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Are commodity prices more volatile now ? a long-run perspective

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  • Calvo-Gonzalez, Oscar
  • Shankar, Rashmi
  • Trezzi, Riccardo

Abstract

Soaring commodity prices in 2007 and 2008 raised concerns that volatility was also rising, which would have implications for welfare and therefore for the design of public policy interventions. The literature focuses on trends in commodity prices rather than their volatility characteristics. This paper contributes by examining commodity price volatility with a newly compiled monthly panel dataset on 45 individual commodity prices from the end of the 18th century until today. The main conclusions are: the timing and number of breaks in volatility vary considerably across individual commodities, cautioning against generalizations based on the use of commodity price indices; the three most significant breaks common to most commodities are the two world wars and the collapse of the Bretton-Woods system; and structural breaks marking increased price volatility are followed by breaks marking declines in volatility so that there is no upward or downward trend in volatility over time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5460.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5460

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Keywords: Markets and Market Access; Emerging Markets; Access to Markets; Commodities; Economic Conditions and Volatility;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Hillebrand, Eric & Schnabl, Gunther, 2006. "A structural break in the effects of Japanese foreign exchange intervention on yen/dollar exchange rate volatility," Working Paper Series 0650, European Central Bank.
  3. Granger, Clive W.J. & Hyung, Namwon, 1999. "Occasional Structural Breaks and Long Memory," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4d60t4jh, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  4. Kokoszka, Piotr & Leipus, Remigijus, 1998. "Change-point in the mean of dependent observations," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 385-393, November.
  5. Elena Andreou & Eric Ghysels, 2001. "Detecting Multiple Breaks in Financial Market Volatility Dynamics," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0202, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  6. David S. Jacks & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 800-813, August.
  7. John T Cuddington & Daniel Jerrett, 2008. "Super Cycles in Real Metals Prices?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 55(4), pages 541-565, December.
  8. Moledina, Amyaz A. & Roe, Terry L. & Shane, Mathew, 2004. "Measuring Commodity Price Volatility And The Welfare Consequences Of Eliminating Volatility," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 19963, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  9. Paul Cashin & C. John McDermott, 2001. "The Long-Run Behavior of Commodity Prices," IMF Working Papers 01/68, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Reinhart, Carmen & Wickham, Peter, 1994. "Non-oil commodity prices: Cyclical weakness or secular decline?," MPRA Paper 13871, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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Cited by:
  1. Antonios Antypas & Phoebe Koundouri & Nikolaos Kourogenis, . "Volatility Trends and Optimal Portfolios: the Case of Agricultural Commodities," DEOS Working Papers 1113, Athens University of Economics and Business.
  2. Rabah Arezki & Daniel Lederman & Hongyan Zhao, 2011. "The Relative Volatility of Commodity Prices: A Reappraisal," CESifo Working Paper Series 3694, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Vivian, Andrew & Wohar, Mark E., 2012. "Commodity volatility breaks," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 395-422.
  4. Rabah Arezki & Daniel Lederman & Hongyan Zhao, 2011. "The Relative Volatility of Commodity Prices," IMF Working Papers 11/279, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Miffre, Joƫlle & Brooks, Chris, 2013. "Do long-short speculators destabilize commodity futures markets?," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 230-240.
  6. Marina Fischer-Kowalski & Dominik Wiedenhofer & Willi Haas & Irene Pallua & Daniel Hausknost, 2013. "Developing Resource use Scenarios for Europe," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 25, WWWforEurope.

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