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Placing the 2006/08 commodity price boom into perspective

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  • Baffes, John
  • Haniotis, Tassos

Abstract

The 2006-08 commodity price boom was one of the longest and broadest of the post-World War II period. Apart from strong and sustained economic growth, the recent boom was fueled by numerous factors, including low past investment in extractive commodities, weak dollar, fiscal expansion, and lax monetary policy in many countries, and investment fund activity. At the same time, the combination of adverse weather conditions, the diversion of some food commodities to the production of biofuels, and government policies (including export bans and prohibitive taxes) brought global stocks of many food commodities down to levels not seen since the early 1970s. This in turn accelerated the price increases that eventually led to the 2008 rally. The weakening and/or reversal of these factors coupled with the financial crisis that erupted in September 2008 and the subsequent global economic downturn, induced sharp price declines across most commodity sectors. Yet, the main price indices are still twice as high compared to their 2000 real levels, begging once more the question about the real factors affecting them. This paper concludes that a stronger link between energy and non-energy commodity prices is likely to be the dominant influence on developments in commodity, and especially food, markets. Demand by emerging economies is unlikely to put additional pressure on the prices of food commodities. The paper also argues that the effect of biofuels on food prices has not been as large as originally thought, but that the use of commodities by financial investors (the so-called"financialization of commodities") may have been partly responsible for the 2007/08 spike. Finally, econometric analysis of the long-term evolution of commodity prices supports the thesis that price variability overwhelms price trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Baffes, John & Haniotis, Tassos, 2010. "Placing the 2006/08 commodity price boom into perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5371, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5371
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Negash, Martha & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2013. "Biofuels and food security: Micro-evidence from Ethiopia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 963-976.
    3. Nazlioglu, Saban & Erdem, Cumhur & Soytas, Ugur, 2013. "Volatility spillover between oil and agricultural commodity markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 658-665.
    4. Listorti, Giulia & Kempen, Markus & Girardin, Jean & Kranzlein, Tim, 2011. "Do Price Uncertainties Affect the Use of Policy Flexibilities? The Selection of Sensitive Products in WTO Agricultural Negotiations," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114381, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Dethier, Jean-Jacques & Effenberger, Alexandra, 2012. "Agriculture and development: A brief review of the literature," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 175-205.
    6. Hochman, Gal & Rajagopal, Deepak & Timilsina, Govinda & Zilberman, David, 2011. "The role of inventory adjustments in quantifying factors causing food price inflation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5744, The World Bank.
    7. Symeonidis, Lazaros & Prokopczuk, Marcel & Brooks, Chris & Lazar, Emese, 2012. "Futures basis, inventory and commodity price volatility: An empirical analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2651-2663.
    8. Jayati Ghosh, 2011. "Implications of regulating commodity derivatives markets in the USA and EU," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 64(258), pages 287-304.
    9. Gbadebo Oladosu & Siwa Msangi, 2013. "Biofuel-Food Market Interactions: A Review of Modeling Approaches and Findings," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-19, February.
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    11. Chang, Chia-Lin & Chen, Li-Hsueh & Hammoudeh, Shawkat & McAleer, Michael, 2012. "Asymmetric adjustments in the ethanol and grains markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1990-2002.
    12. Sari, Ramazan & Hammoudeh, Shawkat & Chang, Chia-Lin & McAleer, Michael, 2012. "Causality between market liquidity and depth for energy and grains," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1683-1692.
    13. Philip Abbott, 2014. "Biofuels, Binding Constraints, and Agricultural Commodity Price Volatility," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Food Price Volatility, pages 91-131 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Vijay Kumar Varadi, 2012. "An evidence of speculation in Indian commodity markets," EconStor Preprints 57430, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    15. Karyotis, Catherine & Alijani, Sharam, 2016. "Soft commodities and the global financial crisis: Implications for the economy, resources and institutions," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 350-359.
    16. Kavallari, Aikaterini & Fellmann, Thomas & Gay, Stephan Hubertus, "undated". "Shocks in economic growth = shocking effects on agricultural markets?," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114766, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    17. Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (ed.), 2016. "Food Price Policy in an Era of Market Instability: A Political Economy Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198788836.
    18. Djuric, Ivan & Gotz, Linde & Glauben, Thomas, 2012. "Vertical Price Transmission in Serbian Wheat-to-Bread Supply Chain during the Global Commodity Price Peaks 2007/2008 and 2010/2011," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126775, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    19. Nazlioglu, Saban & Gormus, N. Alper & Soytas, Uğur, 2016. "Oil prices and real estate investment trusts (REITs): Gradual-shift causality and volatility transmission analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 168-175.
    20. Spencer, Thomas & Lucas, Chancel & Emmanuel, Guerin, 2012. "Exiting the crisis in the right direction: A sustainable and shared prosperity plan for Europe," MPRA Paper 38802, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Kalt, Gerald & Kranzl, Lukas, 2012. "An assessment of international trade related to bioenergy use in Austria—Methodological aspects, recent developments and the relevance of indirect trade," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 537-549.

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