Front Matter

Front Matter

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
January 1988
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    © 1988 International Monetary Fund

    Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Primary commodities: market developments and outlook/by the Commodities Division of the Research Department.

    p. cm. — (World economic and financial surveys, ISSN 0258-7440)

    “May 1988.”

    ISBN 9781451943085

    1. Commercial products. 2. Raw materials. I. International Monetary Fund. Commodities Division. II. Series.

    HF1040.7.P718 1988

    382′.4—dcl9 88-15625


    Serial ISSN 0891-8805

    Price: US$10.00

    (US$6.00 university libraries, faculty members, and students)

    Address orders to:

    External Relations Department, Publication Services

    International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C. 20431


    The following symbols have been used throughout this paper:

    • … to indicate that data are not available;

    • — to indicate that the figure is zero or less than half the final digit shown, or that the item does not exist;

    • – between years or months (e.g., 1984–85 or January–June) to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months;

    • / between years (e.g., 1985/86) to indicate a crop or fiscal (financial) year.

    “Billion” means a thousand million.

    Minor discrepancies between constituent figures and totals are due to rounding.


    This study provides an analysis of recent developments relating to the major non-fuel primary commodities (hereafter referred to as commodities) traded in international markets. Particular attention is given to market price movements and the factors underlying these movements. At the beginning of 1987 the world index of non-fuel primary commodity prices stood at its lowest level since 1973. By the end of 1987, however, commodity prices had risen by nearly 30 percent from the final quarter of 1986 in U.S. dollar terms and were about 15 percent higher in SDR terms. Movements in the aggregate price index, however, masked a marked difference in the price movements for most agricultural raw materials and metals, on the one hand, and those for most food commodities and beverages, on the other. For agricultural materials and metals, large price increases were recorded during 1987, while only small increases were recorded for food commodities, and the prices of beverages fell. By early 1988 the upswing in commodity prices appeared to have lost much of its force. Nevertheless, although dollar prices of some individual commodities are projected to decline from their end-1987 levels, the average of the aggregate price index for 1988 as a whole is expected to be about 10 percent above the 1987 average.

    The study has been prepared by the staff of the Commodities Division of the Research Department under the direction of Nihad Kaibni, Division Chief. The study has benefited from comments by other Fund staff members and from the editing by David Driscoll of the Editorial Division, External Relations Department. The analyses undertaken and the projections made are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Fund. The study is based on information available through March 1988.

    It should be noted that the term “country” used in this document does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice. The term also covers some territorial entities that are not states but for which statistical data are maintained and provided internationally on a separate and independent basis.

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