(Business in Cameroon) - The Bank of Central African States (BEAC) recently published a report on the changes in the prices of commodities exported by CEMAC countries in Q1, 2019.
According to the bank, the global index of those commodities fell by 6.2% quarter to quarter due to a decrease in the prices of energy products, natural gas namely, despite a slight improvement in the prices of non-energy products.
During the quarter under review, the index of energy products’ prices fell by 8.2% quarter to quarter. This is mainly due to the drop in the demand for natural gas as Japan restarted its nuclear plants. In addition, LNG exports in the USA, Australia and Qatar rose during the period under review.
As far as oil prices are concerned, they recorded a steady rise during the period under review to reach $64 at end March 2019. These rises are the result of sharp production cuts by OPEC countries and their partners (following a December 2018 decision to tighten production cuts agreements in order to push prices up).
The agriculture products recorded a slight improvement in their prices in Q1, 2019, after the decline in 2018. This is due to the easing of US-China trade tensions and a poor outlook on agriculture production in the US. The most important rise was recorded in the rubber market (+17.9%) because of rising demands from India and China.
The index of forest products also improved from 82% to 83%. The rise was noticeable in the market for veneer (1.2 %) and logs (0.5 %).
Based on the World Bank group’s forecasts, the BEAC indicates that oil prices will remain stable (around $66 per barrel). It adds that metals and agriculture products’ prices should rise further because of improvements in the price of gold.