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Goldman Says Commodities May Rally in 2012 as Brent Surges

December 01, 2011

(Adds Brent forecasts in second graph.)

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. forecast that commodities may rally 15 percent in the next 12 months, sticking with an “overweight” recommendation on raw materials and predicting Brent crude may surge to highest level since 2008.

Commodities may gain as the global economy avoids recession next year and in 2013, analysts led by London-based Jeffrey Currie said today in a report. Brent may jump to $127.50 per barrel at the end of next year and $135 at the end of 2013.

Goldman’s bullishness contrasts with the view from JPMorgan Chase & Co., which cut commodities to “underweight” on Nov. 22 citing policy failures in the U.S. and crisis-hit Europe. Data today showed manufacturing in China, the largest user of energy, and base metals, shrank for the first time since February 2009.

“The European debt crisis remains a significant downside risk in 2012,” Goldman said. “However, as long as the risks manifest themselves in economic weakness and not in financial stress that would likely precipitate a global recession, it is unlikely to severely impact commodity markets.”

Commodities as measured by the S&P GSCI Spot Index are beating equities for a fifth consecutive year, signaling that demand from developing economies is sustaining global growth. The gauge rallied 9.6 percent in October and 1.6 percent last month even as the euro-zone debt crisis intensified.

‘Large Driver’

“The risks to this view are skewed to the upside, particularly given the return of significant backwardation to the oil market that could become a very large driver of returns,” Goldman said, referring to a pattern where near-term prices are higher than those further out.

Brent for January delivery, the most-active contract, traded at $110.89 at 1:01 p.m. in Singapore as the December 2012 contract was at $105.73. Brent peaked this year at $127.02 in April, and hasn’t traded at more than $127.50 since August 2008.

Goldman correctly advised investors to sell oil and copper in April and turned more bullish the next month before prices rebounded. The New York-based bank lowered its commodity gain forecast from 20 percent for the S&P GSCI Enhanced Commodity Index earlier this month.

Raw materials show limited potential for gains in 2012 as the global economy slows and risk aversion boosts the dollar, Morgan Stanley analysts led by New York-based Hussein Allidina said yesterday. There were a “myriad of headwinds” for expansion, Allidina said.

Goldman economists reduced their forecast for global economic growth next year to 3.2 percent from 3.4 percent, the report said. “This reduced outlook, but avoidance of global recession, makes it more likely that commodity markets can maintain a central course between the whirlpool of a world economic recession and the rocks of potential shortages.”

In China, the Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 49 in November from 50.4 in October, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said. That was below the median estimate of 49.8 in a Bloomberg survey of 18 economists. A level above 50 indicates expansion.

--Editors: Jake Lloyd-Smith, Jarrett Banks

To contact the reporter on this story: Chanyaporn Chanjaroen in Singapore at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at

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