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Commodity Markets Outlook, October 2023: Under the Shadow of Geopolitical Risks
World Bank
2023.12.08
The conflict in the Middle East―the latest of an extraordinary series of shocks in recent years―has heightened geopolitical risks for commodity markets, in an already uncertain global environment. Before the conflict began, voluntary oil supply withdrawals by OPEC+ producers pushed energy prices up 9 percent in the third quarter. As a result, the World Bank’s commodity price index rose 5 percent over that period and is now 45 percent above its 2015-19 average. For now, the war’s impact on commodity prices have been muted. Prices of oil and gold have risen moderately, but most other commodity prices have remained relatively stable. Nevertheless, history suggests that an escalation of the conflict represents a major risk that could lead to surging prices of oil and other commodities. A Special Focus section provides a preliminary assessment of the potential impact of the conflict on commodity prices. It finds that the effects of the conflict are likely to be limited, assuming the conflict does not widen. Under that assumption, the baseline forecast calls for commodity prices to decline slightly over the next two years. If the conflict does escalate, the assessment also includes what might happen under three risk scenarios, relying upon historical precedents to estimate the effects of small, moderate, and large disruptions to the global oil supply. The magnitude of the effects will depend on the duration and scale of the supply disruptions.