Curve appeal: Why investors looking to profit from higher commodity prices need to look to the future

The rebound in many commodity prices since the start of 2016 has reignited investor interest in moving part of their portfolio into commodities. Generally, long only investors (betting the price will go higher) will use an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) or even through using other instruments like spread betting and Contracts for Difference (CfDs).

What they all have in common is that they all use commodity futures contracts, either as the route to which the investment is made or as a derivative of the underlying commodity futures contract.

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Sister act: lead’s time to shine?

The price of lead has increased by over 15% since the start of 2017 to over $2,300 per tonne, making it the best performing industrial metal of the year so far. Lead prices had a strong start to 2016 as well, but this quickly fizzled out while other industrial metals, specifically zinc surged higher through 2016 and into 2017.

Lead and zinc are commonly found in the same deposits with lead the “ugly sister” by-product to zinc. Since mid-2007 lead and zinc prices have, as their nicknames suggest been intertwined with lead at a slight price premium.

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Smeltdown: Philippines ban set to cut nickel supply

“Why is mining more important than people’s lives?

That’s what the Philippines environment minister had to say after ordering the closure of at least 5 nickel mines and suspending others including the country’s top gold producer for causing environmental destruction.

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Nickel prices were supported during 2016 on fears that the Philippines would carry out this pledge to put the environment before profits. In so doing though much of the supply of nickel from the main exporter to China could be cut off.

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