The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper assesses the performance of three types of commodity price forecasts—those based on judgment, those relying exclusively on historical price data, and those incorporating prices implied by commodity futures. For most of the 15 commodities in the sample, spot and futures prices appear to be nonstationary and to form a cointegrating relation. Spot prices tend to move toward futures prices over the long run, and error-correction models exploiting this feature produce more accurate forecasts. The analysis indicates that on the basis of statistical- and directional-accuracy measures, futures-based models yield better forecasts than historical-data-based models or judgment, especially at longer horizons.