Business and Economics > Investments: Commodities

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Rahul Anand, Naresh Kumar, and Mr. Volodymyr Tulin
Over the past decade, India has seen a prolonged period of high inflation, to a large extent driven by persistently-high food inflation. This paper investigates the demand and supply factors behind the contribution of relative food inflation to headline CPI inflation. It concludes that in the absence of a stronger food supply growth response, food inflation may exceed non-food inflation by 2½–3 percentage points per year. The sustainability of a long-term inflation target of 4 percent under India’s recently-adopted flexible inflation targeting framework will depend on enhancing food supply, agricultural market-based pricing, and reducing price distortions. A well-designed cereal buffer stock liquidation policy could also help mitigate food inflation volatility.
Mr. Tomás Holub and Mr. Martin Cihak
The paper assesses inflation risks resulting from the convergence of structures of relative prices in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries toward the European Union (EU). The basic idea of the paper is that under low downward flexibility of domestic nominal prices, the adjustment of relative price structures is likely to lead to higher inflation. The authors find that the degree of differences in the structures of relative prices in transition economies vis-à-vis EU economies has a strong negative relationship to price levels in the transition economies. Based on their calculations, the authors assess the likely future inflationary pressures that can stem from the remaining differences between the structures of relative prices in the CEE economies and the EU. The authors argue that their approach can be thought of as an extension of the standard Balassa-Samuelson explanation of international variability in price levels.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper discusses the project financed by the World Bank for controlling the flow of the Chao Phya River in Thailand. Chao Phya is the lifestream of the Thai people. However, this river, and its principal tributaries are, in their natural state, capricious rivers. In the early 1950s, the World Bank began assisting the Thai government in a series of projects designed to break this ancient tyranny of the rivers’ violent changes. The paper describes how the river is being tamed for irrigation and navigation, and how they are providing electric power and other benefits.