Market integration and price transmission in consumer markets of developing countries

World prices for agricultural commodities surged in 2006–08, and then again in 2011–12. In many developing countries, consumer prices for staple foods, such as bread and rice, mirrored these movements. This paper examines whether prices in urban consumer markets within developing countries are co-integrated with prices in world agricultural commodity markets. Using a single equation error correction model, we examine the response of consumer prices for wheat, rice, maize, and sorghum to changes in world market prices and exchange rates in urban centers of the developing world. Analyzing over 60 country/commodity pairings, we find that developing countries’ consumer markets are co-integrated with world markets. Yet, we also find that the transmission of changes in both world prices and real exchange rates to domestic consumer prices is not high, and that the movement of domestic consumer prices to new equilibrium with world prices after a shock to the latter is relatively slow.

Felix G. Baquedano and William M. Leifert Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Washington, DC, United States