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

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

This paper revisits the "adequacy of speculation" debate in agricultural futures markets using the positions held by index funds in the Commitment of Traders reports. Index fund positions were a relatively stable percentage of total open interest from 2006--2010. Traditional speculative measures do not show any material shifts over the sample period. Even after adjusting speculative indices for commodity 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. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/aepp/ppp006
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Article provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its journal Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.

Volume (Year): 32 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 77-94

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Handle: RePEc:oup:apecpp:v:32:y:2010:i:1:p:77-94
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  1. Changyun Wang, 2003. "The behavior and performance of major types of futures traders," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 1-31, 01.
  2. Hardouvelis, Gikas A & Kim, Dongcheol, 1995. "Price Volatility and Futures Margins," CEPR Discussion Papers 1263, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Gary Gorton & K. Rouwenhorst, 2004. "Facts and Fantasies about Commodity Futures," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2619, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Mar 2005.
  4. 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.
  5. Gary Gorton & Fumio Hayashi & K. Rouwenhorst, 2007. "The Fundamentals of Commodity Futures Returns," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2605, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Oct 2008.
  6. 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.
  7. Trostle, Ronald, 2008. "Factors Contributing to Recent Increases in Food Commodity Prices (PowerPoint)," Seminars 43902, USDA Economists Group.
  8. 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.
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