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Best & Worst Commodity Performance Under Presidents Since 1970

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How are commodities likely to perform under a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump administration?

Data going back to 1970 show that gold, oil and 17 out of 24 commodities fared better on average when a Democrat was in the White House, according to Jodie Gunzberg, head of commodities and real assets at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Gunzberg’s data show that seven other commodities thrived under a Republican administration.

Of 24 commodities tracked by S&P Dow Jones, 14 experienced their best performance with a Democratic president, and 18 had their worst performance with a Republican president.

(Related: 4 Top Analysts Predict Markets, Metals After Election)

All sectors performed better on average under a Democratic leader, but all the commodities inside the S&P GSCI Grains—corn, wheat, Kansas wheat and soybeans—did better under Republican presidencies, as did lead, nickel and unleaded gasoline.

Following are the annualized return best and worst performances for top commodities since 1970, and their average annualized returns under Democratic and Republican administrations, according to Gunzberg’s data:

Energy (sector)

  • Best: Bill Clinton—11.1%
  • Worst: Ronald Reagan— -10%
  • Average Democratic return: 6.1%
  • Average Republican return: -0.4%

Brent Crude

  • Best: Bill Clinton—75.7%
  • Worst: Barack Obama—1.1%
  • Average Democratic return: 38.4%
  • Average Republican return: 10.3%

Precious Metals (sector)

  • Best: Richard Nixon—100.8%
  • Worst: George H.W. Bush— -9.7%
  • Average Democratic return: 22.1%
  • Average Republican return: 21.1%


  • Best: Jimmy Carter—78.2%
  • Worst: George H.W. Bush— -7.7%
  • Average Democratic return: 27.4%
  • Average Republican return: 3.1%


  • Best: Richard Nixon—47.2%
  • Worst: Gerald Ford— -26.7%
  • Average Democratic return: 6.3%
  • Average Republican return: 3.7%

Kansas Wheat

  • Best: George W. Bush—10.5%
  • Worst: Barack Obama— -6%
  • Average Democratic return: -2.3%
  • Average Republican return: 10.5%

(commodity benchmark)

  • Best: Richard Nixon—31.8%
  • Worst: Gerald Ford— -23%
  • Average Democratic return: 9.4%
  • Average Republican return: 1.4%

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