Here are the worst performing commodities in 2023

on Jun 6, 2023
  • Commodities have been in a steep downward trend after peaking in 2022.
  • Natural gas has been the worst-performing commodities this year.
  • Other top-performing commodities are heating oil, nickel, soybeans, and palladium.

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Commodity prices are having a bad year. The closely watched Invesco Commodity Tracking Index (DBC) is hovering near the lowest level since February 2022. It has plunged by more than 27% from the highest level in 2022 and by 7% this year. While most commodities have fallen, some, like coffee, feeder and live cattle, orange juice, and sugar have all jumped by double digits. Here are the worst-performing commodities this year.

Natural gas

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Natural gas price has tumbled by about 50% this year and is now sitting at the lowest level since 2021. It has dropped by more than 76% from its highest level in 2022. This decline happened because of Europe, which has adjusted well to the blockade by Russia. The bloc reacted by increasing LNG shipments from the United States and Middle East countries. 

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Natural gas prices also plunged because of Europe’s investments in LNG infrastructure. A few months ago, Germany launched its first LNG terminal. Now, there are concerns that the natural gas industry is being oversupplied, which has pushed its prices sharply lower.

Still, there is a likelihood that natural gas prices will recover this year since they have formed a strong bottom at $2. 

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Nickel is the second-worst performing commodity this year, having crashed by 30% this year. Ironically, this decline has happened as demand for nickel and electric vehicle companies remain high. Analysts, as I wrote here, believe that nickel price has plunged because of oversupply.

Most of this oversupply comes from Indonesia, which is ramping up production of the metal. Analysts now believe that the supply surplus will surge to 239k in 2023, the highest level in a decade. And there are signs that more countries like the Philippines and Australia will ramp up production soon.

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Soybeans and other agricultural commodities have been in a strong bearish trend this year. Most of them, including corn and wheat, have plunged by more than 60% from the highest point in 2022. Soybeans have dropped sharply because of the rising supplies.

The most recent WASDE report showed that the soybean market is well-supplied this year. The report said that the ending stocks came in at 335 million bushels, higher than the previous estimate of 215 million. Also, the agency believes that supply in from key countries like Argentina, Brazil, and the US will jump sharply. This explains why soybeans price has dropped by 23% this year.


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Palladium price has crashed by 21% in 2023, making it one of the worst-performing commodities this year. This decline is mostly because of the increasing substitution with platinum, which is cheaper. Despite this, there is a possibility that palladium will bounce back since the industry is expected to have a 43,000 ounces deficit this year. In 2022, the deficit stood at over 531k ounces. The biggest risk is that the gap between the two prices stands at $500, making platinum more attractive to automakers.

The other worst-performing commodities this year are heating oil, Brent and WTI oil, soybeans, and corn among others.

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