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Speculation, Futures Prices, and the U.S. Real Price of Crude Oil

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  • Stevans, Lonnie
  • Sessions, David

Abstract

In this study, we examine the relationship between the U.S. real price of oil and factors that affect its movement over time: futures prices, the value of the dollar, exploration, demand, and supply. All of these variables are treated as jointly endogenous and a reduced form vector error correction model, testing for cointegration amongst the variables, is estimated. We find that for model specifications with short-term futures contracts, supply does indeed dominate price movements in the crude oil market. However, for specifications including longer-term contracts that are inherently more speculative, the real price of oil appears to be determined predominantly by the futures price. Moreover, there is empirical evidence of hoarding in the crude oil market: both oil stocks/inventories and futures prices are found to be positively cointegrated/correlated with each other. From a policy perspective, the results of this analysis indicate that if regulators really wanted to limit speculation in the oil market, it should keep the shorter-term futures contracts and eliminate the more speculative six months futures contracts.

Suggested Citation

  • Stevans, Lonnie & Sessions, David, 2008. "Speculation, Futures Prices, and the U.S. Real Price of Crude Oil," MPRA Paper 9456, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 04 Jul 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:9456
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/9456/1/MPRA_paper_9456.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
    2. Perron, Pierre & Rodriguez, Gabriel, 2003. "GLS detrending, efficient unit root tests and structural change," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 1-27, July.
    3. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
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    Cited by:

    1. Orlowski, Lucjan T, 2008. "Stages of the 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis: Is There a Wandering Asset-Price Bubble?," MPRA Paper 12696, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Lucjan T. Orlowski, 2008. "Stages of the Ongoing Global Financial Crisis: Is There a Wandering Asset-Price Bubble?," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0372, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Andreas Breitenfellner & Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, 2008. "Crude Oil Prices and the USD/EUR Exchange Rate," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 4.
    4. Riza Emekter & Benjamas Jirasakuldech & Peter Went, 2012. "Rational speculative bubbles and commodities markets: application of duration dependence test," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(7), pages 581-596, April.
    5. Claudio Dicembrino & Pasquale Lucio Scandizzo, 2012. "The Fundamental and Speculative Components of the Oil Spot Price: A Real Option Value Approach," CEIS Research Paper 229, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 18 Apr 2012.
    6. Vijay Kumar Varadi, 2012. "An evidence of speculation in Indian commodity markets," EconStor Preprints 57430, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    7. Weerawich Roekchamnong & Pongsa Pornchaiwiseskul & Anant Chiarawongse, 2014. "The Effects of Uncertainties on Inventory Management of Petroleum Products: A Case Study of Thailand," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 4(3), pages 380-390.
    8. Orlowski, Lucjan T., 2008. "Stages of the Ongoing Global Financial Crisis: Is There a Wandering Asset Bubble?," IWH Discussion Papers 11/2008, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    futures prices; cointegration; speculation; hoarding;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General

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