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The 2006–2008 oil bubble: Evidence of speculation, and prediction

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  • Sornette, Didier
  • Woodard, Ryan
  • Zhou, Wei-Xing

Abstract

We present an analysis of oil prices in USD and in other major currencies that diagnoses unsustainable faster-than-exponential behavior. This supports the hypothesis that the recent oil price run-up was amplified by speculative behavior of the type found during a bubble-like expansion. We also attempt to unravel the information hidden in the oil supply-demand data reported by two leading agencies, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). We suggest that the found increasing discrepancy between the EIA and IEA figures provides a measure of the estimation errors. Rather than a clear transition to a supply restricted regime, we interpret the discrepancy between the IEA and EIA as a signature of uncertainty, and there is no better fuel than uncertainty to promote speculation! Our post-crash analysis confirms that the oil peak in July 2008 occurred within the expected 80% confidence interval predicted with data available in our pre-crash analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Sornette, Didier & Woodard, Ryan & Zhou, Wei-Xing, 2009. "The 2006–2008 oil bubble: Evidence of speculation, and prediction," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 388(8), pages 1571-1576.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:388:y:2009:i:8:p:1571-1576 DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2009.01.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. D. Sornette & A. Johansen, 2001. "Significance of log-periodic precursors to financial crashes," Papers cond-mat/0106520, arXiv.org.
    2. Ide, Kayo & Sornette, Didier, 2002. "Oscillatory finite-time singularities in finance, population and rupture," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 307(1), pages 63-106.
    3. Sornette, Didier & Zhou, Wei-Xing, 2006. "Predictability of large future changes in major financial indices," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 153-168.
    4. D. Sornette & A. Johansen, 2001. "Significance of log-periodic precursors to financial crashes," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(4), pages 452-471.
    5. Sornette, Didier & Johansen, Anders, 1997. "Large financial crashes," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 245(3), pages 411-422.
    6. Zhou, Wei-Xing & Sornette, Didier, 2003. "Renormalization group analysis of the 2000–2002 anti-bubble in the US S&P500 index: explanation of the hierarchy of five crashes and prediction," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 330(3), pages 584-604.
    7. W. -X. Zhou & D. Sornette, 2003. "Renormalization Group Analysis of the 2000-2002 anti-bubble in the US S&P 500 index: Explanation of the hierarchy of 5 crashes and Prediction," Papers physics/0301023, arXiv.org, revised Aug 2003.
    8. Anders Johansen & Didier Sornette, 1999. "Critical Crashes," Papers cond-mat/9901035, arXiv.org.
    9. A. Johansen & D. Sornette, 1999. "Financial ``Anti-Bubbles'': Log-Periodicity in Gold and Nikkei collapses," Papers cond-mat/9901268, arXiv.org.
    10. Sornette, Didier & Johansen, Anders, 1998. "A hierarchical model of financial crashes," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 261(3), pages 581-598.
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