Billionaire George Soros said the boom in commodities is still in a "growth phase'' after prices for oil, wheat and gold rose to records."You have a generalized commodity bubble due to commodities having become an asset class that institutions use to an increasing extent,'' Soros said today at an event sponsored by the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. "On top of that you have specific factors that create the relative shortage of oil and, now, also food.''Commodities are in their seventh year of gains, with oil rising to a record $115.54 a barrel today as the dollar plunged to an all-time low against the euro. Rice has more than doubled in a year, while corn has advanced 68 percent and wheat 92 percent. Investments in commodities rose by more than a fifth in the first quarter to $400 billion, Citigroup Inc. said April 7 . . . Soros's comments echo those of Jim Rogers, a fellow founder of the Quantum Hedge Fund in the 1970s. Rogers is best known for being a commodities bull since the late 1990s, before the market started to rally in 2001. His Rogers International Commodity Index has more than quadrupled since its start in 1998.
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