IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ysm/somwrk/amz2605.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Fundamentals of Commodity Futures Returns

Author

Listed:
  • Gary Gorton
  • Fumio Hayashi
  • K. Rouwenhorst

Abstract

Commodity futures risk premiums vary across commodities and over time depending on the level of physical inventories, as predicted by the Theory of Storage. Using a comprehensive dataset on 31 commodity futures and physical inventories between 1969 and 2006, we show that the convenience yield is a decreasing, non-linear relationship of inventories. Price measures, such as the futures basis ("backwardation"), prior futures returns, and prior spot returns reflect the state of inventories and are informative about commodity futures risk premiums. The excess returns to Spot and Futures Momentum and Backwardation strategies stem in part from the selection of commodities when inventories are low. Positions of futures markets participants are correlated with prices and inventory signals, but we reject the Keynesian "hedging pressure" hypothesis that these positions are an important determinant of risk premiums.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Gorton & Fumio Hayashi & K. Rouwenhorst, 2007. "The Fundamentals of Commodity Futures Returns," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2605, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Oct 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:amz2605
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://icfpub.som.yale.edu/publications/2605
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Changyun Wang, 2003. "The behavior and performance of major types of futures traders," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 1-31, January.
    2. Williams,Jeffrey C. & Wright,Brian D., 2005. "Storage and Commodity Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023399, October.
    3. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
    4. Henry L. Bryant & David A. Bessler & Michael S. Haigh, 2006. "Causality in futures markets," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(11), pages 1039-1057, November.
    5. Angus Deaton & Guy Laroque, 1992. "On the Behaviour of Commodity Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23.
    6. Robert W. Kolb, 1992. "Is normal backwardation normal?," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 75-91, February.
    7. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
    8. Carter, Colin A & Rausser, Gordon C & Schmitz, Andrew, 1983. "Efficient Asset Portfolios and the Theory of Normal Backwardation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 319-331, April.
    9. Avraham Kamara, 1982. "Issues in futures markets: A survey," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 2(3), pages 261-294, September.
    10. Nicholas Kaldor, 1939. "Speculation and Economic Stability," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 1-27.
    11. Lester G. Telser, 1958. "Futures Trading and the Storage of Cotton and Wheat," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 233-233.
    12. Jagannathan, Ravi, 1985. " An Investigation of Commodity Futures Prices Using the Consumption-based Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(1), pages 175-191, March.
    13. John R. Graham & Clifford W. Smith, 1999. "Tax Incentives to Hedge," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2241-2262, December.
    14. Carter, Colin A., 1999. "Commodity futures markets: a survey," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 0(Issue 2), pages 1-39, June.
    15. Geczy, Christopher & Minton, Bernadette A & Schrand, Catherine, 1997. " Why Firms Use Currency Derivatives," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1323-1354, September.
    16. Szymanowska, M., 2006. "Essays on rational asset pricing," Other publications TiSEM 5886cd88-c481-41b7-aa48-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    17. Frans A. de Roon & Theo E. Nijman & Chris Veld, 2000. "Hedging Pressure Effects in Futures Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1437-1456, June.
    18. Robert S. Pindyck, 2001. "The Dynamics of Commodity Spot and Futures Markets: A Primer," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 1-30.
    19. Paul H. Cootner, 1960. "Returns to Speculators: Telser versus Keynes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68, pages 396-396.
    20. Gray, Roger W. & Rutledge, David J.S., 1971. "The Economics of Commodity Futures Markets: A Survey," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 0(Number 04), pages 1-52, December.
    21. van den Goorbergh, R.W.J., 2004. "Essays on optimal hedging and investment strategies and on derivative pricing," Other publications TiSEM 4b4b16af-8621-463f-bbfa-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    22. Bryan R. Routledge & Duane J. Seppi & Chester S. Spatt, 2000. "Equilibrium Forward Curves for Commodities," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1297-1338, June.
    23. Ng, Victor K & Pirrong, Stephen Craig, 1994. "Fundamentals and Volatility: Storage, Spreads, and the Dynamics of Metals Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(2), pages 203-230, April.
    24. Roger W. Gray, 1961. "The Search for a Risk Premium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 250-250.
    25. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1988. " Business Cycles and the Behavior of Metals Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(5), pages 1075-1093, December.
    26. Qian Shen & Andrew C. Szakmary & Subhash C. Sharma, 2007. "An examination of momentum strategies in commodity futures markets," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 227-256, March.
    27. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1987. "Commodity Futures Prices: Some Evidence on Forecast Power, Premiums,and the Theory of Storage," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 55-73, January.
    28. Chang, Eric C, 1985. " Returns to Speculators and the Theory of Normal Backwardation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(1), pages 193-208, March.
    29. Dusak, Katherine, 1973. "Futures Trading and Investor Returns: An Investigation of Commodity Market Risk Premiums," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(6), pages 1387-1406, Nov.-Dec..
    30. Bessembinder, Hendrik, 1992. "Systematic Risk, Hedging Pressure, and Risk Premiums in Futures Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(4), pages 637-667.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Commodity; Futures; Theory of Storage; Inventories; Backwardation; Hedging Pressure; Futures Trading;

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:amz2605. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/smyalus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.