Recent Updates

  • UK: HM Property Transactions, Public Sector Finances (Mar), CBI Industrial Trends Survey (Apr, Q2)
  • Turkey: Sectoral Confidence Index (Apr); South Africa: Leading Indicators (Jan)
  • Spain: Import and Export Prices (Feb), Tourism, Auto Production (Mar), Bank Lending Survey (Q2)
  • Germany: Bank Lending Survey (Q2), IFO Business Climate Survey (Apr)
  • Italy: ISTAT Business & Consumer Survey (Apr), Bank Lending Survey (Q2)
  • Kazakhstan: Deposits of Individuals, Bank Loans by Type, Pension
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

FIBER: Commodity Prices Hold Firm
by Tom Moeller  December 19, 2012

Industrial commodity prices have shown upward movement of late despite signs of weakening growth in factory sector output. At 171.2, the latest price index from the Foundation for International Business and Economic Research (FIBER) was just off its highs for the year and up 8.3% from late 2011. During the last ten years there has been a 44% correlation between the three-month change in prices and the change in factory sector industrial production.

Overall, the performance of commodity prices belies the notion of material softness in the U.S. industrial sector. Current weakness may be more due to the temporary effects of Hurricane Sandy which are will lower Q4 growth in real GDP to roughly one percent according to economists' estimates. Thereafter, projections call for economic improvement, but whether it will be enough to materially lift industrial commodity prices remains to be seen.

Still leading the improvement were prices in the miscellaneous group. The gain reflected surging prices for framing lumber (37.4% y/y) and structural panels (45.4% y/y). In the metals group, earlier declines in aluminum (10.6% y/y) and copper scrap (9.8% y/y) have stabilized. Declines in the textile group also have stabilized though cotton prices remain down 14.6% y/y. Crude oil prices (-6.6% y/y) have been weak but remain higher than the February low

Commodity price data can be found in Haver's DAILY, WEEKLY, USECON and CMDTY databases.

 

FIBER Industrial Materials Price Index (1990=100) 12/19/12 Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
All Items 171.2 8.3 172.9 157.7 121.4
 Textiles 77.4 -2.4 86.1 81.2 73.3
  Cotton (cents per pound) 71.4 -14.6 132.6 87.8 52.2
 Metals 253.3 8.5 278.5 239.9 167.9
  Aluminum ($ per metric ton) 2,163.0 10.6 2,400 2,172 1,662
  Copper Scrap (cents per pound) 362.8 9.8 400.1 326.5 195.2
  Steel Scrap ($ per ton) 349.7 -12.9 412.4 325.7 203.4
 Crude Oil & Benzene 205.6 5.9 199.3 182.0 150.9
  Crude Oil (WTI, $ per Barrel) 87.7 -6.6 95.1 79.5 61.4
 Miscellaneous 216.6 19.2 190.5 178.8 127.6
  Framing Lumber ($ per 1000 board ft.) 364 37.4 273 282 221
  Natural Rubber (cents per pound) 200.5 -3.3 261.8 181.8 83.0
close
large image