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Speculation, Futures Prices, and the U.S. Real Price of Crude Oil

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  • Stevans, Lonnie
  • Sessions, David

Abstract

In this study, we examine the relationship between the U.S. real price of oil and factors that affect its movement over time: futures prices, the value of the dollar, exploration, demand, and supply. All of these variables are treated as jointly endogenous and a reduced form vector error correction model, testing for cointegration amongst the variables, is estimated. We find that for model specifications with short-term futures contracts, supply does indeed dominate price movements in the crude oil market. However, for specifications including longer-term contracts that are inherently more speculative, the real price of oil appears to be determined predominantly by the futures price. Moreover, there is empirical evidence of hoarding in the crude oil market: both oil stocks/inventories and futures prices are found to be positively cointegrated/correlated with each other. From a policy perspective, the results of this analysis indicate that if regulators really wanted to limit speculation in the oil market, it should keep the shorter-term futures contracts and eliminate the more speculative six months futures contracts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 9456.

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Date of creation: 02 Jul 2008
Date of revision: 04 Jul 2008
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:9456

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Keywords: futures prices; cointegration; speculation; hoarding;

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References

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  1. Graham Elliott & Thomas J. Rothenberg & James H. Stock, 1992. "Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root," NBER Technical Working Papers 0130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
  3. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Andreas Breitenfellner & Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, 2008. "Crude Oil Prices and the USD/EUR Exchange Rate," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 4.
  2. Orlowski, Lucjan T., 2008. "Stages of the 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis Is There a Wandering Asset-Price Bubble?," Economics Discussion Papers 2008-43, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  3. Claudio Dicembrino & Pasquale Lucio Scandizzo, 2012. "The Fundamental and Speculative Components of the Oil Spot Price: A Real Option Value Approach," CEIS Research Paper 229, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 18 Apr 2012.
  4. Lucjan T. Orlowski, 2008. "Stages of the Ongoing Global Financial Crisis: Is There a Wandering Asset Bubble?," IWH Discussion Papers 11, Halle Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Lucjan T. Orlowski, 2008. "Stages of the Ongoing Global Financial Crisis: Is There a Wandering Asset-Price Bubble?," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0372, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.

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