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Do Financial Investors Destabilize the Oil Price?

  • M. J. LOMBARDI
  • I. VAN ROBAYS

    ()

We assess whether and to what extent ?nancial activity in the oil futures markets has contributed to destabilize oil prices in recent years. We de?ne a destabilizing ?nancial shock as a shift in oil prices that is not related to current and expected fun- damentals, and thereby distorts e¢ cient pricing in the oil market. Using a structural VAR model identi?ed with sign restrictions, we disentangle this non-fundamental ?- nancial shock from fundamental shocks to oil supply and demand to determine their relative importance. We ?nd that shocks to oil demand and supply remain the main drivers of oil price swings. Financial investors in the futures market can however destabilize oil spot prices, although only in the short run. Moreover, ?nancial ac- tivity appears to have exacerbated gyrations in the oil market over the past decade, particularly in 2007-2009.

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Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 11/760.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:11/760
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  1. 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.
  2. C. Baumeister & G. Peersman & -, 2010. "Sources of the Volatility Puzzle in the Crude Oil Market," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 10/634, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  3. Robert S. Pindyck, 1992. "The Present Value Model of Rational Commodity Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrei Shleifer ad Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1725, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  6. C. Baumeister & G. Peersman, 2008. "Time-Varying Effects of Oil Supply Shocks on the US Economy," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 08/515, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  7. Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Inventories and the Short-Run Dynamics of Commodity Prices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 141-159, Spring.
  8. Anzuini, Alessio & Lombardi, Marco J. & Pagano, Patrizio, 2010. "The impact of monetary policy shocks on commodity prices," Working Paper Series 1232, European Central Bank.
  9. J. Isaac Miller & Ronald Ratti, 2008. "Crude Oil and Stock Markets: Stability, Instability, and Bubbles," Working Papers 0810, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 20 Jan 2009.
  10. G. Peersman, 2004. "What caused the early millennium slowdown? Evidence based on vector autoregressions," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 04/235, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  11. Gert Peersman & Ine Van Robays, 2009. "Oil and the Euro area economy," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 603-651, October.
  12. Renee Fry & Adrian Pagan, 2010. "Sign Restrictions in Structural Vector Autoregressions: A Critical Review," CAMA Working Papers 2010-22, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  13. Kilian, Lutz & Murphy, Daniel P, 2010. "The Role of Inventories and Speculative Trading in the Global Market for Crude Oil," CEPR Discussion Papers 7753, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Peersman, Gert & Van Robays, Ine, 2012. "Cross-country differences in the effects of oil shocks," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1532-1547.
  15. Robert S. Pindyck, 2001. "The Dynamics of Commodity Spot and Futures Markets: A Primer," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 1-30.
  16. Kilian, Lutz & Murphy, Daniel P, 2009. "Why Agnostic Sign Restrictions Are Not Enough: Understanding the Dynamics of Oil Market VAR Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 7471, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. 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 1053-69, June.
  18. Kaufmann, Robert K. & Ullman, Ben, 2009. "Oil prices, speculation, and fundamentals: Interpreting causal relations among spot and futures prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 550-558, July.
  19. Scott H. Irwin & Dwight R. Sanders, 2010. "The Impact of Index and Swap Funds on Commodity Futures Markets: Preliminary Results," OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers 27, OECD Publishing.
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