2014 Commodity Exposure: Futures vs ETFs

Throughout the year, we track a simple strategy of buying the 12 month out Futures contract against the commodity ETFs that supposedly track those very same futures, to see just how the performance lines up; knowing that ETFs typically are the ones that underperform because of the contract roll. For more on how this looks long term, see our recent deeper look into the $USO Oil ETF.

But regardless of whether you’re tracking correctly – the concept of buying and holding commodities, whether it be via futures, or via ETFs via futures – isn’t proving to be all that great anyway, with an average performance of -7%, compared to the ETFs -11% (and -12% and -16% if don’t include Cofee). It was one of the worst years ever for long only commodities, with the $DBC commodity ETF falling -28% {Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results}.

We’re biased, of course; but we think the better way to have commodity exposure in your portfolio is a “Long/Short” Commodity Strategy; which profits from the rise or fall in prices. We’re talking about Managed Futures, which as a whole, had one of its best years since 2008. {Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results}.

Commodity ETF Over/Under Performance 2014


(Disclaimer: Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results)
(Disclaimer: Sugar uses the October contract, Soybeans the November contract.)
Long/Short Ag Trader CTA = Barclayhedge Ag Traders Index)