Bulletin: the global commodity stories of 2013

Earlier this week I spent some time with Javier Blas, the FT’s delightful and clever Commodities Editor. Over an expresso we talked about skiing (Javier is an expert, his father was a national champion) and the outlook for Spain (poor) and the year ahead.

Javier talked me through the big events coming up in commodities in the next 12 months: the impact of US shale oil and gas on the US economy, and what cheap American energy also means for the global energy business; new leadership and a new focus on ROE at the big 5 mining firms; the rise and rise of the commodity trading houses like Glencore – most are still relatively unknown despite their growing power and extraordinary profitability; Africa’s transition from a pure-play commodity origination story to a processing and destination story too; the creaking politics of Iran, whose vast oil reserves and geo-strategic location on the Straits of Homuz make it such an important component of the global economy. As Israel threats and US sanctions bear down on its nuclear weapons programme, could Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government crack in the face of youth-led demands for reform, or might it lash out?

A new Iranian submarine, launched November 2012 and painted a bright blue

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