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How Commodities Performed in H1 2017, and Why They’re Very Cheap

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If you’re looking for action, the commodities sector has traditionally been a good place to find it.

With wild price swings, massive up-cycles, exciting resource discoveries, and extreme weather events all playing into things, there’s usually never a dull day in the sector. That being said, it’s hard to remember a more lackluster period for commodities than in the last couple of years.

For commodity bulls, the good news is that the sector is no longer tanking. The bad news, however, is that all the recent action has been in relatively niche sectors, as metals like cobalt, zinc, and lithium all have their day in the sun.

At the same time, the big commodities (gold, oil, copper) have all slid sideways, having yet to revisit their former periods of glory.

Commodity Winners So Far

Before we highlight why commodities could still be cheap, let’s look at recent performance to get some context. Here are the commodities that have positive returns in H1 2017 so far:

Commodities with Positive Returns in 2017 H1

Palladium is the best performer in 2017 so far, and it has now almost passed platinum in price. That would be the first time since 2001 that this has happened, and for the stretch of 2007-2012 it was even true that palladium traded at a $1,000 deficit to platinum.

Agricultural goods like rough rice, lean hogs, oats, and and wheat have also gotten more expensive so far this year. Meanwhile, metals like gold, copper, and silver have seen modest gains – but these are only after dismal performances from the last part of 2016.

The Losers So Far

Here is the scoreboard for the commodities in negative territory, with the most noticeable losses in sugar and energy.

Commodities with Positive Returns in 2017 H1

Are Commodities Cheap?

From the post-crisis bottom in 2009 until today, the S&P 500 is up a staggering 215.4%.

During that same timeframe, most major commodities crashed and then went sideways. The Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) is down roughly -31.2%, which is a strong juxtaposition to how equities have done.

This extreme divergence can be best seen in this long-term chart, which compares the two indices since 1971.

S&P 500 vs. GSCI

In other words: despite the lack of action in commodities that we noted earlier, the sector has never been cheaper relative to equities even going back 45 years.

That means that there could be some much-needed action soon.

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Energy

Ranked: Electric Vehicle Sales by Model in 2023

Today, electric vehicle sales make up 18% of global vehicle sales. Here are the leading models by sales as of August 2023.

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The Highest Electric Vehicle Sales, by Model

Ranked: Electric Vehicle Sales by Model in 2023

Electric vehicle (EV) sales are gaining momentum, reaching 18% of global vehicle sales in 2023.

As new competitors bring more affordable options and new performance features, the market continues to mature as customers increasingly look to electric options.

This graphic ranks the top-selling EVs worldwide as of August 2023, based on data from CleanTechnica.

The Best Selling EVs in 2023 (Through August)

Below, we show the world’s best selling fully electric vehicles from January to August 2023:

ModelCountryVehicles Sold
(Jan-Aug 2023)
Tesla Model Y🇺🇸 U.S.772,364
Tesla Model 3🇺🇸 U.S.364,403
BYD Atto 3 / Yuan Plus🇨🇳 China265,688
BYD Dolphin🇨🇳 China222,825
GAC Aion S🇨🇳 China160,693
Wuling HongGuang Mini EV🇨🇳 China153,399
GAC Aion Y🇨🇳 China136,619
VW ID.4🇩🇪 Germany120,154
BYD Seagull🇨🇳 China95,202

As we can see, Tesla‘s Model Y still holds a comfortable lead over the competition with 772,364 units sold. That’s more than double the sales of the #2 top selling vehicle, Tesla’s Model 3 (364,403)

But it’s hard to ignore the rising prevalence of Chinese EVs. The next five best selling EV vehicles are Chinese, including three from BYD. The automaker’s Atto 3 (or Yuan Plus, depending on market), is being sold in various countries including Germany, the UK, Japan, and India.

Meanwhile, Chinese automaker GAC Group also had two models of its Aion EV brand make the rankings, with the Aion S selling 160,693 units so far.

Regional market strength is also clear. For Volkswagen’s ID.4 model (120,154 units sold), Europe and China account for the majority of sales.

Given growing cost efficiencies and changing consumer behavior, global EV sales are projected to make up half of new car sales globally by 2035, according to forecasts from Goldman Sachs.

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