Don’t Look to Oil Companies to Lower High Retail Gasoline Prices
While U.S. retail gasoline prices in many regions have remained stubbornly high since March, this situation reflects frictions in the retail gasoline market rather than the supply of oil or the price of oil.
Container Trade and the U.S. Recovery
Since the 1970s, exports and imports of manufactured goods have been the engine of international trade and much of that trade relies on container shipping. This paper introduces a new monthly index of the volume of container trade to and from North America. Incorporating this index into a structural macroeconomic VAR model facilitates the identification of shocks to domestic U.S. demand as well as foreign demand for U.S. manufactured goods. We show that, unlike in the Great Recession, the primary determinant of the U.S. economic contraction in early 2020 was a sharp drop in domestic demand. ...
The Impact of Rising Oil Prices on U.S. Inflation and Inflation Expectations in 2020-23
Predictions of oil prices reaching $100 per barrel during the winter of 2021/22 have raised fears of persistently high inflation and rising inflation expectations for years to come. We show that these concerns have been overstated. A $100 oil scenario of the type discussed by many observers, would only briefly raise monthly headline inflation, before fading rather quickly. However, the short-run effects on headline inflation would be sizable. For example, on a year-over-year basis, headline PCE inflation would increase by 1.8 percentage points at the end of 2021 under this scenario, but only ...
How the Saudi Decision to Launch a Price War Is Reshaping the Global Oil Market
In the second week of March, the already fragile global oil market was rocked by Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it would expand oil production to unprecedented levels, signaling an end to its price cooperation with Russia.
Facts and Fiction in Oil Market Modeling
Baumeister and Hamilton (2019a) assert that every critique of their work on oil markets by Kilian and Zhou (2019a) is without merit. In addition, they make the case that key aspects of the economic and econometric analysis in the widely used oil market model of Kilian and Murphy (2014) and its precursors are incorrect. Their critiques are also directed at other researchers who have worked in this area and, more generally, extend to research using structural VAR models outside of energy economics. The purpose of this paper is to help the reader understand what the real issues are in this ...
Does Drawing Down the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve Help Stabilize Oil Prices?
We study the efficacy of releases from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) within the context of fully specified models of the global oil market that explicitly allow for storage demand as well as unanticipated changes in the SPR. Using novel identifying strategies and evaluation methods, we examine seven questions. First, how much have exogenous shocks to the SPR contributed to the variability in the real price of oil? Second, how much would a one-time exogenous reduction in the SPR lower the real price of oil? Third, are exogenous SPR releases partially or fully offset by increases ...
The Uniform Validity of Impulse Response Inference in Autoregressions
Existing proofs of the asymptotic validity of conventional methods of impulse response inference based on higher-order autoregressions are pointwise only. In this paper, we establish the uniform asymptotic validity of conventional asymptotic and bootstrap inference about individual impulse responses and vectors of impulse responses when the horizon is fixed with respect to the sample size. For inference about vectors of impulse responses based on Wald test statistics to be uniformly valid, lag-augmented autoregressions are required, whereas inference about individual impulse responses is ...
Oil Prices, Gasoline Prices and Inflation Expectations: A New Model and New Facts
The conventional wisdom that inflation expectations respond to the level of the price of oil (or the price of gasoline) is based on testing the null hypothesis of a zero slope coefficient in a static single-equation regression model fit to aggregate data. Given that the regressor in this model is not stationary, the null distribution of the t-test statistic is nonstandard, invalidating the use of the normal approximation. Once the critical values are adjusted, these regressions provide no support for the conventional wisdom. Using a new structural vector regression model, however, we ...
Facts and Fiction in Oil Market Modeling
A series of recent articles has called into question the validity of VAR models of the global market for crude oil. These studies seek to replace existing oil market models by structural VAR models of their own based on different data, different identifying assumptions, and a different econometric approach. Their main aim has been to revise the consensus in the literature that oil demand shocks are a more important determinant of oil price fluctuations than oil supply shocks. Substantial progress has been made in recent years in sorting out the pros and cons of the underlying econometric ...
How Falling Oil Prices in Early 2020 Weakened the U.S. Economy
The benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price of oil dropped by more than half from Jan. 21 to April 3. This oil price decline has weakened rather than strengthened the U.S. economy, making this event different from past episodes of falling oil prices.