Charles Schwab’s in-house suite of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), known as Schwab ETFs, has passed the $10 billion assets under management milestone, less than three and a half years after its first ETFs were launched in November 2009. The US-listed ETFs, which are among the cheapest globally in terms of annual fees, have benefited from investors’ search for core, low-cost portfolio building blocks, as well as the general shift towards passively managed products.
‘ US Commodity Funds ’
Commodity ETP assets rose to a year-end record high of $199.8 billion in 2012, an increase of $29 billion compared to the end of 2011. Commodity ETP assets have nearly doubled since the end of 2009 and have increased nearly seven-fold over the past five years as investor demand for hard assets (particularly gold and silver) and familiarity with commodity exchange-traded products have increased.
Since the end of 1999, agriculture prices have increased at a more rapid pace than most other commodities. The grains, consisting of corn, soybean and wheat, have led the way, increasing by over 270%. The long-term outlook remains as strong as ever. While drought has dominated the headlines, population growth, changing dietary habits and increased ethanol production have also been driving prices higher. This trend looks set to continue, making grain-based ETFs a compelling long-term buy.
United States Commodity Funds (USCF), a US-based pioneer in commodity-focused ETFs, has announced the launch of the United States Metals Index Fund (USMI), an NYSE-listed ETF providing optimised exposure to a diversified portfolio of metals futures contracts. USMI is designed to track the price movements of the SummerHaven Dynamic Metals Index Total Return and is the twelfth ETF in the USCF range, which has some $2.7bn in assets under management.