IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Forecasting the Real Price of Oil in a Changing World: A Forecast Combination Approach

  • Christiane Baumeister
  • Lutz Kilian

The U.S. Energy Information Administration regularly publishes short-term forecasts of the price of crude oil. Traditionally, such out-of-sample forecasts have been largely judgmental, making them difficult to replicate and justify, and not particularly successful when compared with naïve no-change forecasts, as documented in Alquist, Kilian and Vigfusson (2013). Recently, a number of alternative econometric oil price forecasting models have been introduced in the literature and shown to be more accurate than the nochange forecast of the real price of oil. We investigate the merits of constructing realtime forecast combinations of six such models with weights that reflect the recent forecasting success of each model. Forecast combinations are promising for four reasons. First, even the most accurate forecasting models do not work equally well at all times. Second, some forecasting models work better at short horizons and others at longer horizons. Third, even the forecasting model with the lowest mean-squared prediction error (MSPE) may potentially be improved by incorporating information from other models with higher MSPEs. Fourth, one can think of forecast combinations as providing insurance against possible model misspecification and smooth structural change. We demonstrate that over the past 20 years suitably constructed real-time forecast combinations would have been more accurate than the no-change forecast at every horizon up to two years. Relative to the no-change forecast, forecast combinations reduce the MSPE by up to 18 per cent. They also have statistically significant directional accuracy as high as 77 per cent. We conclude that suitably constructed forecast combinations should replace traditional judgmental forecasts of the price of oil.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Staff Working Papers with number 13-28.

in new window

Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:13-28
Contact details of provider: Postal:
234 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0G9, Canada

Phone: 613 782-8845
Fax: 613 782-8874
Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian, 2011. "Real-Time Forecasts of the Real Price of Oil," Staff Working Papers 11-16, Bank of Canada.
  2. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian & Xiaoqing Zhou, 2013. "Are Product Spreads Useful for Forecasting? An Empirical Evaluation of the Verleger Hypothesis," Staff Working Papers 13-25, Bank of Canada.
  3. Mark W. Watson & James H. Stock, 2004. "Combination forecasts of output growth in a seven-country data set," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 405-430.
  4. repec:taf:jnlbes:v:30:y:2012:i:2:p:326-336 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Philip K Verleger, 2011. "The Margin, Currency, and the Price of Oil," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(2), pages 71-82, April.
  6. Kilian, Lutz & Murphy, Daniel P, 2010. "The Role of Inventories and Speculative Trading in the Global Market for Crude Oil," CEPR Discussion Papers 7753, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Testing Dependence among Serially Correlated Multi-Category Variables," IZA Discussion Papers 2196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. G. Elliott & C. Granger & A. Timmermann (ed.), 2013. "Handbook of Economic Forecasting," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 2, number 2, May/June.
  9. Kilian, Lutz, 2006. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5994, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Baumeister, Christiane & Kilian, Lutz, 2012. "What Central Bankers Need to Know about Forecasting Oil Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 9118, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Baumeister, Christiane & Kilian, Lutz, 2011. "Real-Time Analysis of Oil Price Risks Using Forecast Scenarios," CEPR Discussion Papers 8698, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Thomas A. Knetsch, 2007. "Forecasting the price of crude oil via convenience yield predictions," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(7), pages 527-549.
  13. Alquist, Ron & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "What Do We Learn from the Price of Crude Oil Futures?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Menzie D. Chinn & Olivier Coibion, 2010. "The Predictive Content of Commodity Futures," NBER Working Papers 15830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-44, January.
  16. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "State-Space Models with Regime Switching: Classical and Gibbs-Sampling Approaches with Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262112388, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:13-28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.