May turned out to be a good month for the metals and mining exchange traded fund (ETF).

SPDR S&P Metals and Mining (XME) was the third-best ETF for the month, returning 14.9%,  according to Lipper.

One thing in particular may have had something to do with its success: two-thirds of the fund is in basic materials while the rest is made up of energy. One of the top holdings, United States Steel (X) makes up 5.5% of the ETF and was up 12.2% in May, reports Jesse Emspak for Investor’s Business Daily. High commodity prices continue to drive metal prices skyward.

Steel has announced price hikes as well, particularly the hot rolled steel sheet, up to $1020 a ton in May, from $850 in April. Ouch! It’s the benchmark product for cars and appliances.

Companhia Vale Del Rio Doce (RIO) and Rio Tinto (RTP) are both pushing up their prices as well. They are top holdings in the iShares MSCI Brazil Index (EWZ) – RIO has 9.3% of assets and RTP holds 11.4%.

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