Sugar is one of the most highly coveted soft commodities in the world, as its consumption and production make up a large part of many emerging market economies. As an investment, sugar futures and related products have a high attraction among investors as they offer significant volatility and potentially strong gains (or, of course, losses). Though this sweet commodity followed its historical trend of spiking in early summer, the past few weeks have been mostly sour for sugar, as the commodity has racked up losses of nearly 17% [for more sugar news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Over the years, sugar has grown to be one of the most widely used soft commodities in the world with its number of applications going well beyond simple food production. As with all agricultural investments, sugar is known to exhibit significant volatility, making the commodity a lucrative investment tool for those looking for a sweet return. Additionally, sugar has been shown to maintain a fairly low correlation to other asset classes, such as stocks, giving investors yet another option to add meaningful diversification to their portfolios [for more sugar news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Sugar is another of the so-called breakfast commodities, along with coffee, cocoa and orange juice. Like the others, it also has a rich history. It is thought to have been first used by humans in Polynesia many centuries ago, but was not discovered by Europeans until the 11th century thanks to the Crusades. It was first brought to the Americas by Columbus in 1493 and soon thereafter it was found that the sugar cane plant grew extremely well in tropical environments [see also Jim Rogers Says: Buy Commodities Now, Or You’ll Hate Yourself Later].
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].