IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejmac/v8y2016i2p85-110.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Simple Economics of Commodity Price Speculation

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher R. Knittel
  • Robert S. Pindyck

Abstract

The price of crude oil never exceeded $40 per barrel until mid-2004. By July 2008 it peaked at $145 and by late 2008 it fell to $30 before increasing to $110 in 2011. Are speculators partly to blame for these price changes? Using a simple model of supply and demand in the cash and storage markets, we determine whether speculation is consistent with data on production, inventory changes, and convenience yields. We focus on crude oil, but our approach can be applied to other commodities. We show speculation had little, if any, effect on oil prices. (JEL G13, G18, G23, G31, Q35, Q38)

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher R. Knittel & Robert S. Pindyck, 2016. "The Simple Economics of Commodity Price Speculation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 85-110, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:85-110
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20140033
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mac.20140033
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej/mac/data/0802/2014-0033_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej/mac/ds/0802/2014-0033_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2008. "Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 113-134.
    4. Bassam Fattouh, Lutz Kilian, and Lavan Mahadeva, 2013. "The Role of Speculation in Oil Markets: What Have We Learned So Far?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    5. Lutz Kilian & Daniel P. Murphy, 2014. "The Role Of Inventories And Speculative Trading In The Global Market For Crude Oil," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 454-478, April.
    6. Luciana Juvenal & Ivan Petrella, 2015. "Speculation in the Oil Market," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(4), pages 621-649, June.
    7. 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 1053-1069, June.
    8. Dahl, Carol & Duggan, Thomas E., 1996. "U.S. energy product supply elasticities: A survey and application to the U.S. oil market," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 243-263, October.
    9. James L. Smith, 2009. "World Oil: Market or Mayhem?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 145-164, Summer.
    10. Ryan Kellogg, 2014. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Investment: Evidence from Texas Oil Drilling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1698-1734, June.
    11. James L. Paddock & Daniel R. Siegel & James L. Smith, 1988. "Option Valuation of Claims on Real Assets: The Case of Offshore Petroleum Leases," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 479-508.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • Q35 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Hydrocarbon Resources
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:85-110. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.