Scotiabank's commodity price index rose 1 per cent in November as a sharp rebound in oil and firmer base metal prices helped reverse a three-month slide.
The bank's all items index now is 6.7 per cent above year-earlier levels and will likely end 2011 just above where it was a year ago.
Meanwhile, Scotiabank says that while most commodity prices remain at profitable levels, there has been a marked loss of momentum after an 18 per cent year-over-year gain in late 2010.
The star performers of 2011 among the 32 commodities covered by the index were sulphur, a commodity used in DAP fertilizers, which came in No. 1.
Other commodities that have done well over the year are premium-grade hard coking coal from Western Canada, potash and hogs and cattle as a result of herd liquidation across North America.
Gold was in seventh place with a 14.6 per cent gain from late 2010 through mid-December 2011.
"The London PM Fix for gold surged by 38.2 per cent from $1,390.55 (U.S.) per ounce in December 2010 to a record high in intraday trading of $1,921.18 (U.S.) on September 6," noted Patricia Mohr, vice-president, economics and commodity market specialist at Scotiabank.
However, the precious metal fell back to $1,594 (U.S.) on December 16.
Heavy and light crude oil — Hardisty, Alta., heavy and Edmonton light par crude — rounded out the Top 10 in 2011 and are among the bank's top picks for investors in 2012.