From his desk alongside the Chicage Mercantile Exchange trading floor, Jim Brooks is seeing more ill tempered cattle and hog traders nowadays as they cope with fast moving markets that has lost many of them money.
"Tempers are a little shorter and emotions are more frantic. You definitely feel that," said Brooks, who oversees floor operations for R.J. O'Brien Futures. "This market is starting to take a toll on some people."
That toll has been caused by the whipsaw action in commodities, which had traders struggling to get on board when commodity prices shot higher this summer and later rushing to get out when prices tumbled.
Many lost money and others are still losing more. This has led to traders getting out or scaling down their trading practices. The larger players, primarily investment funds, may not be coming back.
"We drove a lot of people out of the market because they could not afford to play," Paul Haugens, vice president of the Chicago brokerage Newedge USA, said of this year's surge in Chicago Board of Trade grains market. "Now we are not getting them back. They are beat up."
This exodus has been evident in the sharp decline in the open interest, a measure of traders using the markets, on the exchanges across the board since the summer.