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How to feed the world in 2050: Macroeconomic environment, commodity markets - A longer term outlook

van der Mensbrugghe, Dominique and Osorio Rodarte, Israel and Burns, Andrew and Baffes, John (2009): How to feed the world in 2050: Macroeconomic environment, commodity markets - A longer term outlook.

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Abstract

The recent commodity boom was the longest and broadest of the post-World War II period. Although most prices have declined sharply since their mid-2008 peak, they are still considerably higher than 2003, the beginning of the boom. Apart from strong and sustained economic growth, the recent boom was fueled by numerous other factors including low past investment in extractive commodities, weak dollar, fiscal expansion in many countries, and, perhaps, investment fund activity. On the other hand, the diversion of some food commodities to the production of biofuels, adverse weather conditions, global stock declines to historical lows and government policies, including export bans and prohibitive taxes, accelerated the price increases that eventually led to the 2008 rally. This paper concludes that the increased link between energy and non-energy commodity prices, strong demand by developing countries - when the current economic downturn reverses course - and changing weather patterns will be the dominant forces that are likely to shape developments in commodity markets.

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