown into an over $55 billion company, with operations spanning across the U.S., Europe, Africa, Brazil, Asia-Pacific, Argentina, Canada and Mexico [for more agricultural news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].