The Treasurer of Australia today called the end of the mining boom. “I think we’ve reached a high point and I think prices are going to return to more normal levels … the increase in commodity prices, the mining boom that was the story of the last couple of years, I don’t think will be the story of the next couple of years,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Is Peter Costello simply being prescient and well-informed? Does he know something the rest of us don’t know? Is demand from China about to fall?

Here’s what a few respected market watchers told Crikey this morning. “It’s a ridiculous statement … it’s so puerile … it’s almost shaming” (Richard Campbell, Bell Potter). “The longer term trend is for prices to remain the same, if in fact they don’t go up” (Shane Oliver, AMP). “The downturn is a fair way away, two or three years perhaps, into the future.” (Tobin Gorey, Commonwealth Bank).

Here’s what we think: Peter Costello acts and talks like a politician of great authority who knows everything about everything. With the emphasis on “politician”.