The efficiency of the U.S. cotton futures market (1986-2006): normal backwardation, co-integration, and asset pricing
Chavez, Marissa Joyce
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The efficiency of commodity futures markets is a widely debated topic in academia. The cotton futures market is no exception. The existence of trends in the futures market is characterized as a price bias, which is a testable trait. When analyzed, it allows a better understanding of market behavior and allows implementation of more effective income enhancing and/or risk reducing strategies. Three different approaches will be used to test the efficiency of the U.S. cotton futures market: pricing patterns, cointegration, and asset-pricing. In the first approach, pricing patterns, statistical methodology was applied to a dataset of daily futures prices. Returns did not show a consistent trend, supporting arguments of efficiency. Further research into seasonally-differentiated contracts has yielded strong evidence of declining prices. This result differs from previously published work in the most comprehensive study of futures prices, while updating and extending information on pricing patterns in the cotton futures market. Co-integration, the second approach, is a popular method for testing the efficiency of various commodity future and cash markets. Evidence indicates that the cotton futures and cash markets are co-integrated over the last ten years. Results lead to the conclusion that price is discovered in the cotton futures market, reinforcing the notion of an efficient cotton futures market that serves as an indicator for future cotton cash prices. The cotton futures market was also analyzed to explain price movements with an equilibrium asset-pricing framework, in the third approach. In particular, the cotton futures market was analyzed to determine if behavior displayed by the market could be explained by risks specific to the cotton futures contract. Cotton futures do not show significant risk premiums over other financial assets, again supporting the efficient market hypothesis. The three approaches implemented in this thesis are generally supportive of longrun efficiency in the U.S. cotton futures market. An updated analysis of the cotton futures market will allow market participants the most recent information on pricing patterns and the overall long-run behavior of the market. More effective trading and operating strategies can be implemented that will best meet needs of market participants.