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Do firms sell forward for strategic reasons? An application to the wholesale market for natural gas

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  • van Eijkel, Remco
  • Kuper, Gerard H.
  • Moraga-González, José L.

Abstract

Cournot models of oligopolistic interaction in forward and spot markets have shown that firms may sell forward for risk-hedging reasons only, or for both risk-hedging and strategic considerations. Using data from the Dutch wholesale market for natural gas where we observe the number of players, spot and forward sales, churn rates and prices, this paper presents evidence that strategic reasons play an important role at explaining the observed firms’ hedging activity. Our test for strategic behavior is based on the theoretical relationship between the number of sellers and the incentives to sell forward: if risk-hedging is the only motive behind firms’ decision to sell forward, then hedging activity ought to decrease in the number of firms; otherwise, if strategic reasons are relevant, then firms incentives to sell forward should increase in the number of competitors.

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  • van Eijkel, Remco & Kuper, Gerard H. & Moraga-González, José L., 2016. "Do firms sell forward for strategic reasons? An application to the wholesale market for natural gas," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1-35.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:49:y:2016:i:c:p:1-35
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijindorg.2016.07.001
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    2. David P. Brown & Andrew Eckert, 2017. "Electricity market mergers with endogenous forward contracting," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 269-310, June.
    3. Moritz Bohland & Sebastian Schwenen, 2020. "Technology Policy and Market Structure: Evidence from the Power Sector," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1856, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. David P. Brown & Andrew Eckert, 2018. "Analyzing the Impact of Electricity Market Structure Changes and Mergers: The Importance of Forward Commitments," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 52(1), pages 101-137, February.
    5. Argenton, Cédric & Willems, Bert, 2015. "Exclusion through speculation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-9.
    6. Linda Cohen & Amihai Glazer, 2014. "Forward Markets to Spur Innovation," Working Papers 131405, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    7. Van Moer, Geert, 2019. "Electricity market competition when forward contracts are pairwise efficient," MPRA Paper 96660, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Brown, David P. & Sappington, David E.M., 2020. "Load-Following Forward Contracts," Working Papers 2020-14, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 31 Dec 2021.
    9. Chloé Le Coq & Sebastian Schwenen, 2020. "Financial contracts as coordination device," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 241-259, April.
    10. Aichele, Markus, 2014. "Strategic investment, forward markets and competition," University of Tübingen Working Papers in Business and Economics 76, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, School of Business and Economics.
    11. Spindler, Christian & Woll, Oliver & Schober, Dominik, 2018. "Sharing is not caring: Backward integration of consumers," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-006, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Forward contracts; Risk-hedging; Strategic contracting; Market power; Spot market; Churn rates;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities

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