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$70 Oil, $200 Iron, $10000 Copper: Commodities Smash Milestones


When headline crude futures topped $70 a barrel on Tuesday, it was just the latest landmark in a banner year for raw materials.

From copper to iron ore and oil, prices have rallied broadly in 2021, as the global economy emerges from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic and fires up demand. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index, which tracks a broad basket of raw materials, is up 21% since January, putting it on track for the best year since 2016.

Copper surged to an all-time high this month, bursting through $10,000 a ton in the process. Iron ore also hit a record recently with the steelmaking raw material surging as China churns out more of the alloy that ever. Now oil’s joining in, with Brent crude topping $70 a barrel, and retail gasoline prices above $3 a gallon in the U.S.

Together, they’re latest signs of a global economy that is starting to see inflationary forces at work. The prices of the raw materials used to make everything from houses to coffee are skyrocketing, underscoring the giant reflation trade that has gripped global markets this year.

“It’s driven by inflation concerns and demand,” said Giovanni Staunovo commodity analyst at UBS Group AG. “Commodities are reopening-and-reflation trades.”

Beyond of raw materials, there are wider booms underway across commodity markets. Argentina’s government is limiting exports of beef, a staple in the country, to try to contain runaway inflation that’s approaching 50% annually. Wheat, corn, and sugar all hit multiyear highs recently, while palm oil reached a record and soybean oil is trading near an all-time high.

Gold rose to the highest in more than three months, breaking out of a downtrend its held since August, on growing inflation concerns and assurances on monetary policy.

Economic Recovery

Copper has been one of the main beneficiaries of a broad economic recovery and vast stimulus programs around the world, but investors are also getting excited about the longer-term outlook.

The metal is crucial for nearly all the technologies and infrastructure needed to decarbonize the global economy with supply struggling to keep pace with consumption. A lack of mine investment and paucity of new projects has prompted forecasts of shortages.

There’s optimism among oil bulls that the crude market will keep running hot into the summer too. Continued restrictions on flying are likely to force people into their cars when they go on vacation, potentially proving to be a boon in road fuels demand. Meanwhile airlines are growing optimistic that some regions will be able to open their borders as vaccinations progress.

As a result big banks have rolled out a wealth of bullish takes on the sector. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says a goldilocks scenario is forming for the commodities sector, with inflation starting to rise but monetary policy not yet tightening. Top trader Trafigura Group has talked up the prospects for copper to hit $15,000 a ton in the coming decade.


2 Comments on "$70 Oil, $200 Iron, $10000 Copper: Commodities Smash Milestones"

  1. Cloggie on Thu, 20th May 2021 3:42 am 

    “$70 Oil, $200 Iron, $10000 Copper: Commodities Smash Milestones”

    Club of Rome in action. Depleting commodities.

    Germany running out of wood:

    Forget about travelling, new cars, new furniture, buying new stuff in general. The icon #1 of the foregone era was the shopping cart, real or increasingly virtual.

    Concrete on extracting energy from your direct environment, thermal and pv solar, wind, biomass, geothermal. Learn how to store it. Know how to run a vegetable garden, like almost everyone in Eastern Europe knows how to do, by sheer necessity. Calling a spade a spade, if you will. Localize. The new icon of the future will be a spade, if not a gun.

    “French soldiers warn of civil war in new letter”

    “Top U.S. general warns of ‘potential international instability'”

  2. Cloggie on Thu, 20th May 2021 3:43 am 

    Concrete = concentrate

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