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What Does Granger Causality Prove? A Critical Examination of the Interpretation of Granger Causality Results on Price Effects of Index Trading in Agricultural Commodity Markets

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  • Stephanie-Carolin Grosche

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type="main" xml:id="jage12058-abs-0001"> The influence of index trading on price levels, returns, spreads or volatility in agricultural commodity markets is frequently investigated with bivariate Granger Causality (GC) tests. A joint review of existing empirical studies reveals scant and inconsistent evidence of GC from index activity to prices. Some findings of reverse GC from prices to index activity are reported. The literature offers three different interpretations of GC test results: (i) as prima facie causal evidence; (ii) as a test for informational efficiency of the markets; or (iii) as a test for the ability of one variable to improve the forecast of another variable. A critical examination of these interpretations against an extended theoretical background reveals that none allows direct inferences about the existence or absence of an influence from index trading activity on the price mechanism in the market. This severely limits the usefulness of a stand-alone application of GC tests.

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  • Stephanie-Carolin Grosche, 2014. "What Does Granger Causality Prove? A Critical Examination of the Interpretation of Granger Causality Results on Price Effects of Index Trading in Agricultural Commodity Markets," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 279-302, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jageco:v:65:y:2014:i:2:p:279-302
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    3. Cao, A.N.Q. & Grosche, S.-C., 2018. "Financial and Commodity-specific expectations in soybean futures markets," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277538, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Heigermoser, Maximilian & Götz, Linde & Svanidze, Miranda, 2018. "Egypt’S Wheat Tenders – A Public Notice Board For Black Sea Grain Notations?," 58th Annual Conference, Kiel, Germany, September 12-14, 2018 275853, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    5. Bosch, David & Pradkhan, Elina, 2015. "The impact of speculation on precious metals futures markets," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 118-134.
    6. Algieri, Bernardina & Kalkuhl, Matthias & Koch, Nicolas, 2017. "A tale of two tails: Explaining extreme events in financialized agricultural markets," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 256-269.
    7. Haase, Marco & Seiler Zimmermann, Yvonne & Zimmermann, Heinz, 2016. "The impact of speculation on commodity futures markets – A review of the findings of 100 empirical studies," Journal of Commodity Markets, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 1-15.
    8. Ana I. Sanjuán-López & Philip J. Dawson, 2017. "Volatility Effects of Index Trading and Spillovers on US Agricultural Futures Markets: A Multivariate GARCH Approach," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 822-838, September.
    9. Dwight R. Sanders & Scott H. Irwin, 2017. "Bubbles, Froth and Facts: Another Look at the Masters Hypothesis in Commodity Futures Markets," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 345-365, June.
    10. Haase, Marco & Huss, Matthias, 2018. "Guilty speculators? Range-based conditional volatility in a cross-section of wheat futures," Journal of Commodity Markets, Elsevier, vol. 10(C), pages 29-46.
    11. Kionka, Marlene & Odening, Martin & Plogmann, Jana & Ritter, Matthias, 2020. "Measuring liquidity in agricultural land markets," FORLand Working Papers 25 (2020), Humboldt University Berlin, DFG Research Unit 2569 FORLand "Agricultural Land Markets – Efficiency and Regulation".
    12. Bernhard Brümmer & Olaf Korn & Kristina Schlüßler & Tinoush Jamali Jaghdani, 2016. "Volatility in Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Markets: Drivers and Spillovers," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 685-705, September.
    13. Elina Pradkhan, 2016. "Information Content of Trading Activity in Precious Metals Futures Markets," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(5), pages 421-456, May.
    14. Christopher L. Gilbert, 2018. "Investor sentiment and market fundamentals: the impact of index investment on energy and metals markets," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 31(1), pages 87-102, May.

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