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Currency: The next commodity risk management disruptor

Falling commodity prices have made businesses look good and given business leaders a false peace, but looming currency wars may prove to be the disruptor that ignites a new round of commodity volatility.

By ·

In recent years, commodity volatility has quietly slipped out of the minds of business leaders. In fact, over the past five years most commodities—though not all—have fallen substantially. Though most media attention is given to crude oil, which is half of its value from five years ago, other commodities have also fallen at a breakneck pace including corn (-44%), copper (-38%) and wheat (-30%).

Those declining prices have made many businesses look good and led economists to debate whether we are at the end of a commodity super cycle that will propel prices even lower. For example, as China tries for a “soft landing” of decelerated economic growth, commodity prices could fall further as demand slows. If so, those lower prices may give business leaders a false peace. The decline in commodity prices is already adding political pressure to do something on commodity exporters such as Australia and Saudi Arabia, and sparking political unrest in countries around the world such as Russia and Venezuela. It leads one to wonder if currency wars aren’t looming in the future, and if so, what comes next?

In fact, there is evidence that the currency wars have already started. Compounding the issue, the last two years have crushed the markets’ belief in the predictability and stability of currency values. Consider the following:

  • Francogeddon.” In January 2015, Switzerland abandoned its peg to the euro and threw financial markets into chaos, with the value of the Swiss franc spiking to more than 20% above the prior valuation relative to the U.S. dollar.
  • This complete article is available to subscribers only.
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    By ·
    Download Article PDF

    In recent years, commodity volatility has quietly slipped out of the minds of business leaders. In fact, over the past five years most commodities—though not all—have fallen substantially. Though most media attention is given to crude oil, which is half of its value from five years ago, other commodities have also fallen at a breakneck pace including corn (-44%), copper (-38%) and wheat (-30%).

    Those declining prices have made many businesses look good and led economists to debate whether we are at the end of a commodity super cycle that will propel prices even lower. For example, as China tries for a “soft landing” of decelerated economic growth, commodity prices could fall further as demand slows. If so, those lower prices may give business leaders a false peace. The decline in commodity prices is already adding political pressure to do something on commodity exporters such as Australia and Saudi Arabia, and sparking political unrest in countries around the world such as Russia and Venezuela. It leads one to wonder if currency wars aren’t looming in the future, and if so, what comes next?

    In fact, there is evidence that the currency wars have already started. Compounding the issue, the last two years have crushed the markets’ belief in the predictability and stability of currency values. Consider the following:

  • Francogeddon.” In January 2015, Switzerland abandoned its peg to the euro and threw financial markets into chaos, with the value of the Swiss franc spiking to more than 20% above the prior valuation relative to the U.S. dollar.
  • SUBSCRIBERS: Click here to download PDF of the full article.

     

     


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