Computing Global Strategies for Multi-Market Commodity Trading

Milos Hauskrecht, Luis Ortiz, Ioannis Tsochantaridis, and Eli Upfal

The focus of this work is the computation of efficient strategies for commodity trading in a multi-market environment. In today’s global economy commodities are often bought in one location and then sold (right away, or after some storage period) in different markets. Thus, a trading decision in one location must be based on expectations about future price curves in all other relevant markets, and on current and future storage and transportation costs. Investors try to compute a strategy that maximizes expected return, usually with some limitations on assumed risk. With standard stochastic assumptions on commodity price uctuations, computing an optimal strategy can be modeled as a Markov decision process (MDP). However, in general such a formulation does not lead to efficient algorithms. In this work we propose a model for representing the multi-market trading problem and show how to obtain efficient structured algorithms for computing optimal strategies for a number of commonly used trading objective functions (Expected NPV, Mean-Variance, and Value at Risk).

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