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.
Crude oil prices have been on a run-up spree in recent years. Their dynamics were characterized by high volatility, high intensity jumps, and strong upward drift, indicating that oil markets were constantly out-of-equilibrium. An explanation of the oil price process in terms of the underlying fundamentals of oil markets and world economy was provided, viewing pressure on oil prices mainly as a result of rigid crude oil supply and an expanding world demand for crude oil. A change in the oil price process parameters would require a change in the underlying fundamentals. Market expectations, extracted from call and put option prices, anticipated no change, in the short term, in the underlying fundamentals. Markets expected oil prices to remain volatile and jumpy, and with higher probabilities, to rise, rather than fall, above the expected mean.