Decoupling: Not One Big Happy Market

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Commodities

The so called decoupling of emerging markets from developed markets, that concept much bandied about in the press a year back has been shown to be just another bright idea, with little foundation in reality. With the many benefits that globalization has brought to both developed and emerging markets on the back of improved communications, logistics and supply chain management has also come the close alignment of economies around the world. As North American, European and Japanese consumers have closed their wallets, export volumes from the emerging markets have declined at the same time as rising fuel and food costs have had the same dampening effect on consumers in developing markets. The net result is a global lack of consumer confidence which is leading to lower growth in all markets. As the Financial Times puts it, The US consumer is not the only one feeling down and out.” Most vulnerable says the FT are large cap companies in industries such as airlines, automobiles, consumer durables, travel and leisure, and restaurants. Along with lower consumer demand will come lower metal demand. With the exception of major infrastructure projects metal demand is likely to grow more slowly than previously thought next year in emerging markets. The extent to which this continues to impact prices will be interesting to follow.

–Stuart Burns

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