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Bid-Ask Spreads In Commodity Futures Markets

  • Bryant, Henry L.
  • Haigh, Michael S.
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    Issues of recent interest and controversy regarding bid-ask spreads in commodity futures markets are investigated. First we apply competing spread estimators to open outcry transactions data and compare resulting estimates to observed spreads. This enables market microstructure researchers, regulators, exchange officials, and traders the opportunity to evaluate the usefulness and accuracy of bid-ask estimators in markets that do not report bid and ask data, providing an idea of the "worst-case" transaction costs that are likely to be incurred. We also compare spreads observed before and after trading was automated (and made anonymous) on commodity futures markets, and discover that spreads have generally widened since trading was automated, and that they have an increased tendency to widen in periods of high volatility. Our findings suggest that commodity futures markets have an inherently different character than financial futures markets, and therefore merit separate investigation.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/28587
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    Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 28587.

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    Date of creation: 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:umdrwp:28587
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    1. Lawrence R. Glosten & Paul R. Milgrom, 1983. "Bid, Ask and Transaction Prices in a Specialist Market with Heterogeneously Informed Traders," Discussion Papers 570, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    2. Frino, Alex & McInish, Thomas H. & Toner, Martin, 1998. "The liquidity of automated exchanges: new evidence from German Bund futures," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 8(3-4), pages 225-241, December.
    3. Wang, Jianxin, 1999. "Asymmetric information and the bid-ask spread: an empirical comparison between automated order execution and open outcry auction," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 115-128, April.
    4. Thompson, S. & Waller, M.L., 1988. "Determinants Of Liquidity Costs In Commodity Furures Markets," Papers 172, Columbia - Center for Futures Markets.
    5. Petersen, Mitchell A. & Fialkowski, David, 1994. "Posted versus effective spreads *1: Good prices or bad quotes?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 269-292, June.
    6. Stoll, Hans R, 1978. "The Pricing of Security Dealer Services: An Empirical Study of NASDAQ Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1153-72, September.
    7. Foster, F. Douglas & Viswanathan, S., 1994. "Strategic Trading with Asymmetrically Informed Traders and Long-Lived Information," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(04), pages 499-518, December.
    8. Thompson, Sarahelen R. & Eales, James S. & Seibold, David, 1993. "Comparison Of Liquidity Costs Between The Kansas City And Chicago Wheat Futures Contracts," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 18(02), December.
    9. Kumar Venkataraman, 2001. "Automated Versus Floor Trading: An Analysis of Execution Costs on the Paris and New York Exchanges," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1445-1485, 08.
    10. Harvey, David I & Leybourne, Stephen J & Newbold, Paul, 1998. "Tests for Forecast Encompassing," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 254-59, April.
    11. Ashley, R & Granger, C W J & Schmalensee, R, 1980. "Advertising and Aggregate Consumption: An Analysis of Causality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1149-67, July.
    12. Bhattacharya, Mihir, 1983. "Transactions data tests of efficiency of the Chicago board options exchange," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 161-185, August.
    13. Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, 1991. "A Theory of Trading in Stock Index Futures," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(1), pages 17-51.
    14. Peter R. Locke & P. C. Venkatesh, 1997. "Futures market transaction costs," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 229-245, 04.
    15. Silber, William L, 1984. " Marketmaker Behavior in an Auction Market: An Analysis of Scalpers in Futures Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(4), pages 937-53, September.
    16. McInish, Thomas H & Wood, Robert A, 1992. " An Analysis of Intraday Patterns in Bid/Ask Spreads for NYSE Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 753-64, June.
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