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The role of financial investments in agricultural commodity derivatives markets

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  • Alessandro Borin

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

  • Virginia Di Nino

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the relationship between futures prices and financial investments in derivatives of the main agricultural commodities. We first provide a broad picture of how these markets function and how they have evolved, showing that traders who deal mostly in commodity index investments (swap dealers) have gained importance since the mid-2000s. However, traditional financial market participants (money managers) still show the stronger (simultaneous) correlation with price movements. Our main empirical analysis aims to gauge the influence of financial investors’ positions on both the level and the volatility of futures prices. The Granger-causality tests suggest that speculative investments usually follow – rather than precede - variations in futures returns. Employing a GARCH model, we find that the activity of money managers tends to be associated with lower volatility of futures returns, while that of swap dealers is sometimes followed by higher price variations.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 849.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_849_12

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    Related research

    Keywords: futures markets; commodities; speculation; GARCH; volatility;

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    1. Basak, Suleyman & Pavlova, Anna, 2012. "Asset Prices and Institutional Investors," CEPR Discussion Papers 9120, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Clark, Peter K, 1973. "A Subordinated Stochastic Process Model with Finite Variance for Speculative Prices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(1), pages 135-55, January.
    3. Hicks, Bruce & Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "Did Unexpectedly Strong Economic Growth Cause the Oil Price Shock of 2003-2008?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7265, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Working, Holbrook, 1960. "Speculation on Hedging Markets," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 02, May.
    5. Taylor, Gregory S. & Leuthold, Raymond M., 1974. "The Influence of Futures Trading on Cash Cattle Price Variations," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 01.
    6. Bollerslev, Tim, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 307-327, April.
    7. Gehrig, Thomas & Menkhoff, Lukas, 2004. "The use of flow analysis in foreign exchange: exploratory evidence," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 573-594, June.
    8. Turnovsky, Stephen J., 1979. "Futures markets, private storage, and price stabilization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 301-327, December.
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