Commodities In Demand | Seeking Alpha

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By Gargi Pal Chaudhuri


  • Commodity indexes have rallied amid heightened geopolitical uncertainty and structural provide shortages
  • Commodities have traditionally proven resiliency in rising charge environments and may help buyers hedge towards rising inflation and diversify portfolios
  • Commodity trade traded funds (ETFs) supply handy and inexpensive entry to a broad vary of commodities

Heightened geopolitical and inflationary pressures this 12 months have put a highlight on commodities, with buyers utilizing the asset class for a twin goal: a possible hedge towards inflation and including diversification to a broader portfolio in a rising charge surroundings. As a outcome, we’ve seen a rise in costs and volatility throughout the commodity asset class as an entire.


Commodities, as represented by the S&P GSCI — a benchmark of 24 commodities in agriculture, vitality, and metals — is among the top-performing asset lessons 12 months so far, up 34.52% by means of March 22nd, outpacing all different asset lessons1.

Structural drivers – resembling sturdy demand from economies reopening from COVID-19 restrictions, localization of provide chains, and historic under-investment in commodity manufacturing — imply that the provision and demand mismatch might persist. Meanwhile, heightened geopolitical danger could also be supportive of continued commodity energy. The present disruption in vitality and commodity provides might influence the inflation outlook considerably. 40% of Europe’s pure gasoline is sourced from Russia; the nation can also be answerable for 43% of worldwide palladium, whereas Russia and Ukraine mixed account for almost 30% of worldwide wheat exports.2

We see particular themes in commodities that might profit from the transition to a low carbon financial system. For instance, we see persistent demand because of the very important position commodities play in renewable applied sciences, particularly metals resembling copper, nickel, and aluminum. Copper, specifically, will probably be key to the low carbon transition. The metallic is extremely conductive and malleable. On common, a battery electrical car makes use of 183 lbs. of copper versus solely 18-49 lbs. required by a median inner combustion car.3

We imagine publicity to commodities might assist hedge towards inflation. Notably, commodities like crude oil and pure gasoline are parts inside the vitality portion of the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation. Not solely does vitality make up 7.4% of this inflation gauge, however it additionally impacts the prices many companies bear in producing items and providers within the financial system.

2022 Commodities Performance vs. S&P 500 & Bloomberg US Bond Aggregate Index

Chart showing 2022 total returns for commodities vs S&P 500 & Bloomberg US Bond Aggregate Index

Source: Bloomberg, as of March 22, 2022.

Chart by iShares Investment Strategy. Energy represented by Bloomberg Energy Subindex Total Return (BCOMENTR Index), S&P GSCI represented by S&P GSCU Dynamic Roll TR (SPDYCITR Index), Agriculture represented by Bloomberg Agriculture Subindex Total Return (BCOMAGTR Index), Industrial Metals represented by Bloomberg Industrial Metals Subindex Total Return (BCOMINTR Index), Precious Metals represented by Bloomberg Precious Metals Subindex Total Return (BCOMPRTR Index), S&P 500 Index (SPX Index), Bloomberg US Agg Return Value Unhedged USD (LBUSTRUU Index). Index efficiency doesn’t replicate any administration charges, transaction prices or bills. Indexes are unmanaged and one can’t make investments immediately in an index. Past efficiency doesn’t assure future outcomes.


On common, since 1997, commodities have traditionally outperformed the S&P 500 within the first 12 months after the start of a charge mountain climbing cycle.5 They have exhibited comparatively low correlation to equities and bonds over time, including diversification to multi-asset portfolios6. Moreover, commodity sectors usually have a low correlation to one another. For occasion, valuable metals and livestock are two commodities sectors which have been negatively correlated within the final 10 years7. Therefore, broad commodity exposures might present a supply of diversification towards fairness and bond volatility inside a rising surroundings.

We are seeing sentiment in the direction of gold strengthening as geopolitical uncertainty continues. Gold’s low-to-negative correlation to equities has been sought as fairness volatility has elevated in latest weeks.8 We imagine the dear metallic may gain advantage within the case of a destructive development shock — an financial shock that decreases potential GDP brought on by the rising commodity costs. A destructive development shock might gradual central financial institution urge for food for charge hikes, reducing the chance price of holding gold in portfolios.


Investors are more and more utilizing commodities of their portfolios for diversification of returns and to assist mitigate different dangers of their portfolios, like inflation. Demand for broad, diversified commodities ETFs that give buyers entry to commodity exposures throughout the vitality, metals, agriculture, and livestock sectors has continued to extend in 2022, bringing in $6 billion YTD after $8.4 billion in 20219. Gold-focused ETFs additionally noticed greater than $9 billion of inflows as buyers search portfolio resilience.

