Commodity “Supercycle” Not So Super

There’s a reason why we prefer managed futures – which can go long or short various commodity markets – to long-only commodity positions. In addition to our misgivings about the vehicles many investors use to gain commodity exposure, there’s another big problem: there’s no guarantee that commodity prices are going to rise. And investors who added long-only commodity exposure to their portfolios in the last few years expecting to ride the wave of a “commodity supercycle” are now reconsidering the wisdom of those bets. Via the Wall St. Journal:

The Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index fell 1.1% in the first quarter, and the lackluster performance could add further fuel to detractors’ argument that the commodity supercycle is over for now. The index fell 1.1% in 2012 after declining 13% in 2011…

Some investors may view the markets’ relative stasis as a bottom and the opportunity for a rebound. But the days of ever-rising commodity prices are gone for the moment, leaving markets that are no longer friendly to a buy-and-hold investor. The moneymaking opportunities now are in complex, volatile trades, like spreads between contracts of varying months, strategies used by professional investors, or approaches like buying stock in natural-resource companies.

Long only-commodity positions did look great heading into the 2008 crash, but prices have generally stalled over the last few years. So much for QE ushering in rampant inflation and soaring commodity prices. Anyone who has jumped aboard the Jim Rogers bandwagon, expecting their long-only commodity bets to pay off has been sorely disappointed over the last couple of years:

Disclaimer: past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The Rogers camp would have you believe that the nice, upward sloping trend that held from 2003-2008 will resume any day now. And granted, it’s entirely possible that commodities will resume the upward trajectory of the early aughts. But this is a very good illustration of why dabbling in commodities is not for the faint of heart. And a good reminder of why we prefer the managed futures approach to commodity investing – where falling prices can be just as welcome as rising prices.

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Disclaimer
The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history.

Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.

Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.

Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.

RCM receives a portion of the commodity brokerage commissions you pay in connection with your futures trading and/or a portion of the interest income (if any) earned on an account's assets. The listed manager may also pay RCM a portion of the fees they receive from accounts introduced to them by RCM.

See the full terms of use and risk disclaimer here.

Disclaimer
The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history.

Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.

Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.

Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.

RCM receives a portion of the commodity brokerage commissions you pay in connection with your futures trading and/or a portion of the interest income (if any) earned on an account's assets. The listed manager may also pay RCM a portion of the fees they receive from accounts introduced to them by RCM.

See the full terms of use and risk disclaimer here.