Market trends

Raw materials: what’s the situation worldwide?


According to the World Bank, «all main commodity price indexes (except those referring to food products and precious metals) are expected to decrease in 2016». This data has been published by Roskill, i.e. one of the oldest consultancy firms specialized in raw materials, which published a market overview of the sector. The figures clearly highlight the economic imbalances related to all other industrial sectors.

Let’s consider them in short…

The index measuring the performance of the 500 US companies in the US, with the biggest capitalization reached a new historical record over the last few days (thereby, largely gaining the ground lost due to the financial crisis), while Roskill has explained that the world raw materials market has not yet recovered from the difficult conditions that hit from the end of 2014 to the whole of 2015. At the beginning of this year, the prices of raw oil and minerals (iron, copper, aluminium) were on average included between 21 and 69% of the levels reached in 2012, with the first half of 2016 registering only a lukewarm recovery for commodities and heterogeneous performance.

After the turbulence of recent years, also political ones, from the first six months of 2016 onwards the Chinese exports of rare earths, which are also necessary for modern industry, have grown significantly. China, which still owns 90% of the world natural reserves today, exported 23,200 of the products processed in six months, thereby registering +67% compared to 2015. World imports of salt, instead, collapsed by 25%: Why? Based on the analysis by Roskill, the «vast majority of this deficit is to be ascribed to the reduction in salt imports to the United States and Canada». 2016 is breaking all records when it comes to global warming, and also in the US much salt less was used as an antifreeze agent. This is a small, but significant example, of how climate change contribute to shape everyday’s reality, and not only through the rising number of natural disasters.