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The impact of futures contract storage rate policy on convergence expectations in domestic commodity markets

Alankrita Goswami, Michael Adjemian and Berna Karali

Food Policy, 2022, vol. 111, issue C

Abstract: Grain futures contracts that permit physical delivery do so through an exchange of delivery instruments. Because delivery instruments can be held indefinitely, extant research shows that futures contracts that assign inflexible and low storage rates relative to the market price of storage facilitate basis nonconvergence. In response to the notable episode of nonconvergence in the mid- to late-2000s, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group introduced variable storage rate (VSR) policies in the soft red winter (SRW) wheat and hard red winter (HRW) wheat markets. In contrast, CME Group did not introduce a VSR to corn and soybean markets but chose to increase their fixed storage fees in 2008 and later in 2020. We study convergence performance for each of these markets from 2006 to 2020 and show that flexible storage fee policies like the VSR reduce the magnitude and therefore, the expected duration of nonconvergence in wheat markets. On the other hand, we do not find evidence that CME Group’s higher fixed storage rates likewise reduce the expected duration of nonconvergence episodes in corn and soybean markets—although perhaps not enough time has passed to evaluate the effectiveness of the most recent changes—or that index trader activity causes basis nonconvergence. Our empirical investigation also makes an implicit case for the introduction of market-based pricing platforms, such as commodity exchanges, in commodity-dependent developing countries.

Keywords: Basis; Commodity futures; Convergence; Grain; Storage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G13 G14 Q11 Q13 Q14 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2022.102301

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