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The Fundamentals of Commodity Futures Returns

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  • Gary B. Gorton
  • Fumio Hayashi
  • K. Geert Rouwenhorst

Abstract

Commodity futures risk premiums vary across commodities and over time depending on the level of physical inventories. The convenience yield is a decreasing, nonlinear function of inventories. Price measures, such as the futures basis, prior futures returns, prior spot returns, and spot price volatilities reflect the state of inventories and are informative about commodity futures risk premiums. We verify these theoretical predictions using a comprehensive data set on 31 commodity futures and physical inventories between 1971 and 2010. We find no evidence that the positions of participants in futures markets predict risk premiums on commodity futures. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary B. Gorton & Fumio Hayashi & K. Geert Rouwenhorst, 2013. "The Fundamentals of Commodity Futures Returns," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(1), pages 35-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revfin:v:17:y:2013:i:1:p:35-105
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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