Commodity mutual funds are among the instruments that have yet to gain popularity in the Indian investment market but they are filled with potential. Investing in commodity funds can diversify your portfolio, and pave the way for reduced volatility.  

 

Past records show a low correlation between debt and equity markets in many portfolios, but these funds can help bridge the gap. Read on to learn about commodity-based mutual funds, their types, advantages, and more.

What are Commodity Mutual Funds?

Commodity funds are a category of mutual funds that make investments across a wide spectrum of commodities. It encompasses agricultural commodities like coffee, food grains, etc. It also invests in non-agricultural commodities such as minerals, gold, crude oil, etc. 

 

Typically, commodity mutual funds in India are structured similarly to Funds of Funds (FOFs) and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). At least 95% of assets in these funds are allocated in physical commodities or commodity ETFs.

Various Types of Commodity Mutual Funds

Check out various types of commodity mutual funds that you can invest in.  

1. Natural Resources Funds

These commodity funds primarily allocate their investments to companies and organisations engaged in natural resources, including minerals, oil, and petroleum.

2. True/Basic Commodity Funds

These commodity funds predominantly focus on investing in naturally occurring physical assets, such as metals. These assets are finite but often fuel innovation. As such, there is always potential for profit with such funds.  

3. Index Funds

A commodity index fund is managed passively and involves the fund manager purchasing commodities from the corpus at standard prices aligned with the benchmark index.

4. Future Funds

In future funds, the fund manager takes decisions on the future trading of commodities, based on the potential fluctuations in the Net Asset Value (NAV). Generally, these funds are reserved for skilled investors or those with a larger appetite for risk. 

5. Combination Funds

These commodity funds adopt a strategic approach by investing in both basic commodities and commodity futures. This combination aims to minimise volatility while providing good returns. It provides balance to investors venturing into such funds.  

Advantages of Commodity Mutual Funds

Investing in commodity mutual funds is a great way to explore other asset classes. As such, it simplifies diversification but there are other upsides, too. 

1. Safeguards Against Market Volatility

Certain commodities like gold and silver hold significant value when the market is bearish. Therefore, investing in these commodities can protect you against these upward and downward market movements.

2. Helps in Portfolio Diversification

By investing in commodity mutual funds, you can diversify your investment portfolio to mitigate risks and achieve consistent growth, regardless of market conditions. Including a commodity fund in your portfolio also helps secure your wealth, especially if you choose assets like gold and silver. 

3. Hedge Against Inflation

In case of high inflation and global market fluctuations, commodity mutual funds serve as a safeguard. Making investments in these commodities can help you adjust for inflation and other situations where market volatility arises.

4. Provides Flexibility

You can take advantage of the flexibility of commodity mutual funds to align your investments with both long-term and short-term financial goals. This is because commodity funds serve as a versatile choice, and you can choose a fund that covers both aspects with ease. 

List of Best-Performing Commodity Mutual Funds in India

If you wish to invest in commodity mutual funds in India, here are some of the best-performing commodity funds in 2023 that you must know about.

1. ICICI Prudential Regular Gold Savings Fund (FOF)

ICICI Prudential Regular Gold Savings Fund(FOF)- Direct Plan- Growth is a commodities mutual fund scheme offered by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund.

  • NAV: ₹18.5561

  • AUM: ₹648.02 Crores

  • Expense ratio: 0.09%

  • 5-year returns: 12.64%

2. SBI Gold Fund

SBI Gold Fund- Direct Plan- Growth is a commodities mutual fund scheme offered by SBI Mutual Fund.

  • NAV: ₹17.7014

  • AUM: ₹1,241.95 Crores

  • Expense ratio: 0.1%

  • 5-year returns: 12.76%

3. Nippon India Gold Savings Fund

Nippon India Gold Savings Fund – Direct Plan – Growth is a commodities mutual fund scheme offered by Nippon India Mutual Fund.

  • NAV: ₹23.2602

  • AUM: ₹1,431.38 Crores

  • Expense ratio: 0.14%

  • 5-year returns: 12.44%

Disclaimer

The funds mentioned above are not ranked in any particular order and are intended purely for informational purposes. The specifics recorded are as of August 1, 2023 and are subject to change.

 

If you are interested in investing in commodities in India, then commodity mutual funds can be a smart option. They provide a relatively safer avenue to participate in the dynamic commodities market without requiring extensive prior knowledge. Remember, commodity funds are best suited for you if you possess a higher risk tolerance and have a long-term investment horizon. You can consider comparing them against other types such as debt funds, liquid fund, and thematic funds among others so that you can make an informed decision.

FAQs on Commodity Mutual Funds

Commodity mutual funds trading in India occurs on officially registered commodity exchanges. You have the option to buy or sell commodities immediately in the spot markets, receiving cash in exchange. Alternatively, you can also opt for future contracts, eliminating the need for physical delivery.

Some popular commodity funds trading exchanges in India are Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), National Stock Exchange (NSE), Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX), and Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX), among others.

Most fund houses provide commodity funds that predominantly focus on investing in gold, and the majority of these mutual funds are gold Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). The popularity of gold stems from its tendency to appreciate in value, which helps during inflation.  

Commodity mutual funds are genuine commodity funds since they directly hold tangible commodities. Examples of such commodities are a gold fund that possesses physical gold bullion.

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