International prices for raw materials

Time series
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69 series are available ;

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Imported raw materials (39 items)

Currencies (8 items)

Producing organisation(s): INSEE

Petroleum products

Crude oil

Up until the end of 1985, international prices per barrel were fixed unilaterally by the producers – the OPEC or the BNOC. On the spot market (one-off, immediate deliveries), quotations for North Sea oil (Brent) were given for marginal transactions.
From 1986, the spot Brent price gradually became a benchmark representative of the price of European supplies.
After brief attempts to establish netback pricing (deduced from the value of refined products) then to bring back an official OPEC price, oil prices moved to an open market price.
From 1989, supply contracts for Europe refer directly to the spot quotations: the FOB (free on board) price of each origin is based on the Brent spot price corrected by a differential to take account of any difference in quality.

Oil products

The open market for refined oil products in Rotterdam, organised many years ago, reflects the movement of prices in dollars quoted in international transactions.
Since the deregulation of fuel prices in 1985, these quotations, converted into Euros, have become an important component in establishing the sales price, exclusive of taxes, on the French domestic market.
The series are monthly means of the data taken from the Petroleum Argus published by the Financial Times.

Prices of imported raw materials and the related INSEE indices

The INSEE indices trace the monthly trend (based on a mean of observations) of 32 imported raw materials from among the forty or so most important raw materials imported in terms of import value, and the price fluctuations of which are published regularly.
The weightings, updated each year, reflect the structure in value of the imports of the previous year.
The results are aggregated according to the nature of the products and their end use (foodstuffs or industrial materials). They are expressed on the one hand in a basket of currencies (Euro, American Dollar, Australian Dollar, Malaysian Dollar and Pound Sterling) and on the other hand in Euros.
The indices constitute early indicators of the unit costs of our supplies, showing the respective impacts of market trends and fluctuations in parity of the Euro against the other currencies involved.

The imported raw materials taken into account in the calculation of the indices are listed below:


  • tropical foodstuffs (arabica, robusta coffee beans, cocoa, tea),
  • oilseed crops (palm oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, soybeans and cakes of soybeans),
  • cereals (maize, rice),
  • sugar,
  • tobacco;


  • natural textile fibres (wool, cotton),
  • natural rubber,
  • cattle hides,
  • pulp,
  • tropical sawn wood,
  • sawn softwood;


  • iron ore,
  • non-ferrous metals (copper, nickel, aluminium, lead, zinc, titanium, manganese),
  • precious metals (silver, gold, platinum, palladium).

Foreign exchange rates

These series are used to convert the price of imported raw materials quoted in foreign currencies (namely the American, Australian and Malaysian Dollars and Pound Sterling) into Euros.
The rates are taken from the London market.