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Leonid Bershidsky

Maybe the Commodities Supercycle Is Actually Real

Oil might be joining long-term decline.
No longer bucking the trend?

No longer bucking the trend?

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Economic supercycle theories, based on the long-ago musings of Nikolai Kondratiev and Joseph Schumpeter, have always been a little akin to voodoo: It's hard to believe that there is an underlying pattern to how economic indicators change over the course of decades. The current rout in commodity prices, however, fits in eerily well with the idea.

Almost all commodity markets have taken a severe beating lately. The aggregate Bloomberg Commodities Index is down 61 percent from its 2008 peak and 46 percent from the 2011 post-crisis high: