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What Central Bankers Need to Know about Forecasting Oil Prices

  • Baumeister, Christiane
  • Kilian, Lutz

Recent research has shown that recursive real-time VAR forecasts of the real price of oil tend to be more accurate than forecasts based on oil futures prices of the type commonly employed by central banks worldwide. Such monthly forecasts, however, differ in several important dimensions from the forecasts central banks require when making policy decisions. First, central banks are interested in forecasts of the quarterly real price of oil rather than forecasts of the monthly real price of oil. Second, many central banks are interested in forecasting the real price of Brent crude oil rather than any of the U.S. benchmarks. Third, central banks outside the United States are interested in forecasting the real price of oil measured in domestic consumption units rather than U.S. consumption units. Addressing each of these three concerns involves modeling choices that affect the relative accuracy of alternative forecasting methods. In addition, we investigate the costs and benefits of allowing for time variation in VAR model parameters and of constructing forecast combinations. We conclude that quarterly forecasts of the real price of oil from suitably designed VAR models estimated on monthly data generate the most accurate forecasts among a wide range of methods including forecasts based on oil futures prices, nochange forecasts and forecasts based on models estimated on quarterly data.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9118.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9118
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  1. Gambetti, Luca & D’Agostino, Antonello & Giannone, Domenico, 2010. "Macroeconomic forecasting and structural change," Working Paper Series 1167, European Central Bank.
  2. Dean Croushore, 2008. "Frontiers of real-time data analysis," Working Papers 08-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ron Alquist & Lutz Kilian & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2011. "Forecasting the price of oil," International Finance Discussion Papers 1022, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Inoue, Atsushi & Kilian, Lutz, 2006. "On the selection of forecasting models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 130(2), pages 273-306, February.
  6. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
  7. 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, 04.
  8. 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.
  9. Clark, Todd E. & McCracken, Michael W., 2009. "Tests of Equal Predictive Ability With Real-Time Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 441-454.
  10. Frank Schorfheide & Dongho Song, 2012. "Real-time forecasting with a mixed-frequency VAR," Working Papers 701, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. 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.
  12. Domenico Giannone & Michèle Lenza & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2012. "Prior Selection for Vector Autoregressions," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2012-002, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. Giannone, Domenico & Henry, Jérôme & Lalik, Magdalena & Modugno, Michele, 2010. "An Area-Wide Real-Time Database for the Euro Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 7673, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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.
  15. James H. Stock & Mark W.Watson, 2003. "Forecasting Output and Inflation: The Role of Asset Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 788-829, September.
  16. Christiane Baumeister & Gert Peersman, 2013. "The Role Of Time‐Varying Price Elasticities In Accounting For Volatility Changes In The Crude Oil Market," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 1087-1109, November.
  17. Cogley, Timothy & Morozov, Sergei & Sargent, Thomas J., 2005. "Bayesian fan charts for U.K. inflation: Forecasting and sources of uncertainty in an evolving monetary system," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1893-1925, November.
  18. 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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