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Energy prices not alone

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Prices for all sorts of commodities, from grains to metals, boomed during most of 2008, then busted in the final months of the year; energy prices followed that trend.

The worldwide commodity price boom started in 2002, but was strongest from 2005 to 2008. Of all commodities, energy showed the strongest and most consistent price gains throughout the cycle.

Energy product prices, particularly those for gasoline, fuel oil and other fuels, followed similar patterns over the course of 2008. Canadian gasoline prices averaged a rise of 12.7% in 2008, more than double the 4.5% increase in 2007 and virtually matching the 12.8% rise in 2005, the year hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted the oil market. However, by December 2008 gasoline prices were about 26% lower than in December 2007.

Natural gas prices rose 11.8% in 2008, after falling 6.5% in 2007. The rise in 2008 was the biggest jump since the 30.1% hike posted in 2003.