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The Financialization of Food?

  • Valentina G. Bruno
  • Bahattin Buyuksahin
  • Michel A. Robe

Commodity-equity and cross-commodity return co-movements rose dramatically after the 2008 financial crisis. This development took place following what has been dubbed the “financialization” of commodity markets. We first document changes since 2000 in the intensity of speculative activity in grain and livestock futures. We then use a structural VAR model to establish the role of speculative activity in explaining the strength of co-movements between grain, livestock and equity returns. We find that speculative intensity does not in itself affect the extent to which grain markets move in sync with the stock market. Rather, pre-crisis, financial speculators’ futures positions facilitated the transmission of macroeconomic shocks into grain markets. Strikingly, in the post-crisis period, this transmission channel weakened to the point of statistical insignificance. The role of speculative activity is less evident in livestock markets, where only macroeconomic conditions have a statistically significant impact on return co-movements with equities.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 13-39.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:13-39
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  1. Schlenker, Wolfram & Villas-Boas, Sofia B, 2008. "Consumer and market responses to mad-cow disease," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1023, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
  2. Lutz Kilian, 2009. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1053-69, June.
  3. Xiaodong Du and Lihong Lu McPhail, 2012. "Inside the Black Box: the Price Linkage and Transmission between Energy and Agricultural Markets," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
  4. Devadoss, Stephen & Holland, David W. & Stodick, Leroy & Ghosh, Joydeep, 2006. "A General Equilibrium Analysis of Foreign and Domestic Demand Shocks Arising from Mad Cow Disease in the United States," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 31(02), August.
  5. Engle, Robert, 2002. "Dynamic Conditional Correlation: A Simple Class of Multivariate Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(3), pages 339-50, July.
  6. Witsanu Attavanich & Bruce A. McCarl & David Bessler, 2011. "The Effect of H1N1 (Swine Flu) Media Coverage on Agricultural Commodity Markets," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 33(2), pages 241-259.
  7. Matteo Manera, Marcella Nicolini, and Ilaria Vignati, 2013. "Financial Speculation in Energy and Agriculture Futures Markets: A Multivariate GARCH Approach," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
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