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Do Commodity Futures Help Forecast Spot Prices?

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  • David A Reichsfeld
  • Shaun K. Roache

Abstract

We assess the spot price forecasting performance of 10 commodity futures at various horizons up to two years and test whether this performance is affected by market conditions. We reject efficient markets based on in-sample tests but, out-of-sample, we find that the forecast from the futures market is hard to beat. We find that the forecasting performance of futures does not depend on the slope of the futures curve, in contrast to the predictions of well-known models of commodity markets. We also find futures' forecasting performance to be invariant to whether prices are in an upswing or downswing, casting doubt on aspersions that uninformed investors participating during bull markets impede the price discovery process.

Suggested Citation

  • David A Reichsfeld & Shaun K. Roache, 2011. "Do Commodity Futures Help Forecast Spot Prices?," IMF Working Papers 11/254, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:11/254
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Trevor A. Reeve & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2011. "Evaluating the forecasting performance of commodity futures prices," International Finance Discussion Papers 1025, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Nese Erbil & Shaun K. Roache, 2010. "How Commodity Price Curves and Inventories React to a Short-Run Scarcity Shock," IMF Working Papers 10/222, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Clements,Michael & Hendry,David, 1998. "Forecasting Economic Time Series," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521632423, May.
    4. Cashin, Paul & McDermott, C. John & Scott, Alasdair, 2002. "Booms and slumps in world commodity prices," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 277-296, October.
    5. Clark, Todd E. & West, Kenneth D., 2007. "Approximately normal tests for equal predictive accuracy in nested models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 291-311, May.
    6. Menzie D. Chinn & Olivier Coibion, 2014. "The Predictive Content of Commodity Futures," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(7), pages 607-636, July.
    7. Vansteenkiste, Isabel, 2011. "What is driving oil futures prices? Fundamentals versus speculation," Working Paper Series 1371, European Central Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mishra, Vinod & Smyth, Russell, 2016. "Are natural gas spot and futures prices predictable?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 178-186.
    2. Algieri, Bernardina & Kalkuhl, Matthias, 2014. "Back to the Futures: An Assessment of Commodity Market Efficiency and Forecast Error Drivers," Discussion Papers 187159, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).

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