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The Myth of Comoving Commodity Prices

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  • C. John McDermott
  • Alasdair Scott
  • Paul Cashin

Abstract

There is a common perception that the prices of unrelated commodities move together. This paper re-examines this notion, using a measure of comovement of economic time series called concordance. Concordance measures the proportion of time that the prices of two commodities are concurrently in the same boom period or same slump period. Using data on the prices of several unrelated commodities, the paper finds no evidence of comovement in commodity prices. The results carry an important policy implication, as the study provides no support for earlier claims of irrational trading behavior by participants in world commodity markets.

Suggested Citation

  • C. John McDermott & Alasdair Scott & Paul Cashin, 1999. "The Myth of Comoving Commodity Prices," IMF Working Papers 99/169, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:99/169
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Don Harding & Adrian Pagan, 1999. "Dissecting the Cycle," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp1999n13, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Michael Melvin & Jahangir Sultan, 1990. "South African political unrest, oil prices, and the time varying risk premium in the gold futures market," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 103-111, April.
    3. C John McDermott & Alasdair Scott, 1999. "Concordance in business cycles," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series G99/7, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    4. Deb, Partha & Trivedi, Pravin K & Varangis, Panayotis, 1996. "The Excess Co-movement of Commodity Prices Reconsidered," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(3), pages 275-291, May-June.
    5. Zivot, Eric & Andrews, Donald W K, 2002. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil-Price Shock, and the Unit-Root Hypothesis," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-44, January.
    6. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
    7. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1, January.
    8. Palaskas, Theodosios B. & Varangis, Panos N., 1991. "Is there excess co-movement of primary commodity prices? A co-integration test," Policy Research Working Paper Series 758, The World Bank.
    9. Cashin, Paul & McDermott, C. John & Scott, Alasdair, 2002. "Booms and slumps in world commodity prices," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 277-296, October.
    10. Pindyck, Robert S & Rotemberg, Julio J, 1990. "The Excess Co-movement of Commodity Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1173-1189, December.
    11. Gerhard Bry & Charlotte Boschan, 1971. "Cyclical Analysis of Time Series: Selected Procedures and Computer Programs," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bry_71-1, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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