Portfolio Investment: Are Commodities Useful?

Journal of Commodity Markets (2017), 8:43-55. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcomm.2017.10.002

Posted: 26 Apr 2019

See all articles by Lei Yan

Lei Yan

Yale University

Philip Garcia

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

This paper examines the usefulness of commodities in an investor's portfolio. Using data on three generations of commodity indices and 15 individual commodity futures for 1991–2015, we find that incorporating most commodity products does little to improve the portfolio's Sharpe ratio especially in an out-of-sample context. The only exception is the third-generation commodity index that is based on a momentum strategy and can substantially enhance portfolio performance. When estimation errors are reduced using a shrinkage estimator, the resulting optimal portfolios are more diversified and stable over time, and importantly, commodities play a much smaller role in terms of risk reduction in portfolios.

Keywords: Commodity Index; Estimation Error; Portfolio Diversification

Suggested Citation

Yan, Lei and Garcia, Philip, Portfolio Investment: Are Commodities Useful? (2017). Journal of Commodity Markets (2017), 8:43-55. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcomm.2017.10.002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3360771

Lei Yan (Contact Author)

Yale University

New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Philip Garcia

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics ( email )

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Urbana, IL 61801
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