The integration of energy and agricultural markets



This article addresses the evolving links between energy and agricultural markets. Prior to 2005, there was little correlation between energy and agricultural commodity prices. In 2006–2008, with the ethanol boom in the United States, there emerged a strong link between crude oil, gasoline, and corn prices. There was little link between ethanol and corn. However, in late 2008 and 2009, the markets changed as ethanol production came under severe economic pressure and 2 billion out of 12 billion gallons of capacity shut down. During this period ethanol became priced more on corn, as the breakeven corn price helped drive the ethanol market. This article explores the drivers in these markets as well as other major issues facing the corn ethanol industry in the United States such as the blend wall. The article concludes with a review of prospects of a future cellulosic biofuels industry.