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What Every Investor Should Know About Commodities, Part II: Multivariate Return Analysis

Harry M. Kat


Roel C. A. Oomen

Deutsche Bank AG; University of Amsterdam

June 2006

Alternative Investment Research Centre Working Paper No. 33
Cass Business School Research Paper

In this paper we study the multivariate return properties of a large variety of commodity futures. We find that between commodity groupings (such as metals, energy, etc.) correlations are very low and mostly insignificant whereas within groups they tend to be much stronger. In addition, commodity futures are roughly uncorrelated with stocks and bonds. Still, correlations may vary somewhat over the different phases of the business cycle, suggesting that not all commodities make equally good diversifiers at all times. Copula-based tests do not indicate any deviant behaviour in the tails of the joint return distribution of commodity futures and stocks or bonds. Contrary to equities and bonds, we show that commodity futures returns are positively correlated with unexpected inflation (i.e. 25% on average with CPI inflation as opposed to -30% for equities and -50% for bonds). There are significant differences between the various commodities, however, with energy, metals, cattle, and sugar offering the best hedging potential. Altogether, assuming that the observed regularities will persist, our results confirm that a well-balanced commodity futures portfolio could offer a worthwhile diversification service to the typical traditional investment portfolio.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: Commodities, commodity futures, correlation, tail-dependence, SJC copula, inflation

JEL Classification: G11, E44, O13, Q19, Q49

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Date posted: June 14, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Kat, Harry M. and Oomen, Roel C. A., What Every Investor Should Know About Commodities, Part II: Multivariate Return Analysis (June 2006). ; Cass Business School Research Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=908609 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.908609

Contact Information

Harry M. Kat
No Address Available
Roel C.A. Oomen (Contact Author)
Deutsche Bank AG ( email )
1 Great Winchester Street
London, EC2N 2DB
United Kingdom
University of Amsterdam ( email )
Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
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