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10 Commodity ETFs With Monster Inflows in 2012

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GLD, SLV, and UNG make the list.

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As the years have gone on, commodity ETFs have continued to surge in popularity. These vehicles have allowed for investors of all kinds to add vital exposure to hard assets with ease. While there have been a number of innovative products released in the past few years, some have hit home with investors better than others. Below, we outline 10 commodity ETFs that have seen strong inflows as of 9/21/2012, to give you an idea of what is trending in the financial world.

1.SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD)
  • 2012 Inflows: $3.8 billion
  • Total Assets: $75.6 billion
  • Expense Ratio: 0.40%
  • YTD Performance: 13.1%
No surprise here, the king of commodity ETFs continues to hold its crown. At one point GLD had been losing the assets battle with the cheaper IAU, but thus far in the year, this gold product has more than doubled the inflows of its competitor. The fund is currently the second largest ETF in the world and has been steadily making a run to pass SPY for total assets, which it successfully did for a few days back in 2011.

2. iShares Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:IAU)
  • 2012 Inflows: $1.6 billion
  • Total Assets: $11.2 billion
  • Expense Ratio: 0.25%
  • YTD Performance: 13.4%
Charging 15 basis points less than GLD for near-identical exposure makes this second place a bit of a head-scratcher. For a period of time, IAU had been outpacing its mega-cap counterpart, but it seems that this year has not been quite as kind. Still, as a percentage of total assets gained, IAU's 16% jump compared to GLD's 5% is quite impressive. Also note that IAU's cheaper expense ratio means it will often outperform GLD by a small margin.

3. Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ)
  • 2012 Inflows: $1.1 billion
  • Total Assets: $3.2 billion
  • Expense Ratio: 0.56%
  • YTD Performance: 3.1%
The junior gold miner nearly double the inflows of the large cap GDX, as it appears that investors are buying into small cap miners more frequently. One possible explanation is that many of the large cap mining firms work with a number of metals beyond gold, while some of the smaller caps tend to be more focused on their underlying asset. Gold miners have had a volatile year, as this fund was only able to gain 3% despite gold prices moving considerably higher.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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