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Did the renewable fuel standard shift market expectations of the price of ethanol?

Author

Listed:
  • Baumeister, Christiane
  • Ellwanger, Reinhard
  • Kilian, Lutz

Abstract

It is commonly believed that the response of the price of corn ethanol (and hence of the price of corn) to shifts in biofuel policies operates in part through market expectations and shifts in storage demand, yet to date it has proved difficult to measure these expectations and to empirically evaluate this view. We utilize a recently proposed methodology to estimate the market's expectations of the prices of ethanol, unfinished motor gasoline and crude oil at horizons from three months to one year. We quantify the extent to which price changes were anticipated by the market, the extent to which they were unanticipated, and how the risk premium in these markets has evolved. We show that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is likely to have increased ethanol price expectations by as much $1.45 in the year before and in the year after the implementation of the RFS had started. Our analysis of the term structure of expectations provides support for the view that a shift in ethanol storage demand starting in 2005 caused an increase in the price of ethanol. There is no conclusive evidence that the tightening of the RFS in 2008 shifted market expectations, but our analysis suggests that policy uncertainty about how to deal with the blend wall raised the risk premium in the ethanol futures market in mid-2013 by as much as 50 cents at longer horizons. Finally, we present evidence against a tight link from ethanol price expectations to corn price expectations and hence to storage demand for corn in 2005-06.

Suggested Citation

  • Baumeister, Christiane & Ellwanger, Reinhard & Kilian, Lutz, 2016. "Did the renewable fuel standard shift market expectations of the price of ethanol?," CFS Working Paper Series 563, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:563
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Coglianese & Lucas W. Davis & Lutz Kilian & James H. Stock, 2017. "Anticipation, Tax Avoidance, and the Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(1), pages 1-15, January.
    2. Bassam Fattouh, Lutz Kilian, and Lavan Mahadeva, 2013. "The Role of Speculation in Oil Markets: What Have We Learned So Far?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    3. Anderson, Soren T. & Kellogg, Ryan & Sallee, James M., 2013. "What do consumers believe about future gasoline prices?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 383-403.
    4. Bielen, David A. & Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2018. "Who did the ethanol tax credit benefit? An event analysis of subsidy incidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 1-14.
    5. Lutz Kilian, 2010. "Explaining Fluctuations in Gasoline Prices: A Joint Model of the Global Crude Oil Market and the U.S. Retail Gasoline Market," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 87-112.
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    8. Philip Abbott, 2014. "Biofuels, Binding Constraints, and Agricultural Commodity Price Volatility," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Food Price Volatility, pages 91-131 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Lutz Kilian, 2017. "The Impact of the Fracking Boom on Arab Oil Producers," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 6).
    10. Clark, Todd E. & West, Kenneth D., 2007. "Approximately normal tests for equal predictive accuracy in nested models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 291-311, May.
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    12. Michael J. Roberts & Wolfram Schlenker, 2013. "Identifying Supply and Demand Elasticities of Agricultural Commodities: Implications for the US Ethanol Mandate," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2265-2295, October.
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    16. Lutz Kilian & Daniel P. Murphy, 2014. "The Role Of Inventories And Speculative Trading In The Global Market For Crude Oil," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 454-478, April.
    17. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian, 2014. "Do oil price increases cause higher food prices?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 29(80), pages 691-747, October.
    18. Hamilton, James D. & Wu, Jing Cynthia, 2014. "Risk premia in crude oil futures prices," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 9-37.
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    22. Mallory, Mindy L. & Irwin, Scott H. & Hayes, Dermot J., 2012. "How Market Efficiency and the Theory of Storage Link Corn and Ethanol Markets Energy Economics," ISU General Staff Papers 201211010700001537, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    23. Teresa Serra & David Zilberman & José M. Gil & Barry K. Goodwin, 2011. "Nonlinearities in the U.S. corn‐ethanol‐oil‐gasoline price system," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 42(1), pages 35-45, January.
    24. Alberto Salvo & Cristian Huse, 2011. "Is Arbitrage Tying the Price of Ethanol to that of Gasoline? Evidence from the Uptake of Flexible-Fuel Technology," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 119-148.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    biofuels; policy uncertainty; term structure of price expectations; price shocks; market integration; anticipation; storage demand; risk premium; crude oil; gasoline; corn;

    JEL classification:

    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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