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Energy Futures Market Trading Versus Physical Commodity Usage: A playground for manipulation or a miscalculation?

Author

Listed:
  • Ronald Ripple

    () (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)

Abstract

The relationship between energy futures trading volume and physical commodity usage is evaluated with the aim of demonstrating the correct method of calculation. This relationship has been incorrectly calculated and the misleading results have been offered up as evidence of excessive speculator activity leading to higher and more volatile prices, on the one hand, and to support claims of high levels of market liquidity and transparency, on the other. It is shown that rather than constituting large multiples over physical usage the futures trading activity represents a fraction of usage. These fractions of physical usage represented by futures trading volume cannot support suggestions that futures markets are playgrounds for non-commercial market manipulators. Nevertheless, there is still strong evidence that the energy futures markets provide a valuable basis for price discovery and risk mitigation, since a significant share of physical usage is represented by futures market activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald Ripple, 2006. "Energy Futures Market Trading Versus Physical Commodity Usage: A playground for manipulation or a miscalculation?," Research Papers 0603, Macquarie University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mac:wpaper:0603
    as

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    File URL: http://www.econ.mq.edu.au/research/2006/Daily_volume_multiples_3_06.pdf
    File Function: First Version, 2006
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Futures contracts; trading volume; consumption; crude oil; natural gas;

    JEL classification:

    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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