Commodities, Rout or Route?

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Summary

The Bloomberg Commodity Index hit a 16-month low on May 9th. Crude oil has resisted all attempts by OPEC and Russia to drive the price higher by restricting supply. West Texas Intermediate is trading almost exactly where it was before the OPEC/Russian production cut was announced late last November.  North American shale oil drillers are now the market's swing producers not the vast Saudi fields.

Commodity woes are not limited to oil, much of the complex is still suffering from over-investment brought on by the decade-long boom in prices that collapsed in the financial crisis. That bubble was so large and so out of proportion to demand, and the production facilities it funded so are so multifarious and numerous, that they have become a permanent cap on prices. Every sustained attempt at price recovery has been met by a surge in resource production.  Has commodity pricing been permanently altered by the facts on the ground? Has the lack of volatility or trend over the past two and a half years diminished the trading interest in the sector and its components?