Energy commodity prices gained as metals sank in 2013

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has published some interesting information on movements in energy commodity prices during 2013.

Natural gas, western coal, electricity, and WTI crude all experienced price gains over the year. Natural gas gained the most, rising by 29%.

Meanwhile, North Sea Brent crude oil, various petroleum products, and eastern coal all dropped by about 5%.

EIA commodities

The Agency also compared energy commodity prices with other sectors. Unlike the energy sector, nonenergy components of the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index – including grains, industrial metals, and precious metals – ended 2013 down 17%, 20%, and 27% from their respective starting points.

The divergence between these prices is noteworthy because in the past crude oil futures price changes were often positively correlated with the prices changes of other commodities.

"These correlations dropped in the latter half of 2013, indicating that commodity sector prices have been responding to factors in their respective markets rather than broad shifts in expectations of global economic growth, which tend to increase or decrease the prices of all commodities," the EIA writes.