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Real-Time Forecasts of the Real Price of Oil

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  • Christiane Baumeister
  • Lutz Kilian

Abstract

We construct a monthly real-time dataset consisting of vintages for 1991.1--2010.12 that is suitable for generating forecasts of the real price of oil from a variety of models. We document that revisions of the data typically represent news, and we introduce backcasting and nowcasting techniques to fill gaps in the real-time data. We show that real-time forecasts of the real price of oil can be more accurate than the no-change forecast at horizons up to 1 year. In some cases, real-time mean squared prediction error (MSPE) reductions may be as high as 25% 1 month ahead and 24% 3 months ahead. This result is in striking contrast to related results in the literature for asset prices. In particular, recursive vector autoregressive (VAR) forecasts based on global oil market variables tend to have lower MSPE at short horizons than forecasts based on oil futures prices, forecasts based on autoregressive (AR) and autoregressive moving average (ARMA) models, and the no-change forecast. In addition, these VAR models have consistently higher directional accuracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian, 2011. "Real-Time Forecasts of the Real Price of Oil," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 326-336, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jnlbes:v:30:y:2011:i:2:p:326-336
    DOI: 10.1080/07350015.2011.648859
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    1. Evan F. Koenig & Sheila Dolmas & Jeremy Piger, 2003. "The Use and Abuse of Real-Time Data in Economic Forecasting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 618-628, August.
    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.
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    4. 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.
    5. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian, 2014. "Real-Time Analysis of Oil Price Risks Using Forecast Scenarios," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 62(1), pages 119-145, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy

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