The ability of futures markets to predict subsequent spot prices has been a controversial topic for a number of years. Empirical evidence to date is mixed; for any given market, some studies find evidence of efficiency, others of inefficiency. In part, these apparently conflicting findings reflect differences in the time periods analyzed and the methods chosen for testing. A limitation of existing tests is the classification of markets as either efficient or inefficient with no assessment of the degree to which efficiency is present. This article presents tests for unbiasedness and efficiency across a range of commodity and financial futures markets, using a cointegration methodology, and develops a measure of relative efficiency. In general, the findings suggest that spot and futures prices are cointegrated with a slope coefficient that is close to unity, so that the postulated long‐run relationship is accepted. However, there is evidence that the long‐run relationship does not hold in the short run; specifically, changes in the spot price are explained by lagged differences in spot and futures prices as well as by the basis. This suggests that market inefficiencies exist in the sense that past information can be used by agents to predict spot price movements. A measure of the relative degree of inefficiency (based on forecast error variances) is then used to compare the performance of different markets. © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Jrl Fut Mark 19: 413–432, 1999
The Journal of Futures Markets – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1999
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