Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Cocoa market manipulation? The evidence suggests..."

Just yesterday I took a stroll down memory lane to look at the Hunt brothers attempted corner of the silver market in "Wheat prices ease after Russia predicts stable exports" and "...Speculators ‘Hunt What’s Moving" and today this came over the transom via a reader's email.
From Knowledge Problem:
yes: cocoa market manipulation says Craig Pirrong.  He comes to that conclusion after his examination of price movements in cocoa markets revealed all the fingerprints of a classic squeeze.

In brief, Pirrong compared July London cocoa prices against September and November London prices and July New York prices over a period from January 2000 to June 2010. Anomalous moves in the July London price relative to these related markets suggest manipulation.  When Pirrong’s analysis is combined with one large trader seeking delivery on an unusually large percentage of July London contracts the case is more or less obvious.

Pirrong refers to his 2004 American Law and Economics Review article on the Ferruzzi soybean market episode for background on commodity market manipulation and its detection....MORE
During the oil run-up (and subsequent collapse) in 2008 it was the market pros who saw manipulation and/or speculation as a driver of the price while the academics poo-pooed the thought.