What Can Onions Teach Us About Oil Speculators?Mark Perryupdated Apr 22, 2012TweetAt GET.com we maintain complete editorial integrity on our content & provide transparent & unbiased information. Companies don't pay us to include their products although we receive a compensation when you successfully apply to products from our partners. See how we make money here.At GET.com we maintain complete editorial integrity.Onions have no futures market, yet their price volatility makes the swings in oil prices look tame.Fortune Magazine (June 30, 2008) -- "Before the government starts scrutinizing the role that speculators may have played in driving up fuel and food prices, investigators may want to take a look at price swings in a commodity not in today's news: onions. The bulbous root is the only commodity for which futures trading is banned. Back in 1958, onion growers convinced themselves that futures traders were responsible for falling onion prices, so they lobbied an up-and-coming Michigan Congressman named Gerald Ford to push through a law banning all futures trading in onions. The law still stands. And yet even with no traders to blame, the volatility in onion prices makes the swings in oil and corn look tame, reinforcing academics' belief that futures trading diminishes extreme price swings."MP: The chart above shows the monthly percent changes in spot prices for crude oil and onions between January 2000 and March 2012. During that period, onion prices have been about 7 times more volatile than oil prices, based on the differences in: a) mean monthly price changes (7.7% for onions vs. 1.3% for oil), and b) the standard deviations of monthly price changes (59.4% for onions vs. 8.6% for oil). Editorial Disclosure: Any personal views and opinions expressed by the author in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of GET.com. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.