Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Commodity Price Volatility in the Biofuel Era: An Examination of the Linkage between Energy and Agricultural Markets

Contents:

Author Info

  • Hertel, Thomas W.
  • Beckman, Jayson F.

Abstract

Agricultural and energy commodity prices have traditionally exhibited relatively low – even negative correlation. However, the recent increases in biofuel production have altered the agriculture-energy relationship in a fundamental way. The amount of corn utilized for ethanol production in the US has increased from 5% in 2001 to over one-third by the end of the decade. This increase has drawn corn previously sold to other uses (exports, food, feed), as well as acreage devoted to other crops (e.g., oilseeds and other grains). In addition, there has been an increase in the demand for production inputs, especially fertilizers, which are heavily energy-intensive. In short, the previous “biofuel decade” has led to significant changes in the US, and indeed the global economy. In the next five years, the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) envisions a further boost of ethanol production to 15 billion gallons per year. This might be expected to further strengthen the linkage between energy prices and agricultural commodity markets. However, unless oil prices rise sharply, it is likely that the RFS will be binding in 2015 – that is, the amount of ethanol consumed will be determined by government mandates rather than by the relative price of oil vs. corn-based ethanol. Under such a scenario, with an even larger share of corn production going to ethanol, and with that source of demand potentially becoming unresponsive to price, there is potential for significant increases in commodity market volatility. Indeed, we estimate that, in the presence of a binding RFS, the inherent volatility in the US coarse grains market will rise by about one-quarter. And the volatility of the US coarse grains price to supply side shocks in that market will rise by nearly one-half. Under a high oil price scenario, we expect that, rather than the RFS binding, the binding constraint is likely to be the “blend wall”, i.e. the legal % content of ethanol in gasoline used by regular automobiles. (This is currently set at 10%.) With a binding blend wall, we see similar, although somewhat smaller, increases in market volatility. If both the RFS and the blend wall are simultaneously binding, then US coarse grains price volatility in response to corn supply shocks is 57% higher than in the non-binding case, and world price volatility is boosted by 25%. In short, we envision a future in which agricultural price volatility – particularly for biofuel feedstocks – will depend critically on renewable energy policies. Indeed, these may dominate the traditional importance of agricultural commodity policies in many markets.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/60857
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado with number 60857.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea10:60857

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 555 East Wells Street, Suite 1100, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Phone: (414) 918-3190
Fax: (414) 276-3349
Email:
Web page: http://www.aaea.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:aaea10:60857. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.