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Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Jeffrey A. Frankel
James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth
phone: (617)496-3834
fax: (617)496-5747
Effects of Speculation and Interest Rates in a “Carry Trade” Model of Commodity Prices
Frankel, Jeffrey A. "Effects of Speculation and Interest Rates in a “Carry Trade” Model of Commodity Prices." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP13-022, January 24, 2014 (Revised from June 2013; and November 2013).
Abstract
The paper presents and estimates a model of the prices of oil and other storable commodities, a model that can be characterized as reflecting the carry trade. It focuses on speculative factors, here defined as the trade-off between interest rates on the one hand and market participants’ expectations of future price changes on the other hand. It goes beyond past research by bringing to bear new data sources: survey data to measure expectations of future changes in commodity prices and options data to measure perceptions of risk. Some evidence is found of a negative effect of interest rates on the demand for inventories and thereby on commodity prices and positive effects of expected future price gains on inventory demand and thereby on today’s commodity prices.
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