IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aen/journl/ej34-3-02.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Role of Financial Speculation in Driving the Price of Crude Oil

Author

Listed:
  • Ron Alquist and Olivier Gervais

Abstract

Over the past 10 years, financial firms have increased the size of their positions in the oil futures market. At the same time, oil prices have increased dramatically. The conjunction of these developments has led some observers to argue that financial speculation caused the run-up in oil prices. Yet several arguments cast doubt on the validity of this claim. First, although the stock of open futures contracts is many times larger than the flow of oil consumption in the United States, comparing these two statistics is misleading. Stocks are not measured with respect to a specific unit of time but flows are, so the two are not directly comparable. Second, empirical analysis shows that changes in financial firms’ positions do not predict oil-price changes, but that oil-price changes predict changes in positions. Third, the evidence indicates that financial firms’ positions did not cause the market to expect persistent price increases during 2007/08. Other explanations for the increase in oil prices include macroeconomic fundamentals, such as interest rates and increased demand from emerging Asia. Of these two explanations, the one that seems most consistent with the facts explains oil-price fluctuations in terms of large and persistent demand shocks related to growth in global real activity in the presence of supply constraints.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Ron Alquist and Olivier Gervais, 2013. "The Role of Financial Speculation in Driving the Price of Crude Oil," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:ej34-3-02
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.iaee.org/en/publications/ejarticle.aspx?id=2537
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to IAEE members and subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jeffrey A Frankel & Andrew K Rose, 2010. "Determinants of Agricultural and Mineral Commodity Prices," RBA Annual Conference Volume (Discontinued), in: Renée Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent (ed.),Inflation in an Era of Relative Price Shocks, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    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. Ben S. Bernanke & Kenneth S. Rogoff (ed.), 2002. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026252323x, February.
    4. James D. Hamilton, 2009. "Causes and Consequences of the Oil Shock of 2007-08," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(1 (Spring), pages 215-283.
    5. A. Anzuini & M. J. Lombardi & P. Pagano, 2013. "The Impact of Monetary Policy Shocks on Commodity Prices," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 9(3), pages 125-150, September.
    6. 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.
    7. Brunetti, Celso & Büyükşahin, Bahattin & Harris, Jeffrey H., 2016. "Speculators, Prices, and Market Volatility," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(5), pages 1545-1574, October.
    8. Dwight R. Sanders & Scott H. Irwin & Robert P. Merrin, 2010. "The Adequacy of Speculation in Agricultural Futures Markets: Too Much of a Good Thing?," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 32(1), pages 77-94.
    9. 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.
    10. C. Baumeister & G. Peersman & -, 2010. "Sources of the Volatility Puzzle in the Crude Oil Market," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 10/634, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    11. Working, Holbrook, 1960. "Speculation on Hedging Markets," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, vol. 1(2), pages 1-36.
    12. Renee Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent, 2010. "Inflation in an Era of Relative Pirce Shocks," CAMA Working Papers 2010-38, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    13. James L. Smith, 2009. "World Oil: Market or Mayhem?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 145-164, Summer.
    14. Harold Hotelling, 1931. "The Economics of Exhaustible Resources," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39, pages 137-137.
    15. Apostolos Serletis, 2012. "International Evidence on Sectoral Interfuel Substitution," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Interfuel Substitution, chapter 3, pages 37-65, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    16. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2002. "Do We Really Know That Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 137-198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Lutz Kilian & Clara Vega, 2011. "Do Energy Prices Respond to U.S. Macroeconomic News? A Test of the Hypothesis of Predetermined Energy Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 660-671, May.
    18. James D. Hamilton, 2009. "Understanding Crude Oil Prices," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 179-206.
    19. Olivier Gervais & Ilan Kolet & René Lalonde, 2010. "A Larger Slice of a Growing Pie: the Role of Emerging Asia in Forecasting Commodity Prices," Money Affairs, CEMLA, vol. 0(1), pages 75-95, January-J.
    20. Olivier Gervais & Ilan Kolet, 2009. "The Outlook for the Global Supply of Oil: Running on Faith?," Discussion Papers 09-9, Bank of Canada.
