The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines the duration and magnitude of commodity-price cycles. It finds that for most commodities, price slumps last longer than price booms. How far prices fall in a slump is found to be slightly larger than how far they rebound in a subsequent boom. There is little evidence of a consistent ‘shape’ to commodity-price cycles. For all commodities, the probability of an end to a slump in prices is independent of the time already spent in the slump, and for most commodities, the probability of an end to a boom in prices is independent of the time already spent in the boom.