Commodity ETF Report: Bleeding Slows As Energy & Ag ETFs Offset Silver ETF Outflows (XLE, MOO, GDX, XME, SLV, DBS, DBA, USO, GLD)

Sumit Roy:  The bleeding in commodity-related exchange-traded products didn’t entirely stop last week, but it sure slowed down. Investors took out a relatively modest $280 million from said ETPs, dropping total assets to $161 billion. But assets are actually about $1 billion higher than last week, due to modest gains in most commodity prices.

In contrast to prior weeks, however, sector performance was rather uneven. In fact, three of the five sectors actually saw inflows, led by energy with $148 million. Agriculture and broad market (multi-commodity) ETPs followed by $135 million and $54 million in inflows, respectively. The losers were the metals—precious metals and industrial metals-related products saw outflows totaling $494 million and $123 million.

This week’s energy outperformance was thanks largely to the Energy Select SPDR Fund (NYSE:XLE), which saw $659 million in inflows. That more than reversed last week’s slew of redemptions.

The No. 2 spot belonged to the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (NYSE:MOO), a fund that has been seeing solid interest over the past couple of weeks. The fund saw $251 million in inflows on the heels of the prior week’s $534 million. Incidentally, agricultural commodities were by far the strongest performers last week, with corn almost recovering the entire May price decline.

Rounding out the top five best performing ETPs list are the Market Vector Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDX), the SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (NYSE:XME), and the ProShares UltraShort DJ-UBS Commodity (NYSE:CMD) with inflows of $221 million, $201 million, and $81 million, respectively.

Just as XLE was responsible for energy’s outperformance this week, iShares Silver Trust (NYSE:SLV) was responsible for precious metals’ general underperformance. Investors removed $429 million of capital from the fund, more than reversing the prior week’s $283 million in inflows.

Another silver fund, the PowerShares DB Silver Fund (NYSE:DBS) followed suit with $107 million in outflows, which translated into a whopping 34 percent decline in total assets.

Taking the No.3 position on the redemptions list was the PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund (NYSE:DBA) with $103 million in outflows. Recall that last week DBA saw $190 million in outflows. So for two weeks now we’ve seen outflows from DBA, but inflows into the aforementioned MOO. This trend indicates that investors seem to be favoring indirect exposure to agriculture through agribusiness equities over direct commodity price exposure.

Rounding out the worst performers list are the United States Oil Fund (NYSE:USO) and SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE:GLD), which saw outflows of $99 million and $88 million, respectively.

Switching gears to price performance, agriculture-related ETPs were far and away the best performers as prices for corn, wheat, and soybeans surged. The ELEMENTS MLCX Grains Index Total Return ETN (NYSE:GRU) led with a 7.84 percent return, followed closely by the iPath Dow Jones-UBS Grains Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSE:JJG) and iPath Dow Jones-UBS Cotton Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSE:BAL), with returns of 7.58 percent and 7.45 percent, respectively.

Spots No.4 and No.5 were taken by the Teucrium Corn Fund (NYSE:CORN) and the iPath Dow Jones-UBS Lead Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSE:LD), which gained 5.84 percent and 5.76 percent.

Clean/alternative energy ETPs made up the bulk of the worst price performers list, though iPath Pure Beta Aluminum ETN (NYSE:FOIL) led with a 7.83 percent decline as aluminum warehouse stocks at the London Metal Exchange hit a record high. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE:TAN), iPath Global Carbon ETN (NYSE:GRN), and Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (NYSE:KWT) took the Nos. 2, 4, and 5 spots with losses of 6.51 percent, 5.88 percent, and 5.88 percent, respectively.

Fund Flows Data: May 13 – 19, 2011

Commodity ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

  Net Flows
($, mm)
% of AUM
Agriculture 53.64 12,486.81 0.43%
Broad Market 134.87 16,308.78 0.83%
Energy 148.12 36,273.83 0.41%
Industrial Metals -122.52 3,644.77 -3.36%
Precious Metals -493.72 92,122.43 -0.54%
Total: -279.61 160,836.62 -0.17%

Top 5 Commodity ETF Creations

Ticker Name Net Flows
($, mm)
AUM % Change
XLE Energy Select SPDR Fund 659.15 9,263.93 7.66%
MOO Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF 251.14 4,435.21 6.00%
GDX Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF 220.93 6,505.96 3.52%
XME SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF 201.49 1,216.03 19.86%
CMD ProShares UltraShort DJ-UBS Commodity 81.27 84.72 2,357.13%

Top 5 Commodity ETF Redemptions

Ticker Name Net Flows
($, mm)
AUM % Change
SLV iShares Silver Trust -429.35 11,665.76 -3.55%
DBS PowerShares DB Silver Fund -107.01 208.06 -33.96%
DBA PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund -103.17 3,256.90 -3.07%
USO United States Oil Fund -98.78 1,671.46 -5.58%
GLD SPDR Gold Trust -87.79 57,171.98 -0.15%

Top 5 Weekly Performers (Excluding Leverage/Inverse, >1,000 Shares Traded)

Ticker Name Weekly
Weekly Volume AUM
($, mm)
GRU ELEMENTS MLCX Grains Index – Total Return ETN 7.84% 923,858 30.47
JJG iPath Dow Jones UBS Grains Subindex Total Return ETN 7.58% 1,470,385 320.69
BAL iPath Dow Jones-UBS Cotton Subindex Total Return ETN 7.45% 488,089 85.56
CORN Teucrium Corn Fund 5.84% 1,138,001 129.89
LD iPath Dow Jones-UBS Lead Subindex Total Return ETN 5.76% 6,268 6.54

Bottom 5 Weekly Performers (Excluding Leverage/Inverse, >1,000 Shares Traded)

Ticker Name Weekly
Weekly Volume AUM
($, mm)
FOIL iPath Pure Beta Aluminum ETN -7.83% 1,900 4.20
TAN Guggenheim Solar ETF -7.56% 1,915,065 176.84
LEDD iPath Pure Beta Lead ETN -6.51% 1,380 5.54
GRN iPath Global Carbon ETN -5.88% 9,433 3.96
KWT Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF -5.88% 415,010 33.24

Top 5 Volume Surprises (>$50mm AUM)

Ticker Name Average Volume
(30 Day)
1 Week Average Volume % of Average
CMD ProShares UltraShort DJ-UBS Commodity 110,795 3,123,248 563.79%
RYE Rydex S&P Equal Weight Energy ETF 50,222 975,408 388.44%
CRBQ Jefferies TR/J CRB Global Commodity Equity Index Fund 56,265 833,243 296.19%
USCI United States Commodity Index Fund 190,834 2,567,015 269.03%
MLPN Credit Suisse Cushing 30 MLP Index ETN 50,593 643,683 254.46%

Disclaimer: Data provided by IndexUniverse. All data as of 6 a.m. Eastern the date of publication. Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.

Written by Sumit Roy From Hard Assets Investor (HAI) is a research-oriented Web site devoted to sharing ideas about hard assets investing. The site has been developed as an educational resource for both individual and institutional investors interested in learning more about commodity equities, commodity futures and gold (the three major components of the hard assets marketplace). The site will focus on hard assets investing without endorsing or recommending any particular investment product.    

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