Commodity prices

by


Saul Eslake

Commodity prices are likely to stay substantially higher than their average between 1980 and 2000, even if they drop from recent peaks. The steady rise in prices since the early 2000s was driven by China and India passing through a stage of economic development that in other countries increased the demand per capita for minerals and food. This stage will probably last for at least another decade in China, and perhaps 20 years in India. Supply may not increase in response as quickly as in previous cycles: the mining industry has become more concentrated, the more easily obtainable deposits of minerals and energy have been depleted, agriculture productivity has slowed, and climate change may be reducing agricultural capacity.