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Abstract

The economics of a higher loan rate to support US wheat prices is analysed. Utilising optimal control theory, a dynamic wheat trade model is developed. The basic premise underlying the model is that the United States finds itself having transient monopoly power in the wheat market. An expression for the optimal pricing policy which maximises the present value of expected profits over the indefinite future is derived. Results from both the theoretical and empirical models demonstrate that the US wheat pricing strategy depends on its costs relative to competitors' costs, the discount rate and the competitors' response function. The main policy implication of the analysis is for the dominant wheat exporting country constantly to seek to lower costs relative to competitors and to maintain a price exceeding unit cost without encouraging competitors' expansion.

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