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Quantifying the speculative component in the real price of oil: The role of global oil inventories

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  • Kilian, Lutz
  • Lee, Thomas K.

Abstract

One of the central questions of policy interest in recent years has been how many dollars of the inflation-adjusted price of oil must be attributed to speculative demand for oil stocks at each point in time. We develop statistical tools that allow us to address this question, and we use these tools to explore how the use of two alternative proxies for global crude oil inventories affects the empirical evidence for speculation. Notwithstanding some differences, overall these inventory proxies yield similar results. While there is evidence of speculative demand raising the price in mid-2008 by between 5 and 14 dollars, depending on the inventory specification, there is no evidence of speculative demand pressures between early 2003 and early 2008. As a result, current policy efforts aimed at tightening the regulation of oil derivatives markets cannot be expected to lower the real price of oil in the physical market. We also provide evidence that the Libyan crisis in 2011 shifted expectations in oil markets, resulting in a price increase of between 3 and 13 dollars, depending on the inventory specification. With regard to tensions with Iran in 2012, the implied price premium ranges from 0 to 9 dollars.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Money and Finance.

Volume (Year): 42 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 71-87

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:42:y:2014:i:c:p:71-87

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30443

Related research

Keywords: Oil price; Speculation; Inventories; Expectations; Global commodity markets;

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References

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  1. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2006. "Does Information Help Recovering Structural Shocks from Past Observations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5725, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Deren Unalmis & Ibrahim Unalmis & Derya Filiz Unsal, 2012. "On Oil Price Shocks: The Role of Storage," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 60(4), pages 505-532, December.
  3. Kilian, Lutz, 2005. "Exogenous Oil Supply Shocks: How Big Are They and How Much do they Matter for the US Economy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5131, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. James D. Hamilton, 2010. "Causes and consequences of the oil shock of 2007–08," CQER Working Paper 2009-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  5. Kilian, Lutz, 2006. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5994, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "Why Agnostic Sign Restrictions Are Not Enough: Understanding the Dynamics of Oil Market VAR Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 7471, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Bahattin Buyuksahin & Jeffrey H. Harris, 2011. "Do Speculators Drive Crude Oil Futures Prices?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 167-202.
  8. Irwin, Scott H. & Sanders, Dwight R., 2012. "Testing the Masters Hypothesis in commodity futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 256-269.
  9. David M Arseneau & Sylvain Leduc, 2013. "Commodity Price Movements in a General Equilibrium Model of Storage," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 61(1), pages 199-224, April.
  10. Christiane Baumeister & Gert Peersman, 2011. "The Role of Time-Varying Price Elasticities in Accounting for Volatility Changes in the Crude Oil Market," Working Papers 11-28, Bank of Canada.
  11. Lutz Kilian & Bruce Hicks, 2013. "Did Unexpectedly Strong Economic Growth Cause the Oil Price Shock of 2003–2008?," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(5), pages 385-394, 08.
  12. Eyal Dvir & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Three Epochs of Oil," NBER Working Papers 14927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Alquist, Ron & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "What Do We Learn from the Price of Crude Oil Futures?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. James D. Hamilton & Jing Cynthia Wu, 2013. "Risk Premia in Crude Oil Futures Prices," NBER Working Papers 19056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. repec:taf:jnlbes:v:30:y:2012:i:2:p:326-336 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ron Alquist & Olivier Coibion, 2014. "Commodity-Price Comovement and Global Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 20003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stuermer, Martin, 2013. "150 Years of Boom and Bust: What Drives Mineral Commodity Prices?," MPRA Paper 51859, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Benjamin Wong, 2013. "Inflation Dynamics and The Role of Oil Shocks: How Different Were the 1970s?," CAMA Working Papers 2013-59, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  4. Dvir, Eyal & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2014. "Demand effects and speculation in oil markets: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 113-128.
  5. Ron Alquist & Olivier Coibion, 2013. "The Comovement in Commodity Prices," IMF Working Papers 13/140, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Chiou-Wei, Song-Zan & Linn, Scott C. & Zhu, Zhen, 2014. "The response of U.S. natural gas futures and spot prices to storage change surprises: Fundamental information and the effect of escalating physical gas production," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 156-173.

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