What 2009 holds for smaller resource stocks

Investors Chronicle – 2008 witnessed a boom and bust of monumental proportions in the junior mining and oil and gas sectors. From being among the London market’s strongest performers, driven by record commodity prices, resources stocks plummeted out of favour even more rapidly to languish among the market’s laggards.

Although strong recovery is unlikely in the short term, the longer term outlook for resources remains bullish. The world will run on oil for many years to come, and analysts estimate a $70-80/barrel oil price is needed to drive sufficient exploration and supply to satisfy likely demand when economies recover. Growth-driven Asian demand for all commodities, though slowing, has in all probability built up an unstoppable momentum.

Supply-side constraints plus the possibility of a weakening dollar and further falls in equities will create upward price pressure on oil, gold and other commodities. Commodities may start to recover during the year, depending on the severity and duration of the recession. Even if they don’t, continued low prices will deter exploration and development, and cause supply shortages, which will simply store upward price momentum to be released when economies eventually do recover. What’s more, the depth of the current downturn suggests that post-recession demand could rapidly create supply pressures, an over-correction and renewed price shocks.

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