For the first quarter of 2018 world commodity prices rallied slightly. The leaders of surge were steel and cocoa beans, as MarketWatch points out. The S&P GSCI index, tracking prices for 24 types of raw materials, headed north 1.7% in January-March.
The cost of American hot-rolled steel inched up 33% on news about the introduction of duties on imports of this metal.
The demand for steel appears to be firm and even ahead of supply, and the overall situation in the construction, automotive and energy sectors, the main consumers of steel, looks favorable, as some market experts stressed.
Meanwhile, the most significant growth in percentage terms was recorded in prices for cocoa beans, which rallied 35% on fears for the harvest in West Africa. The cost of soybeans increased 7% due to a drought in Argentina as well as fears that China could impose import duties on soybeans from the United States.
Prices for gold and oil also tacked on the previous quarter, although surge turned to be moderate.
Meanwhile, natural gas fell 9%, mostly due to increased output in the United States, which in turn caused a drop in demand for coal that headed south in price by approximately 31%.
In addition to this, sugar went down 17% against the background of growing supplies from India, while iron ore demonstrated a 16% slide.
A number of market experts with great caution assess the future prospects of commodity markets.
As world economic data indicates, demand growth might somewhat disappoint commodity traders and also limit future price increases, as some of financial experts point out. Besides this, there are risks of escalating US-China sanctions that can have rather a negative impact on world trade as well as the growth of global GDP.