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Trends in real commodity prices: How real is real?

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  • Fernandez, Viviana

Abstract

Testing for the existence of downward trends in real commodity prices has been the focus of several studies since the Prebisch–Singer hypothesis was formulated back in 1950. In this article, we focus on annual and monthly series of various commodity categories and consider alternative price deflators. Based on the methodology of Harvey et al. (2010), which is robust to the order of integration of the time series, we conclude that the time frequency and the price deflators play a key role when testing for the Prebisch–Singer hypothesis. For instance, at an annual frequency (1900–2003, 1900–2008), it becomes considerably more likely to support it when deflating by the unadjusted US CPI-all items than when deflating by the Manufactures Unit Value (MUV) Index or the Historical Price Index of Manufactures (HPIM). This finding is in agreement with the Svedberg and Tilton (2006) discussion on the CPI's overestimation of inflation and the measurement of the real price of copper. When dealing with monthly data (January 1957–December 2010), our results show that real prices tend not to reject the null hypothesis of a trendless series, except when deflating by the PPI-Crude Materials and, to a lesser extent, by the HPIM.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Resources Policy.

Volume (Year): 37 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 30-47

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:1:p:30-47

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30467

Related research

Keywords: Prebisch–Singer hypothesis; Real commodity prices;

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References

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  1. Dirk G. Baur & Brian M. Lucey, 2007. "Is Gold a Hedge or a Safe Haven? An Analysis of Stocks, Bonds and Gold," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp198, IIIS.
  2. Cuddington, John T., 1992. "Long-run trends in 26 primary commodity prices : A disaggregated look at the Prebisch-Singer hypothesis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 207-227, October.
  3. Pindyck, Robert S. & Rotemberg, Julio., 1987. "The excess co-movement of commodity prices," Working papers 1969-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  4. Vogelsang, T.I. & Perron, P., 1991. "Nonstationary and Level Shifts With An Application To Purchasing Power Parity," Papers 359, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
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  6. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 943, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Svedberg, Peter & Tilton, John, 2003. "The Real Real Price of Nonrenewable Resources: Copper 1870-2000," Seminar Papers 723, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  8. Hong Liang & C. John McDermott & Paul Cashin, 1999. "How Persistent Are Shocks to World Commodity Prices?," IMF Working Papers 99/80, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Denis Kwiatkowski & Peter C.B. Phillips & Peter Schmidt, 1991. "Testing the Null Hypothesis of Stationarity Against the Alternative of a Unit Root: How Sure Are We That Economic Time Series Have a Unit Root?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 979, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Elliott, Graham & Rothenberg, Thomas J & Stock, James H, 1996. "Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 813-36, July.
  11. Grilli, Enzo R & Yang, Maw Cheng, 1988. "Primary Commodity Prices, Manufactured Goods Prices, and the Terms of Trade of Developing Countries: What the Long Run Shows," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(1), pages 1-47, January.
  12. Paul Cashin & C. John McCDermott, 2002. "The Long-Run Behavior of Commodity Prices: Small Trends and Big Variability," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(2), pages 2.
  13. David I. Harvey, & Stephen J. Leybourne, & A. M. Robert Taylor, 2006. "A simple, robust and powerful test of the trend hypothesis," Discussion Papers 06/01, University of Nottingham, Granger Centre for Time Series Econometrics.
  14. Harvey, David I. & Leybourne, Stephen J. & Taylor, A.M. Robert, 2009. "Simple, Robust, And Powerful Tests Of The Breaking Trend Hypothesis," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(04), pages 995-1029, August.
  15. John T. Cuddington, 1992. "An empirical analysis of real commodity price trends: Aggregation, model selection and implications," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 7(2), pages 159-179.
  16. Jacks, David S. & O Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2009. "Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700," CEPR Discussion Papers 7190, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Zanias, George P., 2005. "Testing for trends in the terms of trade between primary commodities and manufactured goods," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 49-59, October.
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  19. Dora L. Costa, 2001. "Estimating Real Income in the United States from 1888 to 1994: Correcting CPI Bias Using Engel Curves," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1288-1310, December.
  20. Cuddington, John T, 2010. "Long-term trends in the Real real prices of primary commodities: Inflation bias and the Prebisch-Singer hypothesis," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 72-76, June.
  21. Robin L. Lumsdaine & David H. Papell, 1997. "Multiple Trend Breaks And The Unit-Root Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 212-218, May.
  22. Stephan Pfaffenzeller & Paul Newbold & Anthony Rayner, 2007. "A Short Note on Updating the Grilli and Yang Commodity Price Index," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(1), pages 151-163.
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Cited by:
  1. Yamada, Hiroshi & Yoon, Gawon, 2014. "When Grilli and Yang meet Prebisch and Singer: Piecewise linear trends in primary commodity prices," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 193-207.
  2. Tilton, John E., 2013. "The terms of trade debate and the policy implications for primary product producers," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 196-203.

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