Thursday, June 24, 2010

The CRB Commodity Yearbook 2010

I have long daydreamed about owning CRB commodity yearbooks; the problem is that they don’t come cheap and I don’t have a compelling need for them. This year, with the opportunity to review The CRB Commodity Yearbook 2010 (Wiley), my fantasy became reality.

The latest yearbook is about 375 pages long and measures 8 ½” x 11.” In addition to coverage of world commodity markets and the CRB indices, it contains information on more than 100 commodities, including such marginal items as lard and onions. To give a feel for its offerings let me summarize the data for gold.

The five pages devoted to gold include some text about the commodity followed by nine tables and six charts. The tables show the world mine production of gold (2001-2009), salient statistics about gold in the U.S. (2000-2009), monthly average gold price (2000-2009), volume of trading of gold futures (COMEX, 2000-2009), average open interest of gold (COMEX, 2000-2009), COMEX depository warehouse stocks of gold (2000-2009), central gold bank reserves (2000-2009), mine production of recoverable gold in the U.S. (1999-2008), and consumption of gold by end-use in the U.S. (1989-1998). There are charts of the monthly average price of gold (1830-2009), the weekly close of gold futures (NYMEX, 2000-2009), and the weekly close of gold in British pounds, euros, yen, and Swiss francs (2000-2009).

The yearbook comes with a bonus CD, and this one really is a bonus. It includes feature articles from yearbooks back to 1965. For gold there is text back to the 1970 yearbook, graphs back to 1975, and statistics back to 1970. In brief, more historical data than any commodity junkie could ever want. You’re essentially getting about forty yearbooks for the price of one.

My major complaint about this book is that the charts need some major refurbishing. They look as if they were set up years ago, when computerized typography was in its infancy. The kerning, for instance, is atrocious.

Nonetheless, I’m delighted to be the proud owner of The CRB Commodity Yearbook 2010.

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