Commodity markets are ‘captives of a Chinese saga’

Copper is widely seen as a barometer of global economic activity. So the red metal’s near-10% slump last week to a four-year low looks alarming. But this reputation is exaggerated, says Economist.com’s Buttonwood blog.

Copper fell for much of the 1990s, for instance, when the world economy was growing strongly. These days it really tells us more about China, which accounts for 40% of global demand, thanks to the infrastructure boom of recent years.

The price slide partly reflects recent weak economic data, which points to a slowdown in China now that the authorities are cracking down on the [...]

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