America’s hottest investment product is taking over — here are the top performing funds of 2016

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Women stand in front of a gold shop at al-Bzoria market in old Damascus.
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Reuters/Khaled Al Hariri

There’s no doubt about it: exchange-traded funds are hot.

These funds, which simply track an index, have hoovered up assets at a high rate over the past decade. US-listed ETFs saw $283 billion in net inflows during 2016, taking aggregate assets under management to $2.5 trillion, according to Citigroup.

The appeal is obvious. ETFs provide cheap and easy access to asset classes and sectors, without having to buy an individual stock or bond of a company.

The funds make up 15% of all investments right now, but have been tipped to make up to 60% of investments in the next 10 years.

There are now more than 1,900 different funds, focusing on just about anything and everything. And while some funds are huge, there are many, many more smaller funds focused on niche areas of investment.

Citigroup analysts led by Scott Chronert put together a list of the best performing ETFs in 2016, with the list focused on funds with more than $100 million in assets. The list includes several funds focused on commodities. These funds benefitted from “the strong rebound in the global commodity complex,” according to Chronert.

Here are the top performers of 2016:


1. SPDR S&P Metals and Mining (106%)

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Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

The SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF manages $855 million, and has a ticker of XME. It is designed to track the S&P Metals and has delivered -1.89% since inception, despite the outsize return in 2016.


2. VanEck Vectors Coal (98.2%)

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REUTERS/Kham

The VanEck Vectors Coal ETF, which holds the distinction of being the first ETF in the nation to focus on coal, manages $101 million and has a ticker of KOL. It is designed to replicate the price and yield performance of the MVIS Global Coal Index.


3. VanEck Vectors Steel (95.8%)

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Thomson Reuters

The VanEck Vectors Steel ETF manages $185 million, and has a ticker of SLX. It is designed to track the performance of companies operating in the steel industry.


4. Global X Silver Miners ETF (79.4%)

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REUTERS/Peter Andrews

The Global X Silver Miners ETF manages $276 million, and has a ticker of SIL. It offers investors access to a diverse group of silver mining companies and has delivered a -17.35% return since its inception despite a strong performance this year.


5. Markets Vectors Junior Gold Miners (72.9%)

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Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

The Markets Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF manages $3.435 billion, and has a ticker of GDXJ. It attempts to replicate the Global Junior Gold Miners Index, which follows numerous gold mining companies.


6. iShares MSCI Brazil Capped (64.5%)

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Thomson Reuters

The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF manages $4.214 billion, and has a ticker of EWZ. It provides investors access to both large and mid-sized Brazilian companies in fields ranging from financial services to energy to information technology.


7. iShares MSCI All Peru Capped (64%)

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Kevin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The iShares MSCI All Peru Capped ETF manages $212 million, and has a ticker of EPU. It exposes investors to a diverse group of companies with Peruvian interests such as Intergroup Financial Services, Inretail Peru, and Hochschild Mining.


8. iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners Fund (58.7%)

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Russia Beyond The Headlines/Sergei Smirnov

The iShares Global Gold Miners Fund manages $140 million, and has a ticker of RING. The Fund provide investors with access to companies that generate most of their profit from mining gold.


9. iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers (54.7%)

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http://www.miningmayhem.com/ and http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/home

The iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers ETF manages $255 million, and has a ticker of PICK. It tracks companies that operate in the mining, extraction or production of various metals.


10. iShares MSCI Capped Russia Index Fund (54.6%)

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Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

The iShares Capped Russia Index Fund ETF manages $4.2 billion, and has a ticker of EWZ. The ETF is comprised of Russian-based companies including the energy titan Gazprom.


11. PowerShares S&P SmallCap Materials Portfolio (53.8%)

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Flickr / Sonny Side Up!

The PowerShares S&P SmallCap Materials Portfolio ETF manages $103 million, and has a ticker of PSCM. It seeks to track the performance of stocks in the companies involved in production of raw materials, paper, construction and other basic materials.


12. VanEck Vectors Gold Miners (52.9%)

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REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF manages $9.684 billion, and has a ticker of GDX. It is designed to track the price and yield performance of the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index.


13. Sprott Gold Miners ETF (48.2%)

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Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

The Sprott Gold Miners ETF manages $184 million, and has a ticker of SGDM. It is designed to track mid to large-cap gold companies listed on major US exchanges.


14. VanEck Vectors Russia (47.2%)

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Thomson Reuters

The VanEck Vectors Russia ETF manages $2.621 billion, and has a ticker of RSX. It attempts to replicate the MVIS Russia Index, which is made up of companies that are based in or generate a majority of their revenues in Russia.


15. PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors Port. (44.1%)

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Wikimedia Commons

The PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors Port. ETF manages $130 million, and has a ticker of PSI. It is designed to track the Dynamic Semiconductor Index, which is comprised of semiconductor manufacturing companies.


16. First Trust RBA American Industrial Renaissance (43.4%)

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Oshkosh

The First Trust RBA American Industrial Renaissance ETF manages $138 million, and has a ticker of AIRR. It is designed to track the Richard Bernstein Advisors American Industrial Renaissance Index of small and mid-cap US industrial and banking companies.


17. First Trust Latin American AlphaDEX Fund (42.7%)

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Google Maps

The First Trust Latin American AlphaDEX Fund ETF manages $106 million, and has a ticker of FLN. It is designed to correspond with the NASDAQ AlphaDex Latin American Index.


18. SPDR S&P North American Natural Resources ETF (40%)

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Thomson Reuters

The SPDR S&P North American Natural Resources ETF manages $829 million, and has a ticker of NANR. It attempts to track the performance of the S&P BMI North American Natural Resource Index.


19. PowerShares KBW Regional Bank Portfolio (38.5%)

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Wikimedia Commons

The PowerShares KBW Regional Bank Portfolio ETF manages $235 million, and has a ticker of KBWR. It is designed to correspond to the KBW Nasdaq Regional Banking Index.


20. iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (38.4%)

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REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF manages $693 million, and has a ticker of SOXX. It provides investors access to US companies involved in the production and distribution of semiconductors.