In the face of a slowing US economy, a mixed position for the European economies and a still strong Asian market, it is a particularly tough call this year to judge where prices will go. Our call is the US will teeter on recession. Europe though restricted by high ECB interest rates will still enjoy some (if reduced) growth providing the Euro/US Dollar exchange rate does not strangle exports. Asia in general and China in particular are still enjoying robust growth. China may well drop from the double digit growth of the last 5 years to high single digit figures but that is still a very significant driver for the world economy and particularly the world metal markets.

So here are the 2008 predictions:


The Challenge for Global Logistics

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Global Trade

There are some industries, as there are some products, which have long promised but failed to deliver. Think of robotic house servants: Ever since the 1960s, the idea of robots to clean your home has been supposedly just on the cusp of becoming a reality and yet here we are at the start of 2008 and they are still tantalizingly out of everyday reach. The Global Logistics market may seem a long stretch from domestic robots, but the idea of a seamless global logistics service from factory production line in Chongqing, China to shop shelf in Omaha, Nebraska has been a concept on the verge of reality for decades. Sure, Wal-Mart has achieved phenomenal profitability by creating just that level of sophistication, but they are the world’s largest retailer, and in terms of resources and focus, they are in a class of their own. The 3PL market, however, even with recent consolidations, is still a fragmented industry with many small to medium players covering restricted geographic areas or with niche expertise in certain supply chain functions. The top dozen logistics providers worldwide only account for 16% of the market, leaving many small to medium players lacking the financial muscle to invest in technology and infrastructure.


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