Recent Updates

  • US: IIP data subject to revision set to NA
  • Spain: Layoffs (Apr), Unemployment and Welfare Recipients (May)
  • France: Insee Monthly Household Survey (Jun), Registered Unemployment (May)
  • Serbia: Household and Nonfinancial New Term Deposits, Loans to
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

FIBER: Industrial Commodity Prices Improve
by Tom Moeller  February 8, 2019

The Industrial Materials Price Index from the Foundation for International Business and Economic Research (FIBER) increased 3.0% during the last month, but remained 12.1% below the prior year's level. Gains were broad-based, but notable for metals and crude oil.

Metals prices increased 7.2% last month led by a 17.6% m/m rise in steel scrap prices and a 9.1% increase in zinc prices. Copper scrap prices also rose a firm 4.3% and aluminum prices gained 1.1%. Except for steel scrap, however, prices remained sharply below the year-ago level. A 4.1% m/m gain in prices in the crude oil & benzene category also represented some recovery, but prices also remained well below last year's level. Crude oil prices rose 7.4% m/m to $53.96 per barrel, up from the $45.02 year-end low. They remained below the $75.05 peak early in October. Prices for the petro-chemical benzene recovered 6.9% during the last month, but remained one-third below the year-ago level. Prices in the miscellaneous group rose 1.1% m/m led by a 3.8% gain (3.5% y/y) in natural rubber prices. Framing lumber prices also gained 2.1% and structural panel prices improved 1.1%, but remained more than one-quarter below last year. In the textile group, prices were little changed m/m and down 2.7% y/y. Cotton prices rose 0.8% m/m (-7.2% y/y) while burlap prices gained 1.4% m/m (-13.4% y/y).

Improvement in industrial commodity prices followed a 1.1% December gain in factory sector output (3.3% y/y). The consensus forecast from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) calls for a 2.7% rise in industrial output during all of 2019. During the last ten years, there has been a 66% correlation between the y/y change in industrial commodity prices and the y/y change in factory sector output.

Commodity price data can be found in Haver's DAILY, WEEKLY, USECON and CMDTY databases. The NABE forecast is in the SURVEYS database.

FIBER Industrial Materials Price Index (%) 1-Mth 3-Mth 6-Mth 12-Mth 2018 2017 2016
All Items 3.0 -1.9 -8.3 -12.1 -12.0 6.7 19.2
 Textiles 0.3 -0.9 -3.5 -2.7 -2.8 3.0 2.8
  Cotton (cents per pound) 0.8 -8.2 -18.5 -7.2 -9.2 9.8 10.2
 Metals 7.2 2.3 -0.6 -12.1 -12.2 18.6 32.9
  Aluminum ($ per metric ton) 1.1 -4.5 -8.1 -14.7 -12.7 26.0 13.0
  Copper Scrap (cents per pound) 4.3 -0.8 0.3 -12.1 -16.1 29.3 17.3
  Steel Scrap ($ per ton) 17.6 -2.5 -3.0 3.2 2.3 16.8 74.5
 Crude Oil & Benzene 4.1 -11.7 -15.5 -14.0 -20.0 8.1 20.4
  Crude Oil (WTI, $ per Barrel) 7.4 -13.0 -20.8 -14.5 -24.4 10.9 44.3
 Miscellaneous 1.1 -11.5 -14.5 -18.2 -14.8 -0.5 21.7
  Framing Lumber ($ per 1000 board ft.) 2.1 -0.3 -27.4 -30.1 -23.1 20.0 12.9
  Natural Rubber (cents per pound) 3.8 12.7 11.7 3.5 -4.1 -29.6 89.4
close
large image