Economists: Commodity Prices Dropping

A trio of economic factors that sent commodity prices soaring in mid-2008 has since reversed course and is pushing prices lower, according to an updated report by three Purdue University agricultural economists.

"The three major drivers that we identified last year were trends in global production and consumption, the value of the dollar, and biofuels," said Wally Tyner, who, along with Philip Abbott and Chris Hurt, released "What’s Driving Food Prices?" this past July. "One of the key questions we asked in doing this new study was, ‘Are these same three that drove prices up the ladder now driving prices down the ladder?’ The answer is yes."

Tyner and Hurt, who presented the update on March 11 in a Farm Foundation Forum at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, found that a stronger American dollar, falling ethanol demand, and rising grain stocks combined to send corn, soybean, wheat, and rice prices cascading in late 2008. Behind those dramatic changes is the global financial crisis, the economists said.

"The dollar had lost about 67 percent of its value through July 2008, and since July it has gained 22 percent of that value back," Tyner said. "Since July, the expectations on supply and demand are that our stocks are going to be better than we thought since 2008 was a good production year and world demand has dropped. So supplies are not nearly as short now in terms of stocks-to-use ratios as they were before.

"And then the demand for biofuels is not near what we thought it was going to be. The price of oil comes down, the price of gas comes down and demand for ethanol goes down. That means there’s not as much corn needed to make ethanol, and, therefore, not near as much pressure on the price."

Given time, consumers are likely to see lower prices for some food items, Tyner said.

"Demand is down for everything," he said. "In particular, demand is down more for meat products, which means less demand for the corn and soybean meal to produce meat. It filters through the system.

The news for crop growers is that production costs have not fallen as quickly as commodity prices. As a result, input prices remain relatively high, Tyner said.

"Had commodity prices stayed high, farmers could have supported those input prices," he said. "It’s going to be a tight margin year for farmers. They came off of two really good years, but this year is going to be much different."

Hurt said, "The future for agriculture is also closely tied to the depth and duration of the current recession, as well as to the magnitude of the recovery in coming years. Other important factors will be how governments and consumers respond to the downturn and how biofuels policy evolves in coming years."

To read the July 2008 "What’s Driving Food Prices?" report and update, visit the Farm Foundation Web site at www.farmfoundation.org.

(Source: Purdue University)

Leave a Reply

Latest News
ManagementAgriculture 3.5: A Bumpy Road Ahead
May 24, 2016
You may have read my article a few years ago on Agriculture 3.0, which is a term I coined to Read More
Topcon’s X30 display with CropSpec sensors
EquipmentGPS Autosteer Systems: Product Updates From Precision A…
May 24, 2016
Throughout 2015 GPS Steering solutions continued to evolve from what was once an after-market add on, to today’s cab where Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojThe Precision Ag Revolution Continues
May 24, 2016
It’s funny how much “the first time” tends to mean to someone as they get older. I sometimes can’t recall Read More
Eric Wintemute, AMVAC
Precision AgAMVAC Ups The Ante With New Precision Ag Technology
May 24, 2016
A potentially industry-changing at-plant soil treatment system from American Vanguard Corp., or AMVAC, is coming soon to large growers in Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
CropLife 100CropLife 100 Map
May 24, 2016
The new CropLife 100 map shows the locations of each of the headquarters of the 2015 CropLife 100 retailers. The interactive Read More
Southern States Cooperative
Corn Field
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Names Veteran Account Manager To Lead Central…
May 23, 2016
With the continuing growth of the sulphur bentonite and precision crop nutrient industry, global agriculture firm H.J. Baker has announced that Read More
Bayer sign
Industry NewsReuters: Bayer Defies Critics With $62 Billion Monsanto…
May 23, 2016
German drugs and crop chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Hires Industry Veteran To Lead Plant N…
May 19, 2016
Compass Minerals has hired plant nutrition industry veteran Vatren Jurin to steer the company’s portfolio expansion into specialty liquid micronutrient Read More
ASMARK Retailers LIVE! Tour 2016 Group shot The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons Rejects Unsolicited Proposal From HC2
May 19, 2016
The Andersons, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has rejected two non-binding, highly conditional, unsolicited proposals from HC2 Read More
glyphosate
Crop InputsWHO: Glyphosate ‘Unlikely’ To Cause Cancer
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter Kate Kelland: The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, Read More
dicamba, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend
Crop InputsASA: No Dicamba On Roundup Ready 2 Xtend In 2016
May 16, 2016
While Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (RR2X) are tolerant to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides, no dicamba herbicides will be approved for Read More
CPP, glyphosate, dicamba, atrazine,
Crop InputsReport: Congress Pressing EPA On Glyphosate Review Hand…
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter P.J. Huffstutter: U.S. lawmakers have asked EPA to explain why it published – and then withdrew – Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
ManagementAsmark Institute Tour Observations
May 12, 2016
Special Guest CropLife Field Editor Matthew Grassi discusses his week-long visit with 45 ag retailers as part of the Asmark Read More
MicronutrientsCompass Minerals Expands Trial Work For Wolf Trax Innov…
May 12, 2016
Fertilizer manufacturer Compass Minerals continues to expand the evaluation program for its Wolf Trax micronutrient fertilizer products, according to a Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Industry NewsArysta Adds To Marketing Team
May 12, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of David Davies to its marketing team. As marketing manager, Davies will Read More