Copper exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are designed to track the price of copper, an industrial metal used in a wide variety of applications in manufacturing, electronics, and construction. Copper is considered a cyclical commodity whose price fluctuates in tandem with economic cycles, rising when the economy grows and falling when the economy slows.
Due to its widespread use, some investors use copper and other commodities to diversify their portfolios. Because copper rises when inflation is accelerating, the metal is also seen as a hedge against rising prices.
Copper futures have outperformed the broader market in the past year.
The two copper exchange-traded funds (ETFs), ranked by one-year trailing total returns, are JJC and CPER.
The holdings of each of these ETFs are composed of copper futures contracts.
There are two distinct copper ETFs that trade in the United States, excluding leveraged and inverse funds, as well as those with less than $50 million in assets under management (AUM). These ETFs track the price of copper and do not invest in copper mining companies.1 Copper futures prices, as measured by the S&P GSCI Copper Index, have risen 26.1% over the past 12 months, as of Jan. 27, 2022. By comparison, the S&P 500 posted a total return of 17.0% over the same period.2 The best copper ETF, based on performance over the past year, is the iPath Series B Bloomberg Copper Subindex Total Return ETN (JJC).
We examine the two copper ETFs below. All numbers are as of Jan. 27, 2022.1
Performance Over One-Year: 23.3%
Expense Ratio: 0.45%
Annual Dividend Yield: N/A
Three-Month Average Daily Volume: 38,378
Assets Under Management: $82.2 million
Inception Date: Jan. 17, 2018
Issuer: Barclays Capital
JJC is structured as an exchange-traded note (ETN), a type of unsecured debt instrument that tracks an underlying index of securities and trades like a stock. ETNs share characteristics similar to those of bonds, but they do not make periodic interest payments. The ETF is designed to provide exposure to the Bloomberg Copper Subindex Total Return, which reflects the returns that are potentially available through an unleveraged investment in the futures contracts on copper.3 It may be appealing as an inflation hedge. JJC invests exclusively in copper futures.4
Performance Over One-Year: 22.8%
Expense Ratio: 0.80%
Annual Dividend Yield: N/A
Three-Month Average Daily Volume: 208,727
Assets Under Management: $221.6 million
Inception Date: Nov. 15, 2011
Issuer: Concierge Technologies
CPER is an ETF that is structured as a commodity pool, a private investment structure that combines investor contributions to trade commodity futures contracts. These commodity pools act as a single entity to increase leverage in trading with the goal of maximizing profits. CPER seeks to track the SummerHaven Copper Index Total Return, which is designed to reflect the performance of the returns from a portfolio of copper futures contracts that are fully collateralized by three-month U.S. Treasury Bills.56
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