In December 2016, oil prices soaredPrices of oil and raw material imports - December 2016

In December 2016, the price of crude oil in euros soared (+19.1% after −4.6%). It reached an average of €51.1 per barrel, hitting its higher level since july 2015. The prices in euros of all other imported commodities rose less sharply (+2.9% after +6.4% in November) due to a slowdown in industrial raw materials prices (+3.5% after +10.0%). Furthermore, the prices of raw food materials kept recovering (+1.8% after +0.5%).

In December 2016, the price of crude oil in euros soared (+19.1% after −4.6%). It reached an average of €51.1 per barrel, hitting its higher level since july 2015. The prices in euros of all other imported commodities rose less sharply (+2.9% after +6.4% in November) due to a slowdown in industrial raw materials prices (+3.5% after +10.0%). Furthermore, the prices of raw food materials kept recovering (+1.8% after +0.5%).

Oil price bounced back sharply

In December, the price of North Sea crude oil (Brent) in euros bounced back sharply (+19.1% after −4.6%), boosted by the OPEC agreement to reduce production. In dollars, the rise in oil price is somewhat less pronounced (+16.4% after −6.6%) because the euro depreciated again during the month.

Graph1 – Oil (Brent)

  • Source: INSEE

Table1 – 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 54.1 16.4 17.1 43.3
Brent in € per barrel 51.3 19.1 24.5 48.1
Gasoline €/L 0.410 14.3 21.0 42.5
Gas Oil 459.2 15.9 23.0 41.6
Heavy fuel 321.7 21.7 30.4 100.1
Naphtha 436.4 13.1 25.0 21.7
  • Prices are in euros per tonne unless otherwise specified
  • Source : INSEE

Industrial commodity prices slowed

The prices in euros of industrial raw materials grew less than in November (+3.5% after +10.0%). Minerals prices slowed (+3.5% after +12.2%). The price of iron ore rose less significantly than in November (+12.9% after +27.3%) and the increase in non-ferrous metals prices eased (+1.0% after +9.6%). In addition, the prices of precious metals fell back (−4.0% after +1.3%), especially gold prices (−4.7% after +0.3%) because the rise in base interest rates in United States has lessened the attractiveness of gold. In contrast, the prices of agricultural raw materials gathered pace (+5.2% after +1.9%), driven again by a sharp increase in rubber (+13.6% after +10.4%) that benefited from the recovery in oil prices and the increase of vehicle sales in China. Moreover, the price of wood pulp grew again, and the price of sawn softwood bounced back. Only the price of hides edged down (−0.2% after +4.8%).

Raw food material prices expanded again

In euros, the prices of raw food materials went up more sharply than in November (+1.8% after +0.5%). The price of oil seeds and vegetable oils remained dynamic (+4.0% after +3.3%). The price of beef meat jumped (+14.2% after +2.1%). Cereal prices strenghtened (+4.0% after +0.5%). However, the prices of tropical foodstuffs kept declining (−6.0% after −2.0%): the price of cacao dropped again (−6.6% after −7.3%) and the price of Arabica slipped back (−11.6% after +5.4%) due to large crop expectations. The price of sugar fell sharply again (−7.7% after −6.9%).

Table2 – 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 214.9 1.8 2.2 2.7
Tropical foodstuffs 195.1 –6.0 –7.2 –13.4
Oil seeds, vegetable oils 245.7 4.0 4.6 15.2
Cereals 152.6 4.0 6.4 2.5
Sugar 200.1 –7.7 –6.2 29.7
Beef meat 154.9 14.2 15.4 –2.9
Industrial raw materials 180.0 3.5 17.3 27.8
Agricultural raw materials 126.0 5.2 10.4 15.4
Natural Fibres 144.2 3.1 8.5 16.7
Natural rubber 190.5 13.6 36.8 60.8
Hides 82.1 –0.2 8.8 8.8
Wood pulp 104.1 2.3 6.2 3.4
Tropical wood 98.8 2.7 1.0 –13.9
Sawn softwood 109.3 6.7 8.4 23.5
Minerals 208.6 3.1 19.2 32.0
Iron ore 560.3 12.9 49.7 108.1
Non-ferrous metals 164.2 1.0 14.6 20.3
Precious metals 239.0 –4.0 –7.4 13.3
All commodities 187.2 2.9 11.4 17.0
  • Source : INSEE

Graph3 – Food

  • Source: INSEE

Graph2 – Imported raw materials (excluding energy)

  • Source: INSEE

Graph4 – Industrial raw materials

  • Source: INSEE