Davos WEF 2022 Editor’s Notes: Commodities Rising And Solutions That May Pose Problems

Follow this daily blog by BQ Prime’s Managing Editor Menaka Doshi for all that you must know from the 2022 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. Read the first, second, and third blog posts here.

“The ESG transition is requiring more minerals while ESG itself is making sure mining more minerals is becoming difficult,” says TV Narendran, managing director of Tata Steel, recounting what he heard in one of the discussions at Davos.

Narendran was one of four commodity leaders I spoke to on Wednesday, and not one thought prices are close to the peak.

We’ll see commodity prices higher than what we’ve been used to in the past 10 years, the Tata veteran said.

Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal‘s bullishness is evident in the $20 billion investment plan over the next 4-5 years, the bulk of which will go to the group’s metal and energy business.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, a conglomerate with interests spanning aluminium, copper, cement, retail and financial services, says commodity prices are difficult to forecast, especially given the multitude of factors, from war to covid-led supply chain disruptions, supporting this rise.

But he too is betting $10 billion on expanding various group businesses, of which over $2.5 billion will be in the aluminium major Novelis.

‘We are actually looking at multi-decade sectoral trends. Therefore to some extent what is happening is a bit like froth.”

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