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Forecasting the Brent Oil Price: Addressing Time-Variation in Forecast Performance

Listed author(s):
  • Cristiana Belu Manescu
  • Ine Van Robays

This paper explores a range of different forecast methods for Brent oil prices and analyses their performance relative to oil futures and the random walk over the period 1995Q1 - 2015Q2, including periods of stable, upwardly trending and rapidly dropping oil prices. None of the individual methods considered outperforms either benchmark consistently over time or across forecast horizons. To address this instability, we propose a forecast combination for predicting quarterly real Brent oil prices. A four-model combination - consisting of futures, risk-adjusted futures, a Bayesian VAR and a DSGE model of the oil market - predicts oil prices more accurately compared to all methods evaluated up to 11 quarters ahead and generates forecasts whose performance is robust over time. The improvements in forecast accuracy and stability are noticeable in terms of both point forecasts – with MSPE gains of 23% relative to futures at the 11 quarter-ahead horizon and a directional accuracy of 70% – and density forecasts – with CRPS gains of 50% relative to futures and logarithmic score gains of 90%, both at the 7-quarter ahead horizon.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2016/wp-cesifo-2016-12/cesifo1_wp6242.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 6242.

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Date of creation: 2016
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6242
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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. 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.
  3. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian, 2015. "Forecasting the Real Price of Oil in a Changing World: A Forecast Combination Approach," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(3), pages 338-351, July.
  4. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian, 2014. "What Central Bankers Need To Know About Forecasting Oil Prices," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 869-889, 08.
  5. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2004. "Oil and the Macroeconomy Since the 1970s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 115-134, Fall.
  6. de Menezes, Lilian M. & W. Bunn, Derek & Taylor, James W., 2000. "Review of guidelines for the use of combined forecasts," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 190-204, January.
  7. 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.
  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. Domenico Giannone & Michele Lenza & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2015. "Prior Selection for Vector Autoregressions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 436-451, May.
  10. Hamilton, James D. & Wu, Jing Cynthia, 2014. "Risk premia in crude oil futures prices," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 9-37.
  11. Martin Bodenstein & Luca Guerrieri & Lutz Kilian, 2012. "Monetary Policy Responses to Oil Price Fluctuations," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 60(4), pages 470-504, December.
  12. Pagano Patrizio & Pisani Massimiliano, 2009. "Risk-Adjusted Forecasts of Oil Prices," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-28, June.
  13. Baumeister, Christiane & Kilian, Lutz & Zhou, Xiaoqing, 2013. "Are Product Spreads Useful for Forecasting? An Empirical Evaluation of the Verleger Hypothesis," CEPR Discussion Papers 9572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. James L. Smith, 2009. "World Oil: Market or Mayhem?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 145-164, Summer.
  15. Aiolfi, Marco & Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Persistence in forecasting performance and conditional combination strategies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 135(1-2), pages 31-53.
  16. 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.
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