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The Predictive Content of Energy Futures: An Update on Petroleum, Natural Gas, Heating Oil and Gasoline

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  • Menzie D. Chinn
  • Michael LeBlanc
  • Olivier Coibion

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between spot and futures prices for energy commodities (crude oil, gasoline, heating oil markets and natural gas). In particular, we examine whether futures prices are (1) an unbiased and/or (2) accurate predictor of subsequent spot prices. We find that while futures prices are unbiased predictors of future spot prices, with the exception those in the natural gas markets at the 3-month horizon. Futures do not appear to well predict subsequent movements in energy commodity prices, although they slightly outperform time series models.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11033
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moosa, Imad A. & Al-Loughani, Nabeel E., 1994. "Unbiasedness and time varying risk premia in the crude oil futures market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 99-105, April.
    2. W. David Walls, 1995. "An Econometric Analysis of the Market for Natural Gas Futures," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 71-84.
    3. Williams,Jeffrey C. & Wright,Brian D., 2005. "Storage and Commodity Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023399, August.
    4. William J. Crowder & Anas Hamed, 1993. "A cointegration test for oil futures market efficiency," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(8), pages 933-941, December.
    5. Serletis, Apostolos, 1991. "Rational expectations, risk and efficiency in energy futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 111-115, April.
    6. Benjamin Hunt & Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton, 2002. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Higher Oil Prices," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 179(1), pages 87-103, January.
    7. Cochrane, John H, 1991. " Production-Based Asset Pricing and the Link between Stock Returns and Economic Fluctuations," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 209-237, March.
    8. Imad A. Moosa & Nabeel E. Al‐Loughani, 1995. "The effectiveness of arbitrage and speculation in the crude oil futures market," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 167-186, April.
    9. John H. Cochrane, 1988. "Production Based Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 2776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Herbert, John H., 1993. "The relation of monthly spot to futures prices for natural gas," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 18(11), pages 1119-1124.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy

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