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By Sumit Roy

For commodity markets, the tragedy in Japan is all but a distant memory. Focus has rapidly shifted back toward familiar, long-term bullish considerations, such as emerging markets growth and supply issues.

In turn, investor appetite for commodity-related exchange-traded products has returned in a big way. This past week, $1 billion in fresh capital flowed into commodity ETPs, with combined assets reaching $168 billion.

Four of the five commodity sectors saw net inflows. Energy was the leader; investors added $561 million to their holdings. Bullish inventory data for corn helped the agriculture sector see the second-largest inflows of the week, at $373 million. In contrast, investors pulled $335 million out of precious metals products, as central bank officials hinted at potential interest rate hikes later this year.

While energy led inflows for the week, a notable divergence emerged within the sector itself. The Energy Select SPDR (NYSEARCA:XLE) had inflows of $412 million, helping to send its assets to a record $11 billion. Just behind XLE was the SPDR S&P Oil and Gas Exploration & Production (NYSEARCA:XOP), with inflows of $275 million. On the other hand, the United States Oil fund (NYSEARCA:USO) saw substantial outflows, totaling $312 million. Clearly, investors are favoring energy-related stocks rather than futures-based products to get their exposure to the sector.

Other notable funds with outflows were the Market Vectors Gold Miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) and SPDR Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD), with losses of $263 million and $167 million, respectively.

Price performance for the week was led by grain-related products due to the aforementioned bullish corn inventory data. Teucrium Corn (NYSEARCA:CORN) rose by 8.56 percent in the period, while the ELEMENTS MLCX Grains-Total Return ETN (NYSEARCA:GRU) followed close behind, adding 6.76 percent. The iPath Dow Jones UBS Grains Sub Total Return ETN (NYSEARCA:JJG) rounded out the top three, advancing by 6.12 percent.

Meanwhile, the worst-performers list was dominated by nuclear-related products—unsurprising, given lingering concerns related to the Japanese crisis. The Market Vectors Uranium + Nuclear Energy Fund (NYSEARCA:NLR) fell by 1.16 percent; the iShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy Index Fund (NASDAQ:NUCL) lost 1.11 percent; and PowerShares' Global Nuclear Energy Portfolio (NYSEARCA:PKN) shed 0.65 percent.

Fund Flows Data: March 24-31, 2011

Commodity ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

Net Flows ($, mm)

AUM ($, mm)

% of AUM

Agriculture

372.81

12,900.50

2.89%

Broad Market

167.38

17,382.61

0.96%

Energy

560.60

41,653.05

1.35%

Industrial Metals

277.54

3,909.23

7.10%

Precious Metals

-334.81

92,279.06

-0.36%

Total:

1,043.52

168,124.46

0.62%

Top 5 Commodity ETF Creations

Ticker

Name

Net Flows ($,mm)

AUM ($, mm)

AUM % Change

XLE

Energy Select SPDR

412.48

11,087.90

3.86%

XOP

SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production

275.06

1,514.80

22.19%

CU

First Trust ISE Global Copper

165.22

437.33

60.72%

DBA

PowerShares DB Agriculture

136.23

3,948.63

3.57%

DBC

PowerShares DB Commodity Tracking

127.42

6,396.88

2.03%

Top 5 Commodity ETF Redemptions

Ticker

Name

Net Flows ($,mm)

AUM ($, mm)

AUM % Change

USO

United States Oil

- 311.77

2,166.32

-12.58%

GDX

Market Vectors Gold Miners

- 263.05

6,665.88

-3.80%

GLD

SPDR Gold

- 167.13

56,017.26

-0.30%

UNG

United States Natural Gas

- 128.95

2,287.80

-5.34%

XME

SPDR S&P Metals and Mining

- 67.29

1,400.30

-4.59%

Top 5 Weekly Performers, Excluding <1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker

Name

1-Day Performance

1-Day Volume

AUM ($, mm)

CORN

Teucrium Corn

8.56%

795,428

72.79

GWO

ELEMENTS Credit Suisse Global Warming ETN

7.16%

35,707

3.73

GRU

ELEMENTS MLCX Grains - Total Return ETN

6.76%

772,728

31.43

JJG

iPath Dow Jones UBS Grains Sub Total Return ETN

6.12%

1,330,897

352.51

FUE

ELEMENTS MLCX Biofuels Total Return ETN

5.63%

27,551

3.39

Bottom 5 Weekly Performers, Excluding <1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker

Name

1-Day Performance

1-Day Volume

AUM ($, mm)

NLR

Market Vectors Uranium + Nuclear Energy

-1.16%

1,356,622

197.74

NUCL

iShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy

-1.11%

34,063

17.32

CHIM

Global X China Materials

-0.86%

197,468

7.60

PKN

PowerShares Global Nuclear Energy Portfolio

-0.65%

152,826

30.92

PSTL

PowerShares Global Steel Portfolio

-0.64%

136,257

8.40

Top 5 Volume Surprises, Funds >$50 mm AUM

Ticker

Name

Average Volume
(30 Day)

1-Day Volume

% of Average

CU

First Trust ISE Global Copper

378,206

9,402,203

497.20%

FAN

First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy

75,766

1,192,477

314.78%

GAZ

iPath Dow Jones-UBS Natural Gas Sub Total Return ETN

318,890

4,081,400

255.98%

GEX

Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy

95,215

1,037,642

217.96%

FXN

First Trust Energy AlphaDEX

128,638

1,352,235

210.24%

Disclaimer: Data courtesy IndexUniverse. All data as of 6 a.m. Eastern Time. Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.

Source: Weekly Commodity ETF Flows: Energy Leads, Gold Drops