A General Approach to Recovering Market Expectations from Futures Prices with an Application to Crude Oil

47 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2016

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)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 29, 2016

Abstract

Futures markets are a potentially valuable source of information about price expectations. Exploiting this information has proved difficult in practice, because time-varying risk premia often render the futures price a poor measure of the market expectation of the price of the underlying asset. Although this expectation in principle may be recovered by adjusting the futures price by the estimated risk premium, a common problem is that there are as many measures of the market expectation as there are estimates of the risk premium. We propose a general solution to this problem that allows us to select the most accurate estimate of the expectation for any set of risk premium estimates. We illustrate this approach by solving the long-standing problem of how to estimate the market expectation of the price of crude oil. We provide a new measure of oil price expectations that is substantially more accurate than the alternatives and more economically plausible. Our analysis has implications for the estimation of economic models of energy-intensive durables, for oil price forecasting, and for the measurement of oil price shocks.

Keywords: futures, risk premium, market expectation, model uncertainty, forecast, oil price

JEL Classification: C530, D840, G140, Q430

Suggested Citation

Baumeister, Christiane and Kilian, Lutz, A General Approach to Recovering Market Expectations from Futures Prices with an Application to Crude Oil (February 29, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5782. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2754033

Christiane Baumeister

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 (Contact Author)

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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