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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Partially Overlapping Time Series: A New Model for Volatility Dynamics in Commodity Futures


In commodity futures markets, contracts with various delivery dates trade simultaneously. Applied researchers typically discard the majority of the data and form a single time series by choosing only one price observation per day. This strategy precludes a full understanding of these markets and can induce complicated nonlinear dynamics in the data. In this paper, I introduce the partially overlapping time series (POTS) model to model jointly all traded contracts. The POTS model incorporates time-to-delivery, storability, seasonality, and GARCH effects. I apply the POTS model to corn futures at the Chicago Board of Trade and the results uncover substantial inefficiency associated with delivery on corn futures. The results also support two theories of commodity pricing: the theory of storage and the Samuelson effect.

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