Friday, September 4, 2015

The slowdown in China sent shockwaves on the commodity markets. The Bloomberg Global Commodity Index, which measures the evolution of 22 commodities, reached levels that have never been reached since the beginning of this century. The price of oil is the best barometer of the growth of the global economy, as this commodity fuels almost every industry and manufacturing sector of the global markets. The price of oil has dropped by more than half in a year, now getting closer to 40 dollars / barrel on the US market.   Also, the price of iron ore, an essential commodity for the Chinese foundries and the construction sector, has reached 56 dollars a ton, from 140 dollars a ton in January 2014.   The crisis of investing in resources - In the context of the decline of the price of oil and metals, many mining projects which have major loans have been taken out for are now in the red, and investors may never get profits from them...the most affected are the American exploitations of shale gas.  As the needs for refinancing in the sector are increasing, in the future there is the risk of quick contagion.  The domino effect - The pillars of the world's economy are beginning to fall. China is weakening, and the emerging markets that have consumed such huge volumes of commodities are being affected by the weakening of currencies. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the BRICS which seemed that they were going to uphold the growth of the world's economy, are now in "disarray".  Central banks are quickly losing control.  The stock market in China has already crashed, and a real disaster was avoided only through the government's intervention, which bought billions of shares. In Greece, the markets are having problems, amid the turbulences in the country. In the currency sector, investors have flocked to the Swiss franc in the beginning of the year, but the quantitative easing of 1,100 billion Euros announced by the Central Bank (ECB) has devalued the Euro, causing the Swiss National Bank to drop peg it had imposed four years ago on the EUR/CHF exchange rate.

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