This book discusses commodities primarily from an economic perspective. Chapter 1 outlines the main economic issues, such as the finite nature of some commodities, whether natural resources bring economic benefits and what determines price movements. Chapter 2 expands on the recent growth in commodities as an investment asset, outlining the main financial instruments and looking at why investors would want to invest in natural resources and raw materials. Parts 2 to 4 cover the three main types of commodities: industrial (primarily base metals, but also some precious metals), energy and agricultural. As far as is possible, coverage of the principal commodities in each category follows a consistent pattern and includes their characteristics, how they are used, the main consumers and consumption trends, the main producers and production trends, where the commodities are traded, price developments and the broad outlook. The book concludes with a glossary of terms and a list of the main sources of statistical information and research.