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The Reuters/Jefferies Commodity Research Bureau Index

Created in 1957 as the Commodity Research Bureau’s official commodity-tracking index, this index is the oldest commodity index in the world. The original index received its most recent makeover in 2005 when it was renamed the Reuters/Jefferies Commodity Research Bureau Index (CRB) — quite a mouthful!

The CRB index is widely followed by institutional investors and economists; of all the indexes, it’s perhaps the most widely used as an economic benchmark, although the S&P GSCI and the DJ/AIGCI are also widely used references.

The CRB index has performed well since 2002.

Year Total Return
2002 23%
2003 8.9%
2004 11.2%
2005 16.9%
2006 –3%
2007 16.5%
2008 –32%
2009 17%

Ten-year annualized returns for the CRB are 9.02 percent, outpacing many asset classes, including some comparable commodity indexes.

The CRB index tracks all the major commodity component classes.

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The CRB index currently tracks a basket of 19 commodities, which are selected based on their liquidity and production value. This index is unique because it is the only index that uses a tiered methodology of distributing weights to commodities. This hybrid approach gives a production value weight to energy products, while assigning fixed weights to other commodities. The components and their weightings are reviewed annually.

Tiers Commodity Weight Exchange
Tier I WTI crude oil 23% CME
Heating oil 5% CME
Unleaded gas 5% CME
Tier II Natural gas 6% CME
Corn 6% CME
Soybeans 6% CME
Live cattle 6% CME
Gold 6% CME
Aluminum 6% LME
Copper 6% CME
Tier III Sugar 5% ICE
Cotton 5% ICE
Cocoa 5% ICE
Coffee 5% ICE
Tier IV Nickel 1% LME
Wheat 1% CME
Lean hogs 1% CME
Orange juice 1% ICE
Silver 1% CME
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