This paper examines direction-of-change predictability in commodity futures markets using a variety of binary probabilistic techniques. As well as traditional techniques, we apply Variable Length Markov Chain (VLMC) analysis, an innovative technique popularised in computational biology when predicting DNA sequences (Bühlmann & Wyner, 1999). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first application of VLMC in finance. Our results show that both VLMC and technical analysis methods provide strong predictability of the direction-of-change of commodity returns, with annualised mean returns of approximately 8%, substantially higher than the passive long strategy. Our results suggest that a short-term learning effect is present in commodities market which can be exploited using innovative direction-of-change forecasting techniques.
- Dynamic probit model
- Forecasting commodity futures
- Return signal momentum
- Variable length Markov chain