Streetwise Professor

August 29, 2009

What Can the Commitment of Traders Report Tell Us?

Filed under: Commodities,Derivatives,Economics,Energy,Politics — The Professor @ 9:12 pm

Short answer: not much.  But here are some fun facts to know and tell that do tend to deflate any grandiose assertions about the effects of speculation on oil prices:

  1. Changes in non-commercial positions did not Granger Cause crude oil returns in the 1986-2009, 2001-2009, or 2006-2009 periods in bivariate Granger Causality analyses.  Not that this is a surprise; if one could predict future oil price changes based on the publicly released COT numbers, one could make money.  But it does belie the Medlock-Jaffe claim that non-commercial positions are a “leading indicator” for oil prices.
  2. In a vector autoregression including crude oil returns, the percentage change in the Baltic Freight Index, the percentage change in the dollar index, and the change in non-commercial positions, the non-commercial positions do not Granger cause the crude oil returns in the 1986-2009, 2001-2009, or 2006-2009 periods.  The percentage change in the BFI does Granger Cause crude oil returns in all three samples.  This might be surprising, at it would seem to suggest that one can make money in oil by making trades based on moves in the BFI.  However, it is more likely that the movements in the BFI forecast time varying expected returns.  The BFI is a proxy for industrial activity, and thus likely reflects systematic risk.
  3. In the entire sample, crude oil returns Granger Cause (i.e., forecast) changes in non-commercial positions.  This is not true in the 2006-2009 period.
  4. In the entire sample, commercial positions Granger Cause non-commercial positions, but the reverse is not true.  In the 2001-2009 and 2006-2009 periods, the causality runs both ways.
  5. In regressions of crude oil returns against percentage changes in the BFI, percentage changes in the dollar index, and changes in non-commercial positions, all three explanatory variables are statistically significant in the entire sample and the two later subsamples.  Changes in commercial positions are associated with changes in crude oil prices of the same sign.
  6. The magnitude of the coefficient on the change in non-commercial positions is relatively small, and has been declining over time.  In the entire sample, a one standard deviation move in the change in the non-commercial position is associated with a 2 percent change in the crude oil price.
  7. However, by 2006-2009, the alleged period of speculative excess, the coefficient on the non-commercial position change is less than half its value in the entire sample.  During 2006-2009, a one standard deviation move in non-commercial positions (corresponding to about 17 mm bbls of crude in a week), is associated with a less than one percent move in the crude oil price.  Given that the standard deviation of returns (this is weekly data) during this period was over 5 percent, this is a relatively modest association.
  8. Moreover, speculative positions rose and fell throughout the period of alleged speculative excess.  Using the estimated coefficient on the change in the non-commercial position from the multivariate regression, and the movements in non-commercial positions from the beginning of 2006 to the height of the oil prices in early-July, 2008, the cumulative effect of speculative trading on the price of oil was . . . wait for it . . . 2.56 percent.  Not 25.6 percent.  2.56 percent.  And this over a period when the price of oil rose from $63 to over $141 dollars.  That means, that speculation might have “caused” the price to move from $63 to not even $65.  Big whoop.
  9. The correlation between changes in non-commercial positions was .36 in 1986-2000, .5 from 2001-2005, but fell to .3 in 2006-2009.
  10. Thus, the data do not support the contention that speculation–at least as measured (or mis-measured) by the COT have played an increasingly important role in affecting oil prices.  Indeed, the association between non-commercial futures trading and oil prices was weakest during the period of time of the purported speculative Bacchanal.
  11. Conversely, the relationship between the crude oil price and the dollar index has strengthened over time.  In the 1986-2000 period, the coefficient on the dollar index in the multiple regression was -.023; during the 2001-2006 period, -.77; and from the 2006-2009 period, -2.03.  During this last period, a one standard deviation move in the dollar index is associated with approximately a 2.5 percent move in the price of crude oil.

This all took about 40 minutes to figure out.

So what does it all mean?  Well, even without grappling with the causation issue, the data provide virtually no support for the hyperventilating assertions that speculation dominates oil prices, and that this domination grew over time, reaching a frenzied peak in 2006-2008.

In contrast the data provide better support for the view that the price of oil became more dollar driven.  Thus monetary policy should deserve more scrutiny, and speculation less, in trying to understand what happened to oil prices.  The attempt by Medlock-Jaffee to attribute the decline in the dollar to oil speculation is implausible.

