Ivy VIP Natural Resources

Ivy VIP Natural Resources

Market Sector Update

  • Stocks around the world continued to post gains in the quarter. Natural resource stocks generally rose overall and oil stocks rose toward the end of the third quarter. Oil prices stabilized around $50 per barrel, although the sector overall has been disappointing over the course of 2017.
  • Two major hurricanes made landfall in Texas and Florida during the quarter, causing loss of life and widespread damage. While difficult to estimate with accuracy now, we think there may be a slightly negative effect on third-quarter U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). However, for all the damage to life and property, history shows that natural disasters ultimately have a net positive effect on GDP because of the rebuilding and replacement that follow.
  • Hurricane Harvey’s impact was felt across a wide section of the energy corridor in Texas. About 25% of total U.S. refining capacity was offline, while most of the oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and in Texas was spared. No refineries in the Houston area reported major damage from the storm, although many were hit with flooding and related storm effects. The price of crude oil slumped as demand slowed after Harvey, since refineries could not accept it, while the price of gasoline and other refined products climbed on continuing demand and the reduced supplies.
  • In terms of the U.S. energy industry, we anticipate a relatively short-term impact from Harvey and no long-term damage to refining capacity or the energy infrastructure. Most of the affected parts of the industry were returning to normal operations by the quarter’s end.

Portfolio Strategy

  • The Portfolio posted a positive return for the quarter that was less than the positive return of its benchmark index.
  • The five greatest contributors to performance relative to the benchmark index in the quarter were RPC, Inc., Cimarex Energy Co., Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Inc., BHP Billiton plc and West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
  • The five greatest detractors to relative performance were Plains All American Pipeline L.P., Flowserve Corp., Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Seven Generations Energy Ltd. and Parsley Energy, Inc.
  • The energy sector remains a major focus for the Portfolio, although we reduced the allocation to the energy sector to about 71% at the quarter’s end. Exposure to areas outside of energy has been increasing as several companies in chemicals, industrial metals, forest products and industrial gases meet our requirements for high quality and are benefiting from lower oil prices.
  • In energy in particular, we focus on owning companies that can create value over the full course of the energy cycle. We target companies that are low-cost operators, have strong balance sheets, have the ability to grow profitably and have strong return on capital.


  • Despite an abundance of supply sources for oil, the industry is in the early stages of a cyclical recovery as oil fundamentals have begun to improve. We think there is the potential for modest revenue growth for energy companies. Margins and returns also are likely to improve from their cycle lows in 2016. We believe the main drivers of this growth will be higher volume, higher capacity utilization and continued improvement in cost efficiency.
  • We think natural resource sectors in addition to energy will achieve modest revenue growth as they rebound off their cyclical bottoms. Many of these sectors are benefitting from lower-priced hydrocarbons and strong end-market demand.
  • We expect demand for oil in the short-term to remain solid in a range of 1.0-1.4 million barrels per day. Worldwide oil inventories continue to fall as demand has been better than expected, while supply growth has been constrained by lower oil prices and high compliance by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries with output quotas.
  • The world oil market is expected to be heavily influenced by the supply fluctuation from U.S. shale, which has become the de facto swing supplier of oil. Oil supply from U.S. shale is still a small percentage of worldwide demand, but more importantly, it is likely to be about 75% of the supply growth in the world in the next year.
  • Our outlook overall has not changed in the quarter. Demand surprised us the most in the quarter, led by improving emerging markets, and we expect steady global economic growth to continue in the remainder of 2017 and 2018.

The opinions expressed are those of the Portfolio’s managers and are not meant as investment advice or to predict or project the future performance of any investment product. The opinions are current through Sept. 30, 2017, are subject to change at any time based on market and other current conditions, and no forecasts can be guaranteed. This commentary is being provided as a general source of information and is not intended as a recommendation to purchase, sell, or hold any specific security or to engage in any investment strategy. Investment decisions should always be made based on an investor’s specific objectives, financial needs, risk tolerance and time horizon. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Top 10 Equity Holdings as a percent of net assets as of 09/30/2017: Halliburton Co., 6.78%; RPC, Inc., 3.74%; EOG Resources, Inc., 3.69%; BHP Billiton plc, 3.47%; Rio Tinto plc, 3.39%; Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., 3.32%; Phillips 66, 3.30%; Dow Chemical Co., 3.27%; Capot Oil & Gas Corp., 3.21%; Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Inc., 3.07%.

Ivy VIP Global Natural Resources was renamed Ivy VIP Natural Resources Fund on April 28, 2017.

Risk factors: The value of the Portfolio's shares will change, and you could lose money on your investment. An investment in the Portfolio is not a bank deposit and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Investing in companies involved in one specified sector may be more risky and volatile than an investment with greater diversification. Investing in the energy sector can be riskier than other types of investment activities because of a range of factors, including price fluctuation caused by real and perceived inflationary trends and political developments, and the cost assumed by energy companies in complying with environmental safety regulations. These and other risks are more fully described in the Portfolio's prospectus.

Annuities are long-term financial products designed for retirement purposes. Annuity and life insurance guarantees are based on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. The guarantees have no bearing on the performance of a variable investment option. Variable investment options are subject to market risk, including loss of principal. There are charges and expenses associated with annuities and variable life insurance products, including mortality and expense risk charges, management fees, administrative fees, expenses for optional riders and deferred sales charges for early withdrawals. Withdrawals before age 59 1/2 may be subject to a 10% IRS tax penalty and surrender charges may apply.