2022 Cumulative Commodities Flow

Chart showing cumulative commodities ETF flow for 2022

Source: BlackRock, Bloomberg, as of March 22, 2022.

Chart by iShares Investment Strategy. ETF groupings decided by Markit. Broad Market Commodities are outlined as ETFs which have publicity to a couple of commodity.

Commodity ETFs supply handy, inexpensive entry to broad commodities exposures and may help buyers align their portfolios with their views on inflation and financial outlook.

© 2022 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved.

1 Source: Bloomberg. As of March 22, 2022.

2 Source: Financial Times, “European industry braced for pain from latest surge in oil and gas prices.” As of March 7, 2022.

3 Source: Copper Development Association Inc., “Copper Drives Electric Vehicles.” As of June 2017.

4 Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of February 11, 2022. Energy weight within the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). There are two indexes accessible for 2 inhabitants teams: a CPI for All Urban Consumers which covers roughly 93% of the full inhabitants and a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 29% of the inhabitants. CPI-U is the extra extensively used metric and is synonymous with CPI.

5 Source: Bloomberg. As of March 22, 2022. Based off evaluation by iShares Investment Strategy of 4 charge mountain climbing cycles since 1997. First charge hikes dates in every cycle are 3/25/1997, 6/30/1999, 1/31/2006, 12/17/2015. Commodities represented by S&P GSCI Dynamic Roll TR (SPDYCITR Index), equities represented by S&P 500 (SPX Index).

6 Source: Bloomberg. As of March 22, 2022. Commodities represented by S&P GSCI Dynamic Roll TR (SPDYCITR Index), equities represented by S&P 500 (SPX Index), bonds represented by the Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index (LBUSTRUU Index).

7 Source: Bloomberg. As of March 22, 2022. Livestock represented by Bloomberg Livestock Subindex Total Return (BCOMLI Index), Precious Metals represented by Bloomberg Precious Metals Subindex Total Return (BCOMPR Index).

8 Source: Bloomberg. As of March 22, 2022. Gold represented by Gold United States Dollar Spot (XAU Curncy), equities represented by S&P 500 (SPX Index).

9 Source: Bloomberg. As of March 22, 2022. ETF grouping decided by Markit.

Carefully contemplate the Funds’ funding goals, danger elements, and expenses and bills earlier than investing. This and different data may be discovered within the Funds’ prospectuses or, if accessible, the abstract prospectuses, which can be obtained by visiting the iShares Fund and BlackRock Fund prospectus pages. Read the prospectus fastidiously earlier than investing.

Investing includes danger, together with doable lack of principal.

Commodities’ costs could also be extremely risky. Prices could also be affected by varied financial, monetary, social and political elements, which can be unpredictable and should have a major influence on the costs of commodities.

Investing in commodity-linked derivatives and commodity-related firms might improve volatility. Price actions are outdoors of the Fund’s management and could also be influenced by climate and local weather circumstances, livestock illness, battle, terrorism, political conflicts and financial occasions, rates of interest, foreign money and trade charges, authorities regulation and taxation. Commodity futures buying and selling could also be illiquid. In addition, suspensions or disruptions of market buying and selling within the commodities markets and associated futures markets might adversely have an effect on the worth of the Fund.

Commodity futures publicity is achieved by means of investments in, however not restricted to, commodity-linked notes, swap agreements, commodity choices, futures and choices on futures.

The value of gold and precious-metal associated securities traditionally has been very risky and should adversely have an effect on the monetary situation of these firms. The manufacturing and sale of valuable metals may be affected by financial, monetary and political elements, which can be unpredictable and considerably influence provide and costs.

This materials represents an evaluation of the market surroundings as of the date indicated; is topic to vary; and isn’t meant to be a forecast of future occasions or a assure of future outcomes. This data shouldn’t be relied upon by the reader as analysis or funding recommendation concerning the funds or any issuer or safety specifically.

The methods mentioned are strictly for illustrative and academic functions and are usually not a advice, supply or solicitation to purchase or promote any securities or to undertake any funding technique. There is not any assure that any methods mentioned will probably be efficient.

The data offered doesn’t consider commissions, tax implications, or different transactions prices, which can considerably have an effect on the financial penalties of a given technique or funding resolution.

This materials comprises common data solely and doesn’t consider a person’s monetary circumstances. This data shouldn’t be relied upon as a major foundation for an funding resolution. Rather, an evaluation must be made as as to if the data is acceptable in particular person circumstances and consideration must be given to speaking to a monetary skilled earlier than investing resolution.

The data offered isn’t meant to be tax recommendation. Investors must be urged to seek the advice of their tax professionals or monetary professionals for extra data concerning their particular tax conditions.

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This put up initially appeared on the iShares Market Insights.

Editor’s Note: The abstract bullets for this text have been chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.

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