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Futures price volatility in commodities markets: The role of short term vs long term speculation

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  • Matteo Manera
  • Marcella Nicolini
  • Ilaria Vignati

Abstract

This paper evaluates how different types of speculation affect the volatility of commodities’ futures prices. We adopt four indexes of speculation: Working’s T, the market share of non-commercial traders, the percentage of net long speculators over total open interest in future markets, which proxy for long term speculation, and scalping, which proxies for short term speculation. We consider four energy commodities (light sweet crude oil, heating oil, gasoline and natural gas) and seven non-energy commodities (cocoa, coffee, corn, oats, soybean oil, soybeans and wheat) over the period 1986-2010 analyzed at weekly frequency. Using GARCH models we find that speculation significantly affects volatility of returns: short term speculation has a positive and significant impact on volatility, while long term speculation generally has a negative effect. The robustness exercise shows that: i) scalping is positive and significant also at higher and lower data frequencies; ii) results remain unchanged through different model specifications (GARCH-in-mean, EGARCH, and TARCH); iii) results are robust to different specifications of the mean equation.

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper243.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 243.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision: May 2013
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:243

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Keywords: Commodities futures markets; Speculation; Scalping; Working’s T; Data frequency; GARCH models;

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  1. Tauchen, George E & Pitts, Mark, 1983. "The Price Variability-Volume Relationship on Speculative Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 485-505, March.
  2. Engle, Robert F & Lilien, David M & Robins, Russell P, 1987. "Estimating Time Varying Risk Premia in the Term Structure: The Arch-M Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 391-407, March.
  3. Stein, Jeremy C., 1987. "Informational Externalities and Welfare-Reducing Speculation," Scholarly Articles 3660740, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Andersen, Torben G, 1996. " Return Volatility and Trading Volume: An Information Flow Interpretation of Stochastic Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 169-204, March.
  5. Powers, Mark J, 1970. "Does Futures Trading Reduce Price Fluctuations in the Cash Markets?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 460-64, June.
  6. Hart, Oliver D & Kreps, David M, 1986. "Price Destabilizing Speculation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 927-52, October.
  7. Nelson, Daniel B, 1991. "Conditional Heteroskedasticity in Asset Returns: A New Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 347-70, March.
  8. Bahattin Buyuksahin & Jeffrey H. Harris, 2011. "Do Speculators Drive Crude Oil Futures Prices?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 167-202.
  9. Xiaodong Du & Cindy L. Yu & Dermot J. Hayes, 2009. "Speculation and Volatility Spillover in the Crude Oil and Agricultural Commodity Markets: A Bayesian Analysis," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 09-wp491, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  10. Roon, F.A. de & Nijman, T.E. & Veld, C.H., 2000. "Hedging pressure effects in futures markets," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-83944, Tilburg University.
  11. Chevallier, Julien, 2009. "Carbon futures and macroeconomic risk factors: A view from the EU ETS," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 614-625, July.
  12. James D. Hamilton, 2008. "Understanding Crude Oil Prices," NBER Working Papers 14492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Cox, Charles C, 1976. "Futures Trading and Market Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1215-37, December.
  14. Sanders, Dwight R. & Boris, Keith & Manfredo, Mark, 2004. "Hedgers, funds, and small speculators in the energy futures markets: an analysis of the CFTC's Commitments of Traders reports," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 425-445, May.
  15. Ron Alquist & Olivier Gervais, 2011. "The Role of Financial Speculation in Driving the Price of Crude Oil," Discussion Papers 11-6, Bank of Canada.
  16. Irwin, Scott H. & Sanders, Dwight R., 2012. "Testing the Masters Hypothesis in commodity futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 256-269.
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