Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tighten your belt

Plenty if you can afford it, less for the rest.

The price of copper has tripled in five years. Zinc has doubled. Wheat and soybeans rose 70 percent in 2007. Futures prices of crude oil, gold, silver, lead, uranium, cattle, cocoa and corn are all at or near records.

A global boom in the cost of commodities, the staple ingredients of a modern economy, is entering its sixth year with no end in sight. Commodities have always been subject to boom-and-bust cycles, but many economists see a fundamental shift driving the markets these days.

As development rolls across once-destitute countries at a breakneck pace, lifting billions out of poverty, demand for food, metals and fuel is red-hot, and suppliers are struggling to meet it. Prices are spiraling, and Americans find themselves in what amounts to a bidding war with overseas buyers for products as diverse as milk and gasoline.

“It is absolutely a fundamental change in the global economic structure,” said Bart Melek, global commodities strategist for BMO Capital Markets, an investment firm based in Toronto. “Global commodities ranging from oil to base metals to grains are moving higher as billions of people in China and around the world get wealthier and are consuming more as they produce products for us, and increasingly for themselves.”...
Link to more at NYT

Might as well face it, things are going to get worse even if we continue to ignore the facts.

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