Commodities: Silver Skyrockets Post-Brexit, Energy is Back!
Commodities are back!
While commodity performance in Q1 was promising, it was mainly precious metals and zinc that buoyed everything else. Energy and base metals were relatively flat on the quarter, with uranium and natural gas having the biggest declines.
However, the game changed considerably in Q2. We now live in a post-Brexit world, where the real risk of further contagion in Europe is prompting investors to seek insurance policies. Silver is hovering near the $20 mark, which makes it the best performing commodity of the first half of 2016 with a 43.6% return.
But it’s not just precious metals that are back in vogue.
Energy had an impressive comeback in Q2, with natural gas and oil being the best performing commodities of the quarter. Base metals were up, and even the TSX Venture, a Canadian index tracking many of the world’s junior mining and energy stocks, was the best performing benchmark. This is meaningful, because it wasn’t long ago that the TSX Venture was in a mind-boggling 1,000+ day bear market.
Q2 COMMODITIES BY SUBSECTOR
Gold, silver, and platinum all received a significant boost post-Brexit. In the week following the June 23 referendum, they were up 6.8%, 14.3%, and 9.7% respectively. Billionaire voices envisioning a potential bull market for precious metals include Stanley Druckenmiller, George Soros, and Ray Dalio.
Base metals, which did not receive a lot of fanfare in 2015, may have finally stopped the bleeding. Copper was virtually flat in Q1, while gaining 3.9% in Q2. Meanwhile, nickel and zinc both had double-digit quarters with 13.9% and 13.1% returns respectively. Zinc is up an impressive 35.7% YTD.
The energy sector came back with a vengeance. Brent and WTI had their best quarters in years with 35.1% and 37.3% increases. Natural gas was the top performing commodity in Q2, jumping up 53.3% to just short of $3/MMbtu because of unanticipated summer demand. On the other side of the energy spectrum, coal had another poor quarter, dropping -9.3% in price. (In a recent set of charts, we covered the decline in coal in depth.)
The world’s agricultural commodities had a mixed bag for performance. Wheat was the worst performer, down -9.4% on the quarter. Corn was relatively flat, and soybeans jumped up 28.6%.