Fashion Week in New York just wrapped up, but one white-hot trend probably didn’t come up: metals exchange traded fund (ETF) investing. Thanks to deficits and continuing concerns about the global economy, these ETFs have become more popular than ever.

An increasing federal deficit coupled with a large decline in the U.S. dollar may eventually translate into rapid inflation and higher metal prices, while the dollar’s recent strength and higher interest rates could mean that precious metals will drop in value, comments Jonathan Bernstein for ETFZone. [Hedge Inflation With These ETFs.]

That’s why investors need to be prepared to act accordingly. Not all metals have a similar reaction to shifting market conditions.

ETFs offer exposure to precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium, and base metals like copper, nickel and lead. Precious metals are lightly counter-cyclical, affected by interest rates and the dollar, while base metals are highly cyclical, performing well in a strong economy. [4 Factors Influencing Metals ETFs.]

Commodity ETFs come in a variety of incarnations; which you choose is up to you. It depends on the kind of exposure you want, what kind of risk you’re willing to endure and taxes you’re willing to deal with.

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