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By Sumit Roy

Finally — for the first time in four weeks — commodity-related exchange-traded funds saw net inflows, as investors tiptoed their way back into the space. Sector performance varied significantly, however, with three of the five sectors actually seeing outflows. But thanks to strong investor interest in precious metals — which received over $1 billion of fresh capital — total commodity-related ETP inflows registered at $684 million.

The only other sector to see a net inflow on the week was agriculture, with $187 million. The energy, broad market (multicommodity) and industrial metals sectors saw outflows of $293 million, $204 million and $32 million, respectively.

Almost the entirety of this week’s precious metals outperformance was thanks to a single fund — the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD), which received inflows of $1.1 billion, reversing a good chunk of the $2.4 billion in outflows it saw over the past three weeks.

Similarly, agriculture’s outperformance was due in large part to the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (NYSEARCA:MOO), with $227 in inflows. Investor interest in this fund has been stellar recently, as it has shown up on the top five creations list for three weeks straight, racking up $750 million in inflows in that same period.

Three gold funds — the iShares Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:IAU), Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ) round out the top five list for the week, with inflows of $77 million, $67 million and $57 million, respectively.

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, at the worst-performing products of the week, we see the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) leading for a second week in a row, with $241 million in redemptions. That comes on the heels of last week’s $429 million of outflows. As we’ve discussed thoroughly in our Precious Metals Monitor, investor interest in gold has been much more resilient than that in silver in recent weeks.

Right behind SLV was the Energy Select SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLE). This fund has appeared on the top creations and redemptions list frequently over the last few months, as traders use it for exposure to the very volatile energy sector.

Moving on, the SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (NYSEARCA:XME), iShares S&P Global Energy Sector Index Fund (NYSE Arca: IXC) and iShares S&P Global Materials Index Fund (NYSEARCA:MXI) took the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 spots on the redemptions list last week, with outflows of $181 million, $55 million and $25 million, respectively.

Shifting gears to price performance for the week, silver funds dominated as the metal rebounded off recent lows. But it was the iPath Pure Beta Cotton ETN (NYSEARCA:CTNN) that led, with a hefty 11.54 percent return. On the surface, CTNN’s performance is puzzling given the fact that cotton prices were essentially flat during the week, but considering the ETN has very little in the way of assets and is fairly illiquid, such oddball moves aren’t all that unusual.

Other than CTNN, all the other top five price performers were silver-related. The UBS E-TRACS Silver ETN (NYSEARCA:USV), PowerShares DB Silver Fund (NYSEARCA:DBS), ETFS Physical Silver (NYSEARCA:SIVR) and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) saw gains of 9.75 percent, 7.99 percent, 7.88 percent and 7.86 percent, respectively.

Finally, the bottom price performers last week consisted of solar and industrial metals-related products. The Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (NYSEARCA:KWT) and Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEARCA:TAN) led with declines of 9.84 percent and 8.83 percent, respectively. The iPath Pure Beta Aluminum ETN (NYSEARCA:FOIL), Global X China Materials ETF (NYSEARCA:CHIM) and iPath Dow Jones-UBS Nickel Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSEARCA:JJN) followed, with respective losses of 7.83 percent, 6.46 percent and 4.93 percent.

Fund Flows Data: May 20 – 25, 2011

Commodity ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

Net Flows ($, mm) AUM ($, mm) % of AUM
Agriculture 186,66 12.369,54 1,51%
Broad Market -203,75 16.083,41 -1,27%
Energy -292,96 35.938,73 -0,82%
Industrial Metals -32,37 3.561,15 -0,91%
Precious Metals 1.026,26 94.912,08 1,08%
Total: 683,84 162.864,93 0,42%

Top 5 Commodity ETF Creations

Ticker Name Net Flows ($,mm) AUM ($, mm) AUM % Change
GLD SPDR Gold 1.099,78 59.587,25 1,88%
MOO Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF 227,18 4.610,38 5,18%
IAU iShares Gold Trust 77,10 6.721,43 1,16%
GDX Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF 67,14 6.695,09 1,01%
GDXJ Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF 57,21 2.095,68 2,81%

Top 5 Commodity ETF Redemptions

Ticker Name Net Flows ($,mm) AUM ($, mm) AUM % Change
SLV iShares Silver 240,56 11.452,90 -2,06%
XLE Energy Select SPDR ETF 187,10 9.044,86 -2,03%
XME SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF 180,69 1.018,81 -15,06%
IXC iShares S&P Global Energy Sector Index Fund 55,64 1.346,86 -3,97%
MXI iShares S&P Global Materials Materials Index Fund 25,03 775,95 -3,12%

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

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
CTNN iPath Pure Beta Cotton ETN 11,54% 5.100 6,10
USV UBS E-TRACS CMCI Silver Total Return ETN 9,75% 3.660 9,21
DBS PowerShares DB Silver Fund 7,99% 827.374 189,96
SIVR ETFS Physical Silver 7,88% 2.206.208 638,19
SLV iShares Silver Trust 7,86% 199.668.780 11.452,90

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

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
KWT Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF -9,84% 518.300 30,85
TAN Guggenheim Solar ETF -8,83% 1.192.169 167,96
FOIL iPath Pure Beta Aluminum ETN -7,83% 1.600 4,21
CHIM Global X China Materials ETF -6,46% 36.351 5,92
JJN iPath Dow Jones-UBS Nickel Total Return ETN -4,93% 43.128 13,05

Top 5 Volume Surprises, Funds >$50 mm AUM

Ticker Name Average Volume

(30 Day)

1 Week Average Volume % of Average
UCI UBS E-TRACS CMCI Total Return ETN 21.431 218.816 204,20%
PSAU PowerShares Global Gold and Precious Metals Portfolio Fund 16.102 124.812 155,02%
AMJ JPMorgan Alerian MLP ETN 1.083.897 8.350.603 154,08%
GNR SPDR Global Natural Resources ETF 24.559 170.399 138,77%
FAN First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy Index Fund 85.495 592.448 138,59%

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

Source: Commodity ETF Flows Report: GLD Inflows Increase; SLV Liquidation Continues