The macroeconomic outcomes of oil price fluctuations have been at the forefront of the debate among economists, financial analysts and policymakers over the last decades. Among others, the oil price–food price nexus has particularly received a great deal of attention. While an abundant body of literature has focused on the linear relationship between oil price and food price, little is known regarding the nonlinear interactions between them. The aim of this paper is to conduct aggregated and disaggregated analyses of the impact of the Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil prices on international food prices between January 1990 and October 2017. The empirical investigation is based on the estimation of linear and nonlinear autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) models. The findings confirm the presence of asymmetries since the overall food price is only affected by positive shocks on oil price in the long-run. While the dairy price index reacts to both positive and negative changes of oil price, the impact of oil price increases is found to be greater. Finally, the asymmetry is present for some other agricultural commodity prices in the short-run, since they respond only to oil price decreases. All in all, the study concludes that studies assuming the presence of a symmetric impact of oil price on food price might be flawed. The findings are important for the undertaking of future studies and the design of international and national policies in the fight against food insecurity.
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