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International Grain Reserves And Other Instruments to Address Volatility in Grain Markets

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  • Brian D. Wright

Abstract

In the long view, recent volatility of prices of the major grains is not anomalous. Wheat, rice, and maize are highly substitutable in the global market for calories, and when aggregate stocks decline to minimal feasible levels, prices become highly sensitive to small shocks, consistent with the economics of storage behavior. In this decade, stocks declined due to high global income growth and biofuels mandates, making markets unusually sensitive to subsequent unanticipated shocks, including biofuels demand boosts in reaction to high petroleum prices, the Australian drought, and other regional grain production problems. To protect their own vulnerable and politically influential consumers, key exporters restricted supplies in 2007, exacerbating the price rise. Understandably, vulnerable importers are now building strategic reserves. To reduce costs and disincentive effects, reserves should have quantitative goals related to targeted distribution to the most vulnerable in severe emergencies. For countries with significant animal feeding or biofuels industries, options contracts to protect the consumption of the most vulnerable from harvest shocks are likely to be more cost-effective than emergency reserves. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 27 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 222-260

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:27:y:2012:i:2:p:222-260

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Janvry, Alain De & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2010. "Agriculture for development in sub-Saharan Africa: An update," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 5(1), September.
  2. Galtier, F., 2009. "How to Manage Food Price Instability in Developing Countries ?," Working Papers MOISA 200905, UMR MOISA : Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs : CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, IRD - Montpellier, France.
  3. Femenia, Fabienne, 2012. "Should private storage be subsidized to stabilize agricultural markets after price support schemes are removed?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1205, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Dethier, Jean-Jacques & Effenberger, Alexandra, 2012. "Agriculture and development: A brief review of the literature," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 175-205.
  5. World Bank, 2012. "Using Public Food Grain Stocks to Enhance Food Security," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11878, The World Bank.
  6. Baffes, John & Dennis, Allen, 2013. "Long-term drivers of food prices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6455, The World Bank.
  7. Lehecka, Georg, 2013. "Have food and financial markets integrated? An empirical assessment on aggregate data," 53rd Annual Conference, Berlin, Germany, September 25-27, 2013 156108, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
  8. Lin, Justin Yifu & Martin, William J., 2009. "The Financial Crisis and Its Impact on the Global Agricultural Landscape," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 53208, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  9. Gabrielyan, Gnel & Marsh, Thomas L., 2012. "Domestic and Export Price Formation of U.S. Hops," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124722, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  10. Galtier, F., 2009. "Comment gérer l'instabilité des prix alimentaires dans les pays en développement ?," Working Papers MOISA 200904, UMR MOISA : Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs : CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, IRD - Montpellier, France.
  11. de Janvry, Alain, 2009. "Agriculture for development: New paradigm and options for success," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 53202, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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