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What Explains the Rise in Food Price Volatility?

  • Shaun K. Roache
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    The macroeconomic effects of large food price swings can be broad and far-reaching, including the balance of payments of importers and exporters, budgets, inflation, and poverty. For market participants and policymakers, managing low frequency volatility—i.e., the component of volatility that persists for longer than one harvest year—may be more challenging as uncertainty regarding its persistence is likely to be higher. This paper measures the low frequency volatility of food commodity spot prices using the spline- GARCH approach. It finds that low frequency volatility is positively correlated across different commodities, suggesting an important role for common factors. It also identifies a number of determinants of low frequency volatility, two of which—the variation in U.S. inflation and the U.S. dollar exchange rate—explain a relatively large part of the rise in volatility since the mid-1990s.

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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 10/129.

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    Length: 29
    Date of creation: 01 May 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/129
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    1. Seale, James & Regmi, Anita & Bernstein, Jason, 2003. "International Evidence on Food Consumption Patterns," Technical Bulletins 184321, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. Allan D. Brunner, 2000. "El Nino and World Primary Commodity Prices: Warm Water or Hot Air?," IMF Working Papers 00/203, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Peterson, Hikaru Hanawa & Tomek, William G., 2003. "How Much Of Commodity Price Behavior Can A Rational Expectations Storage Model Explain?," Staff Papers 30712, Kansas State University, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    4. Amanor-Boadu, Vincent & Zereyesus, Yacob Abrehe, 2009. "How Much Did Speculation Contribute to Recent Food Price Inflation?," 2009 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2009, Atlanta, Georgia 46841, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    5. David S. Jacks & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2009. "Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700," NBER Working Papers 14748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Weaver, Robert D & Natcher, William C, 2000. "Commodity Price Volatility under New Market Orientations," MPRA Paper 9862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Thompson, Wyatt & Meyer, Seth & Westhoff, Pat, 2009. "How does petroleum price and corn yield volatility affect ethanol markets with and without an ethanol use mandate?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 745-749, February.
    8. Askari, Hossein & Cummings, John Thomas, 1977. "Estimating Agricultural Supply Response with the Nerlove Model: A Survey," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(2), pages 257-92, June.
    9. Robles, Miguel & Torero, Maximo & von Braun, Joachim, 2009. "When speculation matters:," Issue briefs 57, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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