Thursday, February 17, 2011

Agriculture/Commodities: FT Report on Algorithmic Trading in Sugar Futures

On February 8, the Financial Times published an article on growing concerns among some in the commodities industry that so-called "algorithmic" trading -- futures trading with high-speed computers -- is causing price distortions. As the article put it, "Ten years ago it took the sugar market six months to move 2 cents. In the past three months, it has moved 2 cents in just one day on five occasions. Last Thursday, it moved this much in a single second."

The article also stated, however, that not everyone agrees that high-speed traders are to blame. Some traders reportedly said that "the increase in volatility simply reflects high prices for sugar."

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