Financial 411: Rising Commodities Prices, and Their Effect on Consumers
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The G-20 Summit
World leaders are gathered in Seoul, South Korea, for an economic summit aimed at reviving the global economy. But the outlook for any substantial agreement appears increasingly unlikely.
The U.S. is facing sharp criticism for the Federal Reserve's decision to buy $600 billion in government bonds. That move will drive down the value of the dollar, a move international critics say gives U.S. exporters an unfair price advantage.
President Barack Obama has said the U.S. economy needs to grow if the world economy is to recover.
And while the G-20 summit has trade policies on its agenda, President Obama and the president of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, failed to finalize a long-time-in-the-making trade agreement. Both leaders say they'll give negotiators more time to work out differences around Korean imports of American cars and beef.
President Obama has recently focused on trade and exports as a means to revive the U.S. economy and bring down inflation. The president wants to double America exports in five years.
Mixed News on Home Prices
Back home in the U.S. — in fact, in people's homes — there's some mixed news about home prices. If you're a glass-half-full person, home prices fell in nearly half of the nation's metropolitan areas in the third quarter of this year, compared to the same quarter last year.
If you're a glass-half-empty type, nearly half of the country's metro areas saw median home prices increase. The National Association of Realtors said the median sales price for existing homes rose in 77 areas, and fell in 76. In New York and northern New Jersey, median homes prices rose nearly three percent.
The Dow shed 74 points, closing at 11,283. The S&P 500 dropped five points, to 1,214. The Nasdaq lost 23 points, ending the day at 2,556.
Rising Commodity Prices
With the G-20 meeting underway, we thought now is a good time to look at the sudden sharp rise in commodities, or raw materials. Cotton prices have been up about 100 percent from a year ago. Gold has traded over $1,400 an ounce. And crude oil prices have also been rising.
The increase is due, in part, to strong economic growth in countries like China. But the Federal Reserve's plan to purchase $600 billion in government bonds could be contributing as well.
John Kilduff is the founding partner of Again Capital, a hedge fund that focuses on energy and commodities. He talks about rising commodities prices, and what they mean for consumers.