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Seasonality Stats For 20+ Commodity Markets

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Movement Capital


  • Energy: We're in a seasonally strong period of the year for WTI crude oil and heating oil. Natural gas has retraced its January spike. Backwardation is increasing in WTI futures.
  • Financials: EUR/USD 12-month momentum is at a historical turning point, March has historically been strong for the S&P, and the US 30-year bond is well below its seasonal averages.
  • Grains: Agricultural commodities are off to a strong start this year, rice futures are in backwardation, and June has historically been the most positive month for oat futures.
  • Metals: Platinum is outperforming palladium year to date, contango has increased in gold and silver, and March has historically been a weak month for gold.
  • Softs: March has historically been weak for sugar, lumber futures are still in backwardation, and cocoa has trended higher.

This is my weekly update that outlines seasonal trends and the term structure of futures contracts. All of the below data and graphs come from my Commodity Seasonality website. The website is completely free, and I use Seeking Alpha as my sole outlet for weekly recap articles. I break down the updates by asset class, so let's get started.


March has historically been the second strongest month of the year for WTI crude oil (USO). The data below is for the past twenty years.

You can see this positive seasonality typically extends into May, then reverses.

It's also been interesting to see backwardation increase in the WTI futures curve. Backwardation is when contracts further out in time are actually priced lower than contracts closer to expiration. Backwardation benefits traders with long exposure, while contango detracts from returns. Most people are familiar with the concept of contango in VIX futures, where VIX futures further out in time are typically priced higher than the front-month contract.

This is important because most investors get commodity exposure through long-only commodity indices like the Bloomberg Commodity Index (tracked by DJP) or the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (tracked by GSG). Energy futures typically make up the majority of these indices. When energy futures curves are in contango, being long commodities bleeds a "negative roll yield" over time. Now that WTI (and Brent) futures are in backwardation, investors who are long commodities benefit from the monthly roll process.

Natural gas (UNG) has had a rocky start to the year.

Heating oil's (UHN) seasonal trends are quite similar to those of WTI crude oil.

But unlike what's happened in WTI, backwardation has recently decreased in heating oil as the curve has flattened out. 12-month momentum, a long-term trend following metric, is still positive.


March and April

This article was written by

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Eversight Wealth is an independent flat fee investment advisor offering financial planning and investment management services. We help investors build low-cost diversified portfolios, create comprehensive financial plans, and save money with a flat annual fee. Formerly Movement Capital.

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Comments (8)

Excellent seasonal data review and charts. Thanks.
Movement Capital profile picture
No problem, glad you found it useful!
your site is even more amazing! hope to learn about this area where I dared not tread.
Movement Capital profile picture
I appreciate the positive feedback. Do let me know if you ever have any questions about seasonality
Kudos, Mr. Author. Your articles are clear and concise. Many thanks.
Movement Capital profile picture
Mitch Zeitz profile picture
Good info, thx.
Movement Capital profile picture
No problem, I appreciate it
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