The Best and Worst Performing Commodities of Q1 2014

With the first quarter of 2014 on the books, investors are still digesting a slew of mixed economic reports, as well as looming uncertainty over the crisis in Ukraine. Equity markets have struggled to find a definitive direction so far this year – a vastly different environment from the record-breaking rallies seen at the end of last year. The commodities market also saw a fair amount of activity in Q1, as geopolitical tensions, severe weather, and global economic uncertainty (particularly in China) came into focus. Below, we outline some of the best and worst performing futures from the first quarter of this year [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter]:

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China’s Slowdown Hits Commodities

In recent months, investors have turned their attention to one of the largest commodity consumers in the world: China. Many attribute the most recent commodity supercycle as a byproduct of China’s emergence. Subsequently, analysts have pointed to China’s slowdown as one of the biggest contributing factors to the market’s recent decline [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

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Backwardation Report: A Mixed Bag

Last week, we gave investors our first contango report for 2014, noting that precious metals are facing upward curves for the foreseeable future. This week, we’re bringing you the first backwardation report of the year. For those unfamiliar with this term, backwardation is 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 – put simply, it’s the opposite of contango [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

Posted in Agriculture, Brent Oil, Commodity Futures, Copper, Energy, Industrial Metals, Soybeans, WTI | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Billion Dollar Copper Theft Industry

For years now, the U.S. has been plagued by an illegal industry driven by a reddish-brown industrial metal. Copper, one of the world’s most popular and demanded metals, has been the subject of an underground movement that has created an incentive to steal. Thieves all across the country have been harvesting the metal in homes and highways, and other structures that are under construction; some even go as far as to steal the metal from already built establishments [for more copper news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

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The World’s Biggest Copper Producers

Copper has long been one of the most important and popular industrial metals in the world. With 3% per year production growth since 1900, approximately 16 million tons of the metal was produced in 2011, according to the International Copper Study Group. The metal’s wide use is attributable to its availability and recyclability, as well is its metallic properties that make copper an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, and antimicrobial and corrosion resistant [for more copper news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

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Copper Prices Signal Bear Market Is Near

Copper is among the most practical commodities in the world, as the industrial sector relies heavily on the material for a number of uses. Not only does it have wide applications in the industrial world, but the economic space as well. With the nickname “Dr. Copper,” the reddish-brown metal is often used as a proxy for the global economy as a whole, precisely because of the demand created by the industrial world [for more copper news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

Posted in Actionable Ideas, Commodity ETFs, Commodity Futures, Copper, Industrial Metals, News and Current Events | Tagged | 1 Comment

Copper Drops Into Danger Zone

Metals across the board have suffered steep losses in recent days, with gold’s alarming 9% one-day drop rattling the markets and investor confidence. And while gold remains as one of traders’ top concerns, another metal’s volatile movements has been raising some red flags. Yesterday, copper futures for April delivery tumbled 3.6% to $3.1880 a pound, marking the lowest level since October 2011. The metal has almost dropped 20% from its most recent high, so the probability of copper entering bear territory is quite likely [for more copper news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

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Industrial Metals Lose Their Luster

The industrial metal space has been struggling to gain traction as of late, as a cloudy forecast for the global economy has left these commodities in limbo. But that was not before many made strong runs in the past decade. According to Bloomberg, “six primary metals more than tripled in the 10 years to 2012.” These highs have started warding off a number of buyers as many fear a slowdown in key markets like China and other emerging economies [for more industrial metal news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

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The Best and Worst Industrial Metals ETFs of 2012

As 2012 draws to an end, investors are taking time to reflect on some of the best and worst performing commodities of the year. Though the year’s headlines have been dominated by energy and precious metals, there are a number of assets that have flown relatively under the radar. Industrial metals are among the most practical commodities on the market given their wide use in our everyday lives, but they rarely receive attention over something like gold or oil. Below, we outline the performances of some of the biggest industrial metals for 2012 [for more industrial metal news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

Posted in Aluminum, Commodity ETFs, Commodity Futures, Copper, Industrial Metals, Lead, Nickel, Tin | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Commodities For A Housing Recovery

Homebuilders and other housing industry stocks have been strong performers in 2012 as low interest rates offset higher underwriting standards for home loans. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) rose more than 54% since the beginning of this year, while the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB) is up more than 74% over the same period [for more housing news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

Posted in Agriculture, Commodity ETF Analysis, Commodity ETFs, Commodity Producers, Copper, Industrial Metals, Lumber, Timber | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments