With equities still on a bull run like no other, it would be reasonable to say that commodities might not be top of the buy list for private investors.
But if you are looking for a slug of diversification to add to your portfolio there are three commodities that might attract the interest of savvy investors.
Top of the list is gold, which has had a fabulous run in 2019, returning 21%. That progress may not continue at such an elevated rate, but expect further appreciation.
Less keenly followed but definitely one to watch is precious metal palladium which is now more expensive than gold.
And then theres the wildcard play: rare earth minerals. In fact, the ores of the metals collectively known as rare earths arent actually that rare; rather, the deposits with high enough concentrations of the 17 rare earth elements to make it economic to mine are few. Recent moves in the US to secure a home-based supply chain prompt interest here.
We will come back to our three picks later. But first, what of other commodities such as oil and agriculture?
To begin with, some general considerations. Demand and supply for the stock of the commodity in question is the key consideration when trying to judge where prices are headed. The US currency is another moving part to bear in mind. We may be at peak strong dollar. Because many commodities are priced in dollars, any weakening in the worlds dominant reserve currency tends to raise commodity prices, most of which are priced in dollars.
- Golden returns in 2019, but is it too late to profit?
To make a call on what 2020 has in store for the oil price requires an assessment of the general direction of the global economy and how that impacts both industry and consumers as well as extraneous factors such as how the weather influences demand.
However, the latter is more a concern for traders as opposed to investors taking a longer view, so lets concentrate on the other factors regulating supply and demand.
Although the non-OPEC US is the worlds largest producer of crude, it is the cartel-like OPEC that potentially has greater sway over prices in its attempts to co-ordinate cuts in production or to opens the taps.
On that front it has not had much success in flow regulation. According to the Bloomberg Commodity Outlook published in November, prices are expected to continue to trade in a range between $50 and $60, with bulls pressuring prices lower at the upper range of that band where price resistance forms.
Although stock markets could be set to power higher going into 2020 following the calming of nerves around the US-China trade dispute and the return of political stability to the UK, that doesnt mean the global economy will deliver the sort of industrial production surge that could drive crude prices higher or those of other cyclical commodities such as copper, stuck in a downtrend since May 2018.
JPMorgan Asset Managements Year Ahead report thinks industrial metals will stay neutral given sub-trend global growth, citing Chinas property sector as a key demand driver but where the government is reluctant is ease current real estate restrictions.
The effects of backwardation, where the spot price is higher than the forward price, should also bear down on the oil price, further stunting any bullish rallies.
JPMorgan underlines the possibility that geopolitical tensions in the Middle East (Iran and Saudi Arabia, Syria) could result in episodic oil price surges in 2020, but concludes that softer demand growth and sufficient spare capacity globally should curb a sustained rise in oil prices.
US production of natural gas continues to expand, so dont expect any substantial price appreciation next year, regardless of the possibility of some improvement in global demand, especially from Asian emerging markets.
A key industrial input is copper and as such it is the commodity deemed most susceptible to the ebbs and flows of industrial activity.
Again, where the price goes is predicated on the direction of the global economy. Even though the trade war truce is bullish for copper and the US economy is still seeing healthy payroll growth, the situation in China remains far from encouraging, with GDP barely above the 6% required for the economy to maintain forward momentum assuming you hold store in the accuracy of the official data.
A quick word on agriculture. Prices have been trading sideways for key soft commodities that feed the world, such as wheat and corn. Cotton too hasnt done much but that could change with better news on the US-China trade war front if the truce turns into lasting peace.
The largest agriculture ETF, Invesco DB Agriculture (DBA), is down 7.3% year-to-date and -8.8% over five years, having suffered falling returns since 2011.
A better way of playing agriculture could be the VanEck Vectors/Agribusiness ETF (MOO). It invests in areas such as fertiliser, animal health, seeds, irrigation, farm equipment and machinery.
It is trading up 19% as the year draws to a close. It is well-diversified but nevertheless has substantial exposure to fertiliser producers, which could see it benefit from trade peace.
For 2020, we expect a full rebound in US acres planted and the recent recovery in palm oil prices to remain in place. Both factors should bode well for potash demand in 2020, says data provider Morningstar.
The bright spot for commodities continues to be in precious metals.
