Eoin McGuirk, Marshall Burke, 26 May 2022

The humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Ukraine has rightly commanded the attention of policymakers worldwide. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will likely have consequences that echo far beyond the borders of either country. This column draws on recent research to discuss how the war’s impact on food commodity prices may shape the distribution of violent conflict in Africa. The authors predict an overall increase in inter-group conflict, yet this encompasses large spatial variation across countries, with the top agricultural producers exhibiting a decrease in conflict due to higher wages.     

Guido Porto, Bob Rijkers, 20 May 2022

This week António Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, warned that the war in Ukraine would tip tens of millions into food insecurity. Guido Porto and Bob Rijkers tell Tim Phillips about who suffers and how much from food price inflation.

Maksym Chepeliev, Maryla Maliszewska, Maria Filipa Seara e Pereira, 06 May 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is disrupting global supplies of essential commodities, pushing prices higher, slowing trade, and driving down incomes. This column argues that developing countries that are large agricultural and energy importers are being hit hardest. While some commodity exporters might be able to step up exports to benefit from increasing global prices, they could experience a restructuring of their trade patterns, resulting in a lower integration into global value chains. Consumers across the world are worse off, with the poorest being impacted the most adversely.

Erhan Artuc, Guillermo Falcone, Guido Porto, Bob Rijkers, 01 April 2022

The conflict in Ukraine has led to a surge in food prices, particularly wheat and corn. This column uses a newly developed toolkit to analyse the welfare impacts of food price inflation on households in developing countries. Average household welfare decreases in 43 of 53 countries in the sample, with an average real income loss of -1.5%. This impact varies substantially both across and within countries, with poorer households suffering systematically larger welfare losses. Protracted price increases will have long-term consequences for prosperity in many of these countries, exacerbating issues of poverty and inequality.

Rabah Arezki, 17 March 2022

Wheat and oil prices were already rising before the Russian invasion, so what might be the effect for people in low-income countries of a war far away, that may have a secondary impact much closer to home?

Part of a series of commentaries on the economic consequences of the conflict in Ukraine.

Donata Faccia, Miles Parker, Livio Stracca, 12 November 2021

Despite the increasing interest in climate change in the central bank community, we still know relatively little about the impact on medium-term inflationary pressure. This column discusses new evidence for a panel of advanced and emerging economies on the impact of very high temperatures on prices. It finds that extreme temperatures have noticeable effects on price developments even in the medium term, although more so in emerging than in advanced economies. On balance, the impact of high temperatures on prices appears to be on the upside in the short term, and on the downside in the medium term.

Jasmien De Winne, Gert Peersman, 29 August 2021

The world is expected to see a significant rise in the frequency, duration, and intensity of extreme weather events. This column examines the macroeconomic effects of global food commodity price increases that are caused by global harvest and weather disruptions, and finds that the decline in economic activity is substantial and greater in advanced than in low-income countries. The findings suggest that the consequences of climate change for advanced countries may be greater than previously thought, and the strong rise in food prices since the outbreak of COVID-19 could seriously impede the recovery.

Christian Bogmans, Andrea Pescatori, Ervin Prifti, 05 June 2021

Global food security is being threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictive measures to control it. Jammed food supply chains, falling incomes for some population segments, and rising food prices are placing food out of reach for millions of individuals. This column discusses the short-run relationship between food (in)security and income and food prices, and the implications of the current economic crisis for global hunger. The pandemic’s economic fallout risks setting us back a full decade on eliminating undernourishment, especially in low-income countries. Governments should strengthen social safety nets for the most vulnerable to keep inequality in check.

Alvaro Espitia, Nadia Rocha, Michele Ruta, 24 May 2020

Although initial conditions in global food markets in the face of COVID-19 pandemic are good, disruptions across countries most affected could reduce global supplies of key staples. This column shows that escalating export restrictions would multiply the initial shock by a factor of three, with world food prices rising by up to 18% on average. Import food dependent countries, which are in large majority developing and least developed countries, would be most affected. Uncooperative trade policies could risk turning a health crisis into a food crisis.

