A pricing index that measures changes in the price of 22 commodities that are believed to be among the first to react to changes in economic conditions. The CRB Index may serve as an early indicator of changes in the business climate and thus it is one of the economic statistics watched by analysts and economists. The index includes raw materials or products close to the beginning stages of production. Highly fabricated commodities are not included because they have large fixed costs, which causes them to react less quickly to changing market conditions.
Milton Jiler, a journalist, started Commodity Research Bureau in 1934 to provide commodity pricing information, which was virtually non-existent at the time. The company was sold in 1984 to Knight-Ridder Financial Publishing. In 1997, Knight Ridder Financial Publishing was purchased by Bridge Information Systems Inc. and the index adopted the name CRB/Bridge Index. Bridge Information was liquidated in bankruptcy proceedings, and in September 2001, Logical Systems Inc. of Chicago, purchased the CRB division from Bridge and restored the CRB name. Products include the CRB Commodities Yearbook, price charts, and daily market commentary.