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The effect of the financial sector on the evolution of oil prices: Analysis of the contribution of the futures market to the price discovery process in the WTI spot market


  • Silvério, Renan
  • Szklo, Alexandre


The aim of this article is to empirically measure the contribution of the futures market to the price discovery process in the spot market for benchmark crude oils, specifically that for West Texas Intermediate (WTI). For this purpose, we test the hypothesis that the recent evolution of the financial markets has affected the future oil market so as to increase its contribution to the price discovery process of the spot market. We modeled the relation between WTI spot and future prices as a cointegration relation. By using the Kalman filter technique, it was possible to obtain a time-varying measure of the contribution of future markets to the price discovery mechanism. The results show that in the case of WTI, the contribution of the futures market has been increasing, especially between 2003 and 2008 and then again after the start of 2009, evidencing the growing importance of factors particular to the financial markets in determining oil prices in recent years. During 2009, the spot prices adjusted to agents' future expectations rather than to the current supply and demand conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Silvério, Renan & Szklo, Alexandre, 2012. "The effect of the financial sector on the evolution of oil prices: Analysis of the contribution of the futures market to the price discovery process in the WTI spot market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1799-1808.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:34:y:2012:i:6:p:1799-1808 DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2012.07.014

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Narayan, Paresh Kumar & Phan, Dinh Hoang Bach & Thuraisamy, Kannan & Westerlund, Joakim, 2016. "Price discovery and asset pricing," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 224-235.
    2. Bohl, Martin T. & Stephan, Patrick M., 2013. "Does Futures Speculation Destabilize Spot Prices? New Evidence for Commodity Markets," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 45(04), November.
    3. Shrestha, Keshab, 2014. "Price discovery in energy markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 229-233.
    4. Alessandro Girardi & Claudio Impenna, 2013. "Price discovery in the Italian sovereign bonds market: the role of order flow," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 906, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Goldemberg, José & Schaeffer, Roberto & Szklo, Alexandre & Lucchesi, Rodrigo, 2014. "Oil and natural gas prospects in South America: Can the petroleum industry pave the way for renewables in Brazil?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 58-70.
    6. Kolodziej, Marek & Kaufmann, Robert K., 2013. "The role of trader positions in spot and futures prices for WTI," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 176-182.
    7. repec:eee:eneeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:54-68 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hosseini, Seyed Hossein & Shakouri G., Hamed, 2016. "A study on the future of unconventional oil development under different oil price scenarios: A system dynamics approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 64-74.
    9. Ji, Qiang & Fan, Ying, 2016. "Evolution of the world crude oil market integration: A graph theory analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 90-100.
    10. Zhang, Yue-Jun & Wang, Zi-Yi, 2013. "Investigating the price discovery and risk transfer functions in the crude oil and gasoline futures markets: Some empirical evidence," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 220-228.

    More about this item


    Oil prices; WTI; Futures markets; Price discovery;

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy


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