How likely is a commodities supercycle?

Freeport-McMoran, Glencore and Fortescue chiefs to discuss the sector's future prospects

How likely is a commodities supercycle?

Commodities have enjoyed a strong start to 2021, with predictions of a new “supercycle” attracting investors. But inflation is becoming more of a concern, as a result of the monetary and fiscal policies enacted during the pandemic.

At the third edition of the Global Boardroom in May, the FT’s natural resources editor Neil Hume will discuss the prospects for a major boom in commodities, driven by the demand for infrastructure spending to aid pandemic recovery and the opportunities presented by the energy transition.

Industry leaders, including Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of the commodities group Glencore, and Kathleen Quirk, president and chief financial officer of the copper producer Freeport-McMoran, will join the discussion on May 6.

Australian natural resources will also be a key area of focus at the event. Elizabeth Gaines, chief executive of the Australian mining company Fortescue Metals, will assess the extent to which China tensions and environmental, social and governance factors will affect future growth.

Iron ore was last year’s best performing commodity, boosting profits at Fortescue Metals and other leading mining companies. However, a pollution crackdown in China’s rustbelt is starting to weigh down on its price.

Also taking part in other Asia-Pacific sessions in the programme are Wei Christianson, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley in China for a session assessing whether reforms in China’s capital markets will strengthen ties with Wall Street, and Ravi Menon, head of Singapore's central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

As India rebuilds after the severe disruption caused by the pandemic, some of the country’s largest companies are reporting strong profits. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, executive chair of Biocon, one of India’s largest biotech companies, and Mallika Srinivasan, chair of tractor maker Tafe, will join the FT’s South Asia bureau chief Amy Kazmin to look at how India can restore its competitiveness and attract foreign investment.

The third edition of the Global Boardroom will take place virtually on May 4, 5 and 6, featuring live-streamed discussions and interviews on topics such as climate change, trade and geopolitics, and the relations between tech and society.

The future of post-pandemic tourism and cities is still a big focus for the Global Boardroom. Clement King Man Kwok, chief executive of Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, will share his thoughts on how the tourism industry is adapting, while Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the Mayor of Freetown in Sierra Leone will discuss how cities are prioritising social and environmental resilience.

New additions to the Global Boardroom programme also include Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest and Tom Shropshire, the incoming general counsel of Diageo – both joining the FT’s chief business commentator Brooke Masters to discuss the action leaders must take to keep gender equality high on the agenda as business and society rebuilds.

More than 62,000 people tuned in from 142 countries to watch the second edition of the Global Boardroom in November.

Published March 29 2021