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].
2012 has been a relatively volatile year. After starting things off on a strong note, markets began to push and pull in either direction, and commodities have been no exception. Picking the right commodity investment for the year has been a tall order, as very few have been consistent. But now that we are more than halfway through the year, some have begun to pull away from the pack, and so too have the ETFs that track them [for more commodity news subscribe to our free newsletter].
It is no secret that grain prices have been soaring as a number of savvy commodity investors have been cashing in on the latest trend to take the world of hard assets. Many are also aware that a nation-wide drought has been the culprit of said price rises. But while the drought has been widely covered, few realize just how severe it has been. For starters, the trailing 12 months have been the hottest on record for the U.S. since records have been kept (dating back to 1895). Combine that with the lack of rain in the past few months and you have the worst drought seen in nearly 70 years, putting a major pinch on the prices of a number popular commodities [see also Five ETFs To Own During The Next Market Collapse].
Corn is one of the oldest crops known to man. The Aztecs and Mayans cultivated the grain and helped popularize it as a staple crop in the Americas. Corn continues to be a main source of food for people today, and in fact, it is thought to be the second most cultivated plant in human history behind wheat. The yellow grain holds a fundamental role in the agriculture industry, serving as both a staple crop for humans and a necessary ingredient for livestock feed as well. Increasing populations and developing economies have contributed to an ongoing increase in food demand, thus broadly raising the prices of most agricultural commodities over the past few years. Rising fertility rates in regions like South Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa are contributing to the growing demand for food. While emerging economies, like South America, are contributing to an also rising demand for meat, which further … See the full story here
Wheat is one of the oldest, and arguably the most important crops in the world, primarily responsible for man’s movement to the cities in ancient times. The crop is relatively easy to grow, can flourish in a multitude of environments, and the crop tends to stay fresh for a long time, allowing food to be stored for a long-period. Today, wheat is one of the three most consumed grains in the world, second only to rice in terms of human consumption at just over 680 million tons a year [see also The Guide To The Biggest Companies In Every Major Commodity Sector].
Soybeans originated in Southeast Asia and Chinese farmers were the first to domesticate the plant and reap its rewards. The crop quickly became a staple in China, Japan, and Korea, while it wasn’t introduced in Europe until the 18th century. Soybeans quickly gained popularity and spread all over the world, reaching South America in the late 19th century. Today, Brazil and Argentina are top world producers of soybeans, while the United States leads the way in total production. Traditional uses include soy milk, tofu, and soy vegetable oil. Soybean meal is also a primary component of animal feed due to its valuable protein content and its relatively low-cost to produce. Interestingly enough, soybeans can produce roughly twice as much protein per acre as any other major vegetable or grain, making it incredibly appealing to producers and health-minded consumers.