The relationship between commodity prices and freight rates in the dry bulk shipping segment: A threshold regression approach

Co-authored with Nektarios Michail. The paper has been published in Maritime Transport Research.

We examine for the existence of threshold relationships in the commodity price – charter rate nexus. Using the first lag of the commodity price change as the threshold variable, we find that in the case of large drops in commodity prices, the magnitude of the relationship can strongly change.

In such cases, the impact is more passed on to freight rates than under normal conditions, while the prevalence of oil prices becomes less significant. Furthermore, in such occurrences, the relationship of freight rates with their lags is statistically significant suggesting that the shock is maintained in the system for longer.

Intuitively, the empirical findings suggest that as commodity prices fall sharply, the freight rate needs to adjust more dynamically to such changes in order to maintain a more or less constant ratio of the transport cost to the end price of the commodity.

Finally, the results are also supportive of the existence of a lead-lag relationship between commodity prices and charter rates, in accordance with the literature.