You want to know where the global commodities markets are heading in the coming years? Then it’s probably best that you remember a single word: China.
As the biggest and one of the fastest-growing of the world’s developing economies, China has become a voracious consumer of industrial and agricultural commodities. Its shifting needs are now the most important driver in the prices of many of those goods. Producers often base massive capital investments largely on their expectations for Chinese demand for their products. Investors often make similar calculations before buying or selling commodities contracts or related securities.
That’s why no single factor is likely to have a more far-reaching impact on commodities markets over the next few years than how Chinese demand changes as the country’s economy evolves. “That’s the big question,” says Richard Adkerson, chief executive ofFreeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.
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