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The record 39% decline in commodities since July 3 is nowhere near finished, if history is any guide.

The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 commodities from coffee to silver would have to drop another 37% to reach the trough of the 2001 recession and 35% for the 1998 slide, when crude bottomed at $US10.35 a barrel. The measure is 28% above its lowest during the economic contraction that ended in November 1982. Copper, after its biggest weekly loss in two decades last week, is still triple 2001 levels.

While tumbling prices of oil, nickel and soybeans already crippled stock markets from Moscow to Sao Paulo and sliced Alcoa Inc.'s profits by 52%, investors say rising stockpiles of copper and slowing energy demand mean prices will continue to fall. The US slowdown will last more than a year and be deeper than any in three decades, according to Harvard University economist Martin Feldstein, a member of the committee that charts American business cycles.

``This downturn is going to make 2001 look like a walk in the park,'' said Tim Mercer, chief investment officer of Hong Kong-based hedge fund Musashi Capital Ltd., who sold all his commodity investments in July. ``This is the bursting of a 25-year asset-credit bubble. People have really stopped spending money, everywhere.''


http://business.smh.com.au/business/commodities-slide-far-fr...
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