Index of Commodity Prices March 2016

Preliminary estimates for March indicate that the index rose by 5.3 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after increasing by 2.1 per cent in February (revised). The increase was led by the prices of iron ore, oil and gold. The base metals and rural subindices both rose in the month. In Australian dollar terms, the index rose by 0.3 per cent in March.

Over the past year, the index has fallen by 15.4 per cent in SDR terms, led by declines in the prices of bulk commodities and base metals. The index has fallen by 12.1 per cent in Australian dollar terms over the past year.

Consistent with 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. From 1 April 2016, preliminary estimates for LNG prices will be used in a similar manner. Using spot prices for the bulk commodities, the index rose by 7.9 per cent in March in SDR terms, to be 10.6 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 and ‘Weights for the Index of Commodity Prices’ (April 2016).