In March 2016, oil prices picked up significantlyPrices of oil and raw material imports - March 2016

In March 2016, the crude oil price in euros picked up significantly (+17.3% after +5.4% in Februrary). This recovery did not offset previous falls: standing at €35.1 on average per barrel of Brent, this price was 31.9% lower than one year ago.

In March 2016, the crude oil price in euros picked up significantly (+17.3% after +5.4% in Februrary). This recovery did not offset previous falls: standing at €35.1 on average per barrel of Brent, this price was 31.9% lower than one year ago.

Prices in euros of the other imported commodities kept rallying (+4.2% after +0.8%). The industrial raw material price increase is more pronounced (+2.8%) than the one of raw food materials (1.9%).

Oil prices increased steeply

In March, the price of crude oil from the North Sea (Brent) in euros kept climbing (+17,3%), more vigourously than in February (+5.4%). This recovery did not offset the decline during previous months (−31.9% over one year). This increase is likely explained by the prospects of a production freezing agreement between several producting countries, among which Saudi Arabia and Russia, in spite of Iran's will to ramp its supply up. In dollars, the price rise was a little more marked (+17.7% after +7.8%) since the euro appreciated slightly.

G_petrole_ang – Oil (Brent)

  • Source : INSEE

tabpetrole – Oil and petroleum products

in euros
Oil and petroleum products
Prices Change (%)
of last month over the last month over the last 3 months over the last 12 months
Brent in $ per barrel 39.1 17.7 3.6 –30.0
Brent in € per barrel 35.1 17.3 1.3 –31.9
Gasoline €/L 0.29 27.3 –0.1 –30.3
Gas Oil 319.3 15.9 –1.5 –36.6
Heavy fuel 163.1 5.8 1.5 –43.6
Naphtha 309.3 18.1 –13.7 –34.0
  • Prices are in euros per tonne unless otherwise specified
  • Source : INSEE

Prices of industrial raw materials kept rallying

Prices of industrial raw materials in euros accelerated (+6.2% after +2.8%). On the one hand, mineral prices went up (+6.6% after +4.2%). This new increase was mainly due to skyrocketing iron ore prices (+19.8% after +9.5%; +37.1% over the last three months). The announcement of a partial merger project between two of the top five producers may account for this buoyancy. On the other hand, prices of agricultural raw materials bounced back (+6,0% after −2.1%). In fact, the price of natural rubber increased significantly (+19.9% after +2.1%) similarly to the price of sawn softwood (+15.7% after −4.9%). The soaring of natural rubber price may result from a seasonal production decrease, and from the price increase of oil from which synthetic rubber is derived. The rise of these two prices did more than offset the slight decrease of other agricultral raw material prices.

G_indus_ang – Industrial raw materials

  • Source : INSEE

Prices of raw food materials bounced back

In March, prices of raw food materials in euros bounced back (+1.9%) after a four-month drop. The rebound of sugar price is notably strong (+15.5% after −8.9% and −4.4%), as a result of poor supply prospects in Brasil due to abundant rainfalls. Prices of tropical foodstuffs increased also (+4,0% after −4.3%). Price of oils seeds and vegetable oils varied a little (+0.4% after −0.3%), similarly to those of cereals (−0.6% after +0.2%). The price of beef meat went up slightly (+1.2% after −4.1%).

G_alim_ang – Food

  • Source : INSEE

G_ensemble_ang – Imported raw materials (excluding energy)

  • Source : INSEE

tabmatprem – Imported raw materials (excluding energy) in euros

base 100 in 2000
Imported raw materials (excluding energy) in euros
Index Changes (%)
of last month over the last month over the last 3 months over the last 12 months
Food total 202.9 1.9 –3.1 –10.1
Tropical foodstuffs 203.0 4.0 –9.9 –3.3
Oil seeds, vegetable oils 210.5 0.4 –1.3 –14.7
Cereals 148.2 –0.6 –0.5 –9.2
Sugar 155.3 15.5 0.6 16.8
Beef meat 164.4 1.2 3.1 –15.5
Industrial raw materials 150.3 6.2 6.7 –12.2
Agricultural raw materials 110.2 6.0 0.9 –8.8
Natural Fibres 114.3 –1.5 –7.5 –6.3
Natural rubber 134.6 19.9 13.6 –19.9
Hides 75.4 2.9 –0.1 –31.4
Wood pulp 96.2 –0.7 –4.4 –13.3
Tropical wood 106.5 –1.0 –7.2 –7.8
Sawn softwood 94.6 15.7 6.9 0.0
Minerals 172.2 6.6 9.0 –13.4
Iron ore 369.3 19.8 37.1 –5.2
Non-ferrous metals 142.3 4.7 4.3 –15.7
Precious metals 230.0 3.3 9.0 –8.2
All commodities 163.7 4.2 2.3 –11.0
  • Source : INSEE