11/09/2014 - 16:55

Commodity prices down: HSBC

11/09/2014 - 16:55

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The continuing strength of the Australian dollar and flat-to-falling commodity prices remain concerns for the economy.

Commodity prices down: HSBC

The International Monetary Fund commodity price index is likely to be down 4 per cent for August, according to a snapshot report released by HSBC Economics.

Australia’s index rose 1.5 per cent in local dollars, according to the report, which attempts to track and predict movements in the IMF index set to be released later this month.

But on an annual basis it was down 13.6 per cent as the Australian dollar remained strong and the prices of many metals fell.

Iron ore prices stabilised after having fallen 31 per cent this calendar year. Western Australia produces about a quarter of total world supply.

This can be contrasted with aluminium, with prices up 4 per cent in the month for a total of 16 per cent since the start of the year.

Gas prices were also down 3.4 per cent for August.

Wheat prices are down 20 per cent since May, while corn prices have fallen 27 per cent, due to good weather producing a strong harvest in the Northern Hemisphere.

Also this week, HSBC released its emerging markets index, which charts economic activity in 17 emerging economies, including China, Russia, India and Brazil.

China performed strongly, with service sector activity sharply increasing, whilst output in Russia and India rose at weak rates, the report said.

Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said the pace of expansion in India was moderating, but China was more positive.

“Although the pace of expansion in China’s factories slowed, the overall (index) for China hit the highest since March of last year to suggest that the economy remains on course to at least hit the government’s 7.5 per cent growth target for the year,” he said.

“The upturn follows mini-stimulus measures implemented earlier in the year, when the economy showed signs of flat-lining.”

Brazil performed poorly, marginally slowing over five months.

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