Index of Commodity Prices May 2011

Preliminary estimates for May indicate that the index rose by 2.3 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after rising by 7.3 per cent in April (revised). The largest contributors to the rise in May were increases in the estimated export prices of coal and iron ore, reflecting the ongoing movement to higher contract prices in the June quarter. Gold prices also rose in monthly average terms, while crude oil prices, base metals prices and most rural commodity prices fell. In Australian dollar terms, the index rose by 1.5 per cent in May.

Over the past year, the index has risen by 29 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 14 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.