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World experts share best practice in modelling and managing commodities risk and food prices

The Birkbeck Centre for Finance and Commodities, University of London, hosted a conference on ‘Modelling and Managing the Risks of Commodities...

Members of the panel

The Birkbeck Commodities and Finance Centre, University of London, hosted a conference on ‘Modelling and Managing the Risks of Commodities and Food Prices in a Changing World’ on 20 January 2012, offering some answers to the pressing issues of managing commodities markets and food prices from some of the world’s leading commodities experts from academia, politics and the business world.

Chaired by Professor Hélyette Geman, Director of Birkbeck’s Commodities and Finance Centre, and scientific advisor to the European Commission, panellists included Prof Rita d' Ecclesia Director, Doctoral Programme in Finance - University Roma la Sapienza; Michael D. Smith, Lead Adviser, Trading Analytics, BP Gas Marketing Ltd; Prof Nikos Nomikos, Director, Master of Shipping and Trade - Cass Business School; Dr Alexander Eydeland, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley; David Stack, Managing Director, Agrimax; George Martin, Wood Creek Capital Management & University of Massachusetts; and Herve Hott, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, European Commission.

Joined by almost 100 guests, the panellists shared their insights into some of today’s most challenging issues including:

  • Energy commodities: What is the price relationship between US and Europe?
  • Underlying trends and cycles in oil and gas markets which are becoming increasingly global and unpredictable
  • The role of shipping in the commodity trade and managing shipping risk in the global supply chain
  • Evolution of models and basics of modelling from a commodity perspective
  • Managing volatility in the agricultural commodities market
  • Commodity price volatility and farmland investment strategies such as direct ownership of farmland
  • Long-term forward prices and seasonal effects of wheat in the EU and the US

Commenting on the conference, Dr Andreas Liefooghe, Assistant Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Informatics, said: “It is vital that we are able to provide a platform for internationally leading academics and industrialists to discuss the pertinent issues of the day as well as providing an encouraging platform for our students to share their thoughts and engage with speakers. I am delighted to see that the conference was a success in gathering some of the greatest minds and thoughts under one roof.”

Birkbeck is the first European university to offer a MSc Finance and Commodities, convened by Professor Hélyette Geman.

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