As the popularity of commodity ETFs continues to surge, it’s been an eventful summer for funds offering exposure to agricultural resources. As the tremendous popularity of commodities as an asset class has spurred an expansion of ETF options, investors now have the opportunity to invest in a wide assortment of single commodity funds targeting all types of natural resources. This year saw the introduction of one ETF that many had been long awaiting; a corn fund. With grain markets around the world in focus thanks to massive shortages and droughts in major wheat producer Russia, agricultural commodities have been all the buzz in the investing world as prices have continued to surge higher.
Today, the U.S.D. A. will release its monthly crop report, a highly anticipated document that will include the government’s updated projections for this year’s corn harvest. This time, the outcome is far from certain; experts are predicting results all across the board. The popular estimate sees corn production for August at 13.199 billion bushels, but the predictions range anywhere from 12.880 to 13.410 billion bushels. In July, the prediction stood at a robust 13.365 b. b., but analysis of early crop yields from the Midwest has led many to believe that the number will be revised downward. That has prompted speculators to rush into corn markets, sending the crop on a tear higher in recent weeks [see also The Perfect Storm For The Corn ETF?].
If the official estimate comes in even lower than expected corn prices should get a boost, as that would reveal the government’s concern about a reduced harvest. If the estimated production level holds steady, corn prices could fall, and some believe that a bubble in the staple crop could begin to pop [see also Can Chinese Demand Boost The Corn ETF?].
With the U.S.D.A.’s report on tap, the Teucrium Corn Fund (CORN) figures to be active in Friday trading. The holdings of this ETF of this fund consist of corn futures contracts traded on the Chicago Board Of Trade [see more on CORN's fact sheet]. Investors who got in early on this ETF were handsomely rewarded with a return of more than 20% in just over 3 months. CORN has seen some big movements and heavy trading volumes in recent sessions, as corn futures trading on the CBOT recently recorded the highest volume levels since it was first listed in 1877 [see more at What Record Trading Day Means For The Corn ETF]. Due to this heavy volume in recent weeks and the important data release coming on the final trading day of the week, don’t be surprised if CORN sets a trading record of its own and exhibits some volatility in Friday trading.
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Disclosure: Photo courtesy of Bill Whittaker. No positions at time of writing.