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Examining the dynamic relationship between spot and future prices of agricultural commodities

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  • Hernandez, Manuel
  • Torero, Maximo

Abstract

This study examines the dynamic relationship between spot and futures prices of agricultural commodities. We first briefly discuss what the non-arbitrage and asset pricing theory has to say about the relationship between spot and futures markets. Next, using recent price data for corn, wheat, and soybeans, we perform Granger causality tests to empirically uncover the direction of information flows between spot and futures prices. Linear as well as nonlinear (nonparametric) causality tests are conducted on both spot and futures returns and their volatility. The results indicate that spot prices are generally discovered in futures markets. In particular, we find that changes in futures prices lead changes in spot prices more often than the reverse. These findings also contribute to the debate on alternative instruments to address excessive volatility in grain markets. Our results support, for example, the viability of implementing a global virtual reserve, recently proposed by von Braun and Torero (2008, 2009), to prevent disproportionate spikes in grain spot prices through signals and, if necessary, market assessment in the exchange of futures.

Suggested Citation

  • Hernandez, Manuel & Torero, Maximo, 2010. "Examining the dynamic relationship between spot and future prices of agricultural commodities," IFPRI discussion papers 988, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:988
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robles, Miguel & Torero, Maximo & von Braun, Joachim, 2009. "When speculation matters:," Issue briefs 57, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Kawai, Masahiro, 1983. "Price Volatility of Storable Commodities under Rational Expectations in Spot and Futures Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(2), pages 435-459, June.
    3. von Braun, Joachim & Torero, Maximo, 2009. "Implementing physical and virtual food reserves to protect the poor and prevent market failure:," Policy briefs 10, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Garbade, Kenneth D & Silber, William L, 1983. "Price Movements and Price Discovery in Futures and Cash Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(2), pages 289-297, May.
    5. Crain, Susan J & Lee, Jae Ha, 1996. "Volatility in Wheat Spot and Futures Markets, 1950-1993: Government Farm Programs, Seasonality, and Causality," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 325-343, March.
    6. von Braun, Joachim & Torero, Maximo, 2008. "Physical and virtual global food reserves to protect the poor and prevent market failure:," Policy briefs 4, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Keywords

    agricultural commodity markets; futures prices; granger causality; spot prices;
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