Although gold has come off the boil recently, currently trading at $1,513 (on 30 December)after hitting a six-year high at $1,560 in early September, its safe-haven properties will likely still be in demand in 2020. The yellow metals prospects are helped by a continuing low-yield environment and the ever-present possibility of a resurgence in unconventional monetary policy intervention by central bankers and the continuing geopolitical risks emanating from the Middle East, Hong Kong and the likes of North Korea, to name but three hotspots.
And although political risk has lessened dramatically in the UK with the large Conservative majority in parliament, the same cannot be said for the US, which enters the presidential election year with its head of state facing an impeachment trial in the Senate.
Swiss investment banking giant UBS in its Year Ahead 2020 report is backing gold over cyclical commodities, echoing the reasons stated above: Muted economic growth and now lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding gold, which does not offer a yield. Political uncertainty could send safe-haven flows into gold. And since gold is priced in USD, a weaker dollar would in turn push gold prices higher.
The palladium market brings to mind the old investment adage dont fight the trend. Since 2016, the price of the metal has been trending relentlessly higher, currently priced at $2,000 per troy ounce, making it more expensive than gold.
Two variables are at work here highly constrained supply and rising demand caused by the ongoing tightening of regulations to reduce emissions from carbon-burning vehicles.
Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO Capital Markets, emphasises the fact that the normal scenario for commodities, where rising prices leads to an increase in production that pressures prices lower, does not apply in this market. In most cases, the cure for high prices is high prices, but not for palladium, he explains.
There doesnt seem to be any new, ready supply at any reasonable price. So, it could continue to move higher from here, though perhaps with more volatility, adds Wong.
Palladium is used in catalytic converters and regulations on emissions are set to tighten further, with the replacement of carbon-burning vehicles by electric variants many years away.
WisdomTree Physical Palladium (PHPD) exchange traded product will cost investors 0.49% to hold and provides direct exposure to the metal, with HSBC bank the custodian of the palladium.
Our third commodity pick, Rare earths, are being used by China as a bargaining chip with the US in their trade dispute. China accounts for 80% of supply to the US and 70% of global production. The minerals are used to make key components in electronics for both civilian and military end users. There are 17 rare elements.
The US Army announced it plans to fund the processing of rare earths, an industry that was originally founded decades ago in the US.
The VanEck Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (REMX) has been struggling this year but one way to leverage the US Army decision is by seeking those US companies lining up for a piece of the action.
There is arguably a new entrant in the commodities world that warrants a mention bitcoin.
Although touted as a digital currency, it is not used as such, or not very much. Instead, some see it either as a form of digital gold because of its supply being limited to 21 million (currently 18 million have been mined) or as a hedge against unconventional monetary policies.
Jan Van Eck, chairman and chief executive of ETF provider VanEck, leans towards viewing bitcoin as a hedge against central bankers. Its not exactly like gold [but] its a form of private money that will act as a hedge against central bank inflation, he said in a recent Financial Times interview.
The reward that miners receive for doing the bookkeeping on the bitcoin blockchain will be halved in May 2020, a mechanism that kicks in every four years. Miners currently receive 12.5 bitcoins for each block they verify. This is the way that new bitcoins come into circulation.
Constraining supply in this way should lead to price appreciation. However, bitcoin is dominated by speculation so there is no certainty here, to put it mildly.
Add to those technical considerations working in bitcoins favour is the expectation of further geopolitical uncertainty ahead and the continuing absence of a full-blown recovery in the global economy.
But that wont happen before the momentum from the stalled Facebook Libra crypto launch fully dissipates, with the price at the time of writing just above $7,000. Bitcoins Libra-induced high in 2019 was $13,700.