But even though there is a modest, contemporaneous association between non-commercial positions and oil prices, that provides only the weakest support for the view that speculation distorted prices.  There is the correlation-causation issue.  What caused the changes in non-commercial positions?  Could they have moved in response to oil prices?  Could both have been driven by common factors?  Moreover, even if speculation moves prices, it can move prices towards where they should go.  That is, informed speculation tends to move prices towards their full-information value.

As I’ve written often, looking at prices alone is often inadequate to diagnose speculative distortions.  Prices are important because they provide signals that affect the allocation of resources.  That is, prices affect decisions about quantities.  If prices are distorted, quantities should be distorted too.  For the commodities allegedly affected by speculative excess in the 2006-2008 period, there is no evidence that this was the case.  In fact, for the commodities for which the data are best (industrial metals, where daily inventory data are available), the evidence is quite to the contrary.  The inventory data provide strong evidence of fundamental tightness, rather than speculative excess, as the cause of high prices.  (This will the subject of a chapter in my forthcoming book.)

The COT data are also dubious for a variety of reasons, including their crude categorization of traders, their lumping together of positions in all delivery months, and the fact that they cover only exchange-traded positions, and not the OTC market.

So, bottom line.  The association between speculative trading (as measured by the COT) and oil price movements is weak.  Given this association, and the movements in non-commercial trading during the 2006-2008 period, the cumulative impact of speculation on the price of oil during the spike was miniscule.  Moreover, one cannot conclude that the measured association quantifies a causal relationship, and even if it was causal, you can’t conclude that it caused prices to move away from a level justified by fundamentals.  The non-price (i.e., quantity) evidence for price distortion is lacking.

In one sentence: The COT data that have been used repeatedly to support contentions that speculation distorted oil prices provide no evidence whatsoever that speculation in the 2006-2008 time period materially contributed to the dramatic rise in the price of oil during this period.

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  1. Thank you very much for this – one thing I have observed is that lax monetary conditions mean that oil traders, whether independent, or inside oil companies, have bigger limits when credit is easily available. And the reverse is true – you saw massive destocking by the traders in the second half of 2008, post-Lehman, when no one was giving credit to anyone. Talking to both oil and steel companies, both complained that traders had completely stopped buying, because their own credit lines were closed. In fact there was no trade full stop, because banks weren’t issuing letters of credit for normal physical shipments.

    So there’s a clear real world example of how credit conditions affect demand on commodities markets. The only real-world example of financial investors affecting commodities prices is the observed increased allocation by endowments to commodities funds as an inflation hedge, and the observed assets under management of these funds. And these funds are mainly buying futures, and as we know, for any long futures position there has to be a short. Just recently, these funds have apparently been dabbling in physical oil, buying the spot, and selling the future, but at best you can claim that this has increased volatility (when they come to sell their oil) and not price levels. And in any case, I think you’ll find that most of the trade is done by oil companies and traders like Glencore and Cargill.

    Quick question – do you have a good source on interpreting vector autoregression results – I’ve just started doing these in R, and my stats is very rusty, and in any case was learned before such a thing existed. (Or I slept through that particular lecture)

    Comment by Sleeper — August 30, 2009 @ 7:08 am

  2. You’re welcome, Sleeper. I agree with your analysis. One quick thing–there’s very little evidence that volatility was not elevated even in 2008. Volatility in oil spiked to unprecedented levels in 4Q08-2Q09.

    I wish I could provide a good source on interpreting VAR results. Most of the books on the subject (e.g., Hamilton) are heavy on the technical aspects and light on the interpretation/intuition. Impulse response functions are a good visual way of interpreting VAR results, but there are some difficulties with them.

