Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Mar 13 2023

FIBER: Industrial Commodity Prices Weaken

  • Lumber prices decline.
  • Metals prices fall.
  • Crude oil prices move up.

The Industrial Materials Price Index from the Foundation for International Business and Economic Research (FIBER) fell 1.8% (-20.3% y/y) during the four weeks ended March 10, continuing the malaise of the last few weeks. The index had been trending sideways since the end of September.

The miscellaneous price index declined 3.2% (-24.4% y/y) during the last four weeks. Framing lumber prices declined 12.4% (-67.2% y/y) but natural rubber prices improved 0.2% (-15.2% y/y) in four weeks.

Prices in the metals group fell 3.0% (-28.6% y/y) in the last four weeks. Zinc prices declined 6.2% (-25.6% y/y) while aluminum prices fell 6.4% (-36.9% y/y). The cost of scrap copper slipped 1.3% in the last four weeks (-14.3% y/y) and tin prices weakened 13.1% (-49.3% y/y). Lead prices slipped 0.4% (-14.2% y/y) in the last four weeks. Working higher, the cost of steel scrap rose 8.1% (-31.7% y/y).

Prices in the textile group slipped 0.4% during the last four weeks and fell 7.2% y/y. Cotton prices declined 2.4% and were off 29.7% y/y. The cost of burlap eased 0.5% (-15.9% y/y) in the last four weeks.

Offsetting these declines, crude oil & benzene costs increased 1.3% (-15.4% y/y) in the last four weeks. The cost of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 2.3% in four weeks to $78.02 per barrel but fell 32.5% y/y, while the price of the petro-chemical benzene gained 2.4% (-10.0%). Excluding crude oil & benzene, the industrial commodity price index weakened 2.0% (-19.4% y/y) in four weeks.

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.

  • 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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