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Global Commodity Watch - March 2011

John Baffes's picture

Non-energy commodity prices rose for an eighth straight month in February, up 4.8 percent, partly due to depreciation of the dollar—down 2.1 percent versus the euro. There were strong gains in nearly all main indices. 

Crude oil prices increased 5.6 percent in February, up for a seventh month averaging $92.7/bbl; however other energy prices declined. The price of the international oil marker, Brent, rose above $116/bbl in early March on escalating conflict and oil supply losses in Libya, and concerns about potential disruptions in other oil producing countries. Up to 1 mb/d of Libyan crude production has been shut-in—out of typical output of 1.6 mb/d—equivalent to slightly more than 1 percent of world oil supply. The bulk of Libya’s light-sweet crude goes to Europe, and it will be difficult for refiners to replace this grade. Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members are reportedly raising output to make up the shortfall, but much of its spare capacity is medium-sour crude.

Agriculture prices rose 5.6 percent in February, up for a ninth straight month. Most of the gains were in raw materials and beverages. Food prices rose 2.9 percent, just 0.7 percentage points more than the dollar depreciation. Cotton prices surged 19 percent due to a number of supply shortfalls, while rubber prices jumped 10 percent as wet weather affected production in south-east Asia. Cocoa prices increased 10 percent because of political conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, while coffee increased 8-9 percent on low stocks and tight supplies. Maize prices rose 11 due to tight U.S. inventories and concerns that the U.S. might not be able to rebuild its current low level of stocks.

Metals and minerals prices rose 4.2 percent in February, up for a seventh straight month. Since mid-February, however, nearly all metals prices have declined on concerns about the impact of geopolitical unrest and higher oil prices on economic growth, as well as policy tightening in China. For the month, tin prices jumped 15 percent to a record nominal high due to continued declines in supply from Indonesia. Nickel prices increased 10 percent on strong stainless steel demand and supply shortfalls from Canada and Indonesia. Iron ore prices rose 4 percent on weather-related supply tightness in Australia and Brazil. Among precious metals, silver prices surged 8 percent on safe haven buying and worries about inflation.


Get detailed analysis and commodities prices datasets:

For price data and detailed analysis on commodities price movements in March, 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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