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The Adequacy of Speculation in Agricultural Futures Markets: Too Much of a Good Thing?

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Author Info

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

Abstract

The objective of this report is to re-visit the “adequacy of speculation” debate in agricultural futures markets. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission makes available the positions held by index funds and other large traders in their Commitment of Traders reports. The results suggest that after an initial surge from early 2004 through mid-2005, index fund positions have stabilized as a percent of total open interest. Traditional speculative measures do not show any material changes or shifts over the sample period. In most markets, the increase in long speculative positions was equaled or surpassed by an increase in short hedging. So, even after adjusting speculative indices for index fund positions, values are within the historical ranges reported in prior research. One implication is that long-only index funds may be beneficial in markets traditionally dominated by short hedging. Attempts to curb speculation through regulatory means should be weighed carefully against the potential benefits provided by this class of speculators.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics in its series Marketing and Outlook Research Reports with number 37512.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uiucmr:37512

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Keywords: Commitment’s of Traders; index funds; commodity futures markets; Agricultural Finance; Financial Economics;

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References

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  1. Gary Gorton & K. Geert Rouwenhorst, 2004. "Facts and Fantasies about Commodity Futures," NBER Working Papers 10595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sanders, Dwight R. & Irwin, Scott H. & Merrin, Robert P., 2007. "Smart Money? The Forecasting Ability of CFTC Large Traders," 2007 Conference, April 16-17, 2007, Chicago, Illinois 37556, NCCC-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management.
  3. Richard N. Cooper & Robert Z. Lawrence, 1975. "The 1972-75 Commodity Boom," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 6(3), pages 671-724.
  4. Gary B. Gorton & Fumio Hayashi & K. Geert Rouwenhorst, 2013. "The Fundamentals of Commodity Futures Returns," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(1), pages 35-105.
  5. Wang, Changyun, 2001. "The behavior and performance of major types of futures traders," MPRA Paper 36426, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jul 2002.
  6. J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, . "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _124, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  7. Trostle, Ronald, 2008. "Factors Contributing to Recent Increases in Food Commodity Prices (PowerPoint)," Seminars 43902, USDA Economists Group.
  8. Hardouvelis, Gikas A & Kim, Dongcheol, 1995. "Price Volatility and Futures Margins," CEPR Discussion Papers 1263, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Büyükşahin, Bahattin & Robe, Michel A., 2014. "Speculators, commodities and cross-market linkages," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 38-70.
  2. Brian D. Wright, 2012. "International Grain Reserves And Other Instruments to Address Volatility in Grain Markets," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 27(2), pages 222-260, August.
  3. Varadi, Vijay Kumar, 2012. "An evidence of speculation in Indian commodity markets," MPRA Paper 38337, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Xiaodong Du & Cindy L. Yu & Dermot J. Hayes, 2009. "Speculation and Volatility Spillover in the Crude Oil and Agricultural Commodity Markets: A Bayesian Analysis," Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) Publications 09-wp491, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at Iowa State University.
  5. Emiliano Magrini & Ayca Donmez, 2013. "Agricultural Commodity Price Volatility and Its Macroeconomic Determinants: A GARCH-MIDAS Approach," JRC-IPTS Working Papers JRC84138, Institute for Prospective and Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.
  6. Irwin, Scott H. & Sanders, Dwight R., 2012. "Testing the Masters Hypothesis in commodity futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 256-269.
  7. Vincent Chatellier, 2011. "Price volatility, market regulation and risk management: challenges for the future of the CAP," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 201104, INRA UMR SMART.
  8. Miffre, Joëlle & Brooks, Chris, 2013. "Do long-short speculators destabilize commodity futures markets?," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 230-240.
  9. Minot, Nicholas, 2011. "Transmission of world food price changes to markets in Sub-Saharan Africa:," IFPRI discussion papers 1059, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Etienne, Xiaoli L. & Irwin, Scott H. & Garcia, Philip, 2013. "Dissecting Corn Price Movements with Directed Acyclic Graphs," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151279, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  11. Julieta Frank & Philip Garcia, 2010. "Bid-Ask Spreads, Volume, and Volatility: Evidence from Livestock Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(1), pages 209-225.
  12. Algieri, Bernardina, 2012. "Price Volatility, Speculation and Excessive Speculation in Commodity Markets: sheep or shepherd behaviour?," Discussion Papers 124390, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  13. Ron Alquist & Olivier Gervais, 2011. "The Role of Financial Speculation in Driving the Price of Crude Oil," Discussion Papers 11-6, Bank of Canada.
  14. Tokic, Damir, 2011. "Rational destabilizing speculation, positive feedback trading, and the oil bubble of 2008," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 2051-2061, April.
  15. Cooke, Bryce & Robles, Miguel, 2009. "Recent food prices movements: A time series analysis," IFPRI discussion papers 942, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  16. Niels C. Thygesen & Robert N. McCauley & Guonan Ma & William R. White & Jakob de Haan & Willem van den End & Jon Frost & Christiaan Pattipeilohy & Mostafa Tabbae & Ernest Gnan & Morten Balling & Paul , 2013. "50 Years of Money and Finance: Lessons and Challenges," SUERF 50th Anniversary Volume - 50 Years of Money and Finance: Lessons and Challenges, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 1 edited by Morten Balling & Ernest Gnan, May.
  17. Prehn, Sören & Glauben, Thomas & Loy, Jens-Peter & Pies, Ingo & Will, Matthias Georg, 2013. "Der Einfluss von Long-only-Indexfonds auf die Preisfindung und das Marktergebnis an landwirtschaftlichen Warenterminmärkten," IAMO Discussion Papers 142, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).

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