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Forward curves, scarcity and price volatility in oil and natural gas markets

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  • Geman, Hélyette
  • Ohana, Steve
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    Abstract

    The role of inventory in explaining the shape of the forward curve and spot price volatility in commodity markets is central in the theory of storage developed by Kaldor [Kaldor, N. (1939) "Speculation and Economic Stability", The Review of Economic Studies 7, 1-27] and Working [Working, H. (1949) "The theory of the price of storage", American Economic Review, 39, 1254-1262] and has since been documented in a vast body of financial literature, including the reference paper by Fama and French [Fama, E.F. and K.R. French (1987) "Commodity futures prices: some evidence on forecast power, premiums and the theory of storage", Journal of Business 60, 55-73] on metals. The goal of this paper is twofold: i) validate in the case of oil and natural gas the use of the slope of the forward curve as a proxy for inventory (the slope being defined in a way that filters out seasonality); ii) analyze directly for these two major commodities the relationship between inventory and price volatility. In agreement with the theory of storage, we find that: i) the negative correlation between price volatility and inventory is globally significant for crude oil; ii) this negative correlation prevails only during those periods of scarcity when the inventory is below the historical average and increases importantly during the winter periods for natural gas. Our results are illustrated by the analysis of a 15Â year-database of US oil and natural gas prices and inventory.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 (July)
    Pages: 576-585

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:31:y:2009:i:4:p:576-585

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eneco

    Related research

    Keywords: Forward curves Natural gas Crude oil Scarcity Energy price volatility Convenience yield;

    References

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    1. Nguyen, Vu-Nhat & Geman, Hélyette, 2005. "Soybean Inventory and Forward Curve Dynamics," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1937, Paris Dauphine University.
    2. Williams,Jeffrey C. & Wright,Brian D., 1991. "Storage and Commodity Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521326162, October.
    3. Deaton, A. & Laroque, G., 1989. "On The Behavior Of Commodity Prices," Papers 145, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    4. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1987. "Commodity Futures Prices: Some Evidence on Forecast Power, Premiums,and the Theory of Storage," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 55-73, January.
    5. Jones, Charles M & Kaul, Gautam & Lipson, Marc L, 1994. "Transactions, Volume, and Volatility," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(4), pages 631-51.
    6. Lester G. Telser, 1958. "Futures Trading and the Storage of Cotton and Wheat," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 233.
    7. Ng, Victor K & Pirrong, Stephen Craig, 1994. "Fundamentals and Volatility: Storage, Spreads, and the Dynamics of Metals Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(2), pages 203-30, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Palzer, Andreas & Westner, Günther & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "Evaluation of different hedging strategies for commodity price risks of industrial cogeneration plants," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 143-160.
    2. Ohana, Steve, 2010. "Modeling global and local dependence in a pair of commodity forward curves with an application to the US natural gas and heating oil markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 373-388, March.
    3. Du, Xiaodong & Yu, Cindy L. & Hayes, Dermot J., 2011. "Speculation and volatility spillover in the crude oil and agricultural commodity markets: A Bayesian analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 497-503, May.
    4. William Arrata & Alejandro Bernales & Virginie Coudert, 2013. "The Effects of Derivatives on Underlying Financial Markets: Equity Options, Commodity Derivatives and Credit Default Swaps," SUERF 50th Anniversary Volume Chapters, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    5. Symeonidis, Lazaros & Prokopczuk, Marcel & Brooks, Chris & Lazar, Emese, 2012. "Futures basis, inventory and commodity price volatility: An empirical analysis," MPRA Paper 39903, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Kao, Chung-Wei & Wan, Jer-Yuh, 2012. "Price discount, inventories and the distortion of WTI benchmark," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 117-124.
    7. Nomikos, Nikos K. & Pouliasis, Panos K., 2011. "Forecasting petroleum futures markets volatility: The role of regimes and market conditions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 321-337, March.
    8. Jakobsson, Kristofer & Söderbergh, Bengt & Snowden, Simon & Li, Chuan-Zhong & Aleklett, Kjell, 2012. "Oil exploration and perceptions of scarcity: The fallacy of early success," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 1226-1233.
    9. Westner, Günther & Madlener, Reinhard, 2012. "Investment in new power generation under uncertainty: Benefits of CHP vs. condensing plants in a copula-based analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 31-44.
    10. Stronzik, Marcus & Rammerstorfer, Margarethe & Neumann, Anne, 2009. "Does the European natural gas market pass the competitive benchmark of the theory of storage? Indirect tests for three major trading points," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5432-5439, December.
    11. Back, Janis & Prokopczuk, Marcel & Rudolf, Markus, 2013. "Seasonality and the valuation of commodity options," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 273-290.
    12. Julien Chevallier, 2010. "Modelling the convenience yield in carbon prices using daily and realized measures," Working Papers halshs-00463921, HAL.
    13. Geman, Hélyette & Smith, William O., 2013. "Theory of storage, inventory and volatility in the LME base metals," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 18-28.
    14. Stepanek, Christian & Walter, Matthias & Rathgeber, Andreas, 2013. "Is the convenience yield a good indicator of a commodity's supply risk?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 395-405.
    15. Niels C. Thygesen & Robert N. McCauley & Guonan Ma & William R. White & Jakob de Haan & Willem van den End & Jon Frost & Christiaan Pattipeilohy & Mostafa Tabbae & Ernest Gnan & Morten Balling & Paul , 2013. "50 Years of Money and Finance: Lessons and Challenges," SUERF 50th Anniversary Volume - 50 Years of Money and Finance: Lessons and Challenges, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 1 edited by Morten Balling & Ernest Gnan.

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