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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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  2. 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.
  3. Gert Peersman, 2005. "What caused the early millennium slowdown? Evidence based on vector autoregressions," Bank of England working papers 272, Bank of England.
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  7. Acharya, Viral V. & Lochstoer, Lars A. & Ramadorai, Tarun, 2013. "Limits to arbitrage and hedging: Evidence from commodity markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 441-465.
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  9. Renee Fry & Adrian Pagan, 2010. "Sign Restrictions in Structural Vector Autoregressions: A Critical Review," NCER Working Paper Series 57, National Centre for Econometric Research.
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  12. 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.
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  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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