Commodities Are Showing Off at the Right Time

By Roland Morris
Portfolio Manager and Strategist, Commodities

High inflation, the persisting Russia-Ukraine war and global supply constraints continue to drive commodity prices higher.

Macro Outlook: Supply Constraints Support Commodity Prices

Commodity indices were up modestly during the month of May, as they continue to hold on to and build on the strong gains this year. The combination of high and rising global inflation and the Russia-Ukraine war has been driving commodities higher. Supply constraints, particularly in the energy and agricultural sectors, are likely to persist for the rest of this year and into 2023. The global economy is starting to slow as Central Banks raise interest rates, and high and rising prices hurt demand. Furthermore, supply constraints will likely outweigh the demand destruction from slower growth.

China’s economy has been slowing throughout the year due to the strict COVID lockdown policies. This is likely to change in the second half of 2022 as they open up the country from lockdowns and stimulate the economy with easier monetary policies and expansionary fiscal policies. This should offset the slowdown in the rest of the global economy.

The bottom line is that western Central Banks will have a difficult time controlling inflation. Continued supply constraints from the Russia-Ukraine war and a resurgence in China’s economy will most likely support commodity prices for the rest of this year and into next year.

Index & Sector Review: Energy & Industrial Metals

The UBS Bloomberg Constant Maturity Commodity Index (CMCI) underperformed the Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM) in May by 0.40% and almost 7% year-to-date. Almost all of BCOM’s outperformance came from the energy sector and individual commodity weightings. This is due to slightly higher allocation in energy, specifically natural gas. Natural gas has been the strongest commodity in the energy sector this year due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

CMCI has a higher exposure to industrial metals, which were only up modestly this year due to slower Chinese economic growth. This difference in exposure has hurt CMCI relative to BCOM in the short run, but we believe it will benefit CMCI in the long term. Furthermore, we believe that industrial metals will outperform other sectors over the longer term because of the ongoing energy transition to renewable sources of energy. Renewable energy technologies require large amounts of industrial metals like copper and nickel. Meeting the rising demand for industrial metals will be a challenge.

Index Sector Weightings

Index Sector Weightings

Source: VanEck, Bloomberg. Data from 5/31/20 – 5/31/22.

CMCI continues to outperform BCOM in roll yield. CMCI has outperformed BCOM by almost 6% since the start of the commodities cycle (5/31/20 – 5/31/22). During the month of May, CMCI gained almost 1.0% and all gains came from the energy sector. Within the energy sector gasoline led gains due to a shortage of refining capacity, rising 12% for the month.

CMCI Outperformance Since the Start of the Commodities Cycle

CMCI Outperformance Since the Start of the Commodities Cycle

Source: VanEck, Bloomberg. Data from 5/31/20 – 5/31/22.

The outlook for commodity investments continues to look positive due to global supply constraints.

Originally published by VanEck on 13 June 2022.

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Important Disclosures

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This is not an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation to buy or sell any of the securities/financial instruments mentioned herein. The information presented does not involve the rendering of personalized investment, financial, legal, or tax advice. Certain statements contained herein may constitute projections, forecasts and other forward looking statements, which do not reflect actual results, are valid as of the date of this communication and subject to change without notice. Information provided by third party sources are believed to be reliable and have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed. VanEck does not guarantee the accuracy of third party data. The information herein represents the opinion of the author(s), but not necessarily those of VanEck.

The UBS Bloomberg Constant Maturity Commodity Index (CMCI) is a total return rules-based composite benchmark index diversified across commodity components from within specific sectors.

All indices are unmanaged and include the reinvestment of all dividends, but do not reflect the payment of transaction costs, advisory fees or expenses that are associated with an investment in the Fund. An index’s performance is not illustrative of the Fund’s performance. Indices are not securities in which investments can be made. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BCOM provides broad-based exposure to commodities, and no single commodity or commodity sector dominates the index. Rather than being driven by micro-economic events affecting one commodity market or sector, the diversified commodity exposure of BCOM potentially reduces volatility in comparison with non-diversified commodity investments.

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