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The publication may be obtained quoting UN Sales N°: GV.E.03.0.1, price: US$ 90.-, from:

Commodities Branch
Division for International Trade
and  Commodities
Palais des Nations
Tel: +41-22 917-5774
Fax: +41-22 917-0509
or from : United Nations Publications Sales Section
United Nations Office at Geneva
Palais des Nations CH-1211 Geneva 10 Switzerland
Tel: +41-22 917-1234
Fax: +41-22 917-012


The third edition of the World Commodity Survey 2003-2004, which is published today, can be ordered at the United Nations Sales Office (unpubli@unog.ch). The survey (330 pages) examines the global factors which have had an impact on raw material markets, whether for metals, farm products or energy. It analyses the principal trends in commodities, the evolution of the oil market, the role of the State in the present international context and market instability as new risks emerge. It also addresses company governance through a detailed study of the Enron case.

At the marketing chain level, the consequences of market fluctuations on commodities have been spectacular. Following liberalization of these sectors in the developing countries, producers, exporters and importers face many obstacles. One of these obstacles include asymmetrical information, which is an example of non-perfect markets . The 2001 Nobel prize for economics was awarded for work on asymmetrical information in consumer markets. This problematic is especially crucial for commodity dependant developing countries. Most developing countries lack access to the basic information which would enable them to negotiate the best prices, understand underlying market mechanisms, position themselves in dynamic sectors, learn about quality standards and be aware of the various links in the process of trade.

In this context, the Unctad survey tends to promote greater understanding of commodity markets and structures, in such areas as futures markets, temperate-zone farming, tropical products, fish and shellfish, iron and steel, non-ferrous ores, precious metals, energy and the major industrialized markets which consume large quantities of commodities. Due to the liberalization and the globalization, The World Commodity Survey 2003-2004 has the potential to be of great use to policy makers in developing countries who wish to enhance the operation of the commodity sector.

This survey was prepared with the support of the Government of France, which funds the INFOCOMM programme ("Market information in the commodity sector"), and in partnership with Cyclope, a group of French-speaking researchers.


Preface to the INFOCOMM Edition

Part 1 : A World in Change

  1. September 11, 2001: Economic Implications
  2. The State and the Market
  3. Telecommunications
  4. The New Exposure to Risk
  5. Petroleum - in the Eye of the Hurricane
  6. The Case of Enron


Part 2: The World Economic Environment

  1. The Americas
  2. Asia
  3. Europe

Part 3: Financial and Commodities Exchanges

  1. Derivatives Markets
  2. Commodity Exchanges
  3. Stock Markets and Shares
  4. Currency and Interest Rates

Part 4: Temperate Zone Agriculture

  1. Cotton
  2. Dairy Products
  3. Grains
  4. Hides and Skins
  5. Meat
  6. Non-Tropical Timber Markets
  7. Nuts
  8. Oilseeds
  9. Palm Oil
  10. Potatoes
  11. Rice
  12. Temperate Zone Fruit and Vegetables
  13. Tobacco
  14. Wine
  15. Wool


Part 5: Tropical Products

  1. Bananas
  2. Citrus Fruit
  3. Cocoa
  4. Coffee
  5. Hard Fibres
  6. Jute
  7. Pineapples
  8. Rubber
  9. Spices
  10. Sugar
  11. Tea
  12. Tropical Timber


Part 6: Fish and Shellfish

  1. Fish and Shellfish

Part 7 : Iron and Steel & the Major Metals

  1. Iron Ore and Scrap
  2. Steel
  3. Aluminium
  4. Copper
  5. Lead
  6. Nickel
  7. Tin
  8. Zinc


Part 8: Precious Metals and Diamonds

  1. Diamonds
  2. Gold
  3. Platinum-Group Metals
  4. Silver


Part 9: Energy

  1. Petroleum
  2. Natural Gas
  3. Coal
  4. Electricity

Part 10: Major Industrial Products

  1. The Automobile Industry
  2. Chemicals
  3. Fertilizers
  4. Paper and Pulp Markets
  5. Semiconductors
  6. Textiles and Clothing


Part 11: Services

  1. Insurance and Reinsurance
  2. Shipping