    I took a look at your blog. Very interesting. Added it to my rss.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 30, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  3. I believe most often in the govt sector or otherwise, the conclusion is arrived at first. A report is then prepared to justify that conclusion. Evidence to the contrary might get conveniently overlooked. That is why perhaps the Baker guys didnt take the pain of analyzing the Granger causality……

    Comment by Surya — August 30, 2009 @ 10:13 am

  4. Surya–

    Yes. The Red Queen model of government. Sentence First! Trial Later!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 30, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  5. I am led to suspect that these things happen not just in the govt… I guess it happens wherever people can pull it off – inside businesses , organizations and what not. But, it particularly sucks and the damage is widespread if it happens in a govt (or for that matter any institution which has widespread influence)

    Comment by Surya — August 30, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

  6. Nice blog, Sleeper.

    Comment by penny — August 30, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

  7. I don’t get it Professor. Are you saying that speculators in oil market did not exist last summer (a position that I think would draw snickers from most sane people) or that no PRIVATE group of speculators, absent the support or collusion with both major producers or major buyers (i.e. governments/sovereign wealth funds) could have pulled off the run-up from $65 to $141 per barrel in just a few months? AK of course would say that people were suddenly panicking all over the world at the thought that Peak Oil theory was true. But I don’t buy it.

    The other thing is that you like many economists probably would say that the U.S. is in deflation right now because cars and housing got a whole lot cheaper. But can you eat a car or house? Can you buy them if you’re unemployed?

    Surely you as a libertarian-leaning independent cuss agree that the effects of all that Fed money printing are being massively understated? Or worse, perhaps the runup in oil price was a kind of huge hedge against the inflation that someone knew was coming in September, if one that some big global players went overboard on in the sense that it hastened the collapse of the U.S. housing market and dollar they were trying to protect themselves against. You’ve probably seen similar conspiracy theories on the Rightist web that hell, even Rush Limbaugh mentioned on his show, saying that the OPEC countries wanted to screw the U.S. economy up as much as possible to ensure the election of Obama. I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned that one as perhaps an evil Putinist plot to ensure the defeat of Misha Saakashvili’s best buddy McCain.

    Probably the biggest USG lie with statistics is the understatement of food inflation in the U.S. When gasoline prices went down after last summer, food prices in grocery stores stayed up. I know, I know, everyone’s supposed to have plenty of income to cover that, but what about the folks whose unemployment benefits are running out?

    Comment by Steve J. Nelson — August 30, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

  8. Steve, pricing power determines deflation. I can’t eat my house or car nor can I sell them for very much, the same for US manufacturers. Wages are falling and that’s deflationary. Ask the Japanese about that little problem as they seem to be living it ahead of our curve.

    The velocity of money is as important as how much has been printed in the inflationary scenerio. There is no velocity as I understand it.

    I’m not an economist, but, hey, I stayed at a Holiday Inn and woke up one in the morning so I’ll let SWP weigh in here and correct us both.

    Comment by penny — August 30, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

  9. SWP, inflation or deflation, where are we going from here?

    My gut feeling is stagnation and deflation.

    Comment by penny — August 30, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

  10. “I can’t eat my house or car nor can I sell them for very much” yes that was my point. You may argue that higher American wages explain higher food prices in America than in Russia but my question is what if your unemployment benefits only pay the average Moscow salary ($1,000 per month) and yet you have to pay two to four times as much as a Muscovite for potatoes and bread to eat? If you call that propaganda, go to any Perekrostik or Ashan in Moskva and check for yourself, after doing the currency conversion and realizing that kilos are cheaper than pounds in the U.S.

    Comment by Steve J. Nelson — August 31, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  11. Steve, Russians with their meager wages are dealing with much higher food inflation and spending a whole lot more of their income than Americans on food. Your observation is purely anecdotal. And, any American receiving $1,000 in unemployment benefits a month qualifies for food stamps too.

    Although food prices rose at an accelerated rate in 2007, Americans overall still spent less than 10 percent of their disposable income on food. Between 1970 and 2005, the percentage of disposable income spent on all food fell from 13.9 to 9,8 percent on average. This drop occurred because prices of other consumer goods out-paced the price of food, and incomes rose at a faster rate than food prices. Disposable personal income increased 5.7 percent in 2007, after increasing 5.9 percent in 2006.

    If you look across the retail spectrum here right now anything that isn’t deeply discounted or accompanied by a coupon isn’t selling. There is no pricing power.

    Among G8 countries, only Russia and Japan are net food importers. Russia imports about 46 percent of the food and agricultural raw materials it consumes each year. At a February 14 press conference, Putin revealed that some of Russia’s largest cities import up to 85 percent of the food they consume. All in all, Russia imports 75 percent of the meat it consumes and half of the vegetable oil.

