Traders in the raw

Ready access to cheap bank credit will lead to another commodity crisis in China, warn Hong Kong financiers.

Global commodity prices are at 10-15 year highs and the market tipping the scales on demand is China. China's appetite for steel, petroleum and downstream petroleum products has doubled in two years. The country has become the world's largest consumer of copper, aluminum and cement, and last year overtook Japan as the world's second largest importer of oil. It is also the number one buyer of soybeans.

The Chinese government is aware of the need for raw materials to fuel its economic growth and is passing new rules to facilitate more trade. In January last year the number of categories of import commodities subject to licensing controls was reduced from eight...

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