the VOA Special English Economics Report.
for many widely traded goods have fallen recently after big increases earlier
in the year.
world's most widely traded commodity by value, led the way. Oil prices fell in
part because of a recently stronger dollar. Most oil is traded in dollars. When
the dollar's exchange value increases, so do prices in foreign currencies.
prices, in turn, reduce demand. For example, officials say Americans drove
fifteen and a half billion fewer kilometers in May than a year before.
prices are welcome news for buyers. But experts say the drop in demand for oil
and other raw materials is also a sign of weakening economies in Europe and
Japan. Recent economic reports suggest that they may be in a worse position
than the United States.
Economist magazine's index of commodity prices excluding oil fell by more than
twelve percent since early July.
week, commodities have been trading higher -- especially on Thursday as oil
prices jumped. Market watchers blamed tensions between the United States and
Russia, the world's second largest oil exporter, as well as a weaker dollar.
sold dollars and moved back into gold and other precious metals along with
energy and agriculture futures. A Reuters news agency index showed commodities
moving toward their biggest weekly gain in thirty-three years.
an all-time high of one hundred forty-seven dollars and twenty-seven cents a
barrel on July eleventh. Before Thursday's rise it was trading below one
hundred twenty dollars a barrel.
way oil prices will go now is anyone's guess, but the recent drop has helped
ease inflation fears. Consumer prices in the United States rose in July at
their fastest level in seventeen years. Producer prices rose at their fastest
rate in twenty-seven years.
with oil, prices for agricultural commodities have fallen recently. The effects,
though, may be slow to bring down food prices.
for most grains have fallen by twenty to thirty percent or more since the end
reason was good news from the Midwest, the agricultural heartland in the United
States. Heavy rains in May and June caused the worst flooding there in fifteen
years. But this month, the Department of Agriculture added about five percent
to its latest estimate for this year's corn crop. The crop is expected to be
the second largest ever.
that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. I'm