Read more from the original source:
2020 predictions for gold, bitcoin and other precious metals - Money Observer
- Bitcoin Ascends on Twitter While Major Altcoins Hit Multi-Year Lows - Cointelegraph - March 27th, 2020
- Bitcoin Is a Safe Haven for a Worse Storm Than This - CoinDesk - March 27th, 2020
- Japanese Investors Rushed To Buy The Dip After Bitcoin Bloodbath - Cointelegraph - March 27th, 2020
- Bitcoin community responds to FDIC warning on bank run - Decrypt - March 27th, 2020
- Binance Reveals Visa Debit Card in Push to Bring Bitcoin (BTC) and Crypto Payments Worldwide - The Daily Hodl - March 27th, 2020
- Just Like Bitcoin Before It, Cardano Is Banned From Wikipedia - Cointelegraph - March 27th, 2020
- How would a US recession affect Bitcoin? - Decrypt - March 27th, 2020
- Are Miners Waiting for Bitcoin to Hit Breakeven Point? - Cryptonews - March 27th, 2020
- Feds Unlimited QE Places Spotlight on Bitcoin Store-of-Value Narrative - Cointelegraph - March 27th, 2020
- Vitalik Proposes Solution to 'Embarrassing' Lack of BitcoinEthereum Bridge - Cointelegraph - March 27th, 2020
- Bitcoin Will "Come Of Age" During This Crisis: Top Investor Explains Why - Blockonomi - March 27th, 2020
- Algorithmic Crypto Art Changes Appearance to Reflect Bitcoin Volatility - Cointelegraph - March 27th, 2020
- Heres How To Predict Major Moves In The Price Of Bitcoin - Forbes - March 23rd, 2020
- Bitcoin Just Reversed and Its Vulnerable To A Drop Towards $5,200 - newsBTC - March 23rd, 2020
- Did BTC Miners Crash Bitcoin Price With 51 Days Before the Halving? - Cointelegraph - March 23rd, 2020
- Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Steady Above $6,000, But Is It The Calm Before The Storm? - CryptoPotato - March 23rd, 2020
- Bitcoin Highly Correlated With HYG And IWM ETFs As Contagion Effect From Coronavirus Epidemic Spreads Across All Asset Classes - Forbes - March 23rd, 2020
- Top 3 Price Prediction Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple: A sea of red returns as weekend love disappears - FXStreet - March 23rd, 2020
- Tezos Foundation Offloaded Millions of Dollars Worth of Bitcoin in 2019: Report - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - March 23rd, 2020
- The Internet May Be Next Victim of Coronavirus Pandemic Netflix, Google, Apple and Amazon React - Bitcoin News - March 23rd, 2020
- Bitcoin Price (BTCUSD) is Off to a Bullish Start; Can It Sustain Gains Above $5,900.00? - InvestingCube - March 23rd, 2020
- Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC Might Drop Beneath $4,800 Again If It Breaks THIS Short Term Trend Line - Coingape - March 21st, 2020
- Top 3 Coins Price Prediction: Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple consolidate their price following as bulls and bears wrestle for control - Confluence... - March 21st, 2020
- A factor that predicted the Bitcoin crash in 2018 suggests bullish action is ahead - CryptoSlate - March 21st, 2020
- Bitcoin's Difficulty on Track for Historic Drop, but There Is Silver Lining - U.Today - March 21st, 2020
- Bitcoin ranked on top 100 greatest designs of all time - Decrypt - March 21st, 2020
- The Puell Multiple Is Turning Bullish on Bitcoin - CoinDesk - Coindesk - March 20th, 2020
- Bitcoin Is Fast Approaching $7,000Heres Why - Forbes - March 20th, 2020
- Contrary To Popular Belief, Bitcoin Isn't Consistently Correlated To Anything - Forbes - March 20th, 2020
- Bitcoins Magic Is Fading, And Thats A Good Thing - Forbes - March 20th, 2020
- Bitcoin Rally Leaves Stocks In The Dust - Forbes - March 20th, 2020
- Coronavirus is forcing fans of Bitcoin to realize its not a safe haven after all - MIT Technology Review - March 20th, 2020
- Bitcoin Is Back In Free Fall And Dropping FastHeres Why - Forbes - March 20th, 2020
- Top Analyst Explains Why Bitcoin Price is Up 78% amid Coronavirus Outbreak - newsBTC - March 20th, 2020
- A Treatise on Bitcoin and Privacy Part 2: Dont Be Misled by Red Herrings - Nasdaq - March 20th, 2020
- Here's Why Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Is Rising Today - Motley Fool - March 20th, 2020
- Bitcoin (BTC) Bulls Say It's Time for 'Plan B' as Fed Ramps Up Repo Operations - U.Today - March 20th, 2020
- All You Need to Know About Bitcoin Wallets in... - Coinspeaker - March 20th, 2020
- Heres Why Bitcoins 15% Rally Could Fail Near The Key $6,500 Barrier - newsBTC - March 20th, 2020
- Bitcoin [BTC] Gains Expected as Unemployment Claims Soar in the US - Coingape - March 20th, 2020
