Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pre-emptive Moves Against Speculation*

Speculators have never been popular, and they may never have been as unpopular as they are today. Increasingly they are blamed for fluctuations in commodity prices, particularly in energy prices, even though a market lacking speculators to take the other side of price hedging transactions for physical market players would arguably be one that would be much more volatile.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Institutional Investors Embrace Commodities as New Asset Class*

Investor interest in commodities, including oil, has risen dramatically over the last decade and commodities have become a new asset class in institutional investors’ portfolio. Partly, this development is due to diversification benefits. In addition, the development of new investment vehicles, such as exchange traded funds, has allowed individual investors to get exposure to movements in commodity prices. Due to the storage and trading costs associated with direct physical investment in commodities, the main vehicle used by investors to gain exposure is via commodity indices (baskets of short maturity commodity futures contracts that are periodically rolled over as they approach expiry), exchange traded funds or other structured products. These instruments provide generally long-only exposure to commodities.