Index of Commodity Prices March 2013

Preliminary estimates for March indicate that the index rose by 0.2 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after rising by 2.6 per cent in February (revised). The largest contributors to the rise in March were increases in the prices of iron ore and coking coal. The prices of rural commodities overall also increased, while the prices of crude oil and base metals declined in the month. In Australian dollar terms, the index fell by 1.6 per cent in March.

Over the past year, the index has fallen by 7.5 per cent in SDR terms. Much of this fall has been due to declines in the prices of coking coal and thermal coal. The index has fallen by 8 per cent in Australian dollar terms over the past year.

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. Using spot prices for these commodities, the index declined by 4.1 per cent in March in SDR terms, to be 6 per cent lower over the past year.

For further details regarding the construction of the index, please refer to ‘Changes to the RBA Index of Commodity Prices: 2013’ in the March 2013 issue of the Bulletin.