“Energy commodity prices are now the biggest problem for the world economy. It is facing the highest inflation in the last 40 years and has no reason to retreat due to more expensive energy. Lower gas supplies and constant fears of a complete stoppage of flows from Russia in the context of Europe’s high dependence on Russian gas manifested in an unprecedented increase in its prices,” said Hájek.
Gas listed on the Dutch stock exchange has risen by 172 percent since the beginning of the year. As gas in Germany was supposed to serve as a bridge to the transition to renewable energies, electricity prices are also rising significantly. In Germany, the one-year contract on the stock exchange climbed by 2692 percent since the beginning of the year. The price of Brent North Sea crude, meanwhile, rose 28.2 percent.
According to Hájek, the year was also very volatile for agricultural commodities. They rose by several tens of percent at the beginning of the Russian invasion, but before the beginning of the summer they fell. Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s largest exporters of wheat, and prices have reacted to uncertainty over supply shortages of the commodity. Ultimately, however, speculators in the wheat market failed to hold on to massive gains, and its price has moved up 6.3 percent since the start of this year.
However, not only Russian aggression in Ukraine affects everything. For example, the price of coffee rose to the highest levels in a decade due to drought and frost in Brazil at the beginning of the year. Since the beginning of the year, however, the price has rather stagnated and gained 3.35 percent, Hájek pointed out.
This year, precious and industrial metals are primarily under the influence of the US dollar, in whose prices they are expressed. For example, gold so far shows that it is not working very well as a hedge against inflation, as its price has fallen by 7.5 percent since the beginning of the year. Silver is in a significantly worse situation, as it is mainly an industrial metal and the processing industry is starting to slow down due to high energy prices. Its price fell by 23.1 percent over the same period. One of the most widely used industrial metals, copper, is a barometer of the economic mood. Its price has fallen by 22.2 percent since the beginning of the year.
Gold.plus director Martin Stránský said to ČTK that the price of gold was mainly influenced by reports from the US central bank, the Fed, about the continuation of interest rate hikes, as well as the strengthening of the dollar. According to him, the price of platinum fell by 13 percent, while palladium rose by 14 percent. The key global supplier of palladium, used mainly in the automotive industry, is Russia, which Western countries have imposed sanctions on because of the conflict in Ukraine, he noted.