For commodities, it’s like the 21st century never happened.
The last time the Bloomberg Commodity Index of investor returns was this low, Apple Inc.’s best-selling product was a desktop computer, and you could pay for it with francs and deutsche marks.
The gauge tracking the performance of 22 natural resources has plunged two-thirds from its peak, to the lowest level since 1999. That shows it’s back to square one for the so-called commodity super cycle, a hunger for coal, oil and metals from Chinese manufacturers that powered a bull market for about a decade until 2011.
“In China, you had 1.3 billion people industrializing — something on that scale has never been seen before,” said Andrew Lapping, deputy chief investment officer at Allan Gray Ltd., a manager of $33 billion of assets in Cape Town. “But there’s just no way that can continue indefinitely. You can only consume so much.”
If slowing Chinese growth, now headed for its weakest pace in 25 years, put the first nail in the coffin of the super cycle, the Federal Reserve is about to hammer in the last.
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