15. Forward and Futures Markets

Financial Markets (2011) (ECON 252)

To begin the lecture, Professor Shiller elaborates on the difference between forwards and futures and on the role of futures markets to infer future prices for the underlying commodity or financial asset. Generalizing the discussion beyond futures markets to derivatives markets, he assesses the issue of speculation in those markets and its impact on capitalist activity. Subsequently, he introduces the notions of counterparty risk, standardization of contracts, and clearinghouses within the framework of the first futures market, the market for rice futures in Dojima, Japan. While describing wheat futures, he addresses the price patterns of contango and backwardation, margin accounts that help alleviating counterparty risk, as well as the fair value formula for futures prices. The third commodity futures market is the oil futures market, which leads to description of the history of the oil market in general from the 1870s, to the first and second oil crisis, until the oil price spike in 2008. Professor Shiller concludes this lecture with financial futures, specifically S&P 500 index futures, touching upon the difference between physical delivery and cash settlement.

00:00 – Chapter 1. Forwards vs. Futures Contracts; Speculation in Derivative Markets
12:46 – Chapter 2. The First Futures Market and the Role of Standardization
23:03 – Chapter 3. Rice Futures and Contango vs. Backwardation
31:47 – Chapter 4. Counterparty Risk and Margin Accounts
37:50 – Chapter 5. Wheat Futures and the Fair Value Formula for Futures Pricing
47:00 – Chapter 6. Oil Futures
55:04 – Chapter 7. The History of the Oil Market
01:08:16 – Chapter 8. Financial Futures and the Difficulty of Forecasting

Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Spring 2011.

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