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[greenyes] Commodity Price Trends

Commodity Boom
Is Showing Signs
Of Coming to an End

May 6, 2004; Page C1

MELBOURNE, Australia -- After a two-year bull market in raw-materials
prices, commodity traders are growing edgy.

Last week, metals prices fell broadly on news that Chinese government
officials had asked banks to restrain their lending at the end of April -- a
move widely viewed as further evidence that China's economy could soon slow.
Even before last week's pullback, prices for many commodities -- including
copper and lead -- had started falling. Nickel, one of the hottest
commodities in the world over the past year, has fallen to about $11,200 a
ton from more than $17,000 a ton at the beginning of the year.

While demand for raw materials remains solid, a growing number of industry
analysts and traders suspect that the commodity boom -- if not over -- is
losing steam.

Producers are ramping up capacity to take advantage of higher prices, and
China's voracious demand for raw materials is expected to slow as the
Chinese government works to cool the nation's economy.

"People need to be a little more cautious about how high [the commodity
market] was going to get and how long it was going to be there," said David
Thurtell, a commodities strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in
Sydney. "We probably have seen the peak."

Even if China continues to grow rapidly, moves by producers are starting to
affect commodity prices.


Peter Anderson
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Cell (608) 438-9062
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