Column: Non-energy commodity costs are rising on the quickest tempo since 2011 – Kemp

LONDON (Reuters) – Commodity costs are rising quickly because the manufacturing facet of the worldwide financial system rebounds after the primary wave of the coronavirus outbreak and lockdowns final yr.

Employees are seen within the InCycles bicycle manufacturing unit in Anadia, Portugal on September 25, 2020. Photograph taken on September 25, 2020. REUTERS / Pedro Nunes

By November, world manufacturing exercise had recovered all of its pandemic-related losses, and merchandise commerce volumes had been greater than 1% greater than the earlier yr’s ranges. In distinction, a lot of the service sector in North America, Europe and even Asia has remained closed.

The end result was a surge in commodity consumption, pushing the costs of virtually all commodities above the degrees of the earlier and improve the revenue of producers to the detriment of customers.

Fifty-three of the 63 merchandise monitored by the World Financial institution noticed a value improve in December 2020 in comparison with the identical month a yr earlier.

These included vitality (coal and fuel); agricultural merchandise (tea, coconut oil, palm oil, fishmeal, rice, citrus fruits, sugar, logs and rubber); fertilizers; and industrial metals (copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc).

The notable exception was crude oil, whose costs remained under year-ago ranges as restrictions on home journey and worldwide passenger aviation continued to restrict consumption.

Non-energy commodity costs elevated on a weighted common of greater than 16% in December in comparison with the identical month a yr earlier, in distinction to a 23% drop in crude oil costs.

Non-energy costs had been on the highest common stage since mid-2014 and had been rising on the quickest fee since mid-2011, in accordance with World Financial institution statistics.


A few of these value will increase could also be attributable to a robust floor cooling of La Niña within the Pacific Ocean, which can have unfavourable results on agricultural manufacturing within the tropics and subtropics.

La Niña “places some international locations in southern Africa, the Nice Horn of Africa, Asia and the Pacific at excessive danger of agricultural losses,” the United Nations Meals and Agriculture Group has warned. agriculture originally of the month.

Since most commodities are traded in {dollars}, a few of the will increase may additionally be attributable to the decline within the buck, which fell in worth 3-4% on a trade-weighted foundation for the yr. till December 2020.

However the principle driver is more likely to be the resurgence of producing and consumption of products world wide regardless of the continuing coronavirus outbreak.

In North America and Europe, shopper spending on merchandise held up, whereas spending on bars and eating places, in addition to tourism and different companies remained strictly restricted.

Even in East Asia, the place the epidemic was quelled extra successfully, spending on items additionally held up higher than on companies.

The result’s a worldwide manufacturing-driven restoration, which not solely drives demand for uncooked supplies, but in addition for intermediate gadgets equivalent to semiconductors, and will increase the power of the freight and logistics system to manage.

In China, the world’s largest manufacturing hub, producers’ electrical energy consumption rose 12% year-over-year in November, in comparison with a rise of simply 8% in companies, highlighting the dimensions of the increase induced by manufacturing.


Every value is each a supply of revenue for producers and an expense for customers.

Rising commodity costs subsequently alter the phrases of commerce inside and between nations, redirecting revenue and expenditure flows. first collapse ”, Reuters, 2015).

Commodity costs have their best impression within the poorest international locations, which typically rely on them for a big a part of their export earnings and authorities revenues.

In middle- and high-income international locations, the impression is targeting households on the backside of the revenue distribution, which spend a comparatively excessive share of their revenue on meals, gasoline and manufactured gadgets, and are the toughest. affected by rising costs.

Basically, greater costs for non-energy commodities improve producer incomes on the expense of customers; farmers and miners on the expense of oil producers; rural residents on the expense of metropolis dwellers; and small cities on the expense of huge cities and mega-cities.

(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The opinions expressed are his personal)

Enhancing by Kirsten Donovan

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