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Asset arbitrage and the price of oil

  • Arora, Vipin
  • Tyers, Rod

It is commonly understood that macroeconomic shocks influence commodity prices and that one channel for this is the link between interest rates, expected future asset returns and stock-holding. In this paper the link is extended to the petroleum market with the recognition that recorded stocks of oil comprise a small share of annual demand and that the parallel with storable commodities is the decision to produce the oil in the first place, as opposed to holding it in the ground as reserve. Oil reserves are then a key asset in producing countries, which is arbitraged against financial assets. Thus, when the yield on financial assets falls, retaining oil reserves becomes more attractive to producing countries, which then have less incentive to accommodate demand rises, and so the oil price rises. This perspective on oil pricing is modeled in a dynamic multi-region general equilibrium framework in which regional households manage portfolios of assets that include oil reserves. When the model is calibrated to match observed data over two decades, simulation results indicate that asset arbitrage made a large contribution to the high pre-GFC oil price.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Modelling.

Volume (Year): 29 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 142-150

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:29:y:2012:i:2:p:142-150
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30411

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  1. Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "The Economic Effects of Energy Price Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 6559, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2006. "The Effect of Monetary Policy on Real Commodity Prices," NBER Working Papers 12713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Kilian, Lutz & Rebucci, Alessandro & Spatafora, Nikola, 2007. "Oil Shocks and External Balances," CEPR Discussion Papers 6303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Peter B. Dixon & Maureen T. Rimmer, 2009. "Forecasting with a CGE model: does it work?," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers g-197, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
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  8. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2004. "Oil and the Macroeconomy Since the 1970s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 115-134, Fall.
  9. Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2008. "Global Current Account Imbalances: American Fiscal Policy versus East Asian Savings," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 479-498, 08.
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