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.
One approach to oil markets is to treat oil as an asset, besides its role as a commodity. Speculative and nonspeculative activity by investors in the derivatives markets could be responsible for a sizable increase in oil prices. This paper recognizes both the consumption and investment aspects of crude oil and proposes Levy processes for modeling uncertainty and options pricing. Calibration to crude oil futures' options shows high volatility of oil futures prices, fat-tailed, and right-skewed market expectations, implying a higher probability mass on crude oil prices remaining above the futures' level. These findings support the view that demand for futures contracts by investors could lead to excessively high price volatility.