In March 2017, oil prices fell backPrices of oil and raw material imports - March 2017

In March 2017, the price of crude oil in euros decreased anew (−6.7%) after a three-month increase (of which +0.9% in February). The prices in euros of all other imported commodities also fell back (−1.9% after +3.1% in February), both those of industrial raw materials (−1.4% after +4.8%) and those of raw food materials (−2.9% after 0.0%).

Informations rapides
No 102
Paru le : 20/04/2017

In March 2017, the price of crude oil in euros decreased anew (−6.7%) after a three-month increase (of which +0.9% in February). The prices in euros of all other imported commodities also fell back (−1.9% after +3.1% in February), both those of industrial raw materials (−1.4% after +4.8%) and those of raw food materials (−2.9% after 0.0%).

Oil price fell back sharply

In March, the price of North Sea crude oil (Brent) in euros fell back sharply (−6.7% after +0.9% in February). It reached an average of €48.6 per barrel, hitting its lower level since November 2016, but nevertheless higher than its March 2016 level (+38.5%). In dollars, the increase was less marked (−6.3% after +1.1%) because the euro appreciated slightly 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 52.0 –6.3 –3.9 33.0
Brent in € per barrel 48.6 –6.7 –5.3 38.5
Gasoline €/L 0.369 –4.1 –10.0 28.4
Gas Oil 434.4 –6.4 –5.4 36.1
Heavy fuel 300.7 –5.1 –6.5 87.0
Naphtha 431.9 –8.1 –1.0 39.6
  • Prices are in euros per tonne unless otherwise specified
  • Source : INSEE

Industrial commodity prices fell back

The prices in euros of industrial raw materials declined in March 2017 (−1.4%) after five months of consecutive gains (+4.8% in February). The prices of agro-industrial raw materials dropped (−3.0% after +7.3%). Indeed, the price of rubber plummeted (−11.3% after +2.2%) because of excess supply, and the price of sawn softwood fell back sharply (−4.6% after +20.9%). The price of tropical wood declined more moderatly (−1.6% after +1.1%). The prices of natural fibers slowed down (+2.0% after +3.5%). However, the price of wood pulp (+0.7% after +0.6%) as well as hide one (+1.5% after +0.4%) accelerated moderatly. Minerals prices fell back (−0.9% after +4.2%), mainly as a result of the price of iron ore (−2.2% after +9.7%); the prices of non-ferrous metals (−0.4% after +2.6%) and those of precious metals (−2.0% after +3.9%) also declined.

Food commodity prices decreased

In euros, the prices of raw food materials decreased anew (−2.9% after 0.0%). The prices of oil seeds and vegetable oils fell back (−4.2% after +0.4%) as well as those of cereals (−1.3% after +0.1%). The price of sugar also plummeted (−11.9% after −0.8%) suffering a lower demand for the benefit of bioethanol production, while supply is plentiful, especially Brazilian harvests. The prices of tropical foodstuffs slipped back again (−1.1% after −4.3%), driven by the fall in the price of tea (−7.7% after +3.7%). The price of beef meat slowed down (+0.9% after +6.4%).

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 211.0 –2.9 –1.8 4.0
Tropical foodstuffs 186.1 –1.1 –4.6 –8.3
Oil seeds, vegetable oils 239.7 –4.2 –2.4 13.9
Cereals 152.8 –1.3 0.1 3.1
Sugar 189.1 –11.9 –5.5 21.8
Beef meat 161.5 0.9 4.3 –1.8
Industrial raw materials 188.7 –1.4 4.8 25.6
Agricultural raw materials 131.5 –3.0 4.3 19.4
Natural Fibres 156.8 2.0 8.8 37.2
Natural rubber 195.4 –11.3 2.6 45.2
Hides 82.7 1.5 0.6 9.6
Wood pulp 104.6 0.7 0.5 8.6
Tropical wood 96.2 –1.6 –2.6 –9.6
Sawn softwood 121.1 –4.6 10.8 28.0
Minerals 218.9 –0.9 5.0 27.1
Iron ore 606.3 –2.2 8.2 64.2
Non-ferrous metals 170.5 –0.4 3.9 19.8
Precious metals 254.0 –2.0 6.3 10.4
All commodities 191.8 –1.9 2.4 17.2
  • Source : INSEE

Graph3 – Food

  • Source: INSEE

Graph2 – Imported raw materials (excluding energy)

  • Source: INSEE

Graph4 – Industrial raw materials

  • Source: INSEE