Price Reversal on the Market for Industrial Raw Materials. Recent Developments and Forecast of World Market Prices for Industrial Raw Materials
At the beginning of 1994 world market prices for industrial raw materials reversed their direction: after they had fallen by 4 percent in 1992 and by 14 percent in 1993, they grew by 8 percent during the first quarter of 1994. It is likely that this tendency will continue throughout the next few quarters. The price reversal has been especially strong for wool (1993 –27 percent, I/1994 +17 percent), pulp (1993 –22 percent, I/1994 +15 percent) and sawn wood (1993 –25 percent, I/1994 +9 percent) and non-ferrous metals (1993 –16 percent, I/1994 +11 percent). A number of reasons accounts for these price increases: next to the incipient cyclical upswing, reduced yields (e. g. of wool), plant closures (e. g. for pulp), or concerted capacity reductions (e. g. for aluminum) were responsible. Steel scrap was among the few raw materials whose price picked up significantly already in 1993 (+30 percent) and continued to rise in 1994. The reasons for this development can be found in quality deficiencies due to more extensive separate collections of scrap qualities, as well as in lower supply rates of a technological origin as a result of a higher share of continuous casting. At the same time, demand picked up in the US and Far East, as well as in Europe. It can be expected that this trend will continue: for 1994 and 1995 an increase of 7 percent per year is likely. The major reason for this price increase is that users will stock up during the cyclical upturn. The strongest price increases are expected for agrarian raw materials (around 15 percent each year). For cotton, the harvest of 1994-95 will be the third in a row that falls short of demand. It can also be expected that the demand for wool will be high, but price increases will be kept in check by a reduction in Australian stocks and the deficiency in demand from Russia. The recovery of construction activities in Europe will cause price increases for sawn wood. This trend will be corroborated by low interest rates and a substitution of tropical timber. Rubber will be in higher demand because of increased tire sales, but new suppliers like Vietnam or Cambodia will increase world supply. It can be expected that prices for non-ferrous metals will also increase during the forecasting period (1994 +6 percent, 1995 +12 percent). The increasing demand for copper will outgrow supplies, but a reduction in the LME stocks will prevent prices from rising too fast, at least initially. Even though it is unlikely that the planned capacity reductions for aluminum will become fully effective, an increase in demand will drive up prices. Tin prices will increase less, because important supplier countries are not included into the plans for reductions in production. Austria's import prices for industrial raw materials also reversed their trend during the first quarter of 1994: after they had fallen by 12.8 percent in 1993, in 1994 they increased by 8.9 percent (valued in Schilling terms). The most important turn-arounds occurred for pulp, sawn wood, lead and nickel. The import prices movements for steel scrap lagged behind those in the world market. Further increases in the import prices of industrial raw materials are to be expected in 1994 and 1995.
Preisumkehr auf dem Markt für Industrierohstoffe. Entwicklung und Prognose der Weltmarktpreise von Industrierohstoffen; Price Reversal on the Market for Industrial Raw Materials. Recent Developments and Forecast of World Market Prices for Industrial Raw M
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