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Understanding the estimation of oil demand and oil supply elasticities

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  • Kilian, Lutz

Abstract

Using a novel dataset, we develop a structural model of the Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) market between the Arabian Gulf and the Far East. We study how fluctuations in oil tanker rates, oil exports, shipowner profits, and bunker fuel prices are determined by shocks to the supply and demand for oil tankers, to the utilization of tankers, and to the cost of operating tankers, including bunker fuel costs. Our analysis shows that time charter rates are largely unresponsive to tanker cost shocks. In response to higher costs, voyage profits decline, as cost shocks are only partially passed on to round-trip voyage rates. Oil exports from the Arabian Gulf also decline, reflecting lower demand for VLCCs. Positive utilization shocks are associated with higher profits, a slight increase in time charter rates and lower fuel prices and oil export volumes. Tanker supply and tanker demand shocks have persistent effects on time charter rates, round-trip voyage rates, the volume of oil exports, fuel prices, and profits with the expected sign. This paper examines the advantages and drawbacks of alternative methods of estimating oil supply and oil demand elasticities and of incorporating this information into structural VAR models. I not only summarize the state of the literature, but also draw attention to a number of econometric problems that have been overlooked in this literature. Once these problems are recognized, seemingly conflicting conclusions in the recent literature can be resolved. My analysis reaffirms the conclusion that the one-month oil supply elasticity is close to zero, which implies that oil demand shocks are the dominant driver of the real price of oil. The focus of this paper is not only on correcting some misunderstandings in the recent literature, but on the substantive and methodological insights generated by this exchange, which are of broader interest to applied researchers.

Suggested Citation

  • Kilian, Lutz, 2020. "Understanding the estimation of oil demand and oil supply elasticities," CFS Working Paper Series 649, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:649
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kilian, Lutz & Lee, Thomas K., 2014. "Quantifying the speculative component in the real price of oil: The role of global oil inventories," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 71-87.
    2. Christopher R. Knittel & Shinsuke Tanaka, 2019. "Driving Behavior and the Price of Gasoline: Evidence from Fueling-Level Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 26488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Inoue, Atsushi & Kilian, Lutz, 2013. "Inference on impulse response functions in structural VAR models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 177(1), pages 1-13.
    5. Lutz Kilian & Xiaoqing Zhou, 2020. "Does drawing down the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve help stabilize oil prices?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(6), pages 673-691, September.
    6. Juan Antolín-Díaz & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2018. "Narrative Sign Restrictions for SVARs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(10), pages 2802-2829, October.
    7. Richard G. Newell and Brian C. Prest, 2019. "The Unconventional Oil Supply Boom: Aggregate Price Response from Microdata," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    8. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "The Economic Effects of Energy Price Shocks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 871-909, December.
    9. Atsushi Inoue & Lutz Kilian, 2020. "The Role of the Prior in Estimating VAR Models with Sign Restrictions," Working Papers 2030, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    10. Hamilton, James D., 2003. "What is an oil shock?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 363-398, April.
    11. Juan Antolin-Diaz & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2016. "Narrative Sign Restrictions for SVARs," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2016-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    12. 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 1053-1069, June.
    13. Soren T. Anderson & Ryan Kellogg & Stephen W. Salant, 2018. "Hotelling under Pressure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(3), pages 984-1026.
    14. Christiane Baumeister & James D. Hamilton, 2019. "Structural Interpretation of Vector Autoregressions with Incomplete Identification: Revisiting the Role of Oil Supply and Demand Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(5), pages 1873-1910, May.
    15. Caldara, Dario & Cavallo, Michele & Iacoviello, Matteo, 2019. "Oil price elasticities and oil price fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 1-20.
    16. Lutz Kilian & Bruce Hicks, 2013. "Did Unexpectedly Strong Economic Growth Cause the Oil Price Shock of 2003–2008?," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(5), pages 385-394, August.
    17. Kilian, Lutz & Zhou, Xiaoqing, 2018. "Modeling fluctuations in the global demand for commodities," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 54-78.
    18. 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.
    19. Hilde C. Bjørnland & Frode Martin Nordvik & Maximilian Rohrer, 2021. "Supply flexibility in the shale patch: Evidence from North Dakota," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(3), pages 273-292, April.
    20. Kilian, Lutz, 2019. "Measuring global real economic activity: Do recent critiques hold up to scrutiny?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 106-110.
    21. Ana María Herrera & Sandeep Kumar Rangaraju, 2020. "The effect of oil supply shocks on US economic activity: What have we learned?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(2), pages 141-159, March.
    22. Hausman, Jerry A & Newey, Whitney K, 1995. "Nonparametric Estimation of Exact Consumers Surplus and Deadweight Loss," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1445-1476, November.
    23. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "Exogenous Oil Supply Shocks: How Big Are They and How Much Do They Matter for the U.S. Economy?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 216-240, May.
    24. Funashima, Yoshito, 2020. "Global economic activity indexes revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    25. Lutz Kilian & Daniel P. Murphy, 2012. "Why Agnostic Sign Restrictions Are Not Enough: Understanding The Dynamics Of Oil Market Var Models," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1166-1188, October.
    26. Xiaoqing Zhou, 2019. "Refining the Workhorse Oil Market Model," Working Papers 1910, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    27. Xiaoqing Zhou, 2020. "Refining the workhorse oil market model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(1), pages 130-140, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hilde C. Bjørnland & Frode Martin Nordvik & Maximilian Rohrer, 2021. "Supply flexibility in the shale patch: Evidence from North Dakota," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(3), pages 273-292, April.
    2. Lomonosov, Daniil & Polbin, Andrey & Fokin, Nikita, 2020. "Влияние Шоков Мировой Деловой Активности, Предложения Нефти И Спекулятивных Нефтяных Шоков На Экономику Рф [The impact of global economic activity, oil supply and speculative oil shocks on the Russ," MPRA Paper 106019, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Oil supply elasticity; oil demand elasticity; IV estimation; structural VAR; Bayesian inference; oil price; gasoline price;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • C36 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

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