25 May 2006

Why it isn't a commodity bubble

Telegraph | Money | Rare metals outstrip copper demand: "Barclays Capital cited the roaring bull market for these niche metals as proof that real demand, fuelled by Asia's industrial revolutions, is the real driver of the global commodities boom.
'When market commentators use the simplistic argument that industrial metals are being driven by investment bubbles, they would do well to look at price performance in some of the non-exchange traded minor metals markets,' said the bank's commodity analyst, Kevin Norrish.
'These metals cannot be invested in, but prices are being driven higher by the same structural changes in fundamental demand as copper, increasingly classed as a speculative bubble.'
Tungsten, used in drills and light bulbs, is up 330pc; while iridium has soared 328pc on its use in compasses and pen tips. Molybdenum is up eightfold; ruthenium fivefold; both cadmium and antimony have more than tripled.
The US fund giant Pimco also disputed claims that a dotcom-style bubble had developed in commodities, insisting that hard demand was driving the boom.
'To have a speculative bubble, you need to lose all concept of an objective measure of value.
'That doesn't hold for commodities,' said Bob Greer, vice-president in charge of commodities.
He doubted that a fresh wall of money from pension funds and big institutions pouring into commodity tracker funds - thought to be anywhere between $100bn and $200bn - was causing prices to lose touch with economic reality.
'I do not believe that index investors are driving prices. Pimco is the largest manager of commodity index mandates in the world.
'Yet Pimco does not own one barrel of crude oil, one bushel of soybeans, one ounce of gold. We"

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