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Frequently Asked Questions

IMF Primary Commodity Prices

Last Updated: February 22, 2019

Primary Commodity Price tables are presented annually, quarterly, monthly, and weekly.



Q: Where can I find and download commodity prices and indices?

A: You can find commodity prices and indices in the Excel file here. The data are monthly, with coverage starting in 1980 for some prices. Index coverage starts in 1992.

Q: Are the prices you report in nominal or real terms?

A: The prices we report are in current U.S. dollars.

Q: Do you report average or end-of-period prices?

A: Our prices are period averages.

Q: Are your prices and indices seasonally adjusted?

A: No, our prices and indices are not seasonally adjusted.

Q: Are your commodity prices country-specific?

A: No, we report benchmark prices which are representative of the global market.

However, country-specific commodity price indices can be derived from the Commodity Terms of Trade database which can be found here: http://data.imf.org/commoditytermsoftrade. This database includes a set of country-specific terms-of-trade indices for 182 economies from 1962.

Q: Where can I find the descriptions of commodity prices and indices, including data sources and commodity grades and weights?

A: The current weights are available in the technical documentation here.  Commodity descriptions, sources and weights are also at the bottom of each of the tables posted on the webpage.

Q: How often are the monthly figures updated?

A: Monthly data are updated during the first full week of each month, so that we can collect all data for the previous month; it is then posted on the website shortly afterwards.

Q: Do you report futures prices or price forecasts?

A: We do not report futures prices; however price projections for two years ahead are available on the IMF World Economic Outlook website. Click on the most recent publication. Select "By country groups", click on "world", then select the commodity prices and indices you are interested in. Lastly, choose the date range for the data and click on "prepare report".

Q: How are commodity indices constructed?

A: Our indices are based in 2016 (average of 2016 = 100). We first calculate individual commodity price indices in U.S. dollar and SDR terms, basing the price series in those currencies in 2016. Group indices are weighted averages of individual commodity price indices, with respective commodity weights derived from their relative import trade values compared to the total world import trade as reported in the UN Comtrade database. See technical documentation.

Q: How often do you update the index weights?

A: We calculate the weights about every 5 years. The weights in the commodity basket reflect the structure of trade in 2014-2016 (previously it was 1995-1997). Please see technical documentation.

Q: The World Bank also has commodity index, how do yours and theirs differ?

A: The WB index has a different coverage and weighting scheme.

Q: I noticed that the prices in your database change retroactively - why is that?

A: We update our prices retroactively when our data sources update their figures retroactively. This usually pertains to the most recent few months. Also, there are several series for which data releases lag one or two months, in which case we report an estimate using random walk for the missing months and then replace the estimates with official data when they become available to us. Indices change as their inputs get updated.

Q: Can I use your commodity data for a publication?

A: You are welcome to use our commodity data for written work as long as you cite the database accordingly. For copyright and usage information on IMF work see the Copyright and Usage page.

Q: If I have a question, which is not covered in this section, who can I contact for assistance?

A: Please e-mail the IMF Research Department's commodities team at commodities@imf.org with questions regarding our data.