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 persistence of shocks to world commodity prices, using monthly IMF data on primary commodities between 1957–98. We find that shocks to commodity prices are typically long–lasting and the variability of the persistence of price shocks is quite wide. The paper also discusses the implications of these findings for national and international schemes to stabilize earnings from commodity exports and finds that if price shocks are long–lived, then the cost of stabilization schemes will likely exceed any associated smoothing benefits.