The global economic slowdown and fewer supply disruptions generally reduced commodity prices over the past quarter, with Australia’s resource and energy exports down $58 billion year-on-year.
In the Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISER) quarterly report, as reported by Mining.com.au, figures show the Resources and Energy Export Values Index fell 20% from the September quarter 2022 — a small rise in volumes partly offset the impact of a sharp fall in prices.
According to DISER, there is only a modest change in the aggregate forecasts since September. Resource and energy exports are forecast to be $408 billion in 2023–24, down from a record $466 billion in 2022–23.
DISER says weak demand and improved global commodity supply imply a fall in prices, more than offsetting the impact of a forecast small rise in export volumes. Export values are forecast to fall by 15% to $348 billion in 2024–25: prices will fall but volumes will be flat,” DISER reports.
And 2023 was also an interesting year in the financial markets. Saxo Market Strategists agree that the long-awaited recession came to nothing and while interest rates kept soaring, so too did the hype around AI, while gold and oil came into focus.
Heading into 2024, Saxo says the big questions revolve around whether there will be a recession in the new year and what actions that might require from central banks. The increasing macro-political uncertainty around the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts and a elections in the US and UK will shape 2024 in a year in which anything could happen.
Saxo Market Strategists’ assessment of 2023 across asset classes such as equities, fixed income, forex, and commodities and their expectations for 2024 echo these sentiments.
According to Ole Sloth Hansen, Saxo Head of Commodity Strategy, in 2023 the biggest events were the resilience of gold during a period of sharply rising bond yields and the oil market battle between OPEC and speculators looking for lower prices.
“2024 could be the year of the metals, not least gold, silver and copper, driven by lower bond yields, rate cuts and supply disruptions“
He says next year could see a resurgence in several metals, adding that “2024 could be the year of the metals, not least gold, silver and copper, driven by lower bond yields, rate cuts and supply disruptions.”
Hansen notes one trend that will drive the commodities market will be the economic outlook for China and the US, and whether the US will see a soft or hard landing.
What should investors look out for in 2024?
Hansen says: “Investors should be aware that commodities with tight supply can rise even if the economic outlook looks less rosy.”
In terms of equities, Peter Garnry, Saxo Head of Equity Strategy, says the biggest events in 2023 were the ‘snowballing hype cycle’ around generative AI systems such as ChatGPT, which has pushed the S&P 500 index concentration to the highest on record.
Garny’s expectations for 2024?
“The big kicker in terms of performance is whether we get a recession or not, which I believe is around 50:50. I expect that AI and green transformation will be key equity themes in 2024, with Fed policy rates and the Chinese economy being important factors.
Equity investors should pay attention to whether or not we get a recession, as that will be a prime indicator of where the asset class is heading.”
Saxo is a fintech specialist that operates a multi-asset trading and investment business. It is a wholly owned licensed subsidiary of the Copenhagen-based Saxo Bank, which holds more than US$100 billion in client assets, has over 1 million clients worldwide, and 30 years-plus of financial market experience.
Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au