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What Tracks Commodity Prices?

Thomas Klitgaard and Harry Wheeler

No 20160321, Liberty Street Economics from Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Abstract: Various news reports have asserted that the slowdown in China was a key factor driving down commodity prices in 2015. It is true that China’s growth eased last year and, owing to its manufacturing-intensive economy, that slackening could reasonably have had repercussions for commodity prices. Still, growth in Japan and Europe accelerated in 2015, with the net result that global growth was fairly steady last year, casting doubt on the China slowdown explanation. An alternative story relies on the strong correlation between the dollar and commodity prices over time. A simple regression shows that both global growth and the dollar track commodity prices, and in this framework, it is the rise of the dollar that captures last year’s drop in commodity prices. Thus a forecast of stable global growth and a relatively unchanged dollar suggests little change in commodity prices in 2016.

Keywords: commodity prices; global growth; China; dollar; industrial supplies; import prices; CRB (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E2 F00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-03-21
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-mac
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