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Herding and Speculation in the Crude Oil Market

Celso Brunetti, Bahattin Buyuksahin, and Jeffrey H. Harris

Year: 2013
Volume: Volume 34
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.34.3.5
View Abstract

We examine whether herding among speculators in U.S. crude oil futures markets affects market prices and volatility. Using detailed data on the positions of hedge funds and swap dealers from 2005-2009, we find little evidence that herding destabilizes the crude oil futures market. To the contrary, herding among speculative traders is negatively correlated with contemporaneous volatility and does not lead next-day volatility. Our impulse-response analysis shows that market regulators should monitor herding since a shock to herding among all groups may lead to price changes, and, in the case of hedge funds, may lead to increased volatility. Interestingly, however, increased swap dealer herding actually dampens crude oil price volatility.

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