While people were enamored with Jeff Gundlach’s great call on short Apple/long natural gas, the real trade of the year appears to have been long lumber/short coffee. Per our favorite quote site, Finviz.com, we find the following 2012 stats for commodity markets [Please note – Finviz does some weird things around contract rolls, which can make their percentage gains over longer periods different than what would be found using a continuous contract or the cash/spot market, nonetheless, we feel it is representative of each market’s 2012 movements]:
Some of the highlights as we see them:
- 80% of markets up this year (32 of 40), compared with 40% in 2011 and 85% in 2010
- 2 markets down more than -30% (Orange Juice and Coffee – was there a breakfast recession we didn’t read about?)
- 6 markets up more than 15% (including Nikkei, Wheat, Lumber, Soybean and Soy Meal which averaged a loss of -16.7% in 2011)
- Japanese Yen, Coffee, Sugar finishing year at their lows
- Nikkei, Lumber, Cattle finishing year at their highs
- Gold posts a 4th consecutive positive year
- Euro currency basically a non-event for a very eventful year for the Euro
What will 2013 bring? A crash in the US Dollar as the US fails to get its financial house in order? Further gains in grains from lasting damage done by last year’s drought? A losing year for gold? The much expected sell off in US treasuries? None of the above?
Luckily, managed futures investors don’t need to know the answers to those questions in order to have a successful 2013. The managers don’t even need to know the answers, they just need to be able to identify and capture any such moves when they happen (no small task, to be sure; as we’ve seen in 2012).