    The food crisis is also exacerbating the gap between the haves and the have-nots. While the richest part of the population can afford to spend more on food and can even increase consumption, the poorest 20 percent — those who already spend about 60 percent of their income on food — find themselves sorely pressed.

    That has to be a huge drain on Putin’s treasury subsidizing food prices for the have-nots and more evidence of his gross mismanagement. He and his siloviki morons never effectively privatized and re-organized the agriculture sector. How could that ever happen without private property rights and a decent infrastructure to get food to market.

    Comment by penny — August 31, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  12. I think the huge monetary loosening of the past year make high inflation inevitable once the money starts moving again at a normal pace. I bet stagflation and another deep recession in the early 2010’s due to a second oil price spike.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — August 31, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  13. Billions of dollars are traded on the world markets every day. Where is an opportunity to make a lot of money, there are always smart people trying to make a buck or two. Here is my understanding how the markets work.
    There are three animals on the street, – the Bull, the Bear, and the Pig.
    Whenever the Pig believes he is a real Bull, he puts money in the long bag.
    The Bear jumps out of nowhere, kicks Pig’s butt, and takes the long bag away.
    Whenever the Pig believes he is a real Bear, he puts money in the short bag.
    The real Bull jumps out of nowhere, kicks Pig’s butt, and takes the short bag away. As they financial mafia says, the Bulls make money, the Bears make money, and the Pigs get slaughtered.
    Commitments of traders are extremely useful information. The only problem is that we don’t know exactly what Mr. Pig is doing. The one who will inevitably be slaughtered.
    With computerization of trading, the financial mafia has real-time info what Mr. Pig is doing, and I don’t think they miss any opportunity to separate pigs from their money.
    Also, commitments may be used to conceal real intentions. A group of trading companies may buy or sell a number of positions, just to mislead the observers. Just like in boxing. Looked down at the body of the sparring partner, and hit in the body. Again, looked down at the body of the sparring partner, and hit in the body. Then looked down at the body of the sparring partner, and, when he lowered his arms to protect the body, hit in the chin and knock him down.
    Hell, I came to tell you an interesting story, and you dragged me in conspiracy theories. OK, I will tell you the story in the next message.

    Comment by Michael Vilkin — August 31, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

  14. Here is the link.
    You can translate this page from Russian to English with Google Translate.

    This clown, Igor Panarin, who is a professor of Academy of Diplomacy of Foreign Ministry Affairs, predicts that this fall, starting in October, there will be chaos, violence and famine in the US. It will start with collapse of the dollar, and will end with disintegration of the US. The US will disintegrate into exactly six pieces. Alaska will go back to Russia.
    This guy is not completely a psych patient. He knows something. Probably, he knows that a financial attack will take place. Russian hackers are very crafty, and with support of the government they will be able to cause real damage.
    It looks to me that we have to be ready to disconnect Russia from the Internet. Also, we have to be ready to buy large amounts of Treasuries.
    The Fed does not need real green dollars to do that. Just buy Treasuries and increase the seller’s account.
    If Russians start to take short positions on the dollar, I will take a long position. Bulls make money, Bears make money, but Russian pigs will be slaughtered.
    A more difficult situation may develop if Russians sell Treasuries and immediately start exchanging large amounts of dollars for rubles. The exchange rate may drop significantly, because the Fed does not have rubles to offer for dollars.
    The only hope is that Treasuries’ sell-off will drop the price of Treasuries, increase interest rates, and it will make Treasuries and the dollar more attractive, and any sell-off of the dollar will meet increased market demand. We will probably need temporary help of our allies like Saudi Arabia to support the dollar by selling other currencies.
    It is also possible that Putin will occupy the disputed island of Krimea right after elections in Ukraine, which are to take place in September, and financial and Internet attacks against the US will take place at the same time. The point is that that SOB knows something, and we should be ready, – just in case.
    Also, I’d withdraw NATO troops from Afghanistan on a short notice.
    Let islamists go West, and the first major stop is Russia.
    One way or another, Russia must be weakened and defeated in this second cold war.

    Comment by Michael Vilkin — August 31, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  15. MIchael, that’s one of the funniest posts I’ve read in a long time. I like you. 🙂

    Comment by Bob From Canada — August 31, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

  16. Bob, thank you for your kind words.
    Which message are you referring to as funny, – the one about slaughter of pigs, or the one about last days of America?
    That clown says – I forgot to mention – that Obama will destroy the US by the next summer, and that international piece keeping troops will need to enter the US.
    Putin is having a lot of fun with this bum O’Bum.
    Actually, I don’t know what to do, – to laugh or to cry.

