Price impact of block trades: The curious case of downstairs trading in the EU emissions futures market

Gbenga Ibikunle, Andros Gregoriou, Naresh Pandit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Using high-frequency data from the European Climate Exchange (ECX), we examine the determinants of price impact of €21 billion worth of block trades during 2008–2011 in the European carbon market. We find that wider bid-ask spreads and volatility are characterised by a smaller price impact. Larger levels of price impact are more likely to occur during the middle of the trading day, specifically the four-hour period between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., than during the first or final hours. Purchase block trades induce a relatively smaller price impact on price run-up, while sell block trades exhibit a larger price impact on price run-up. We conclude that block trades on the ECX induce less price impact than in equity or conventional futures markets, and that a significant proportion of the effects contradict findings on block trades in those markets; thus, we provide the first evidence of the curious bent to block trading in the European Union emissions trading scheme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-142
Number of pages23
JournalThe European Journal of Finance
Issue number2
Early online date21 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • carbon futures
  • block trades
  • price impact
  • high-frequency trades
  • European Union emissions

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