A Review of the Historical Literature on Commodity Futures Contract Returns

41 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2015

See all articles by Hilary Till

Hilary Till

Premia Research LLC; EDHEC-Risk Institute; J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities, University of Colorado Denver Business School; Global Commodities Applied Research Digest

Date Written: October 20, 2006

Abstract

Broadly speaking, there are seven strands of literature on commodity pricing theory, which we summarize as follows: The insurance role of commodity futures contracts, which emphasizes the role of the speculator; the theory of storage, which emphasizes the behavior of the inventory holder and commercial hedger; the net-hedging-pressure hypothesis, which encompasses the behavior of both classes of participants; the statistical behavior of commodity futures prices; the attempt to reconcile commodity futures returns with the CAPM; the role of commodities in a strategic asset allocation; and the importance of yields as a long-term driver of commodity returns. Each strand of thought is covered in this paper. The paper concludes that short-horizon effects are due to seasonal hedging pressure and that the price-pressure effects due to seasonal hedging pressure may be slight enough that they can only be detected through trends in futures spreads. The paper also concludes that there appears to be reliable long-horizon effects on outright futures contracts as well.

Keywords: commodity futures, backwardation, returns, theory of storage, convenience yield, speculator, hedging

JEL Classification: G1, G11

Suggested Citation

Till, Hilary, A Review of the Historical Literature on Commodity Futures Contract Returns (October 20, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2629274 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2629274

Hilary Till (Contact Author)

Premia Research LLC ( email )

United States
312-583-1137 (Phone)
312-873-3914 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://customindices.spindices.com/custom-index-calculations/premia/all

EDHEC-Risk Institute

Nice
France

HOME PAGE: http://risk.edhec.edu/

J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities, University of Colorado Denver Business School ( email )

1475 Lawrence St.
Denver, CO 80202
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.ucdenver.edu/commodities

Global Commodities Applied Research Digest ( email )

J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities
1475 Lawrence Street
Denver, CO 80202
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jpmcc-gcard.com/hilary-till

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