Commodity price forecasts and futures prices
The International Commodity Markets Division (CM) of the World Bank started forecasting primary commodity prices more than two decades ago. The forecast accuracy, or forecast biases and informational efficiency, has been a major concern and the subject of occasional retrospective studies. This paper explores the relationship between commodity futures prices and price expectations. It focuses of the usefulness of futures prices as a short-term price forecasting tool. In 1989, Froot and Frankel used survey data on exchange rate expectations to estimate the relative importance of risk premium and expectational error in explaining the forward discount biases in foreign exchange rates. They found that expectational errors dominate the forward discount bias and that the risk premium is small, relatively stable, and not correlated with the expectational error. This paper follows the Froot and Frankel analysis to see if commodity prices exhibit similar characteristics. It goes a step further and estimates a relationship between futures prices and price expectations. The paper summarizes the characteristics of the forecast and futures price data, tests the rationality of futures prices and decomposes the futures price bias. It also conducts direct statistical tests of the importance of risk premium and expectational error.
|Date of creation:||30 Jun 1990|
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