Principles of Commodity Economics and Finance

Principles of Commodity Economics and Finance

By Daniel P. Ahn

A rigorous but practical introduction to the economic, financial, and political principles underlying commodity markets.
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A rigorous but practical introduction to the economic, financial, and political principles underlying commodity markets.

Commodities have become one of the fastest growing asset classes of the last decade and the object of increasing attention from investors, scholars, and policy makers. Yet existing treatments of the topic are either too theoretical, ignoring practical realities, or largely narrative and nonrigorous. This book bridges the gap, striking a balance between theory and practice. It offers a solid foundation in the economic, financial, and political principles underlying commodities markets. The book, which grows out of courses taught by the author at Columbia and Johns Hopkins, can be used by graduate students in economics, finance, and public policy, or as a conceptual reference for practitioners.

After an introduction to basic concepts and a review of the various types of commodities—energy, metals, agricultural products—the book delves into the economic and financial dynamics of commodity markets, with a particular focus on energy. The text covers fundamental demand and supply for resources, the mechanics behind commodity financial markets, and how they motivate investment decisions around both physical and financial portfolio exposure to commodities, and the evolving political and regulatory landscape for commodity markets. Additional special topics include geopolitics, financial regulation, and electricity markets. The book is divided into thematic modules that progress in complexity. Text boxes offer additional, related material, and numerous charts and graphs provide further insight into important concepts.

Instructor Resources

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: a file of figures in the book.


$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262038379 232 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 99 figures


  • With clear and engaging analysis, this remarkably encompassing text explains not only the classical models and empirics of commodities but also a host of contemporary issues as well, ranging from consumption subsidies in commodity producing countries to geopolitics. This book is a fundamental rethink of what commodity economics texts ought to be about.

    Kenneth Rogoff

    Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics, Harvard University

  • Daniel Ahn's excellent book on commodities is a timely, relevant, and practical guide to the principles that drive the energy, metals, and agricultural markets.  It explains fundamentals, illuminates valuation techniques, and then describes the powerful roles that regulation and geopolitics often play. Ahn has delivered a hands-on manual that students and analysts will appreciate.

    Adam Sieminski

    President, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center

  • Students of and practitioners in global commodities markets are indeed fortunate that Daniel Ahn's towering and wide-ranging expertise and thought leadership are now accessible through Principles of Commodity Economics and Finance. This book superbly reflects Dr. Ahn's rigorous yet practical mastery of commodity market dynamics and will become a bedrock source of knowledge and insight for years and decades to come.

    Robert McNally

    President, Rapidan Energy Group; former Senior Director for Energy, White House National Security Council