Factors that drive up metals prices include a global economic resurgence that would drive up industrial metal equities. At the moment, precious metals are gaining support from the uncertainty coming out of Europe and the United States. HAP is exposed to the precious metals market at 7%, so the effect of this market segment is not as material as agriculture. Industrial metal equities are resting at good valuations and have steady demand, reports Ballin. [Agriculture ETFs: Major Shortfall Predicted]

Perhaps the largest threat to performance would be a slowdown in emerging markets, especially China. The correlation of HAP to emerging markets is becoming progressively higher.

“The nation is a chief demand-side driver of virtually all commodities. The communist nation has staked its legitimacy on sustained 8% GDP growth and has engaged in a tremendous infrastructure binge to keep up the pace. If that pace slows and the ‘Chinese-bubble’ pops, the lightened commodity demand could provide substantial headwinds for HAP’s holdings,” Bailin wrote.

Market Vectors Hard Asset Producers Fund


Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.