The IMF Global Commodity prices outlook is out indicating falling commodity prices, with a reduction of 1.6% in November, down for the third straight month in a row.
This could be very good news in the short term as energy and food prices can be significant drivers of inflation which has been stubbornly high despite the recessionary environment in the global economy of the last few years.
If growth is returning without inflation then issues around living standards will begin to unwind as the prospect of wage increases exceeding inflation emerges.
The IMF summary follows:
Futures markets show most commodity prices remaining flat or declining over the next 12 months, with the exception of gasoline, natural gas, and some food products. Oil prices are expected to decline due to an expected rise in non-OPEC supplies, and possible recovery from outages in OPEC nations. Copper and gold futures prices are flat but soybean and soybean meal prices are expected to fall on the prospect of a large South American crop in 2014.
The report seems to indicate supply and demand are broadly in balance and could move in either direction. Stronger growth could increase demand and begin to firm prices, reduced demand could be a signal the recovery is beginning to run out of steam, or an alternate theory could be that China has finally managed to deliver sustainable consumer led growth, reducing its dependence on large capital infrastructure investment led growth. We probably won't know for a few months yet whether this trend is a strong signal of sustainable non-inflationary growth in the global economy. If it is confirmed it would be very good news indeed.