Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Feb 23 2024

FIBER: Industrial Commodity Prices Continue to Rise

  • Crude oil prices move up.
  • Rubber prices continue to strengthen.
  • Metals prices decline.

The Industrial Materials Price Index from the Foundation for International Business and Economic Research (FIBER) rose 1.0% (-0.9% y/y) during the four weeks ended February 23, 2024, adding to increases since a price low in the third week of December. The index remained 21.3% below the cycle peak in the second week of March 2022. During that period of time, U.S. factory output has been unchanged.

Prices in the crude oil & benzene group rose 2.8% (3.5% y/y) in the last four weeks. The cost of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 4.3% in four weeks to $78.19 per barrel, up 3.6% y/y. Prices hit a low of $70.42 in the third week of December. The cost of the petro-chemical benzene, used for making plastics & synthetic fibers, increased 6.5% (11.7% y/y) in four weeks. Excluding crude oil & benzene, the industrial commodity price index rose 0.8% (-1.2% y/y) in the latest four-week period.

Textile group prices improved 1.8% (2.6% y/y) in the latest four weeks and have been rising since their low in the second week of November. Cotton prices increased 8.7% (10.8% y/y) in the last four weeks while the cost of burlap improved 4.0% (8.9% y/y) in four weeks. Prices in the miscellaneous group increased 1.4% during the last four weeks and improved 0.2% y/y. Rubber prices surged 11.2% and by nearly one-third y/y, but the cost of framing lumber held steady in four weeks (-0.8% y/y).

Offsetting these increases, metals group prices declined 1.3% (-7.7% y/y) over the most recent four weeks. Zinc prices weakened 6.5% (-24.3% y/y) in the latest four weeks. The cost of steel scrap declined 1.1% (-2.9% y/y) while lead prices fell 3.3% (-2.2% y/y) in four weeks. To the upside, tin prices rose 1.2% in four weeks but were down 1.6% y/y. Copper scrap prices increased 0.8% (-6.8% y/y) in the last four weeks while aluminum prices improved 1.2% (-7.4% y/y).

The Foundation for International Business and Economic Research (FIBER) develops economic measurement techniques as applied to business cycles and inflation in the U.S. and other market economies. The commodity price data can be found in Haver's DAILY, WEEKLY, USECON and CMDTY databases.

Supercore Inflation Jumped in January, Suggesting Continuing Inflation Pressures from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is available here.

  • Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio.   Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984.   He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C.   In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists.   Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.

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