Price Mean Reversion, Seasonality, and Options Markets

Chad Hart, Iowa State University
Sergio H. Lence, Iowa State University
Dermot J. Hayes, Iowa State University
Na Jin, Discover Financial Servies

This article is published as Hart, Chad E., Sergio H. Lence, Dermot J. Hayes, and Na Jin. "Price mean reversion, seasonality, and options markets." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 98, no. 3 (2015): 707-725. doi: Posted with permission.


Options on agricultural commodities with maturities exceeding one year seldom trade. One possible reason to explain this lack of trading is that we do not have an accurate option pricing model for products where mean reversion in spot-price levels can be expected. Standard option pricing models assume proportionality between price variance and time to maturity. This proportionality is not a valid assumption for commodities whose supply response brings prices back to production costs. The model proposed here incorporates mean reversion in spot-price levels and includes a correction for seasonality. Mean reversion and seasonality are both observed in the soybean market. The empirical analysis lends strong support to the model.