The price volatility of so many commodities over the past decade has underlined their economic importance and how dependent we are on them. The price of gold has soared to new peaks as currencies have endured a crisis of confidence; demand from China has pushed metal prices up; instability in the Middle East and North Africa has had its effect on the oil price; and food prices have been increasing in parallel with worries about whether there is enough to feed the world.
Among the commodities it covers in details are:
·Aluminium, lead, nickel, tin, zinc, steel, iron ore, gold, silver and platinum;
·Oil, gas and coal;
·Wheat, maize (corn), sugar, soybeans, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tea, rice, wool and rubber.
The guide looks at trends in the consumption and production of, and markets for, these goods. It looks at how prices have changed over the years and how they are likely to change in future. It analyses where the power lies in terms of producers (resource rich countries and mining firms) and market players (commodity exchanges and trading firms like Glencore). It highlights the vulnerabilities of different societies and industries to the vagaries of commodity markets.
For anyone who wants a concise guide and comprehensive overview of the commodities business and its impact on the world, it is invaluable.