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Physical Markets, Paper Markets and the WTI-Brent Spread

Bahattin Buyuksahin, Thomas K. Lee, James T. Moser, and Michel A. Robe

Year: 2013
Volume: Volume 34
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.34.3.7
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Abstract:
We document that, starting in the Fall of 2008, the benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has periodically traded at unheard-of discounts to the corresponding Brent benchmark. We further document that this discount is not reflected in spreads between Brent and other benchmarks that are directly comparable to WTI. Drawing on extant models linking oil inventory conditions to the futures term structure, we test empirically several conjectures about how calendar and commodity spreads (nearby vs. first-deferred WTI; nearby Brent vs. WTI) should move over time and be related to storage conditions at Cushing. We then investigate whether, after controlling for macroeconomic and physical market fundamentals, spread behavior is partly predicted by the aggregate oil futures positions of commodity index traders.



OPEC "Fair Price" Pronouncements and the Market Price of Crude Oil

Celso Brunetti, Bahattin Buyuksahin, Michel A. Robe, and Kirsten R. Soneson

Year: 2013
Volume: Volume 34
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.34.4.5
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Abstract:
OPEC producers, individually or collectively, often make statements regarding the "fair price" of crude oil. In some cases, the officials commenting are merely affirming the market price prevailing at the time. In many cases, however, we document that they explicitly disagree with contemporaneous oil futures prices. A natural question is whether these "fair price" pronouncements contain information not already reflected in the market price of crude oil. To find the answer, we collect "fair price" statements made from 2000 through 2010 by officials from OPEC or OPEC member countries. Visually, the "fair price" series looks like a sampling discretely drawn (with a lag) from the daily futures market price series. Formally, we use two primary methodologies to establish that "fair price" pronouncements have little influence on the market price of crude oil and provide little or no new news to oil futures market participants.



Shock Propagation Across the Futures Term Structure: Evidence from Crude Oil Prices

Delphine H. Lautier, Franck Raynaud, and Michel A. Robe

Year: 2019
Volume: Volume 40
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.3.dlau
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Abstract:
To what extent are futures prices interconnected across the maturity curve? Where in the term structure do price shocks originate, and which maturities do they reach? We propose a new approach, based on information theory, to study these cross-maturity linkages and the extent to which connectedness is impacted by market events. We introduce the concepts of backward and forward information flows, and propose a novel type of directed graph, to investigate the propagation of price shocks across the WTI term structure. Using daily data, we show that the mutual information shared by contracts with different maturities increases substantially starting in 2004, falls back sharply in 2011-2014, and recovers thereafter. Our findings point to a puzzling re-segmentation by maturity of the WTI market in 2012-2014. We document that, on average, short-dated futures emit more information than do backdated contracts. Importantly, however, we also show that significant amounts of information flow backwards along the maturity curve - almost always from intermediate maturities, but at times even from far-dated contracts. These backward flows are especially strong and far-reaching amid the 2007-2008 oil price boom/bust.





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