Jessica Noviskis, CFA
A commodities supercycle is generally defined as a sustained period of broad-based above-trend movement. In the first quarter of 2020, almost a decade of commodities price weakness was capped off with a more than 20% drop, and since then, prices have rebounded more than 40% to levels last seen in 2018, inspiring headlines debating whether this is the start of the next supercycle. Proponents argue reopening demand, a potential uptick in global growth and inflation, and a weaker U.S. dollar, among other factors, point to yes. Skeptics contend that an initial demand normalization complicated by temporary supply disruptions does not a supercycle make, at least yet. Commodity price movements can be especially volatile given lumpy physical market characteristics. Oil prices moving into sharply negative territory last April demonstrate exactly that. Whether this latest move is cyclical and temporary or structural and sustainable is still to be determined.
In this newsletter, we explore a few of the key factors that could support or suppress a sustained commodities bull market.
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