Social Development, issue 12 (2010) pp. 13-29
Prices of agricultural commodities undergoing rapid adjustments were in the spotlight following the food crises in late 2007 and early 2008, and again more recently in summer and fall of 2010, raising concerns about increased price volatility, whether temporal or structural. Although price volatility is a normal feature of markets given the seasonal production cycle and discontinuity of supply in the face of a continuing demand, a greater uncertainty of a rapidly changing economic and natural environment contributes to and magnifies its occurrence. This chapter focuses on the main challenges of price volatility in agricultural commodity markets. We start by briefly touching upon the theoretical aspects of volatility, followed by a comparison of international and European markets to identify whether one was more affected than the other by increases in price volatility. Factors, implications and preliminary policy considerations of increased volatility follow before initial conclusions on future prospects are drawn.
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