Volatile and rising agricultural prices put significant strain on the global fight against poverty. An accurate reading of future food price movements can be an invaluable budgetary planning tool for various government agencies and food aid programs. Using the asset-pricing approach developed in Chen, Rogoff and Rossi (2010), we show that information from the currency and equity markets of several commodity-exporting economies can help forecast world agricultural prices. Our formulation builds upon the notion that because these countries currency and equity valuations depend on the world price of their commodity exports, market participants would price expected future commodity price movements into the current values of these assets. Because the foreign exchange and equity markets are typically much more fluid than the agri-commodity markets (where prices tend to be more constrained by current supply and demand conditions), these asset prices can signal future agricultural price dynamics beyond information contained in the agri-commodity prices themselves. Our findings complement forecast methods based on structural factors such as supply, demand, and storage considerations.
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