ACE 427: Commodity Price Analysis
The course in an introduction to fundamental price analysis of food commodity markets like corn, soybeans, wheat, and livestock. Fundamental price analysis means that we cover all the things that can affect the supply-side and the demand-side of each commodity market. Topics like planting dates, weather, and farmers’ acreage decisions dominate the discussion of supply, while exports and other consumer side issues dominate the discussion about demand.
Prerequisites (Must be complete BEFORE taking this course):
ACE 100 and ACE 261 or equivalents
Instructor Teaching the Course:
This course is taught by the instructor below. You may click on their name to learn more about them. Teaching schedules vary by semester. Please check the Course Explorer for the most up-to-date information about the sections they will teach.
Dr. Scott Irwin
Dr. Mindy Mallory
View the Course Explorer:
See when the course is offered as well as section details here: https://courses.illinois.edu/schedule/terms/ACE/427
Spring 2019 Restrictions
Additional Course Information
Read more about what Dr. Mallory has to say about ACE 427!
Is this class discussion-based or lecture-based? How would you describe your teaching style?
This course is a split between traditional lecture-style classes and lab work. So much of commodity price analysis is getting to know the data put out by the USDA to monitor grain stocks, animal numbers, and how the crop is progressing. In the labs we go out and get the actual data and learn how to interpret what is going on in the market by doing spreadsheet based analysis of that data. So we go through detailed exercises in a lab setting, and these exercises usually are what gets turned in for homework.
How are students evaluated (e.g. multiple choice or essay tests, papers, etc.)?
Students are evaluated based on three midterm tests, approximately 6 homework assignments, and a final project (paper) where they prepare an outlook report for one of the commodities covered in the class.
What careers does this course help prepare students to pursue?
Grain merchandizer, risk manager or trader at grain-handling companies, agricultural journalist. Any career requiring you to use a spreadsheet!
What courses can students take to prepare for this material?
ACE 428, futures and options, is a great companion class to 427, but students can take 427 or 428 first. We really try to lay a good foundation in the first class session or two, so even though juniors and seniors usually take the class, it is accessible to underclassmen as well.
In what ways does this course prepare students to move through the program and/or into the work force?
Students usually take this course during the end of their college career during the time when they are either looking for internships or full-time employment at large agribusiness companies. In 427 students really learn how to talk about commodity markets like the professionals do. We also build on students technical skills so they are prepared to use spreadsheets to solve problems and make decisions in realistic settings.
What is your background in Agricultural and Consumer Economics?
My academic research focuses heavily into commodity markets, particularly the futures and options markets. I study efficiency measures, and how liquidity and price discovery happen at a really granular level. Other work studies efficient design in environmental and natural resource economics.
What is your attendance policy?
Attendance is not required. However as with most courses, it is hard to be successful without putting in the required effort!