Global Financial Data Introduces Proprietary Commodity Indices Covering 1000 Years
Bryan Taylor, Chief Economist, Global Financial Data
Global Financial Data has introduced commodity indices which have the longest histories available anywhere as part of its family of GFD Indices. These commodity indices begin in the year 1000 and are current through 2016. The data are monthly and are updated on an ongoing basis. The GFD Commodity Indices include a composite index, three commodity indices and eight commodity sub-indices. The Composite Index is broken down into three categories, energy, agriculturals and industrials. There are no sub-indices for energy, but there are five sub-indices for agriculturals (beverages, soft foods, grains, livestock and oils and meal) and three sub-indices for industrials (non-food agriculturals, base metals and precious metals). The energy index begins in 1252, beverages in 1287, softs in 1209, grains in 1000, livestock in 1209, oils and meal in 1306, non-food agriculturals in 1248, base metals in 1268 and precious metals in 1000. Every index has at least 700 years of history. For the agricultural indices, beverages include beer, cocoa, coffee, milk and tea; the soft foods include butter, cheese, eggs, potatoes and sugar; the grains include barley, corn, hay, oats, rice and wheat; livestock includes, hogs, cattle and lambs; the oils and meal include corn oil, cottonseed oil, cottonseed meal, flaxseed, lard, oatmeal, palm oil, soybean meal, soybean oil, soybeans and tallow. For the industrial indices, base metals include aluminum, copper, iron, lead, nickel, steel, tin and zinc; the non-food agriculturals include cotton, rubber, tobacco, wood and wool; and the precious metals include gold, palladium, platinum and silver. The energy index includes coal, coal gas, firewood, natural gas and oil (which includes lamp oil, whale oil and petroleum). Data are taken from the United States and England. Annual data from England use historical series calculated by Gregory Clark in “The Price History of English Agriculture, 1209-1914.” British data is used until the 1700s when data from the United States becomes available. Most U.S. data before 1861 comes from Arthur H. Cole, Commodity Prices in the United States, 1700-1861, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938. Series from the 1900s and 2000s use government and traded spot prices data. The underlying commodities have for each series have changed over time. Whenever a new commodity source was introduced, we chain-linked different series to provide a continuous set of data for the underlying commodity. Composites were created for iron (beginning in 1268), steel (1720), coffee (1708), milk (1287), tea (1673), coal (1259), oil (1272), butter (1261), potatoes (1724), sugar (1265), barley (1209), corn (1756), hay (1258), oats (1209), rice (1000), wheat (1209), hogs (1732), cattle (1209), lambs (1874), cotton (1749), tobacco (1618), wood (1443), wool (1248) and lard (1797). Commodities are weighted based upon the amount of trade and consumption of each component. No exact data are available for the amount traded and consumed before the 1900s, so the weights have been estimated. The GFD Commodity Indices are available to subscribers to the GFD Indices, which include hundreds of proprietary series calculated for commodities, stocks and bonds. To get more information on these indices, or if you would like a list of the indices and the companies that have been added, call today to speak to one of our sales representatives at 877-DATA-999 or 949-542-4200.