January WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude oil futures contracts trading on NYMEX fell by 3.1% to $35.62 per barrel on Friday, December 11, 2015. Global benchmark Brent oil prices fell by 4.5% to $37.93 per barrel on the same day. Prices hit record lows due to the consensus of excessive supplies and mounting short positions. The United States Oil Fund LP (USO) and the ProShares Ultra DJ-UBS Crude Oil ETF (UCO) fell in the direction of crude oil prices in Friday’s trade.
Euro-area government bond yields and the euro fell on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reiterated that further monetary stimulus could be coming next month. The gap between U.S. and German 5-year bond yields climbed to 181 basis points, the highest level since 1999. The shared currency touched a 6-monht low of $1.0675 in early trading before rebounding a bit to $1.0715.
In October 2015, energy prices increased slightly by 0.2%, and the prices of non-energy commodities slipped by 1.1%. Food prices dipped by 1.9%. Beverages decreased by 2.1%. Raw materials dropped slightly by 1.7%, and fertilizers went down by 1.4%. Metals and minerals rose by 1.2%, and precious metals picked up slightly by 0.2%.
Special feature assesses how China and India play significant roles in world commodity markets
The World Bank is nudging up its 2015 forecast for crude oil prices from $53 in April to $57 per barrel after oil prices rose 17 percent in the Apr-Jun quarter, according to the Bank’s latest Commodity Markets Outlook, a quarterly update on the state of the international commodity markets.
According to The World Bank, large agricultural sectors, remittances, and public investment have cushioned the impact of sharply weaker terms of trade in commodity-exporting low-income countries (LICs). Growth in LICs was flat in 2014, but is expected to pick up in 2015 and remain robust during 2016–17. Declining commodity prices, however, are likely to increasingly put pressure on fiscal and current account balances of LICs that rely heavily on exports of energy and metals.
According to The World Bank’s Commodity Market Outlook for the third quarter of 2015 most prices declined in the second quarter of 2015 due to ample supplies and weak demand, especially in industrial commodities. Energy prices rose 12 percent in the quarter, with the surge in oil offset by declines in natural gas (down 13 percent) and coal prices (down 4 percent). However, energy prices fell on average to 39 percent below 2014 levels. Natural gas prices are projected to decline across all three main markets—U.S., Europe, and Asia—and coal prices to fall 17 percent.
According to Mizuho Kida, a contributor of World Bank website, the collapse in global oil prices is good news for the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region, as a large majority of the region’s countries are net fuel importers. Analysis contained in the latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP) suggests that a 45 percent decline in crude oil prices (as projected in the Commodity Markets Outlook) would improve the trade balance of these net oil importers in the region by some 1.8 percent of GDP on average, and by much more for large net importers.