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Do Firms Sell Forward for Strategic Reasons? An Application to the Wholesale Market for Natural Gas

Author

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  • Remco van Eijkel
  • José Luis Moraga Gonzalez

Abstract

Building on a model of the interaction of risk-averse firms that compete in forward and spot markets, we develop an empirical strategy to test whether oligopolistic firms use forward contracts for strategic motives, for risk-hedging, or for both. An increase in the number of players weakens the incentives to sell forward for risk-hedging reasons. However, if strategic motives are also relevant, then an increase in the number of players strengthens the incentives to sell forward. This difference provides the analyst with a way to identify whether strategic considerations are important at motivating firms to sell forward. Using data from the Dutch wholesale market for natural gas where we observe the number of players, spot and forward sales, and churn rates, we find evidence that strategic reasons play an important role at explaining the observed firms’ (inverse) hedge ratios. In addition, the data lend support to the existence of a learning effect by wholesalers.

Suggested Citation

  • Remco van Eijkel & José Luis Moraga Gonzalez, 2010. "Do Firms Sell Forward for Strategic Reasons? An Application to the Wholesale Market for Natural Gas," CESifo Working Paper Series 3270, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3270
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nils-Henrik M. von der Fehr & Petter Vegard Hansen, 2010. "Electricity Retailing in Norway," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-46.
    2. Von Der Fehr, N.H.M. & Harbord, D., 1992. "Long-Tern Contracts and Imperfectly Competitive Spot Markets : A Study of U.K. Electricity Industry," Memorandum 14/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    3. van Damme, Eric & Hurkens, Sjaak, 1997. "Games with Imperfectly Observable Commitment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 282-308, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Argenton, Cédric & Willems, Bert, 2015. "Exclusion through speculation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-9.
    2. van Koten, Silvester & Ortmann, Andreas, 2013. "Structural versus behavioral remedies in the deregulation of electricity markets: An experimental investigation motivated by policy concerns," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 256-265.
    3. Linda Cohen & Amihai Glazer, 2014. "Forward Markets to Spur Innovation," Working Papers 131405, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    4. Aichele, Markus, 2014. "Strategic investment, forward markets and competition," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 76, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    market power; risk-hedging; forward contracts; spot market; over-the-counter trade; market transparency; churn rates;

    JEL classification:

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

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