Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



Recent unexpected changes (mid-2007- Aug 2011) in agricultural commodity markets have led stakeholders to ask if the volatility of futures prices currently observed are still the result of traditional fundamentals. Consequently, the purpose of this research was to identify those factors that affect monthly soybeans futures price volatility. To accomplish this study, four relevant factors are explored. First, the integration between energy and agricultural markets is accounted for via oil spot prices, as well as a dummy variable to account for the shift in the U.S renewable fuel policy since 2007. Second, the increasing consumption of commodities from China is analyzed by measuring their imports of soybeans from Argentina, Brazil, and the U.S. Third, U.S monetary policy is examined by including a U.S dollar index compared to currencies from China (Yuan), Brazil (Real), and Argentina (Peso), which are the main producers, consumers and traders of soybeans. Finally, financial speculation is analyzed by the number of speculative funds (mutual and index funds) available for public investors. Evidence was found that the variability of oil spot prices, soybean imports to China, and the number of index funds are able to explain monthly soybeans future price volatility, from September 2006 to August 2011. Although U.S renewable fuel policy is included in the analysis, there is no statistical evidence of its influence on monthly soybeans futures prices. Similarly, there is no evidence that the U.S dollar index and the number of mutual funds are able to explain past values of soybeans futures price volatility. Excessive volatility in futures price may cause problems for those utilizing futures markets in their business operation, as well as for consumers. While the increasing risk has led to inefficient resource allocation for producers, merchandisers, and speculators, high prices have influenced the food security of developing countries with lower incomes, i.e. affecting the ability of lower income households to get access to soy products used for human consumption.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Detre, Joshua