The World for Sale – Commodity Trading in Uncertain Times

Myth of the 20th Century

The exchange of goods and services has existed since the earliest forms of civilization, from simple barter arrangements at the local town square to Phoenician traders navigating the Mediterranean with goods from Europe and North Africa. Today, however, the scope of exchange is truly massive, with online commerce coming to dominate nearly all segments of retail, and the scale encompassing transoceanic trade routes totaling 11 billion tons in maritime cargoes in 2021. Underpinning all this lies an extremely complex web of producers, shippers, pipelines, warehouses, and commodities traders that include the massive concerns such as Koch Industries in energy and Glencore in metals, with over 100,000 employees each. Billions of dollars have been made and lost in commodities futures, and as volatility continues to disrupt prices of everyday items from gasoline to grain, the trend of ever tighter global trade integration seen since the end of the Cold War may…

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