The world still largely runs on crude oil, and that ever-present demand coupled with erratic shifts in supply, makes it a volatile, liquid, and popular instrument for investors, traders, and speculators alike. Savvy individuals have always had the option to try to play oil prices through the equities of multinational energy companies and/or smaller independent exploration and production (E&P) companies, as well as actual oil futures themselves [see also 25 Ways To Invest In Crude Oil].
This year saw a surge in popularity for commodity investing. As the years have passed, investors have seen the benefits of investing in the risky, but lucrative asset class. Commodities provide a protection against inflation as well as a low correlation to equities. One of the biggest problems within the industry was the lack of options available to investors just a few years ago. It used to be that only those with a complex futures account were able to add these securities to their portfolios. Now, there are hundreds of products to help even the smallest investor gain access to their favorite commodity investment. Below, we outline all of the commodity exchange traded products that hit the market this year [see also 12 High-Yielding Commodities For 2012].