By Jeffrey Christian
John Wiley and Sons
$27.95, 250 pages
Jeffrey Christian is a leading authority on global commodity markets. Having started his career at metals giant J. Aron, Christian moved on to Goldman Sachs, where he headed commodities research and eventually opened his own consulting firm, the CPM Group, where he advises commodity funds, industrial hedgers and central banks. In Commodities Rising, Christian sets out to correct the misperception that there is no easy money to be made in commodities.
Christian warns that commodity markets swirl in a haze of conflicting crosscurrents, misinformation and even deception. He is skeptical of efforts to apply simple, mechanical formulas to a staggeringly complex field of inquiry. For example, any attempt to trade precious metals based on an equilibrium gold/silver ratio is doomed to failure. Above all, Christian stresses that commodities do not necessarily trend together. He pours scorn on advocates of deterministic "supercycles" where diverse commodities supposedly move in synchronized waves.
Christian stresses that to succeed in commodity investing, you have to bring expert, penetrating insight into the concealed dynamics of the marketplace. For example, his research shows China's active export market in silver comes …