When Does a Commodities Boom Turn Into a Supercycle?

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In early 2021, prices for many commodities exploded and there were forecasts that they might keep soaring. Copper, whose many uses in industry and construction make it a bellwether, burst through $10,000 a ton in April and Trafigura Group, the leading copper trader, predicted it could reach $15,000 in the coming decade. Soybeans and corn hit multiyear highs, driven by demand from China as it rebuilt its hog herd following losses from a devastating pig disease. The pandemic-fueled surge in homebuilding took North American sawmills by surprise, boosting lumber prices to a record. Shipping costs also rose, while oil rebounded amid signs people were driving more and avoiding mass transit.