As has been widely documented, 2015 has been a dismal year for commodities exchange traded products as investors have dumped funds with exposure to gold, silver, agriculture and energy commodities.
Gold futures and physically-backed ETFs have been pressure this year amid speculation the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates, which has pushed the dollar higher. Higher interest rates would diminish gold’s attractiveness since the precious metal does not pay interest like fixed-income assets. Investors have pulled $2.14 billion from GLD, the world’s largest gold ETF, this year. [Doubters in Gold Rally]
Heading into 2016 it would appear that opportunities with soft commodities ETFs and exchange traded notes (ETNs) are a few and far between, but selective investors could find some rewards with a surprising candidate: The iPath Dow Jones-UBS Cotton Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSEArca: BAL).
BAL has proven plenty resilient in 2015, soaring 3.3% as other commodities ETFs have tumbled and that is in the face of record cotton harvests and a rising dollar. Harvests are expected to exceed demand for the fifth straight year as subdued global growth weighs on consumption. The International Monetary Fund downwardly revised global growth to 3.4% from 3.7% in April, the Wall Street Journal reports. Cotton prices are sensitive to economic data since demand is tied to consumer spending on basic items like apparel, bed sheets and towels.