03 February 1999
World Bank warns on commodities

THE World Bank has warned that global commodity prices may never recover from their poor showing in the last two years.

And the banks analysts say the depressed market could have far-reaching consequences for emerging markets.

Some commodities have been trading at a third of their levels of four years ago, largely because of improved technology and policy changes in producer countries.

The Asian crisis has exacerbated the downward trend, the bank says in the first of a series of reports called Global Commodity Markets.

The World Banks food price index peaked in April 1996 and had fallen 12.7% by the time the Asian crisis began, affecting all commodity sectors.

The bank forecasts that sub-Saharan Africa will suffer the worst damage from lower commodity prices.

  • Financial Times 03/02/99 page 25