Commodities Rout Erases $2T From Stock Values

(Bloomberg Business) -- Commodity producers have lost almost as much value in the past year as India’s entire economy.

Slumping prices for raw materials wiped out $2.05 trillion from the shares of mining and oil companies since the middle of last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with India’s $2.07 trillion gross domestic product.

Prices plunged after years of over-investment led to a supply glut at the same time as concerns have emerged that economic growth will slow in China, the biggest commodities consumer. The Bloomberg Commodity Index of 22 raw materials dropped Wednesday to the lowest since 2002, paced this year by declines in nickel, sugar and crude oil.

Oil companies have reduced spending by $180 billion this year while maintaining dividends, according to Rystad Energy AS, an Oslo-based energy consultant. As a prolonged decline lowers revenue, it may be harder for the industry to avoid slashing payments.

“The energy is the worst, the materials, industrials have been a disaster,” said Donald Selkin, who helps manage about $3 billion as chief market strategist at National Securities Corp. in New York. “The problem is their ability to pay dividends. That’s the question, as far as the valuation is concerned.”

Another blow has come from a stronger dollar. Currencies of commodity producers such as Canada and Russia are slumping, lowering production costs. That’s helped boost Russian oil supply to a post-Soviet high this year, adding to the global glut.

—With assistance from Luzi Ann Javier in New York and Dan Murtaugh in Houston.  

To contact the author on this story: Isaac Arnsdorf at; to contact the editors on this story: David Marino at Carlos Caminada at


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