We scanned the ETP universe for the best performing “Commodity” based products in 2012, and “Grains” came back at the top of the list.
Primarily, iPath DJ-UBS Grains Total Return ETN (NYSEArca: JJG) leads the way, up 27.58% year to date. Related ETN, iPath Pure Beta Grains (NYSEArca: WEET) is next in line, having rallied 27.21% and Elements MLCX Grains Index Total Return (NYSEArca: GRU) has risen 23.68%.
WEET is the newest product in this category on the market, having launched in April of 2011 and the “grains” that are being referred to in its name include Wheat, Kansas Wheat, Corn, Soybeans, Soybean Meal, and Soybean Oil, owning futures contracts in each one.
JJG and GRU simply own three futures contracts, in Wheat, Corn, and Soybeans accordingly, thus giving less diversification and being more concentrated in the three grains mentioned. It is not particularly surprising to see these YTD performance results relating to grains when we simply rewind the clock in 2012 and look at the summer that we had which was mostly fraught with severe drought, especially in the east and throughout the mid-western U.S.
Although trading volumes tend to be hit or miss relating to Grains based ETNs simply due to the fact that not every investment portfolio manager that uses ETPs sees the merit in commodity exposure and/or do not “need” commodity exposure for various reasons and instead likely focus on equities/fixed income, these ETNs can be traded effectively given the utilization of the proper trading techniques and perhaps the assistance of professional trading desks when necessary.