Index of Commodity Prices March 2011

Preliminary estimates for March indicate that the index rose by 0.6 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after rising by 1.4 per cent in February (revised). The largest contributors to the rise in March were increases in the price of crude oil and the estimated price of coking coal, while gold prices also rose notably. Most rural and base metals prices in the index fell in the month. In Australian dollar terms, the index rose by 1.6 per cent in March.

Over the past year, the index has risen by 41 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 32 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.