London — One of the great hopes for a sustained bull run for commodities is China’s Belt and Road initiative, with expectations of hundreds of billions of dollars in commodity-intensive projects over the coming years. However, quantifying the impact on various commodities of China’s ambitious plans to fund, build and benefit from infrastructure and other ventures along maritime and land corridors linking Asia to Africa and Europe is challenging. In theory, the touted billions to be spent on ports, roads, railways, power plants and so on will serve as an ongoing stimulus for commodities such as iron ore, coal, copper, crude oil and a host of minor metals with industrial applications. However, so far, the "One Belt, One Road" concept promoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, seems to have had virtually no impact on commodity demand in the world’s largest producer, consumer and importer of natural resources. If there were a flood of projects being financed and built by Chinese companie...

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