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Do Firms Sell Forward for Strategic Reasons? An Application to the Wholesale Market for Natural Gas

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  • Remco van Eijkel
  • José Luis Moraga Gonzalez

Abstract

Building on a model of the interaction of risk-averse firms that compete in forward and spot markets, we develop an empirical strategy to test whether oligopolistic firms use forward contracts for strategic motives, for risk-hedging, or for both. An increase in the number of players weakens the incentives to sell forward for risk-hedging reasons. However, if strategic motives are also relevant, then an increase in the number of players strengthens the incentives to sell forward. This difference provides the analyst with a way to identify whether strategic considerations are important at motivating firms to sell forward. Using data from the Dutch wholesale market for natural gas where we observe the number of players, spot and forward sales, and churn rates, we find evidence that strategic reasons play an important role at explaining the observed firms’ (inverse) hedge ratios. In addition, the data lend support to the existence of a learning effect by wholesalers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3270.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3270

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Related research

Keywords: market power; risk-hedging; forward contracts; spot market; over-the-counter trade; market transparency; churn rates;

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  1. Nils-Henrik M. von der Fehr & Petter Vegard Hansen, 2010. "Electricity Retailing in Norway," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-46.
  2. Damme, E.E.C. van & Hurkens, J.P.M., 1997. "Games with imperfectly observable commitment," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-74216, Tilburg University.
  3. Von Der Fehr, N.H.M. & Harbord, D., 1992. "Long-Tern Contracts and Imperfectly Competitive Spot Markets : A Study of U.K. Electricity Industry," Memorandum 14/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Silvester van Koten & Andreas Ortmann, 2012. "Structural versus Behavioral Remedies in the Deregulation of Electricity Markets: An Experimental Investigation Guided by Theory and Policy Concerns," Discussion Papers 2012-36, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.

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