2015 was a bloodbath for commodities

Commodities markets were hit hard last year.

A note from S&P Dow Jones Indicies global head of commodities Jodie Gunzberg observed that “2015 will go down in history as one of the worst years ever for commodities.”

The S&P GSCI, a major commodities index, lost 32.9% in 2015, according to the note. Here are some highlights from Gunzberg:

  • 2015 ended the S&P GSCI’s first 3-year consecutive loss in its history, losing a total of 55.6% during this time.
  • On Dec. 22, 2015, the S&P GSCI Total Return recorded a new maximum drawdown of -80.5% from its peak on July 3, 2008. The index on Dec. 22, 2015 was the lowest in more than 16 years, since Mar. 24, 1999.
  • 2015 ended the S&P GSCI’s biggest 2-year consecutive loss, down 55.1%, and is only the 4th ever back-to-back annual loss. Other consecutive losses happened in 1975-76 (-17.2%, -11.9%), 1997-98 (-14.1%, -35.8%) and 2013-14 (-1.2%, -33.1%).
  • 2015 tied 2008 for a record number of negative commodities with 22 of 24 down. 20 of the 22 lost more than 10%, 13 lost more than 20%, 8 lost more than 30% and 5 lost more than 40%.
  • Brent Crude lost 45.7% in 2015, the most of any single commodity. Other big losers were (WTI) Crude Oil (-45.3%), Nickel (-42.6%), Heating Oil (-41.4%) and Gasoil (-40.2%).
  • Equities (S&P 500) have now outperformed commodities (S&P GSCI) for eight consecutive years that is a new record. Following the last time equities outperformed commodities for near as long in 1980-86, seven consecutive years, commodities returned almost 300% through 1990 as measured by the S&P GSCI Total Return index.

A chart in the note showed that 22 of the 24 commodities in the index suffered losses last year, with just cocoa and cotton seeing gains:

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