There was a period in the 2000s when primary commodity prices appeared to have bucked their long term trend of stagnation or decline. As Chart 1 shows, between the trough of December 2001 and the peak of August 2008, the price index for all primary commodities (in US dollar terms) rose by 445 per cent, that is nearly four and a half times.
This increase came after a decade of relative stagnation in nominal dollar prices (which reflected a decrease in relative prices of commodities) over the previous decade. The strength and rapidity of the increase in prices over the 2000s led some analysts to argue that changing patterns of global production and consumption meant that there would be secular tendencies towards increase in such prices in the medium term. In particular, the more rapid growth of and therefore increased demand from China, India and other “emerging markets” was seen to indicate a structural shift in global demand that would generate continued increases in primary commodities prices for some time.