Global demand for raw materials will shoot higher in the next 20 years thanks to rising consumption from emerging nations like China and India, according to a report from Swiss banking company UBS.
The bank emphasized the "enormous" appetites of China and India, the two most densely populated countries on the planet, where "economic growth ... has far outpaced growth in developed countries during the past 15 years."
China is the second biggest global consumer of crude oil -- after the U.S. -- and is also the biggest world market for copper, nickel, platinum and cotton. India, meanwhile, is the largest market for gold and also has fierce demand for oil.
The report read: "Strong demand for natural resources from emerging market countries, a sharp slowing in new reserve discoveries,and low inventory levels will likely extend the current bull market in commodities" which began around five years ago.
UBS analysts forecast that crude oil supply would struggle to keep pace with demand, while oil production was predicted to peak during the next 25 years.
The lack of adequate investment in exploration would also limit expansion in production of base metals such as copper, nickel and aluminum.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006