The Best (and Worst) Performing Commodities From Q1

Now that the first quarter of 2012 is in the books, investors will reflect on their holdings to see if it is time to make any adjustments. While most equities turned in one of the best first quarters in recent memory, not all commodities were quite as lucky. As always, commodity price drivers often vary considerably from general equities, so it should not come as a surprise to see some of the more severe losses that some of these assets have posted. For those looking for the next cheap buy, or commodities that have been on a tear, we outline some of the best and worst performing futures from the first quarter of this year [see also 12 High-Yielding Commodities For 2012].

Best Performers

There were a fair amount of commodities that held their ground during the previous quarter, but the results may not be what you expected, as big name assets like gold failed to make an appearance [see also Forget Gold, Why Your Portfolio Needs Silver].

  • Soybeans / Soybean Meal: This agricultural commodity saw its prices jump significantly in Q1, as soybean meal futures gained approximately 24% and soybeans futures jumped a respectable 17%. Investors interested in making a play on this commodity can seek futures and options on the CBOT or the Soybean ETF (SOYB) from Teucrium.
  • Gasoline RBOB: RBOB, standing for Reformulated Gasoline Blendstock for Oxygen Blending, simply refers to the gasoline that consumers get at the pump and the respective futures are up just over 21% on the year. As many are fully aware, gas prices have been surging around the nation as crude prices have risen and speculators have priced in a possible supply glut due to Syrian issues. One sure way to hedge your frustration at the pump is to invest in RBOB futures on the NYMEX or in the United States Gasoline Fund LP (UGA), an ETF that invests in gasoline futures [see also Ultimate Guide To RBOB Gasoline Investing].
  • Canola Oil: A relatively unknown commodity, canola oil futures gained roughly 18% in Q1. Investors looking to make a play on the commodity will find options few and far between, but the ICE offers futures contracts with the ticker symbol RS.
  • Crude Brent Oil: Brent oil has gained a lot of attention given its rise versus West Texas Intermediate crude; brent futures jumped by about 16%. One of the biggest factors behind brent’s rise has been instability in the Middle East and uncertainty as to the future of oil production from that resource-rich region. Investors will find several options to invest in brent contracts on the NYMEX and can also utilize the United States Brent Oil Fund (BNO), and ETF that invests in futures contracts.
  • Platinum: A member of the precious metals category, platinum futures soared by roughly 14% in Q1, beating out the likes of silver and gold, which have long been the most popular metals. Investors looking to play platinum have a wealth of options available, but some of the most readily accessible are the contracts offered on the NYMEX and the physically-backed ETF PPLT [see also Does GLD Really Hold Gold, Or is it a Scam?].

Worst Performers

While there were a number of commodities who had a rough start to 2012, there are three in particular that jump out to investors.

  • Natural Gas: No surprise here. Not only has NG been one of the worst assets of 2012, but it has been on a slippery slope for nearly four years, as it has failed to establish any meaningful period of upward mobility. Natural gas sank by approximately 30% during Q1, but calling a bottom for this commodity seems like a tall order. Those looking to bet against this commodity should look at the new 3x Inverse Natural Gas ETN (DGAZ) which has been surging since inception [see also 25 Ways To Invest In Natural Gas].
  • Coffee: Coffee futures are a member of the softs family and have been subjected to a tough start to the new year. Prices have slipped by roughly 18% as it has upheld its reputation for high volatility. Investors can find coffee futures on a number of exchanges and can also utilize the Dow Jones-UBS Coffee ETN (JO).
  • Milk: Milk futures may seem silly to most investors, but they serve a very practical purpose for farmers and were among the best performing commodities of 2011. Unfortunately, this year has not been so kind, as losses of roughly 9% have plagued the asset. Investing directly in milk is difficult, but not impossible, as the CME offers several choices for whichever milk you may fancy [see also 2011′s Best Performing Commodity Was……Milk?].

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

This entry was posted in Agriculture, Brent Oil, Canola Oil, Energy, Exclusive, Gasoline, Platinum, Precious Metals, Soybeans and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Commodity HQ is not an investment advisor, and any content published by Commodity HQ does not constitute individual investment advice. The opinions offered herein are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities or investment assets. Read the full disclaimer here.

6 Responses to “The Best (and Worst) Performing Commodities From Q1”

  1. [...] After a long wait, this week will kick off earnings season, as investors around the world will be looking to see how the corporate sector has fared over the last three months. Though stock markets have been able to rally for the first quarter of 2012, some are worried that individual companies have not followed suit. Bad news came on Friday, as the number of jobs added was less than expected, despite bringing unemployment down to 8.2%. Markets will be looking to shake off one of the worst weeks in recent memory, and there will be a slew of economic data and earnings releases to keep traders busy. Below, we outline three funds to keep a close eye on as the coming week unfolds [see also The Best (and Worst) Performing Commodities From Q1]. [...]

  2. [...] as the number of jobs added was less than expected, despite bringing unemployment down to 8.2%. Markets will be looking to shake off one of the worst weeks in recent memory, and there will be a slew of economic data and [...]

  3. [...] Earnings season is well underway and for the most part, the results have been positive. Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported, nearly 75% have beat or met their analyst expectations. Tuesday saw markets cheer on good news regarding Spanish debts, as major benchmarks had one of their best days of the year. But with both Spain and Italy in massive amounts of debt, not to mention Portugal and Ireland, it seems that euro fears will infect the market sooner or later. For now, investors will have a few more weeks to focus on earnings from the strongest opening quarter in nearly 14 years, and that trend will continue today [see also The Best (and Worst) Performing Commodities From Q1]. [...]

  4. [...] The commodity side of the market watched both crude oil and gold finish relatively flat. It used to be that a sell-off meant good news for gold, and gold traders, but is appears that the precious metal may be losing its appeal as a speculative instrument and even a safe haven. Grain-based commodities had a very strong day overall, though the leader of futures contracts came from corn, which jumped by over 3%. Not surprisingly, natural gas futures dipped 2.4% on another unexpected jump in supply. For now, we outline two of the most significant ETF movers on the day to keep investors up with these choppy markets [see also The Best (and Worst) Performing Commodities From Q1]. [...]

  5. [...] commodity side of the market watched both crude oil and gold finish relatively flat. It [...]

  6. [...] commodity side of the market watched both crude oil and gold finish relatively flat. It [...]

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