Commodities on the Rise

The commodity super-cycle – in which commodity prices reach ever-higher highs, but fall only to higher lows – is not over. Despite euphoria around shale gas (indeed, despite weak global growth), commodity prices have risen by as much as 150% since 2008 – a trend that will continue to threaten living standards worldwide.

SEOUL – The commodity super-cycle – in which commodity prices reach ever-higher highs, and fall only to higher lows – is not over. Despite the euphoria around shale gas – indeed, despite weak global growth – commodity prices have risen by as much as 150% in the aftermath of the financial crisis. In the medium term, this trend will continue to pose an inflation risk and undermine living standards worldwide.

For starters, there is the convergence argument. As China grows, its increasing size, wealth, and urbanization will continue to stoke demand for energy, grains, minerals, and other resources.

For example, the US consumes more than nine times as much oil as China on a per capita basis. As more of China’s population converges to Western standards of consumption, demand for commodities – and thus their prices – will remain on an upward trajectory.

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