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Commodity Prices

Volume 653: debated on Friday 9 February 1962

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asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will set out in tabular form the percentage reduction between 1953 and 1961 of world commodity prices; and if he will give the same figures for the commodity prices charged to manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom.

The following is the information:

Changes in commodity prices
World commodity prices*1953 to 1961-9%
1954 to 1961-12%
Prices of basic materials and fuel used in United Kingdom manufacturing industry †1954 to 1961+ 1%
* United Nations index; 1961 represented by average of first three quarters.
† Comparable figures are not available for 1953.
Comparison of the figures shown in the table does not reflect a difference between the change in prices charged to British manufacturers and the change in prices charged to manufacturers in other countries, mainly because of differences in the composition of world trade in primary commodities and of manufacturers' consumption of materials and fuel. For example, the United Nations index covers all basic foods and beverages entering into world trade (with coffee the largest item, one-fifth of the total) whereas the calculation for the United Kingdom covers food only to the extent that they are purchased by manufacturers for processing; and the United Nations index excludes metals as being manufactures, and not primary commodities, whereas imported metals are included in United Kingdom manufacturers' purchases of materials.