Evaluating the forecasting performance of commodity futures prices
Commodity futures prices are frequently criticized as being uninformative for forecasting purposes because (1) they seem to do no better than a random walk or an extrapolation of recent trends and (2) futures prices for commodities often trace out a relatively flat trajectory even though global demand is steadily increasing. In this paper, we attempt to shed light on these concerns by discussing the theoretical relationship between spot and futures prices for commodities and by evaluating the empirical forecasting performance of futures prices relative to some alternative benchmarks. The key results of our analysis are that futures prices have generally outperformed a random walk forecast, but not by a large margin, while both futures and a random walk noticeably outperform a simple extrapolation of recent trends (a random walk with drift). Importantly, however, futures prices, on average, outperform a random walk by a considerable margin when there is a sizeable difference between spot and futures prices.
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References listed on IDEAS
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- 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.
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- 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.).
- Alquist, Ron & Kilian, Lutz & Vigfusson, Robert J., 2011. "Forecasting the Price of Oil," CEPR Discussion Papers 8388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Menzie D. Chinn & Michael LeBlanc & Olivier Coibion, 2005. "The Predictive Content of Energy Futures: An Update on Petroleum, Natural Gas, Heating Oil and Gasoline," NBER Working Papers 11033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)