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The information content of forward and futures prices: market expectations and the price of risk

  • Sergey V. Chernenko
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    Forward and futures rates are frequently used as measures of market expectations. In this paper we apply standard forecast efficiency tests, and some newer exact sign and rank tests, to a wide range of forward and futures rates, and in this way test whether these are in fact rational expectations of future actual prices. The forward and futures rates that we study under a common methodology include foreign exchange forward rates, U.S. and foreign interest rate futures and forward rates, oil futures and natural gas futures. For most, but not all, of these instruments, we find that we can reject the hypothesis that the forward or futures rates are rational expectations of actual future prices. It is well known that foreign exchange forward rates give less accurate forecasts than a random walk, but we show that this is also true for some interest rate futures and forward rates. We conclude that forward and futures prices are not generally pure measures of market expectations: they are also heavily affected by the market price of risk.

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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 808.

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    Date of creation: 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:808
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    1. Lewis, Karen K, 1989. "Changing Beliefs and Systematic Rational Forecast Errors with Evidence from Foreign Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 621-36, September.
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    7. Graham Elliott & Takatoshi Ito, 1995. "Heterogeneous Expectations and Tests of Efficiency in the Yen/Dollar Forward Foreign Exchange Rate Market," NBER Working Papers 5376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    11. Phillips, Kerk L. & Snow, Karl, 1998. "The forward bias: is it a money tree?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 373-379, December.
    12. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
    13. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "Forward and spot exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-338, November.
    14. Roberto Perli & Brian P. Sack, 2003. "Does mortgage hedging amplify movements in long-term interest rates?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Campbell, Bryan & Ghysels, Eric, 1995. "Federal Budget Projections: A Nonparametric Assessment of Bias and Efficiency," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 17-31, February.
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