The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper undertakes an investigation into the efficiency of the crude oil futures market and the forecasting accuracy of futures prices. Efficiency of the market is analysed in terms of the expected excess returns to speculation in the futures market. Accuracy of futures prices is compared with that of forecasts using alternative techniques, including time series and econometric models, as well as judgemental forecasts. The paper also explores the predictive power of futures prices by comparing the forecasting accuracy of end-of-month prices with weekly and monthly averages, using a variety of different weighting schemes. Finally, the paper investigates whether the forecasts from using futures prices can be improved by incorporating information from other forecasting techniques.