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Price efficiency and speculative trading in cocoa futures markets


  • Nardella, Michele


In recent years a number of market participants called into question the efficiency of the price discovery mechanism in commodity futures markets. They believe that speculators move commodity futures markets away from their fundamentals by distorting prices and exacerbating volatility. The smoking gun of these allegations is the empirical observation that speculative buying (selling) precedes movements in the cocoa futures markets. Among soft commodities, the cocoa futures market represents an interesting case study. In the last decades, speculators open interest is increased by nearly 4 times, fuelling the apprehension of practitioners and market analysts. This paper evaluates the efficiency of the price discovery mechanism in cocoa futures markets. Results show that the price discovery mechanism in both LIFFE and NYBOT cocoa futures markets is efficient. In addition, they rule out the existence of any casual relationship between speculative activity and cocoa prices (i.e. level and volatility) at the least for the NYBOT. This evidence supports the hypothesis that successful speculators are reacting quicker than any other market participant to new information emerging from the market. That is why profitable speculative buying (selling) occurs just before the market makes a move.

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  • Nardella, Michele, 2007. "Price efficiency and speculative trading in cocoa futures markets," 81st Annual Conference, April 2-4, 2007, Reading University 7970, Agricultural Economics Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aes007:7970

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Parkinson, Michael, 1980. "The Extreme Value Method for Estimating the Variance of the Rate of Return," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 61-65, January.
    2. De Long, J Bradford, et al, 1990. " Positive Feedback Investment Strategies and Destabilizing Rational Speculation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 379-395, June.
    3. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
    4. Chang, Eric C. & Michael Pinegar, J. & Schachter, Barry, 1997. "Interday variations in volume, variance and participation of large speculators," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 797-810, June.
    5. Karpoff, Jonathan M., 1987. "The Relation between Price Changes and Trading Volume: A Survey," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 109-126, March.
    6. Holt, Bryce R. & Irwin, Scott H., 2000. "The Effects Of Futures Trading By Large Hedge Funds And Ctas On Market Volatility," 2000 Conference, April 17-18 2000, Chicago, Illinois 18935, NCR-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management.
    7. Koop, Gary & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Potter, Simon M., 1996. "Impulse response analysis in nonlinear multivariate models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 119-147, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maurice, Noemie & Davis, Junior, 2011. "Unravelling the underlying causes of price volatility in world coffee and cocoa commodity markets," MPRA Paper 43813, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2012.

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    futures markets; efficient market hypothesis; speculation; Marketing;

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