Index of Commodity Prices March 2014

Preliminary estimates for March indicate that the index declined by 2.0 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after declining by 0.9 per cent in February (revised in conjunction with new weights). The largest contributors to the fall in March were declines in the prices of iron ore, coking coal and steaming coal. The rural commodities subindex rose, led by the price of wheat, while the base metals subindex fell in the month. In Australian dollar terms, the index declined by 2.6 per cent in March.

Over the past year, the index has declined by around 13 per cent in SDR terms. The prices of many commodities in the index have fallen over this period. The index has risen by 2.3 per cent in Australian dollar terms over the past year, reflecting the depreciation of the Australian dollar over this period.

As indicated in previous releases, preliminary estimates for iron ore, coking coal and thermal coal export prices are being used for the most recent months, based on market information. Using spot prices for these commodities, the index declined by 4.6 per cent in March in SDR terms, to be around 18 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 and ‘Weights for the Index of Commodity Prices’ (March 2014).