    21. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A., 2000. "Measuring the market impact of hedge funds," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-36, May.
    22. Scott H. Irwin & Dwight R. Sanders, 2010. "The Impact of Index and Swap Funds on Commodity Futures Markets: Preliminary Results," OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers 27, OECD Publishing.
    23. Lutz Kilian & Bruce Hicks, 2013. "Did Unexpectedly Strong Economic Growth Cause the Oil Price Shock of 2003–2008?," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(5), pages 385-394, August.
    24. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-438, July.
    25. 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.
    26. 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.
    27. Elif Arbatli & Garima Vasishtha, 2012. "Growth in Emerging Market Economies and the Commodity Boom of 2003–2008: Evidence from Growth Forecast Revisions," Staff Working Papers 12-8, Bank of Canada.
    28. Anne E. Peck, 1985. "Futures Markets: Their Economic Role," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 968570, September.
    29. Sorrell, Steve & Speirs, Jamie & Bentley, Roger & Brandt, Adam & Miller, Richard, 2010. "Global oil depletion: A review of the evidence," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5290-5295, September.
    30. John C.B. Cooper, 2003. "Price elasticity of demand for crude oil: estimates for 23 countries," OPEC Energy Review, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, vol. 27(1), pages 1-8, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Morana, Claudio, 2013. "Oil price dynamics, macro-finance interactions and the role of financial speculation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 206-226.
    2. Lang, Korbinian & Auer, Benjamin R., 2020. "The economic and financial properties of crude oil: A review," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).
    3. 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.
    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. Alquist, Ron & Kilian, Lutz & Vigfusson, Robert J., 2013. "Forecasting the Price of Oil," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, in: G. Elliott & C. Granger & A. Timmermann (ed.), Handbook of Economic Forecasting, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 427-507, Elsevier.
    6. Ing-Haw Cheng & Wei Xiong, 2014. "Financialization of Commodity Markets," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 419-441, December.
    7. Ratti, Ronald A. & Vespignani, Joaquin L., 2013. "Liquidity and crude oil prices: China's influence over 1996–2011," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 517-525.
    8. Christiane Baumeister & Gert Peersman, 2013. "Time-Varying Effects of Oil Supply Shocks on the US Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 1-28, October.
    9. 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.
    10. Balcilar, Mehmet & Ozdemir, Zeynel Abidin & Yetkiner, Hakan, 2014. "Are there really bubbles in oil prices?," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 416(C), pages 631-638.
    11. Ratti, Ronald A. & Vespignani, Joaquin L., 2013. "Crude oil prices and liquidity, the BRIC and G3 countries," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 28-38.
    12. Joëts, Marc & Mignon, Valérie & Razafindrabe, Tovonony, 2017. "Does the volatility of commodity prices reflect macroeconomic uncertainty?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 313-326.
    13. A. Anzuini & M. J. Lombardi & P. Pagano, 2013. "The Impact of Monetary Policy Shocks on Commodity Prices," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 9(3), pages 125-150, September.
    14. Liu, Li & Wang, Yudong & Wu, Chongfeng & Wu, Wenfeng, 2016. "Disentangling the determinants of real oil prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 363-373.
    15. Güntner, Jochen H.F., 2014. "How do oil producers respond to oil demand shocks?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-13.
    16. Kilian, Lutz & Zhou, Xiaoqing, 2022. "Oil prices, exchange rates and interest rates," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    17. Claudio Morana, 2013. "The Oil Price-Macroeconomy Relationship Since the Mid-1980s: A Global Perspective," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    18. Yannick Le Pen & Benoît Sévi, 2013. "Futures Trading and the Excess Comovement of Commodity Prices," Working Papers halshs-00793724, HAL.
    19. Nathan Sussman & Osnat Zohar, 2016. "Has Inflation Targeting Become Less Credible? Oil Prices, Global Aggregate Demand and Inflation Expectations during the Global Financial Crisis," Bank of Israel Working Papers 2016.13, Bank of Israel.
    20. Śmiech, Sławomir & Papież, Monika & Dąbrowski, Marek A., 2015. "Does the euro area macroeconomy affect global commodity prices? Evidence from a SVAR approach," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 485-503.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General

    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:aen:journl:ej34-3-02. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/iaeeeea.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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: David Williams (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/iaeeeea.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.