Microstructure Noise and Realized Variance in the Live Cattle Futures Market

Anabelle Couleau, Teresa Serra, Philip Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, U.S. live cattle futures prices have experienced high levels of intraday price variance, which have raised concerns about the possible impact of microstructure noise from high frequency trading on market instability. This article identifies both the magnitude and the duration of the bias caused by market microstructure noise in measuring efficient price variance in the live cattle futures market from 2011 to 2016, with emphasis on price variance behavior in recent years. Market microstructure noise increases observed price variance, but its effects are not large and do not last more than three to four minutes in response to changing information. Intraday price variance has increased in recent years, but the findings provide little evidence that high frequency traders were responsible for economically meaningful market noise. Informatively, steps taken by the CME and cattle producers to mitigate noise have not been fruitful to date, and signal that the magnitude of noise will likely vary with the magnitude of changes in demand and cyclical supply.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-578
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Futures
  • Integrated variance
  • Live cattle
  • Microstructure noise
  • Realized variance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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