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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 (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 (XOP), with inflows of $275 million. On the other hand, the United States Oil fund (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 (GDX) and SPDR Gold (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 (CORN) rose by 8.56 percent in the period, while the ELEMENTS MLCX Grains-Total Return ETN (GRU) followed close behind, adding 6.76 percent. The iPath Dow Jones UBS Grains Sub Total Return ETN (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 (NLR) fell by 1.16 percent; the iShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy Index Fund (NUCL) lost 1.11 percent; and PowerShares' Global Nuclear Energy Portfolio (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