    Comment by Michael Vilkin — September 1, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

  17. Michael Vilkin — good to know you’re ready to star in the remake of Red Dawn. But at least the fair and balanced Professor who has now turned to critiquing America’s biggest creditor rather than the old Evil Empire will be pleased to know that the remake stars Chinese troops invading America (probably when my generation tells them to shove their U.S. Treasuries where the sun doesn’t shine when America becomes another Argentina or Russia and defaults on its debts).

    And Penny — at the risk again of sounding like LR’s less evil twin, “He and his siloviki morons never effectively privatized and re-organized the agriculture sector. How could that ever happen without private property rights and a decent infrastructure to get food to market.” I don’t recall Yeltsin, Gaidar or Chubais doing jack crap about Russia’s historic dependency on food imports either. The ag reforms that Yeltsin was too weak to push through the Communist-dominated parliament even after he shelled the place were finally implemented by Putin in 2001-2002.

    Saying Japan imports most of its food is kind of a big duh. It’s an island crowded with 141 million increasingly aging people. Funny, nobody talks about the legendary baby bust of Japan in the past generation as a huge failure of a soulless society, I guess because they’re our allies and they keep buying our debt, rather than a historic rival like Russia. Russia’s no more corrupt than Mexico but we don’t have twenty million or 1 out of every 9 Russians living here. If we did, it might improve the appearance of American women from the competition (the real reason if Kim is indeed a lady and not a dude this person hates Russians so much).

    AK has an excellent post on Russian geography which does a pretty good job of explaining why Russia will always have a higher percentage of food imports than say, Canada, U.S., Argentina or Australia, even if it stands a good chance of becoming a grain breadbasket. I don’t quite accept that geography is destiny in this day and age, though like AK I root for a little global warming to help Russia out.

    There is not a big difference in climate between Ukraine and southern Russia black earth regions. I saw a Google ad the other day announcing that investors are buying up farm land in Ukraine — that’s not a big surprise, considering that Yuschenko needs all the bucks he can get now that he doesn’t have cheap Russian gas to make cheap steal nobody’s buying.

    At least the Professor is preparing for the day when China rather than Russia will be America’s chief geopolitical rival in Mackinder’s global heartland (witness the $1 billion loan to Moldova). I just wonder if the Prof will decide at a certain point that it makes more sense for Oceania to be allied with Eurasia against Eastasia rather than the other way it has been since Nixon went to China in the Seventies. That seems to be, according to David Frum, what George Dubya had in mind when he was mocked for saying he looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his soul. But Cheney and co. made damn sure to scuttle all those plans with their ambition to buy half of Russia’s oil industry from Khodorkovsky and sponsorship of the colored revolutions through Soros and American silovik fronts from 2002-2005.

    Finally, I think Moscow has very good reason to believe that Washington a certain extent has been co-opted by Beijing. Russian intel should assume that most American institutions and agencies are compromised by the ChiComs until proven otherwise. These are the realities that are too painful for Right thinking Heritage Foundation reading Americans like Penny to believe, anymore than they could accept that organic food could be cheaper for Muscovites with the same purchasing power as New Yorkers, since they are not good sheep Americans under water on $500,000 mortgages and funding 401ks and IRAs that have lost 60% of their value.

    Comment by Steve J. Nelson — September 2, 2009 @ 9:02 am

  18. Steve, Putin has been in place for a decade, he owns the current economic/social/infrastructure/legal rot in Russia. Half of Russian produce still rots before getting to market just like in the old USSR days against a backdrop of 46% imports and as high as 85% in larger cities. You’ve got to have decent roads and rails to move time sensitive agriculture. And, since Russia won’t be getting Ukraine back they better starting getting every apple that they can to market. Duh.

    And, Steve, the Chinese will bide their time picking at the carcass of Russia’s failing demograhics and Putin’s economic mismanagement. Wait a couple generations and the Russian far East will have different overlords. They don’t need any assistance from Americans in hijacking what is right next the their border.

    You throw out the pro-Putin Russian nationalism talking points without much in the way of verifiable facts. It’s the same old circular Kremlin talking points with you. Trying to sanitize Putin against the facts on the ground is an exercise in futility.

