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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

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9297.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9297

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

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References

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  1. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian, 2014. "Real-Time Analysis of Oil Price Risks Using Forecast Scenarios," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 62(1), pages 119-145, April.
  2. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2006. "Does information help recovering structural shocks from past observations?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 455-465, 04-05.
  3. Christiane Baumeister & Gert Peersman, 2013. "The Role Of Time‐Varying Price Elasticities In Accounting For Volatility Changes In The Crude Oil Market," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 1087-1109, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Ron Alquist & Lutz Kilian, 2010. "What do we learn from the price of crude oil futures?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 539-573.
  6. James D. Hamilton & Jing Cynthia Wu, 2013. "Risk Premia in Crude Oil Futures Prices," NBER Working Papers 19056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James D. Hamilton, 2010. "Causes and consequences of the oil shock of 2007–08," CQER Working Paper 2009-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  8. Baumeister, Christiane & Kilian, Lutz, 2011. "Real-Time Forecasts of the Real Price of Oil," CEPR Discussion Papers 8414, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Irwin, Scott H. & Sanders, Dwight R., 2012. "Testing the Masters Hypothesis in commodity futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 256-269.
  10. Hicks, Bruce & Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "Did Unexpectedly Strong Economic Growth Cause the Oil Price Shock of 2003-2008?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7265, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. Lutz Kilian, 2009. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1053-69, June.
  13. repec:taf:jnlbes:v:30:y:2012:i:2:p:326-336 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Eyal Dvir & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Three Epochs of Oil," NBER Working Papers 14927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Stuermer, Martin, 2013. "150 Years of Boom and Bust: What Drives Mineral Commodity Prices?," MPRA Paper 51859, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Kilian, Lutz & Vigfusson, Robert J., 2014. "The role of oil price shocks in causing U.S. recessions," CFS Working Paper Series 460, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  4. Ron Alquist & Olivier Coibion, 2014. "Commodity-Price Comovement and Global Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 20003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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.
  7. 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.

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