In February 2016, oil prices edged upPrices of oil and raw material imports - February 2016

In February 2016, the crude oil price in euros edged up (+5.4% after -18.0% in January). However, standing at €29.9 on average per barrel of Brent, this price was 41.3% lower than it was one year earlier (€51.0). Prices in euros of the other imported commodities recovered modestly (+0.8% after -2.6%). Prices of industrial raw materials increased (+2.8%), while those of raw food materials diminished (-2.4%).

In February 2016, the crude oil price in euros edged up (+5.4% after −18.0% in January). However, standing at €29.9 on average per barrel of Brent, this price was 41.3% lower than it was one year earlier (€51.0). Prices in euros of the other imported commodities recovered modestly (+0.8% after −2.6%). Prices of industrial raw materials increased (+2.8%), while those of raw food materials diminished (−2.4%).

Oil prices recovered a little

In February, the price of crude oil from the North Sea (Brent) in euros picked up (+5.4%) after a 33.7% downfall between October 2015 and January 2016. This recovery is most likely to be the result of the decision of the producing countries, in particular Saudi Arabia and Russia, to stabilise supply despite the high level of American stocks and the return of Iran to the global market. The crude price increase was more pronounced in dollars (+7.8% after −18.3%) because 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 33.2 7.8 –25.3 –42.7
Brent in € per barrel 29.9 5.4 –27.8 –41.3
Gasoline €/L 0.23 –10.7 –27.1 –38.6
Gas Oil 275.4 2.9 –32.2 –44.7
Heavy fuel 154.2 –3.0 –29.8 –48.6
Naphtha 262.0 –13.8 –33.3 –39.5
  • Prices are in euros per tonne unless otherwise specified.
  • Source: INSEE

Prices of industrial raw materials rallied slightly

Prices of industrial raw materials in euros rallied (+2.8% after −2.3%). This upturn was driven up by the rebound in minerals prices (+4.2% after −1.9%). Prices of iron ore accelerated (+9.5% after +4.5%), as a result of a steel demand from China. Prices of non-ferrous metals picked up (+2.3% after −2.6%), foremost due to zinc (+10.4% after −0.1%). In effect, this metal output, used to galvanise steelwork, decreased with the depletion of veins and the shutdown of mines. Prices of precious metals accelerated (+5.1% after +0.4%), driven up by the price of gold (+7.1% after +3.0%) that was still acting as a safe haven.

Conversely, prices of agricultural raw materials decreased again (−2.1% after −2.8%; −13.7% year-on –year), in particular those of wood pulp (−2.4% after −1.4%) due to high output levels. Those of sawn softwood declined as well (−4.9% after −2.8%).

G_indus_ang – Industrial raw materials

  • Source: INSEE

Prices of raw food materials kept dropping

Prices of raw food materials in euros dipped again (−2.4% after −2.6%). The decline in sugar prices became more marked (−8.9% after −4.4%) as a result of yield records in Brazil. Prices of tropical foodstuffs decreased again (−4.3%), less than in January however (−95%). The downturn in cocoa prices weakened (−3.8% after −11.7%) but continued with the improved crop prospects in Ivory Coast and Ghana combined with a subdued demand. Prices of cereals remained roughly stable (+0.2% after −0.1%), the increase in rice prices offset the decrease in corn prices.

G_alim_ang – Food

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 199.1 –2.4 –7.1 –9.5
Tropical foodstuffs 195.1 –4.3 –14.5 –5.7
Oil seeds, vegetable oils 209.7 –0.3 –7.9 –13.6
Cereals 149.1 0.2 –1.2 –5.4
Sugar 134.4 –8.9 –13.6 –6.1
Beef meat 162.4 –4.1 5.6 –11.2
Industrial raw materials 141.6 2.8 0.4 –15.7
Agricultural raw materials 103.9 –2.1 –6.1 –13.7
Natural fibres 116.0 –4.7 –6.3 –0.8
Natural rubber 112.3 2.1 –6.6 –31.3
Hides 73.3 –6.6 –0.7 –29.7
Wood pulp 96.9 –2.4 –6.8 –10.4
Tropical wood 107.6 –2.9 –9.0 –4.4
Sawn softwood 81.8 –4.9 –6.4 –17.9
Minerals 161.5 4.2 2.1 –16.8
Iron ore 308.3 9.5 –3.3 –24.6
Non-ferrous metals 135.9 2.3 2.0 –16.7
Precious metals 222.6 5.1 2.8 –11.2
All commodities 157.1 0.8 –2.8 –12.8
  • Source: INSEE