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Global Commodity Watch - December 2010

John Baffes's picture

Non-energy commodity prices rose for a fifth straight month in November, up 3.4 percent, despite slight strengthening of the dollar. There was large volatility during the month, with prices of many exchange traded commodities peaking early in November then declining sharply before recovering more recently.


Crude oil prices increased 3.4 percent in November, up for a fourth month, averaging $84.5/bbl. However, prices surged to nearly $90/bbl in early December, due to higher refining runs and falling stocks. Strong distillate demand globally has been augmented by cold weather in Europe and, more recently, in the U.S. Distillate demand in China surged because of policy measures to meet energy efficiency goals under the 11th Five-Year Plan during 2005-2010.  Local Chinese authorities have cut off power to large industrial users, who have turned to diesel power generators. OPEC meets December 11th and is not expected to raise quotas, as prices remain in the broad $70-90/bbl range that OPEC ministers deem comfortable.

Agriculture prices rose 5.3 percent in November, up a sixth straight month, with strong gains in most indices, particularly fats & oils and raw materials. Since end-November wheat prices surged 21 percent on concerns that heavy rains in Australia will reduce production. Groundnut oil prices jumped 30 percent in November due to lower production in Argentina and export ban in India. Other main oilseeds prices posted strong increases due to strong Chinese import demand and various weather-related supply shortfalls this year. Cotton prices surged 22 percent on strong demand and low global stocks, while rubber prices climbed 10 percent as wet weather in Asia curbed supply.



Base metal prices rose 0.8 percent in November, up a fifth straight month, with gains in copper outweighing declines in all other metals. Copper prices rose 2.1 percent (rising above $9000/ton in early December) on falling inventories, slow mine supply growth, and expectations of the potential impact of physically-backed exchange traded funds (ETFs). ETF Securities announced that they will launch the first physically-backed ETFs for copper, nickel and tin on December 10 in London, and that ETFs in aluminum, lead and zinc will be available in 2011. Among precious metals, silver prices increased 13.2 percent on strong investment and industrial demand, the former partly a hedge against potential inflation. 


Get detailed analysis and commodities prices datasets:

For price data and detailed analysis on commodities price movements in November, click here (pdf).
To download the World Bank's historical price data, click here (spreadsheet).
To download the World Bank's Commodity Price Data, click here (spreadsheet).

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