Commodity alpha strategies suffer from surge in grain prices

Corn drives commodities higher but alpha strategies take a hit

Market-neutral alpha strategies have been hit by the recent jump in grain prices to record highs following a spell of extremely dry weather in the US.

While the agricultural sector continues to be the commodity market's star performer, with the S&P GSCI Agriculture index up almost 15% in the year to date, the surge in grain prices – led by corn, whose futures curve has gone into backwardation – has meant that commodity alpha strategies that go short the front end of the curve and long the back

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