Cash Settlement of Lean Hog Futures Contracts Reexamined

In 1997 the Chicago Mercantile Exchange replaced its live hog futures contract with a cash settlement mechanism based on a Lean Hog Index. Although cash settlement was expected to increase the use of the contract as a hedging tool, producers and packers are concerned that convergence between cash and futures prices is not occurring and that the volatility of the lean hog contract basis has increased in recent years. The purpose of the paper is to reexamine cash settlement of lean hog futures contracts as a hedging tool, focusing on basis behavior and management of basis risk. We also investigate alternative hedging instruments that take into account location differences between regional cash prices and the CME lean hog index. Our results indicate that basis has widened and its variability prior to expiration has increased in the cash settlement period. Nevertheless, there is no evidence that ex-ante basis risk has increased, suggesting that the ability to forecast basis prior to expiration has not decreased with cash settlement. Our findings indicate that a contract on a regional basis can reduce producer price risk and may increase market returns. The benefits of a regional basis appear to accrue from providing the producer with an opportunity to manage the variability in returns associated with both the price level and basis.

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2008 NCCC-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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