The Adequacy of Speculation in Agricultural Futures Markets: Too Much of a Good Thing?

D.R. Sanders*, S.H. Irwin, R.P. Merrin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper revisits the "adequacy of speculation" debate in agricultural futures markets using the positions held by index funds in the Commitment of Traders reports. Index fund positions were a relatively stable percentage of total open interest from 2006-2008. Traditional speculative measures do not show any material shifts over the sample period. Even after adjusting speculative indices for commodity index fund positions, values are within the historical ranges reported in prior research. One implication is that long-only index funds may be beneficial in markets traditionally dominated by short hedging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-94
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Commitment of Traders
  • index funds
  • commodity futures markets

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