Nabil Al-Najjar, Northwestern University

Competitive Analysis of Commodity Markets

Executive MBA



I have designed and taught a course on “Competitive Analysis of Commodity Markets” for Executive MBA and custom programs since 2005. Commodity markets experienced dramatic changes since then. The course is thus regularly updated to reflect industry changes, engaging current topics, and recent data.

The course focuses on key strategic issues, including:

  • Value creation through consolidation
  • Short-run Volatility and commodity bubbles
  • Commodity super-cycles
  • Price fixing and anti-trust
  • Herd behavior and market irrationality
  • Hedging commodity prices and exchange rate risks
The concepts are illustrated with cases from agricultural products, metals (steel, aluminum, copper), energy (oil and electricity markets), among others. Refer to this link for a recent version of this course.

I offer a customized version of this course for companies and organizations concerned with commodity markets. The course can be customized to explore in greater depth those topics of special interest to the client. For example, a customized course can focus on hedging, model-building and simulations, public policy and regulations, anti-trust, or foreign trade and currency risks.

Contact me for details.


Case Studies I wrote on Commodity Markets

The Newsprint Industry
  • Managing a declining industry.
  • Themes: supply curve analysis; consolidation; pricing power and price umbrella in a declining industry.

The California Energy Crisis
  • Detailed analytical account of the deregulation of a vital industry.
  • Themes: supply curve analysis emphasizing pricing power and regulatory intervention; collusion.

The 2008 Food Crisis
  • Expository, data-supported account of the price surge in food prices in 2008.
  • Themes: supply curve analysis emphasizing short run volatility; social, political, and international commerce dimensions.