There are a variety of sources for knowing prices, both international and natonal. There are trade publications of international organizations such as United Nations Organization (UNO) and Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) and regional organizations, such as OECD and ESCAP which give the quantity and c.i.f value of imports into many countries. Besides, each country has its own publication detailing out its trade. By dividing the value of imports by the quantities imported from supplying country, an exporter can get a rough idea of the unit c.i.f value of the product in the foreign country. The shipping freight and the insurance charges may be available from the shipping, insurance companies and freight forwarders.
Besides the national and international trade statistics from which an idea of the c.i.f price of commodities of different origins may be had there are many other sources for price information ranging from international publications to department store catalogues. International organizations such as UN, F.A.O and I.M.F give in their publications regularly the export import and wholesale process of many commodities in major producing, consuming and importing countries. UNCTAD publishes a monthly Commodity Price Bulletin. Besides, there are commodity-oriented international organizations such as International Tea Committee which in each issue of their publication give the spot prices, auction process etc of the commodities concerned in important countries. There are also certain organizations, like the Commonwealth Economic Committee, London which give the wholesale, quoted and import prices of many commodities of interest to the region. The economics dailies and periodicals published in various countries give the price quotations in their respective places. Commodity and metal exchange prices are regularly reported in the various economic dailies.
The International Trade Center, UNCTAD/WHO, Geneva had published a useful bibliography of the ‘Sources of Commodity’ and ‘Product Price’ Information. The bibliography contains the list of various sources where price information is available. These sources are of two major kinds:
1. Newspaper and periodicals published daily, weekly or monthly and
2. Specialized price information services, in the form of daily or weekly bulletins, charts and telex or tele-printer services
All products of trading interest of developing countries are included. Of curse, there is a certain unevenness of product coverage. In some cases numerous sources are listed while some others no sources are mentioned. This is because of the structure of world market and the products traded – some are widely traded, others less so. Therefore, the bibliography concentrates in regularly reported process. However, most agricultural products and other basic commodities are included. For consumers products the bibliography includes mail order catalogues to provide an approximation of typical prices prevailing in the countries covered as also summary specifications and illustrations.
At the national level in India, there are various organizations such as Commodity Boards. Export promotion Councils and various trade and manufacturers’ associations which bring out publications wherein useful information regarding prices about the commodities/products with which they deal, are given. The Government of India Ministries and other bodies such as the Central Statistical Organization and certain commercial undertakings also bring out publications giving the prices of commodities concerned with them
Useful as these pieces of information may be, they refer mostly to agricultural, mineral and industrial raw materials. Very little is known about manufactured products, particularly engineering and chemical products. In this field, the analysts must mainly rely on trade journals of the country concerned and market surveys and trade delegation reports. The Government trade representatives posted in various countries would also be of use in obtaining information regarding prices in various countries. Market Survey reports by IIFT, ITPO and other organizations very often contain information on process. Foreign offices of the STC, MMTC, ITPO and the Export Promotion Councils may also help. Apart from these sources it would be possible to obtain information on process by direct reference to importers and by referring to retailers’ catalogue. The ITPO has a collection of foreign product catalogues which provide information about product design, process, specifications and packaging requirements in the World markets.