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The Comovement in Commodity Prices; Sources and Implications

  • Ron Alquist
  • Olivier Coibion

We present a simple macroeconomic model with a continuum of primary commodities used in the production of the final good, such that the real prices of commodities have a factor structure. One factor captures the combined contribution of all aggregate shocks which have no direct effects on commodity markets other than through general equilibrium effects on output, while other factors represent direct commodity shocks. Thus, the factor structure provides a decomposition of underlying structural shocks. The theory also provides guidance on how empirical factors can be rotated to identify the structural factors. We apply factor analysis and the identification conditions implied by the model to a cross-section of real non-energy commodity prices. The theoretical restrictions implied by the model are consistent with the data and thus yield a structural interpretation of the common factors in commodity prices. The analysis suggests that commodity-related shocks have generally played a limited role in global business cycle fluctuations.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 13/140.

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Length: 63
Date of creation: 05 Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/140
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  1. Lutz Kilian & Daniel P. Murphy, 2014. "The Role Of Inventories And Speculative Trading In The Global Market For Crude Oil," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 454-478, 04.
  2. Baumeister, Christiane & Kilian, Lutz, 2011. "Real-Time Forecasts of the Real Price of Oil," CEPR Discussion Papers 8414, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Byrne, Joseph P. & Fazio, Giorgio & Fiess, Norbert, 2013. "Primary commodity prices: Co-movements, common factors and fundamentals," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 16-26.
  4. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-48, April.
  5. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Olivier Coibion, 2009. "Monetary Policy, Trend Inflation and the Great Moderation: An Alternative Interpretation," 2009 Meeting Papers 21, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Christiane Baumeister & Gert Peersman, 2011. "The Role of Time-Varying Price Elasticities in Accounting for Volatility Changes in the Crude Oil Market," Working Papers 11-28, Bank of Canada.
  7. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "Exogenous Oil Supply Shocks: How Big Are They and How Much Do They Matter for the U.S. Economy?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 216-240, May.
  8. Alexei Onatski, 2010. "Determining the Number of Factors from Empirical Distribution of Eigenvalues," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 1004-1016, November.
  9. Kilian, Lutz, 2006. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5994, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Olivier Coibion, 2011. "Are the effects of monetary policy shocks big or small?," Working Papers 90, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  11. Athanasios Orphanides, 2003. "Historical monetary policy analysis and the Taylor rule," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-36, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Kilian, Lutz & Lee, Thomas K, 2013. "Quantifying the Speculative Component in the Real Price of Oil: The Role of Global Oil Inventories," CEPR Discussion Papers 9297, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-62, April.
  14. repec:taf:jnlbes:v:30:y:2012:i:2:p:326-336 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Seung C. Ahn & Alex R. Horenstein, 2013. "Eigenvalue Ratio Test for the Number of Factors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 1203-1227, 05.
  16. Deren Unalmis & Ibrahim Unalmis & Derya Filiz Unsal, 2012. "On Oil Price Shocks: The Role of Storage," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 60(4), pages 505-532, December.
  17. Kozicki, Sharon & Tinsley, P.A., 2009. "Perhaps the 1970s FOMC did what it said it did," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 842-855, September.
  18. Nikolay Gospodinov & Serena Ng, 2013. "Commodity Prices, Convenience Yields, and Inflation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 206-219, March.
  19. Connor, Gregory & Korajczyk, Robert A, 1993. " A Test for the Number of Factors in an Approximate Factor Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1263-91, September.
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