The Forward Pricing Function of the Shipping Freight Futures Market
The Journal of Futures Markets, May 1999, Vol. 19 No. 3, 353-376
Posted: 18 Feb 2014
Date Written: July 17, 2009
This article investigates the unbiasedness hypothesis of futures prices in the freight futures market. Being the only market whose underlying asset is a service, it sets it apart from other markets investigated so far in the literature. Cointegration techniques, employed to examine this hypothesis, indicate that futures prices one and two months before maturity are unbiased forecasts of the realized spot prices, whereas a bias exists in the three-months futures prices. This mixed evidence is in agreement with studies in other markets and suggests that the acceptance or rejection of unbiasedness depends on the idiosyncrasies of the market under investigation and on the time to maturity of the contract. Despite the existence of a bias in the threemonths prices, futures prices for all maturities are found to provide forecasts of the reali/ed spot prices that arc superior to forecasts generated from error correction, ARIMA, exponential smoothing, and random walk models. Hence it appears that users of the BIFFEX market receive accurate signals from the futures prices (regarding the future course of cash prices) and can use the information generated by these prices to guide their physical market decisions.
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