From R J at HS Dent. Not an ag commodity but still worth noting
In the world of "this can't be good," the Chinese government reported that it had 1.9 million tons of copper stored at the end of 2010. This is more than the amount of copper used in the US in an entire year. What does it mean? That’s a really good question.
What immediately comes to mind is that either the Chinese were anticipating an incredible run up in the price of copper, or their production engine slowed down. Given that the price of copper is fallen, oh, off a cliff this year, door number 2 seems more likely than door number 1. Given the other news out of China – property prices turning down, bad debts piling put at banks, etc. – there is good reason for investors to be fearful.
Our view has long been that the economic miracle of China is 1) very real, driven by the urbanization and industrialization of a nation of 1.3 billion people, and 2) subject to the same vagaries of booms and busts as other nations, so the seemingly endless positive growth story will go through trials of fire, probably sooner rather than later. Be wary, Dr. Copper is telling you that caution is the order of the day.
Nice thing about copper is that they can store it for just about an indefinte period of time. over time mining and energy costs included in mining will drive copper back up. Ag commodity prices are subject to major adjustments each growing season. While need for copper can flucutate wildly with industrial boom/bust, food consumption has some baseline demand and that is growing.jmho