Germany Nov raw material prices hit all-time high – institute

02 December 2010 15:51  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Raw material prices in Germany hit an all-time high in November, an economics institute said on Thursday.

The Hamburg Institute of International Economics said its monthly raw materials index, excluding energy, was up 3.2%, when measured in US dollars, from its previous peak in July 2008. Measured in euros, the increase was 19.2%.

The difference in the increases was due to the weakening euro, which had fallen from around $1.58 on 1 July 2008 to below $1.30 by the end of November 2010, the institute said.

Including energy, when measured in US dollars the index was still 28.3% below its July 2008 peak, but up 17.2% when measured in euros.

While oil prices had recovered from their $36/bbl low in December 2008, they were still well below the $140/bbl peak level from July 2008, the institute said.

Sequentially, the overall index, including energy, rose 5.2% when measured in euros, and 3.3% in US dollars, from October.

Products with the sharpest sequential increases included cotton, plant oils and natural rubber – rising 17.3%, 7.6% and 10.2%, respectively, when measured in US dollars.

Cotton supplies had been hurt by floods in Pakistan, the institute said. However, supplies were expected to increase going forward as producers in Australia and Brazil were planning to increase their planting acreage.

A lack of cotton has been driving up the value of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), the feedstock for cotton substitute polyethylene terephthalate (PET), ICIS reported earlier.

Meanwhile, natural rubber supplies had been hurt by strong rainfalls in southeast Asia, the institute said.

However, natural rubber prices were determined not only by supplies, but also by oil prices, which were the key to the cost of synthetic rubber production, the institute said.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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