Understanding the Sources of Risk Underlying the Cross-Section of Commodity Returns

Abstract:

We show that a model featuring an average commodity factor, a carry factor, and a momentum factor is capable of describing the cross-sectional variation of commodity returns. More parsimonious one- and
two-factor models that feature only the average and/or carry factors are rejected. To provide an economic interpretation, we show that innovations in global equity volatility can price portfolios formed on carry,
while innovations in a commodity-based measure of speculative activity can price portfolios formed on momentum. Finally, we characterize the relation between the factors and the investment opportunity set.