Bubbles, Food Prices, and Speculation: Evidence from the CFTC’s Daily Large Trader Data Files
AbstractThe “Masters Hypothesis” is the claim that unprecedented buying pressure from new financial index investors created a massive bubble in agricultural futures prices at various times in recent years. This paper analyzes the market impact of financial index investment in agricultural futures markets using non-public data from the Large Trader Reporting System (LTRS) maintained by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The LTRS data are superior to publicly-available data because commodity index trader (CIT) positions are available on a daily basis, positions are disaggregated by contract maturity, and positions before 2006 can be reliably estimated. Bivariate Granger causality tests use CIT positions in terms of both the change in aggregate new net flows into index investments and the rolling of existing index positions from one contract to another. The null hypothesis of no impact of aggregate CIT positions on daily returns is rejected in only 3 of the 12 markets. Point estimates of the cumulative impact of a one standard deviation increase in CIT positions on daily returns are negative and very small, averaging only about two basis points. The null hypothesis that CIT positions do not impact daily returns in a data-defined roll period is rejected in 5 of the 12 markets and estimated cumulative impacts are negative in all 12 markets; the opposite of the expected outcome if CIT rolling activity simultaneously pressures nearby prices downward and first deferred prices upward. Overall, the results add to the growing body of literature showing that buying pressure from financial index investment in recent years did not cause massive bubbles in agricultural futures prices.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19065.
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming: Bubbles, Food Prices, and Speculation: Evidence from the CFTC’s Daily Large Trader Data Files , Nicole M. Aulerich, Scott H. Irwin, Philip Garcia. in The Economics of Food Price Volatility , Chavas, Hummels, and Wright. 2014
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Nicole M. Aulerich & Scott H. Irwin & Philip Garcia, 2013. "Bubbles, Food Prices, and Speculation: Evidence from the CFTC’s Daily Large Trader Data Files," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Food Price Volatility National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
- G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
- G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
- G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
- Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
- Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bellemare, Marc F., 2011. "Rising food prices, food price volatility, and political unrest," MPRA Paper 31888, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Celso Brunetti & David Reiffen, 2011. "Commodity index trading and hedging costs," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Ing-Haw Cheng & Andrei Kirilenko & Wei Xiong, 2012. "Convective Risk Flows in Commodity Futures Markets," NBER Working Papers 17921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robles, Miguel & Torero, Maximo & von Braun, Joachim, 2009. "When speculation matters:," Issue briefs 57, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- Erkko Etula, 2009. "Broker-dealer risk appetite and commodity returns," Staff Reports 406, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Fattouh, Bassam & Kilian, Lutz & Mahadeva, Lavan, 2012. "The Role of Speculation in Oil Markets: What Have We Learned So Far?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8916, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Irwin, Scott H. & Sanders, Dwight R., 2012. "Testing the Masters Hypothesis in commodity futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 256-269.
- Gunther Capelle-Blancard & Dramane Coulibaly, 2011.
"Index trading and agricultural commodity prices: A panel Granger causality analysis,"
CEPII research center, issue 126-127, pages 51-72.
- Gunther Capelle-Blancard & Dramane Coulibaly, 2011. "Index Trading and Agricultural Commodity Prices: A Panel Granger Causality Analysis," Working Papers 2011-28, CEPII research center.
- Christopher L. Gilbert, 2010. "How to Understand High Food Prices," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 398-425.
- Kritika Mathur & Nidhi Kaicker & Raghav Gaiha & Katsushi Imai & Ganesh Thapa, 2013.
"Financialisation of Food Commodity Markets, Price Surge and Volatility: New Evidence,"
The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series
1312, Economics, The University of Manchester.
- Kritika Mathur & Nidhi Kaicker & Raghav Gaiha & Katsushi S. Imai & Ganesh Thapa, 2013. "Financialisation of Food Commodity Markets, Price Surge and Volatility: New Evidence," Discussion Paper Series DP2013-22, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
- 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.
- James D. Hamilton & Jing Cynthia Wu, 2014. "Effects of Index-Fund Investing on Commodity Futures Prices," NBER Working Papers 19892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.