Journal Issue
Share
Article

The sharp fall in commodity prices, 1984–86

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Published Date:
December 1986
Share
  • ShareShare
Show Summary Details

1986 (nine-months average) compared with 1984, measured in US dollars, and each commodity’s share in country export earnings (1981–83 average)

Over the past two years, the prices of most primary non-fuel commodities have fallen sharply: from the second quarter of 1984 to the third quarter of 1986, commodity prices, as measured by the IMF index of prices for 34 non-fuel commodities, fell by nearly one fourth in terms of US dollars and by more than one third in terms of SDRs. In the third quarter of 1986 these indices were at their lowest levels since the first half of 1976, when prices were low in the wake of the 1975 recession. It is difficult to make precise comparisons for longer term movements of commodity prices in real terms, that is, prices adjusted to take account of changes in the price of manufactured goods, because of the difficulties in obtaining consistent series of data. However, it seems clear that real commodity prices in the third quarter of 1986 had fallen to a level not experienced since at least the 1930s.

The charts illustrate the extent of the fall in the price of individual commodities and the countries most affected by this drop.

In percent

WHEAT−23
Argentina 12, Australia 7, Canada 5
MAIZE−31
Argentina 11, Thailand 5, Zimbabwe 4
RICE−15
Burma 43, Nepal 26, Thailand 15, Pakistan 15, Guyana 10
PALM OIL−66
Solomon Islands 12, Malaysia 10, Papua New Guinea 3
COCONUT OIL−77
Including copra: Vanuatu 39, Solomon Islands 14, Philippines 10
GROUNDNUT OIL−43
Including groundnuts and groundnut meal: The Gambia 80, Guinea-Bissau 27, Senegal 21, Sudan 11
SOYBEANS−25
Including soybean products: Paraguay 24, Brazil 12, Argentina 10
FISH MEAL−15
Chile 7, Peru 5, Iceland 3
BEEF−9
Uruguay 19, Botswana 14, New Zealand 9
SUGAR (free market price*)+19
*1986 price 79 percent below 1980 price

Cuba 89, Mauritius 60, Fiji 48, Dominican Republic 38, Belize 36, Swaziland 35, Haiti 34, Malawi 20, Panama 12, Barbados 10
BANANAS−3
St. Lucia 38, St. Vincent 38, Honduras 28, Costa Rica 25, Panama 23, Grenada 18
COFFEE+27
Uganda 94, Burundi 91, Rwanda 67, Ethiopia 62, El Salvador 57, Colombia 49, Madagascar 33, Tanzania 30, Guatemala 29, Central African Republic 29, Nicaragua 29, Haiti 25, Costa Rica 25, Kenya 24, Honduras 23, Côte d’Ivoire 19, Cameroon 17, Papua New Guinea 14. Benin 12, Zaïre 12
COCOA BEANS−13
Including cocoa products: São Tomé and Principe 84, Equatorial Guinea 72, Ghana 64, Grenada 31, Côte d’Ivoire 29, Western Samoa 17, Cameroon 15, Sierra Leone 11, Togo 11
TEA−45
Sri Lanka 31, Malawi 17, Kenya 16
TOBACCO−11
Malawi 50, Zimbabwe 21, Turkey 6
COTTON (medium-staple price)−44
Chad 61, Burkina Faso 45, Mali 39, Paraguay 37, Sudan 28, Nicaragua 24, Egypt 14, Pakistan 13, Tanzania 13
WOOL−10
New Zealand 14, Lesotho 13, Uruguay 11
JUTE−40
Including jute products: Bangladesh 57, Nepal 16, India 3
HIDES+8
Yemen Arab Republic 23, Nepal 17, Ethiopia 7
NATURAL RUBBER−17
Liberia 15, Sri Lanka 12, Malaysia 11
LOGS−3
Solomon Islands 35, Burma 29, Central African Republic 25, Paraguay 18, Malaysia 15, Côte d’Ivoire 14, Nepal 11
COPPER*+1
*1986 price 37 percent below 1980 price,

Zambia 92, Zaïre 59, Chile 46, Papua New Guinea 37, Namibia 26, Peru 12
ALUMINUM*−8
*1986 price 35 percent below 1980 price.

Including bauxite and alumina: Guinea 98, Jamaica 70, Suriname 65, Guyana 41
IRON ORE*−6
*1986 price 20 percent below 1980 price

Liberia 69, Mauritania 55, Brazil 8
TIN−46
Bolivia 29, Rwanda 17, Malaysia 6
ZINC−24
Peru 7, Namibia 6, Zaïre 6
PHOSPHATE ROCK*−11
*1986 price 27 percent below 1980 price.

Including phosphate derivatives: Togo 47, Morocco 44, Jordan 37, Senegal 13F&D

Other Resources Citing This Publication