Home Commodities Economy in the grip of a global commodity ’super squeeze

Economy in the grip of a global commodity ’super squeeze

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But unlike the China-sparked super-cycle of the late-2000s, the latest price spike has not resulted in any serious increase in investment, which Mr Bloxham said would keep energy prices higher in the years ahead.

“Of course, this, in turn, helps to motivate a shift to renewables, which supports demand for the green commodities, including copper, lithium, cobalt and hydrogen,” he said.

“For policymakers, the key to achieving net-zero goals over time is to ramp up investment in renewables faster. But it is not clear that this can happen fast enough to meet global energy demand at a low price (in part reflecting there is not being enough capacity to produce green commodities).

“This will, in turn, support fossil fuel and green commodity prices, in principle driving prices to remain structurally high.”

Mr Bloxham added that geopolitically, large energy producers may have increased market power, including future large renewable producers.

Speaking at a rare earths summit on Friday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers warned of nations “becoming hostage to geopolitical competition, conflict, or circumstance”.

“Our country has the minerals and rare earths the world needs – to build batteries and cars, to build wind turbines and solar panels, phones and fighter jets, MRI scanners and satellites,” Dr Chalmers said.

“We have exactly what the world needs, exactly when the world needs it. Critical minerals could be the opportunity of the century. This is a generational opportunity that we cannot miss or mishandle.”

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe this week warned the renewable energy transition, along with reverse globalisation, fewer working age people, and more extreme climate shocks would coalesce to make inflation and interest rates more volatile.

And on the global transition to renewables, he indicated the significant investment in renewable energy around the world was not being met by investment in existing energy sources that were “depreciating quickly”.

“It is difficult to make predictions here, but it’s probable that the global capital stock that is used to produce energy will come under recurring pressure in the years ahead.

“If so, we could expect higher and more volatile energy prices during the transition to a more renewables-based energy supply.”

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