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A Speculative Bubble in Commodity Futures Prices? Cross-Sectional Evidence

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Author Info

  • Sanders, Dwight R.
  • Irwin, Scott H.
  • Merrin, Robert P.

Abstract

Recent accusations against speculators in general and long-only commodity index funds in particular, include: increasing market volatility, distorting historical price relationships, and fueling a rapid increase and decrease in commodity inflation. Some researchers have argued that these market participants—through their impact on market prices—may inadvertently prevented the efficient distribution of food aid to deserving groups. Certainly, this result—if substantiated— would counter the classical argument that speculators make prices more efficient and thus improve the economic efficiency of the agricultural and food marketing system. Given the very important policy implications, it is crucial to develop a more thorough understanding of long-only index funds and their potential market impact. Here, we review the criticisms (and rebuttals) levied against (and for) commodity index funds in recent U.S. Congressional testimonies. Then, additional empirical evidence is added regarding cross-sectional market returns and the relative levels of long-only index fund participation in 12 commodity futures markets. The results suggest that index fund positions across futures markets have no impact on relative price changes across those markets. The empirical results provide no evidence that long-only index funds impact commodity futures prices.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by NCCC-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management in its series 2009 Conference, April 20-21, 2009, St. Louis, Missouri with number 53050.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:nccc09:53050

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Related research

Keywords: Commitment’s of Traders; index funds; commodity futures markets; Agribusiness; Agricultural Finance; Farm Management; Financial Economics; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods; Risk and Uncertainty;

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References

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  1. Working, Holbrook, 1960. "Speculation on Hedging Markets," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 02, May.
  2. Robles, Miguel & Torero, Maximo & von Braun, Joachim, 2009. "When speculation matters:," Issue briefs 57, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Arora, Vipin & Gomis-Porqueras, Pedro & Shi, Shuping, 2013. "The divergence between core and headline inflation: Implications for consumers’ inflation expectations," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PB), pages 497-504.
  2. Gunther Capelle-Blancard & Dramane Coulibaly, 2011. "Index trading and agricultural commodity prices: A panel Granger causality analysis," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 126-127, pages 51-72.
  3. Irwin, Scott H. & Sanders, Dwight R., 2012. "Financialization and Structural Change in Commodity Futures Markets," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 44(03), August.
  4. Liu, Xiaoliang & Filler, Gunther & Odening, Martin, 2012. "Testing for Speculative Bubbles in Agricultural Commodity Prices: A Regime Switching Approach," 123rd Seminar, February 23-24, 2012, Dublin, Ireland 122554, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  5. Bernhard Troester, 2012. "The determinants of the recent food price surges – A basic supply and demand model," Competence Centre on Money, Trade, Finance and Development 1206, Hochschule fuer Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin.
  6. Ing-Haw Cheng & Wei Xiong, 2013. "The Financialization of Commodity Markets," NBER Working Papers 19642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Irwin, Scott H. & Sanders, Dwight R., 2012. "Testing the Masters Hypothesis in commodity futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 256-269.
  8. Beckmann, Joscha & Czudaj, Robert, 2014. "Volatility transmission in agricultural futures markets," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 541-546.
  9. Varadi, Vijay Kumar, 2012. "An evidence of speculation in Indian commodity markets," MPRA Paper 38337, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Modena, Matteo, 2011. "Agricultural commodities and financial markets," MPRA Paper 36416, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Sep 2011.
  11. Scott H. Irwin & Dwight R. Sanders, 2011. "Index Funds, Financialization, and Commodity Futures Markets," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 1-31.
  12. Girardi, Daniele, 2011. "Do financial investors affect commodity prices? The case of Hard Red Winter Wheat," MPRA Paper 35670, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Holst, Carsten, 2010. "How predictable are prices of agricultural commodities? The possibilities and constraints of forecasting wheat prices," IAMO Forum 2010: Institutions in Transition – Challenges for New Modes of Governance 52717, Leib­niz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).
  14. Robert Czudaj & Joscha Beckmann, 2012. "Spot and futures commodity markets and the unbiasedness hypothesis - evidence from a novel panel unit root test," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(2), pages 1695-1707.
  15. Ott, Herve, 2012. "Which factors drive which volatility in the grain sector?," 123rd Seminar, February 23-24, 2012, Dublin, Ireland 122486, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  16. Baldi, Lucia & Peri, Massimo & Vandone, Daniela, 2011. "Price Discovery in Agricultural Commodities: The Shifting Relationship Between Spot and Future Prices," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114237, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  17. Gilbert, Christopher L., 2012. "Speculative impacts on grains price volatility," 123rd Seminar, February 23-24, 2012, Dublin, Ireland 122540, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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