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Abstract

Commodity prices in general are known to have a high volatility. This is in fact what attracts speculators. The South African futures exchange (SAFEX) is not immune to this volatility. Volatility increases the risk of paying higher prices for a specific commodity, and it also makes the use of derivative instruments to hedge against price risk more expensive. Given the importance of South Africa as a regional supplier of maize and price discovery mechanism, investigations into the volatility of the maize price are not only important, but also indispensable if all parties involved are to manage this risk. The question therefore is whether the SAFEX maize price volatility can be explained by using fundamental factors or whether this volatility is unexplainably high.

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