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Pricing Options on Commodity Futures: The Role of Weather and Storage


  • Bozic, Marin
  • Fortenbery, T. Randall


Options on agricultural futures are popular financial instruments used for agricultural price risk management and to speculate on future price movements. Poor performance of Black’s classical option pricing model has stimulated many researchers to introduce pricing models that are more consistent with observed option premiums. However, most models are motivated solely from the standpoint of the time series properties of futures prices and need for improvements in forecasting and hedging performance. In this paper we propose a novel arbitrage pricing model motivated from the economic theory of optimal storage, and consistent with implications of plant physiology on the importance of weather stress. We introduce a pricing model for options on futures based on a Generalized Lambda Distribution (GLD) that allows greater flexibility in higher moments of the expected terminal distribution of futures price. We use times and sales data for corn futures and options for the period 1995-2009 to estimate the implied skewness parameter separately for each trading day. An economic explanation is then presented for inter-year variations in implied skewness based on the theory of storage. After controlling for changes in planned acreage, we find a statistically significant negative relationship between ending stocks-to-use and implied skewness, as predicted by the theory of storage. Furthermore, intra-year dynamics of implied skewness reflect the fact that resolution of uncertainty in corn supply is resolved between late June and middle of October, i.e. during corn growth phases that encompass corn silking through grain maturity. Impacts of storage and weather on the distribution of terminal futures price jointly explain upward sloping implied volatility curves.

Suggested Citation

  • Bozic, Marin & Fortenbery, T. Randall, 2011. "Pricing Options on Commodity Futures: The Role of Weather and Storage," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103638, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea11:103638
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.103638

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James Vercammen, 1995. "Hedging with Commodity Options When Price Distributions are Skewed," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 77(4), pages 935-945.
    2. Olga Isengildina-Massa & Scott H. Irwin & Darrel L. Good & Jennifer K. Gomez, 2008. "Impact of WASDE reports on implied volatility in corn and soybean markets," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 473-490.
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    Cited by:

    1. van Huellen, Sophie, 2019. "Price discovery in commodity futures and cash markets with heterogeneous agents," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 1-13.
    2. Andrew M. McKenzie & Michael R. Thomsen & Michael K. Adjemian, 2022. "Characterizing implied volatility functions from agricultural options markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 104(5), pages 1605-1624, October.
    3. Sophie van Huellen, 2020. "Approaches To Price Formation In Financialized Commodity Markets," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1), pages 219-237, February.
    4. van Huellen, Sophie, 2020. "Too much of a good thing? Speculative effects on commodity futures curves," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 47(C).

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