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Does the volatility of commodity prices reflect macroeconomic uncertainty?

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  • Marc Joëts
  • Valérie Mignon
  • Tovonony Razafindrabe

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of macroeconomic uncertainty on a large sample of 19 commodity markets. We rely on a robust measure of macroeconomic uncertainty based on a wide range of monthly macroeconomic and financial indicators, and we estimate a structural threshold VAR (TVAR) model to assess whether the effect of macroeconomic uncertainty on commodity price returns depends on the degree of uncertainty. Our findings show that whereas the safe-haven role of precious metals is confirmed, agricultural and industrial markets are highly sensitive to the variability and the level of macroeconomic uncertainty, respectively. In addition, we show that the recent 2007-09 recession has generated an unprecedented episode of high uncertainty in numerous commodity markets that is not necessarily accompanied by a subsequent volatility in the corresponding prices, highlighting the relevance of our uncertainty measure in linking uncertainty to predictability rather than to volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Joëts & Valérie Mignon & Tovonony Razafindrabe, 2015. "Does the volatility of commodity prices reflect macroeconomic uncertainty?," EconomiX Working Papers 2015-7, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
  • Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2015-7
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    macroeconomic uncertainty; commodity prices; threshold vector autoregressive model.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q02 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Commodity Market
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models

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