Commodity prices continued to fall in the fourth quarter of 2015, reflecting abundant supplies, weaker growth prospects in emerging economies, and a strong U.S. dollar. One of the largest declines was in crude oil, which fell from $51 per barrel (bbl) in early October to less than $30/bbl in mid-January.
In addition to concerns about slowing growth in emerging economies, the plunge in oil prices reflected mild winter weather in the northern hemisphere, elevated stocks, resilient U.S. oil production, earlier-than-expected Iranian exports, and unchanged OPEC policy prioritizing market share.
For 2015 as a whole, energy prices plunged by 45 percent from the previous year, while non-energy commodity prices declined by 15 percent. Relative to their peaks in 2011, the main industrial commodity price indices in December were sharply down—two-thirds for energy and more than one-half for metals.
Agricultural prices also declined—down one-third from their 2011 peaks—reflecting higher stocks (due to good crops in the past two seasons) and production increases for some commodities, despite an intensification of the El Niño weather phenomenon. Most price forecasts have been revised downward for 2016 (37 of the 46 commodity prices monitored in this report).
Aside from rebound in oil prices, only a modest recovery is expected in 2017. This issue examines the implications of emerging-market growth on commodity prices, and highlights that weaker growth prospects could have a sizeable adverse effect on prices.
For the rest of this report, click here: http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/pubdocs/publicdoc/2016/1/991211453766993714/CMO-Jan-2016-Full-Report.pdf