For the bulk of 2013, investors have shown a preference for stocks over commodities and fears regarding tapering of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program have only added to the pressure on commodities ETFs and ETNs. Year-to-date, marquee commodities ETFs such as the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) and the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) are still saddled with significant losses.

GLD, once the second-largest ETF in the world, is down 17.5% this year while SLV is off 24.5%. While GLD, SLV and other commodities ETFs and ETNs still have a long way to turn green on the year, some commodities funds made significant progress in August. Of the top-25 non-leveraged, long only ETFs and ETNs last month, 20 were commodities-related. [Stocks ETFs Take Worst Monthly Loss in Over a Year]

Silver shined especially bright last month with SLV, the ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR) and the Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSEArca: SIL) ranking among the top-five best ETFs in terms of August returns. Some metals traders interpret silver’s stout out-performance of gold as a bullish sign for precious metals in general. [Silver ETFs Top Gold Rivals in August]

While physical silver ETFs out-shined their gold-backed counterparts last month, gold miners impressed with the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDXJ) surging 21.3%. Smaller gold funds also got in on the act with the Global X Gold Explorers ETF (NYSEArca: GLDX) and the iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: RING) also ranking among August’s best ETFs. [Small But Mighty Gold Miners ETF Soars]

Among leveraged ETFs, the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares (NYSEArca: NUGT) jumped 13.5% last month, but the ProShares Ultra Silver (NYSEArca: AGQ) was nearly three times as impressive with a 40.5% August gain.

Overall for the month of August, 20 of the top-25 non-leveraged ETFs and ETNs were directly related to commodities. Brent oil, cocoa and grains plays were among the non-precious metals funds that delivered solid August returns.

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