COMMODITIES: Stabilizing World Prices

Even before the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries began jacking up oil prices in 1973, prices for other raw materials were breaking records. Spurred by shortages and rampant speculation in commodities markets, prices for such staples as copper, rubber, cocoa, coffee, platinum and cotton rose sharply; some had doubled or tripled by mid-1974. But after the oil crisis helped push the West into recession, commodities prices tumbled, in some cases to a third of what they had been at the peak. Copper, for example, rose nearly 300% in 17 months, peaking at $1.40 per Ib. a year ago; this...

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