What is driving oil futures prices? Fundamentals versus speculation
AbstractIn this paper we analyse the relative importance of fundamental and speculative demand on oil futures price levels and volatility. In a first step, we present a theoretical heterogeneous agent model of the oil futures market based on noise trading. We use the model to study the interaction between the oil futures price, volatility, developments in underlying fundamentals and the presence of different types of agents. We distinguish between commercial traders (who are physically involved in oil) and non-commercial traders (who are not involved physically with oil). Based on the theoretical model we find that a multiplicity of equilibria can exist. More specifically, on the one hand, if we have high fundamental volatility, high uncertainty about future oil demand, and the oil price deviation from fundamentals or the price trend is small, we will only have commercial traders entering the market. On the other hand, if a large unexpected shock to the oil spot price occurs then all traders will enter the market. In a next step, we empirically test the model by estimating a markov-switching model with time-varying transition probabilities. We estimate the model over the period January 1992 - April 2011. We find that up to 2004, movements in oil futures prices are best explained by underlying fundamentals. However, since 2004 regime switching has become more frequent and the chartist regime has been the most prominent. JEL Classification: D84, Q33, Q41, G15
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1371.
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Postfach 16 03 19, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Phone: +49 69 1344 0
Fax: +49 69 1344 6000
Web page: http://www.ecb.europa.eu/home/html/index.en.html
More information through EDIRC
Postal: Press and Information Division, European Central Bank, Kaiserstrasse 29, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
- Q33 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Resource Booms (Dutch Disease)
- Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply
- G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-09-05 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBA-2011-09-05 (Central Banking)
- NEP-CWA-2011-09-05 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-ENE-2011-09-05 (Energy Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Dees, Stephane & Karadeloglou, Pavlos & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Sanchez, Marcelo, 2007. "Modelling the world oil market: Assessment of a quarterly econometric model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 178-191, January.
- Hansen, B.E., 1991.
"Inference when a Nuisance Parameter is Not Identified Under the Null Hypothesis,"
RCER Working Papers
296, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Hansen, Bruce E, 1996. "Inference When a Nuisance Parameter Is Not Identified under the Null Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 413-30, March.
- M. J. Lombardi & I. Van Robays, 2011.
"Do Financial Investors Destabilize the Oil Price?,"
Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium
11/760, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
- Pindyck, Robert S., 1990.
"Inventories and the short-run dynamics of commodity prices,"
3133-90., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Inventories and the Short-Run Dynamics of Commodity Prices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 141-159, Spring.
- Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Inventories and the Short-Run Dynamics of Commodity Prices," NBER Working Papers 3295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael J. Fleming, 2000. "The benchmark U.S. Treasury market: recent performance and possible alternatives," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 129-145.
- W. Bruce Canoles & Sarahelen R. Thompson & Scott H. Irwin & Virginia G. France & ., 1997.
"An Analysis of the Profiles and Motivations of Habitual Commodity Speculators,"
- Canoles, W. Bruce & Thompson, Sarahelen R. & Irwin, Scott H. & France, Virginia G., 1997. "An Analysis Of The Profiles And Motivations Of Habitual Commodity Speculators," ACE OFOR Reports 14768, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
- Weiner, Robert J., 2002. "Sheep in wolves' clothing? Speculators and price volatility in petroleum futures," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 391-400.
- De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990.
"Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets,"
3725552, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Olivier Jeanne & Andrew K. Rose, 2002.
"Noise Trading And Exchange Rate Regimes,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 537-569, May.
- Jeanne, Olivier & Rose, Andrew K, 1999. "Noise Trading and Exchange Rate Regimes," CEPR Discussion Papers 2142, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Olivier Jeanne & Andrew K Rose, 1999. "Noise trading and exchange rate regimes," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series G99/2, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
- Olivier Jeanne & Andrew K. Rose, 1999. "Noise Trading and Exchange Rate Regimes," NBER Working Papers 7104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Reitz, Stefan & Slopek, Ulf Dieter, 2008.
"Nonlinear oil price dynamics: a tale of heterogeneous speculators?,"
Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies
2008,10, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
- Stefan Reitz & Ulf Slopek, 2009. "Non-Linear Oil Price Dynamics: A Tale of Heterogeneous Speculators?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10, pages 270-283, 08.
- Bacon, Robert W, 1991. "Modelling the Price of Oil," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 17-34, Summer.
- Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
- Chevillon, Guillaume & Rifflart, Christine, 2009.
"Physical market determinants of the price of crude oil and the market premium,"
Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 537-549, July.
- Chevillon, Guillaume & Rifflart, Christine, 2007. "Physical Market Determinants of the Price of Crude Oil and the Market Premium," ESSEC Working Papers DR 07020, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
- Paul Grauwe & Hans Dewachter, 1993. "A chaotic model of the exchange rate: The role of fundamentalists and chartists," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 351-379, December.
- Van Norden, S. & Schaller, H., 1996.
"Speculative Behaviour, Regime-Switching and Stock Market Crashes,"
96-13, Bank of Canada.
- Simon van Norden & Huntley Schaller & ), 1995. "Speculative Behaviour, Regime-Switching, and Stock Market Crashes," Econometrics 9502003, EconWPA.
- Gordon, S.F. & Filardo, A.J., 1993.
"Business Cycle Durations,"
9328, Laval - Recherche en Politique Economique.
- Lukas Menkhoff & Rafael R. Rebitzky & Michael Schröder, 2008.
"Heterogeneity in Exchange Rate Expectations: Evidence on the Chartist-Fundamentalist Approach,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
2502, CESifo Group Munich.
- Menkhoff, Lukas & Rebitzky, Rafael R. & Schröder, Michael, 2009. "Heterogeneity in exchange rate expectations: Evidence on the chartist-fundamentalist approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 241-252, May.
- Charles Engel & Craig S. Hakkio, 1994.
"The distribution of exchange rates in the EMS,"
Research Working Paper
94-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
- Kaufmann, Robert K. & Ullman, Ben, 2009. "Oil prices, speculation, and fundamentals: Interpreting causal relations among spot and futures prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 550-558, July.
- Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1990. "The Noise Trader Approach to Finance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 19-33, Spring.
- 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.
- 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.
- De Grauwe, Paul & Grimaldi, Marianna, 2004. "Exchange Rate Puzzles: A Tale of Switching Attractors," Working Paper Series 163, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
- Ellen, Saskia ter & Zwinkels, Remco C.J., 2010. "Oil price dynamics: A behavioral finance approach with heterogeneous agents," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1427-1434, November.
- Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1985. "Evaluating Natural Resource Investments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 135-57, April.
- René Garcia, 1995.
"Asymptotic Null Distribution of the Likelihood Ratio Test in Markov Switching Models,"
CIRANO Working Papers
- Garcia, Rene, 1998. "Asymptotic Null Distribution of the Likelihood Ratio Test in Markov Switching Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 763-88, August.
- Working, Holbrook, 1960. "Speculation on Hedging Markets," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 02, May.
- Hamilton, James D., 1990. "Analysis of time series subject to changes in regime," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 39-70.
- Andrea Coppola, 2007. "Forecasting Oil Price Movements: Exploiting the Information in the Future Market," CEIS Research Paper 100, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
- David A Reichsfeld & Shaun K. Roache, 2011. "Do Commodity Futures Help Forecast Spot Prices?," IMF Working Papers 11/254, International Monetary Fund.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Official Publications).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.