- Heres What Caused Bitcoins Extreme Price Plunge - Forbes - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin Sees 9% Gain as Turmoil Hits the Forex Markets - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin loses half of its value in two-day plunge - CNBC - March 19th, 2020
- Here is the real reason behind Bitcoin price drop - Cryptopolitan - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin, Not Governments Will Save the World After Crisis, Tim Draper Says - Cointelegraph - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin Lost Roughly 50% Of Its Value In A Day - Forbes - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin Price Briefly Dips to 12-Month Low in Overnight Trading - CoinDesk - Coindesk - March 19th, 2020
- Despite Bitcoin Price Dips, Crypto Is a Safe Haven in the Middle East - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - March 19th, 2020
- What Bitcoin Price Would Be If Every American Invested $1K - Bitcoinist - March 19th, 2020
- Tether is Now Printing Millions, and Thats Huge for Bitcoin - newsBTC - March 19th, 2020
- Cyperpunk Myths and Bitcoin in Real Life with Udi Wetheimer - Coindesk - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin Lacks Momentum And A Break Below $5K Could Be Trend Defining - newsBTC - March 19th, 2020
- Experts Say the Fed's QE Program Will Strengthen Bitcoin One Way or Another - CoinDesk - Coindesk - March 19th, 2020
- Why Bitcoin's Safe-Haven Narrative Has Flown Out the Window - CoinDesk - Coindesk - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin Safe Haven Narrative in Question After Biggest Drop in 7 Years - Cointelegraph - March 19th, 2020
- 2 Months Ago, Andreas Antonopoulos Explained Why Bitcoin Would Crash - Cointelegraph - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin Price Analysis: Is This The Day Bitcoin Had Been Waiting For 11 Years? - CryptoPotato - March 19th, 2020
- Investors Can Hedge Long-Term Risk With New 2-Year Bitcoin Derivatives - CoinDesk - Coindesk - March 19th, 2020
- Lost Your Bitcoin? Here Is How You Can Recover It - Bitcoinist - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin & Gold Are Doing the Same Thing in Coronavirus Crisis: Pomp - Cointelegraph - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin is dead, long live Bitcoin - Decrypt - March 19th, 2020
- Ripple Executive Says Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP Represent First Wave in Deconstruction of Finance - The Daily Hodl - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin and Altcoins Correct Gains - Cryptonews - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin Live: How to Watch the Next Price Run or Crash in Real-Time - Bitcoin News - March 19th, 2020
- Indian Government Reveals Inspection of Bitcoin Businesses, Informs Parliament of Results - Bitcoin News - March 19th, 2020
- Bitcoin Price Is Now Up Just 9% This Year - CoinDesk - Coindesk - March 11th, 2020
- Bitcoin Steadies as Bank of England Suddenly Cuts Rates to 11-Year Low - Cointelegraph - March 11th, 2020
- Is Bitcoin Really A Safe-Haven Asset? - Forbes - March 11th, 2020
- What the Oil Market Says About Bitcoin's 'Safe Haven' Status - CoinDesk - Coindesk - March 11th, 2020
- Bitcoin can still be a safe haven, experts say - Decrypt - March 11th, 2020
- Cryptocurrency in Focus: Outbreak Takes Toll on Bitcoin - TheStreet - March 11th, 2020
- Retail Demand May Force the SEC to Approve a Bitcoin ETF - Cointelegraph - March 11th, 2020
- The Simpsons Correctly Called President TrumpDid It Just Predict When Bitcoin Will Go Mainstream? - Forbes - March 11th, 2020
- Bitcoin Is Still Failing As A Flight To Safety Investment - Benzinga - March 11th, 2020
- Lightning-Fast New Bitcoin.com Wallet Proves Popular With Over 10 Million Wallets Created - Bitcoin News - March 11th, 2020
- Proving That Tether Manipulated Bitcoin 2017 Bull Run Wont Be Easy - Cointelegraph - March 11th, 2020
- Bitcoin Price Analysis: Elliott Wave Theory suggests price could fall further - FXStreet - March 11th, 2020
- Tezos Price Makes Gigantic Steps Eyeing $3.0 As Bitcoin Price Deals With Rejection At $8,000 - Coingape - March 11th, 2020
- Interlay Receives Web3 Foundation Grant for Bridging Bitcoin to Polkadot - Cointelegraph - March 7th, 2020
- Bitcoin's $9,000 Price Stays Steady as Sentiment Stays Positive - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - March 7th, 2020