Commodities reach new highs on rosy oil-demand outlook

Surging prices: The Lavendar Pit at Copper Queen Mine in Arizona. Global prices for raw materials are soaring with copper in the past week hitting a 10-year high. -- AFP

NEW YORK: Commodities prices jumped to new highs as signs of economic recovery raised hopes of renewed energy demand and a weaker dollar stoked investor appetite for precious metals.

The Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index, which tracks price movements for 23 raw materials, rose 0.7% Monday. The index is at levels not seen since 2012.

Oil, the most heavily weighted commodity in the group, climbed after the European Union proposed easing travel restrictions, a move that could further boost a rebound in fuel demand globally.

Meanwhile, the greenback retreated, spurring buying of dollar-denominated commodities including silver and gold.

The world could again be using 100 million barrels a day of crude oil by the end of 2021, which would be a full recovery from the devastating impacts of stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions over the past year, according to Enterprise Products Partners.

Demand for hydrocarbons could reach all-time highs as soon as next year, Tony Chovanec, Enterprise’s senior vice-president for fundamentals and commodity risk assessment, said during a conference call with investors.

Prices for everything from copper to oil to timber have sky-rocketed as the world’s largest economies recovers from the pandemic, with growing signs of shortages across markets. Manufacturing and building are picking up, cars are filling the streets again and more people are booking airline tickets as they get vaccinated at a time when supplies are curbed by bottlenecks, production curbs and poor weather.

China is buying record amounts of corn, and pricier agricultural grains have upended global trade flows.

Hedge funds have increased bullish bets in commodity futures for three consecutive weeks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Massive government spending and loose monetary policy have stoked fears of inflation, which has also fueled the bull run. Commodities are typically seen by investors as a hedge against inflation and a weaker dollar. — Bloomberg

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