    Comment by penny — September 2, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  19. I find it very, very amusing that this post on the arcana of CFTC Commitment of Traders reports, complete with a discussion of vector autoregressions and linear regressions, has morphed into a heated discussion about Russia, and without my adding any fuel to the fire, to boot.

    What did Churchill say about fanatics? Was it “they won’t change their mind and can’t change the subject” or “they can’t change their mind and won’t change the subject.” LOL.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 2, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  20. I don’t see what pointing out the enormous hypocrisy of being soft on China and hard on Russia has to do necessarily with Putin. It seems to have more to do with different expectations of racial groups (yes there is that, Russians look more like us and therefore are expected to act more like us) and American foreign policy since the 1970s.

    And I was actually complementing the Prof, at least in a backhanded way, for not being quite the same as the Beltway conservatives like Heritage who scoff at China dumping dollars, since they need to believe in the perpetual American ability to borrow despite pissing off its creditors just as badly as their ideological adversaries on the Hope and Change Express.

    And we’ve been through the discussion of colored revolutions before, the Prof and other “conservatives” at this forum would rather stick their heads in the sand regarding who’s a front of USG in Eastern Europe and what they receive in return for said services rendered. Whistling through the grave yard on that one.

    Where are you getting all these statistics about food rotting?

    Comment by Steve J. Nelson — September 3, 2009 @ 8:45 am

  21. I really hate Putin and his followers, but these rumors about a lot of good being rotten because road are bad… only intellectually challenged people can believe it.
    First of all, most of fruits and vegetables in Russia are organic, because the farmers (ha-ha) don’t have money to buy pesticides. Fresh produce is supplied to the cities by nearby farms.
    Produce that travels long distances, – yes, the roads are a big problem, and a lot of produce rots on it’s way to big cities. That is one of the reasons why fresh produce in Moskow is expensive.

    But Putin cares more about developing new weapons, and he made some progress. Their 5th generation fighter jet is sad to be ready for mass production this fall. They say it is not worse than our F-22.

    After Georgia Russians have no respect for America. Russia wanted to test their new weapons in Georgia, but America declined the invitation.
    Maybe, just maybe, we will finally have a sparring over the disputed island of Crimea. Our F-22 against new “sushki” would be interesting to watch.
    Russians will take Crimea anyway. I’m talking about just testing the new weapons and getting some respect in the eyes of Europeans. Many people see that America is very weak, – not militarily, but morally.

    Vietnam served as a polygon to test weapons and strength of the rival systems.
    We need another Vietnam, in Crimea or wherever. If we don’t finish Putin’s ambitions now, the game will be lost. Our bum O’Bum is doing a fine job to push American Roman Empire closer to disintegration.

    Comment by Michael Vilkin — September 3, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  22. If you were an illegal immigrant in California without a job in construction, what would you do? Right, you would drive around and throw burning cigarette butts into dry bushes. It is not even a dirty little secret. Everyone knows about it.
    California is burning. Thousands of jobs will be created in construction.
    When Santa Ana comes, they will create even more jobs.
    At the same time, environmentalists prohibit cutting dry bush in open spaces. Liberals do not allow to round up illegals and deport them.

    America is a very sick country. I’m not sure whether Russia is sicker or weaker. Russia is only poorer, for now. If illegals continue creating jobs in construction, our wealth will go down, – or up in smoke.

    Comment by Michael Vilkin — September 3, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  23. Very informative piece. I wonder if you’d be so kind as to point me in the direction of the historical data on COT that goes back to 1986? I’ve searched the CFTC website and can only find the series that takes me back as far as 2006. My undergraduate dissertation concerns the effects of speculation on oil price and it’s reassuring to find comment that backs up the theories borne out of reading around my chosen subject before i conduct my analysis.

    [Speculative] thanks,

    Comment by Richard — March 1, 2010 @ 8:04 am

  24. Richard–

    Thanks for your interest. You can get legacy reports, in zip files, going back to the 90s, here:

    Scroll down for the earlier reports.

    Hope this helps.


    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 1, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

  25. Just a quick “thanks” for the info.

    I’ve added the Blog to my reader, too. It’s away from my subject field completely, but some interesting insight. Keep it up!

    Thanks again.


    Comment by Richard — March 8, 2010 @ 6:41 am

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