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
StewardshipReport: Precision Nutrient Management, Cover Crops Amon…
August 31, 2016
Agriculture can play a significant role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to a recent scientific report. Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
CropLife 100GROWMARK To Build New Fertilizer Facility In Ayr, Ontar…
August 31, 2016
GROWMARK announced plans Wednesday to build a new state-of-the-art fertilizer facility in Ayr, Ontario. It will be managed by FS Read More
Soybean Field
FungicidesSyngenta Launches Interactive Tools For Vibrance Seed T…
August 30, 2016
As part of the ongoing commitment to provide growers and retailers with the most current crop protection products and agronomic Read More
EquipmentAGCO Celebrates Manufacturing In Minnesota
August 30, 2016
AGCO Corp. welcomed the I Make America campaign to its Jackson, MN, factory last Friday to celebrate the contributions of manufacturing Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
Eric SfiligojThe Read From MAGIE
August 29, 2016
As I write this column, I’ve just returned from the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL. Being Read More
EquipmentAGCO Opens Nominations For 11th Annual Operator Of The …
August 29, 2016
AGCO Corp. is now accepting nominations for 2016 Operator of the Year, which recognizes hard-working applicators across the country. These Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
CropLife 100CHS Completes $10 Million Renovation Of St. Paul Agrono…
August 29, 2016
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has completed a $10 million Read More
2016 ShowStopper | Case IH Patriot 4440 Sprayer
Equipment5 Show-stopping Products On Display At 2016 MAGIE
August 26, 2016
For 10 years now, visitors to the yearly Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) show have been tasked with voting for Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More