Raw materials provide the basis for economic development of each and every nation. In recent years, the constantly growing demand for raw materials, stimulated by the ongoing consumer boom in many economies, has resulted in a spectacular growth of several groups of commodities, and in particular:
- Fuels (petroleum, natural gas, coal, uranium)
- Industrial minerals (copper, zinc, tin, lead, iron ore, nickel, aluminum, magnesium)
- Precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, palladium)
- Foodstuff in the form of agricultural produce (rye, wheat, maize, soy, milk, animal half-carcasses, coffee and cocoa beans)
Fuels occupy a leading position in the global commodity trade. Their prices are susceptible to fluctuations not only due to market demand but also due to the international situation. For example, the petroleum prices on global markets largely depend on decisions taken by OPEC, the biggest international association of oil exporters. Oil reserves management and the availability of crude oil have a huge impact on all commodity prices.
Prices of precious metals and industrial minerals are also very sensitive to the international political situation and the condition of the global economy.