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Financialization of food - The determinants of the time-varying relation between agricultural prices and stock market dynamics

  • Girardi, Daniele

This paper studies the correlation of agricultural prices with stock market dynamics. We discuss the possible role of financial, macroeconomic and monetary factors in driving this time-varying relation, with the aim of understanding what has caused positive correlation between agricultural commodities and stocks in recent years. While previous works on commodity-equity correlation have focused on broad commodity indices, we study 16 main agricultural prices, in order to be able to assess patterns that are specific to agricultural commodities (but also differences across agricultural markets). We show that an explanation based on a combination of financialization and financial crisis is consistent with the empirical evidence, while global demand factors and monetary forces don't appear to play a significant role. In particular, we find that the correlation between agricultural price changes and stock market returns tends to get higher as the so-called TED spread (our proxy for financial turmoil) increases. Moreover, the impact of financial turmoil on the correlation gets stronger as the share of financial investors in agricultural derivatives markets (our proxy for financialization) rises. Our findings suggest that the influence of financial shocks on agricultural prices is likely to decrease as global financial tensions settle down but also that, as long as agricultural derivatives markets are populated mainly by financial investors, it can be expected to rise again when it is less needed, i.e. in the presence of new financial turmoil.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 52043.

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Date of creation: 10 Oct 2013
Date of revision: 16 Nov 2013
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:52043
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  1. Ke Tang & Wei Xiong, 2010. "Index Investment and Financialization of Commodities," NBER Working Papers 16385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gary Gorton & K. Geert Rouwenhorst, 2004. "Facts and Fantasies about Commodity Futures," NBER Working Papers 10595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Büyükşahin, Bahattin & Robe, Michel A., 2014. "Speculators, commodities and cross-market linkages," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 38-70.
  4. 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.
  5. Engle, Robert F, 1982. "Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity with Estimates of the Variance of United Kingdom Inflation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 987-1007, July.
  6. Robert F. Engle & Kevin Sheppard, 2001. "Theoretical and Empirical properties of Dynamic Conditional Correlation Multivariate GARCH," NBER Working Papers 8554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. M. Ruth & K. Donaghy & P. Kirshen, 2006. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Regional Climate Change and Variability, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
  8. Harrison Hong & Motohiro Yogo, 2011. "What Does Futures Market Interest Tell Us about the Macroeconomy and Asset Prices?," NBER Working Papers 16712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Parantap Basu & William T. Gavin, 2011. "What explains the growth in commodity derivatives?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 37-48.
  10. G. William Schwert & Paul J. Seguin, 1991. "Heteroskedasticity in Stock Returns," NBER Working Papers 2956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bicchetti, David & Maystre, Nicolas Maystre, 2013. "The synchronized and long-lasting structural change on commodity markets: Evidence from high frequency data," Algorithmic Finance, IOS Press, vol. 2(3-4), pages 233-239.
  12. Working, Holbrook, 1960. "Speculation on Hedging Markets," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 02, May.
  13. Bollerslev, Tim, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 307-327, April.
  14. Christopher L. Gilbert, 2010. "How to Understand High Food Prices," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 398-425.
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