Commodities Are Strong, But Which Ones Are Strongest?

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Do you know which of the commodities have done the best since 1999 and 2007? The answer, by a wide margin, is crude oil. For anyone who drives a car, this should come as little surprise. The price of crude went up nearly 700 percent between the beginning of 1999 and end of 2007.

There's been plenty written about how well commodities have performed in recent years. But do you know which of these commodities have done the best between 1999 and 2007? Do you know which ones have been the brightest stars so far in 2008?

...So which of the 14 turned in the top overall performance?

The answer, by a wide margin, is crude oil. For anyone who drives a car, this should come as little surprise.

The price of crude went up nearly 700 percent between the beginning of 1999 and end of 2007. This works out to an annualized return of 26 percent over the nine years, although oil's returns ranged from a positive 112 percent in 1999 to a negative 26 percent two years later.

The No. 2 performer was nickel, which is primarily used in the production of stainless steel and other alloys. Nickel rose 543 percent between 1999 and 2007, with its best year coming in 2006 when it was up 154 percent.

Third-best on the list was lead at about 410 percent, followed by copper at nearly 360 percent. On the soft side, wheat and corn have tended to move together - in recent years, they've done quite well.

At the bottom of the heap was palladium, which rose only 10 percent over the nine years, or barely 1 percent per year on average. That doesn't mean it didn't have some good years - palladium was up 113 percent in 2000 and 36 percent in 2005 - but these were pretty much offset by a string of down years.

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