The Reuters/Jefferies Commodity Research Bureau Index - dummies

The Reuters/Jefferies Commodity Research Bureau Index

By Amine Bouchentouf

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.


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