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The Role Of Inventories And Speculative Trading In The Global Market For Crude Oil

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  • Lutz Kilian
  • Daniel P. Murphy

Abstract

SUMMARY We develop a structural model of the global market for crude oil that for the first time explicitly allows for shocks to the speculative demand for oil as well as shocks to flow demand and flow supply. The speculative component of the real price of oil is identified with the help of data on oil inventories. Our estimates rule out explanations of the 2003–2008 oil price surge based on unexpectedly diminishing oil supplies and based on speculative trading. Instead, this surge was caused by unexpected increases in world oil consumption driven by the global business cycle. There is evidence, however, that speculative demand shifts played an important role during earlier oil price shock episodes including 1979, 1986 and 1990. Our analysis implies that additional regulation of oil markets would not have prevented the 2003–2008 oil price surge. We also show that, even after accounting for the role of inventories in smoothing oil consumption, our estimate of the short‐run price elasticity of oil demand is much higher than traditional estimates from dynamic models that do not account for for the endogeneity of the price of oil. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Lutz Kilian & Daniel P. Murphy, 2014. "The Role Of Inventories And Speculative Trading In The Global Market For Crude Oil," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 454-478, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:japmet:v:29:y:2014:i:3:p:454-478
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Eyal Dvir & Ken Rogoff, 2009. "The Three Epochs of Oil," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 706, Boston College Department of Economics.
    3. Renee Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent, 2010. "Inflation in an Era of Relative Pirce Shocks," CAMA Working Papers 2010-38, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    4. Lutz Kilian, 2010. "Explaining Fluctuations in Gasoline Prices: A Joint Model of the Global Crude Oil Market and the U.S. Retail Gasoline Market," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 87-112.
    5. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "Exogenous Oil Supply Shocks: How Big Are They and How Much Do They Matter for the U.S. Economy?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 216-240, May.
    6. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "The Economic Effects of Energy Price Shocks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 871-909, December.
    7. Lutz Kilian & Daniel P. Murphy, 2012. "Why Agnostic Sign Restrictions Are Not Enough: Understanding The Dynamics Of Oil Market Var Models," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1166-1188, October.
    8. Lutz Kilian, 2009. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1053-1069, June.
    9. Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2008. "Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 113-134.
    10. Christiane Baumeister & Gert Peersman, 2013. "Time-Varying Effects of Oil Supply Shocks on the US Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 1-28, October.
    11. C. Baumeister & G. Peersman & -, 2010. "Sources of the Volatility Puzzle in the Crude Oil Market," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 10/634, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    12. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2002. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 137-198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Dahl, Carol & Sterner, Thomas, 1991. "Analysing gasoline demand elasticities: a survey," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 203-210, July.
    14. Lutz Kilian & Bruce Hicks, 2013. "Did Unexpectedly Strong Economic Growth Cause the Oil Price Shock of 2003–2008?," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(5), pages 385-394, August.
    15. Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2005. "Markov-switching structural vector autoregressions: theory and application," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2005-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    16. Edelstein, Paul & Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "How sensitive are consumer expenditures to retail energy prices?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 766-779, September.
    17. Herrera, Ana Maria & Hamilton, James D., 2001. "Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4qp0p0v5, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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    JEL classification:

    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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