Real-Time Forecasts of the Real Price of Oil

46 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2011

See all articles by Christiane Baumeister

Christiane Baumeister

University of Notre Dame; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Lutz Kilian

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: June 2011

Abstract

We construct a monthly real-time data set consisting of vintages for 1991.1-2010.12 that is suitable for generating forecasts of the real price of oil from a variety of models. We document that revisions of the data typically represent news, and we introduce backcasting and nowcasting techniques to fill gaps in the real-time data. We show that real-time forecasts of the real price of oil can be more accurate than the no-change forecast at horizons up to one year. In some cases real-time MSPE reductions may be as high as 25 percent one month ahead and 24 percent three months ahead. This result is in striking contrast to related results in the literature for asset prices. In particular, recursive vector autoregressive (VAR) forecasts based on global oil market variables tend to have lower MSPE at short horizons than forecasts based on oil futures prices, forecasts based on AR and ARMA models, and the no-change forecast. In addition, these VAR models have consistently higher directional accuracy. We demonstrate how with additional identifying assumptions such VAR models may be used not only to understand historical fluctuations in the real price of oil, but to construct conditional forecasts that reflect hypothetical scenarios about future demand and supply conditions in the market for crude oil. These tools are designed to allow forecasters to interpret their oil price forecast in light of economic models and to evaluate its sensitivity to alternative assumptions.

Keywords: Forecast, Oil price, Real time, Scenario analysis

JEL Classification: C53, E32, Q43

Suggested Citation

Baumeister, Christiane and Kilian, Lutz, Real-Time Forecasts of the Real Price of Oil (June 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8414. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1857364

Christiane Baumeister (Contact Author)

University of Notre Dame ( email )

722 Flanner Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States
+1 574 631 8450 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/cjsbaumeister/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Lutz Kilian

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States
734-764-2320 (Phone)
734-764-2769 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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