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On booms and super-cycles: China and India's central role in global commodity markets

John Baffes's picture
Global commodity prices underwent an exceptionally strong and sustained boom beginning in 2000. Unlike a typical price cycle, this boom has been characterized as a “super cycle”, i.e., a demand-driven surge in commodity prices lasting possibly decades rather than years. Many researchers say this is the fourth “super cycle” of the past 150 years. The price super cycle has been attributed to strong growth in emerging markets.

Equality of opportunity as an engine of prosperity

Augusto Lopez-Claros's picture

We have learned much over the past several decades about the connection between gender inequality and economic growth, particularly when we talk about inequalities in education and employment. Inequalities in education, for instance, artificially reduce the pool of talent which societies can draw from; by excluding qualified girls from the educational stream and promoting less qualified boys, the average amount of human capital in a country will be reduced and this will have an adverse impact on economic performance. We also know that the promotion of female education leads to lower births per women, not only because educated women will have greater knowledge about family planning but also because education creates greater opportunities for women that may be more attractive than childbearing.

Are China’s rural children able to rise above their station in life?

Yan Sun's picture
Although China has experienced extraordinary economic growth and poverty reduction over the last few decades, growing inequality has become a key concern. Did economic reforms expand equality of economic opportunities in rural China, or generate inequality? In a recent paper (WPS7316), Shahe Emran and I investigate the equality of opportunity in rural China from the approach of intergenerational mobility.

Commodities (mostly) continue to tumble

John Baffes's picture

We just published our Commodity Market Outlook for the third quarter of 2015, and report that most prices declined in the second quarter of 2015 due to ample supplies and weak demand, especially in industrial commodities (see figure below).

Energy prices rose 12 percent in the quarter, with the surge in oil offset by declines in natural gas (down 13 percent) and coal prices (down 4 percent). However, energy prices fell on average to 39 percent below 2014 levels. Natural gas prices are projected to decline across all three main markets—U.S., Europe, and Asia—and coal prices to fall 17 percent. Excluding energy, our report notes a 2 percent decline in prices for the quarter, and forecasts that non-energy prices will average 12 percent below 2014 levels this year. Iran’s new nuclear agreement with the US and other leading governments, if ratified, will ease sanctions, including restrictions on oil exports from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Downside risks to the forecast include higher-than-expected non-OPEC production (supported by falling production costs) and continuing gains in OPEC output. Possible (less likely) upside pressures may come from closure of high-cost operations—the number of operational oil rigs in the US is down 60 percent since its November high, for example—and geopolitical tensions. 

Not your Grandma's Cuba: A new day in the Caribbean

Otaviano Canuto's picture
This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post on July 20.
Today, July 20, 2015, Cuba and the United States reopened embassies in Washington and Havana for the first time in decades, marking a crucial step towards the normalization of relations. Yet, while much attention will be placed on these international developments, perhaps the most decisive changes for Cuba will be domestic.

Highway to success

Ejaz Ghani's picture
Infrastructure is an essential ingredient for economic development and growth. Transport infrastructure, for example, facilitates cheaper and more efficient movement of goods, people and ideas across places. It also impacts the distribution of economic activity and development across regions to the extent that agglomeration economies and efficient sorting can be realized, the levels of competition among industries and concomitant reallocation of inputs towards more productive enterprises are achieved, and much more.

Multinationals indeed bring good jobs to host countries – here’s why

Beata Javorcik's picture
Policy makers across the globe court foreign firms with an aim to create new jobs in their economies. But are these jobs good
Some jobs do more than others to help reduce poverty, but perhaps more importantly, they increase overall expertise within an economy. If we accept this premise, developing countries should focus not only on creating jobs, but on creating good jobs.

Rise of informality in the tradable sector-- evidence from India

Ejaz Ghani's picture
The slow growth of Indian manufacturing is a concern for many observers of the Indian economy, and India’s manufacturers have long performed below their potential. Although the country’s manufacturing exports are growing, its manufacturing sector generates just 16% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), much less than the 55% from services. Since its liberalization, India has undertaken many trade reforms to increase its global integration, and the country has invested in domestic infrastructure projects to improve its regional connectivity.

Save first, then spend: history’s lessons on the influence of low oil prices on global growth

Marc Stocker's picture
The impact of falling oil prices is becoming increasingly visible, but the global economy is yet to hit a nice stride - oil exporters face severe headwinds, oil-importing China continues to slow, other large oil-importing countries have seen mixed developments since the start of 2015, and financial market volatility has increased.