Index of Commodity Prices January 2011

Preliminary estimates for January indicate that the index rose by 4.5 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after rising by 4.3 per cent in December (revised). The largest contributors to the rise in January were increases in the estimated prices of iron ore and coking coal, reflecting the movement to higher contract prices in the March quarter and strength in spot prices in the month. However, the strength in prices was broad based, with only gold and sugar prices falling in the month. In Australian dollar terms, the index rose by 4.9 per cent in January.

Over the past year, the index has risen by 49 per cent in SDR terms. Much of this rise has been due to increases in iron ore, coking coal and thermal coal export prices. With the appreciation of the exchange rate over the year, the index rose by 35 per cent in Australian dollar terms.

As indicated in previous releases, preliminary estimates for iron ore, coking coal and thermal coal export prices are being used for recent months, based on market information.

For further details regarding the construction of the index, please refer to ‘Updating the RBA's Index of Commodity Prices’ in the October 2009 issue of the Bulletin.