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These two presentations by UNCTAD experts, filmed by the Vi team during an expert meeting on commodities and development, give an overview of the current situation and outlook for agricultural and extractive commodities.

altThe financialization of commodity markets was one of the major factors in the price increases of agricultural commodities the world witnessed in 2008, said Samuel Gayi, Head of UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities.

But "(i)n 2010, they were driven by continued strong demand -- from Asia and Latin America -- and supply disruptions, due mainly to inclement weather," he said, adding that although UNCTAD is conducting research to nail down the role of speculation in current commodity price increases, climate change is emerging as a new challenge -- and opportunity -- for commodity-dependent developing countries.

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altThe highest increase in the commodity price index has been driven by minerals, ores and metals, which registered "a sharp increase in 2009, with copper, lead and zinc leading the price gain, due to stronger than expected recovery in emerging countries," said Alexei Mojarov, of UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities, while warning that it's not all good news for developing countries rich in these resources.

"While there are countries that have achieved sustained economic growth from extractive resources, (...) the experiences of some countries suggest that high economic growth rate is inversely related to abundance in natural resources," he said. "Similarly, extensive dependence on extractive resources for GDP is strongly correlated with lower social indicators, slow growth, income inequality and abject poverty."