Koen Deconinck, Hubertus Gay, Holger Matthey, 26 February 2018

As the world’s population becomes more numerous, more prosperous, and more urbanised, it is often assumed that growth in global demand for food will accelerate. This column argues, however, that for most agricultural commodities a slowdown in demand growth over the next ten years is more likely, allowing policymakers to focus on the parallel requirements of using the earth’s natural resources sustainably and making an effective contribution to climate change mitigation.

Plamen Iossifov, Jiří Podpiera, 16 February 2015

The ongoing, synchronised disinflation across Europe raises the question of whether non-Eurozone EU countries are affected by the undershooting of the Eurozone inflation target, by other global factors, or by synchronised domestic, real sector developments. This column argues that falling world food and energy prices have been the main disinflationary driver. However, countries with more rigid exchange-rate regimes and/or higher shares of foreign value added in domestic demand have also been affected by disinflationary spillovers from the Eurozone.

Kym Anderson, Maros Ivanic, William Martin, 03 August 2013

Food prices in international markets have spiked three times in the past five years. Most governments responded by altering trade restrictions to insulate the domestic market. Did this work? This column presents new research suggesting that altering trade restrictions has less impact than is commonly thought. Since there are other options – such as conditional cash transfers – that could better, more efficiently and more equitably protect against poverty, it is time we sought a multilateral agreement to desist from changing restrictions on trade when international food prices spike.

Peter Debaere, 22 August 2012

As droughts, record temperatures and high crop prices remind us, the world’s water supply is not co-located with the world’s water demand. This column takes a factor-abundance trade-theory approach to the problem and suggests that open markets that make specialisation of production possible may offer a way to fight water scarcity.

Kym Anderson, Signe Nelgen, 12 August 2012

The recent upward spike in the international price of food led some countries to raise export barriers. This paper provides new evidence on change in domestic and international food prices, compares it with responses during previous food price spike periods, and suggests stronger WTO regulation on export restrictions.

Nadia Rocha, Paolo Giordani, Michele Ruta, 09 May 2012

International food prices are on the rise and becoming increasing volatile, reaching crisis levels in recent years. This column argues that one overlooked reason for this is the rise in protectionist policies aimed at restricting food exports.

Simon Evenett, Frédéric Jenny, 15 February 2012

After several decades of quiescence, global commodity prices almost doubled in 2008 and, after a brief fall, rose again in 2011. The papers in this new CEPR eReport aim to identify and assess the importance of the factors responsible for the recent increases in the levels and volatility of commodity prices.

Marga Peeters, Ronald Albers, 23 February 2011

World food prices are now even higher than their peak just before the global crisis. During periods of high commodity prices, North African and Middle Eastern governments have a long tradition of subsidising food and fuel products. But this column shows that food price inflation and consequently subsidies were also high during periods when global commodity prices were falling. Now these countries have an opportunity to correct this.

Luis Catão, Roberto Chang, 27 January 2011

Rising food prices once again pose central banks a tricky question. How far should they ignore food price inflation? This column suggests that food tends to have stronger predictive power on global inflation cycles than oil. The problem is more severe in emerging markets where consumption basket weights for food are two or three times larger than in rich nations. Central banks should pay close attention.

Ataman Aksoy, Bernard Hoekman, 08 October 2010

The contributions in this latest book from CEPR and the World Bank review trends in international prices and trade patterns of key food commodities, and assess the incidence of food price changes in a number of developing countries using household level data on sources of incomes and consumption patterns.

Kym Anderson, 13 November 2009

Global food price volatility is costly. This column argues that most food price spikes are driven by major policy shifts, such as tariffs and subsidies, which result in harmful tit-for tat behaviour. It makes the case for completing the Doha round to further restrain WTO members’ unilateral actions.

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