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Nidhaleddine Ben Cheikh, Mr. Sami Ben Naceur, Mr. Oussama Kanaan, and Christophe Rault
Our paper examines the effect of oil price changes on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stock markets using nonlinear smooth transition regression (STR) models. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our empirical results reveal that GCC stock markets do not have similar sensitivities to oil price changes. We document the presence of stock market returns’ asymmetric reactions in some GCC countries, but not for others. In Kuwait’s case, negative oil price changes exert larger impacts on stock returns than positive oil price changes. When considering the asymmetry with respect to the magnitude of oil price variation, we find that Oman’s and Qatar’s stock markets are more sensitive to large oil price changes than to small ones. Our results highlight the importance of economic stabilization and reform policies that can potentially reduce the sensitivity of stock returns to oil price changes, especially with regard to the existence of asymmetric behavior.
Ms. Oana Luca and Alexander F. Tieman
Most tax systems create a tax bias toward debt finance. Such debt bias increases leverage and may negatively affect financial stability. This paper models and estimates debt bias in the financial sector, and present novel estimates for investment banks and non-bank financial intermediaries such as finance and insurance companies. We find debt bias to be pervasive, explaining as much as 10 percent of total leverage for regular banks and 20 percent for investment banks, with the effects most pronounced before the global financial crisis. Going forward, debt bias is likely to once again gain prominence as a key driver of leverage decisions, underscoring the importance of policy reform at this juncture.
Mr. Kamiar Mohaddes and M. Hashem Pesaran
The recent plunge in oil prices has brought into question the generally accepted view that lower oil prices are good for the United States and the global economy. In this paper, using a quarterly multi-country econometric model, we first show that a fall in oil prices tends relatively quickly to lower interest rates and inflation in most countries, and increase global real equity prices. The effects on real output are positive, although they take longer to materialize (around four quarters after the shock). We then re-examine the effects of low oil prices on the U.S. economy over different sub-periods using monthly observations on real oil prices, real equity prices and real dividends. We confirm the perverse positive relationship between oil and equity prices over the period since the 2008 financial crisis highlighted in the recent literature, but show that this relationship has been unstable when considered over the longer time period of 1946–2016. In contrast, we find a stable negative relationship between oil prices and real dividends which we argue is a better proxy for economic activity (as compared to equity prices). On the supply side, the effects of lower oil prices differ widely across the different oil producers, and could be perverse initially, as some of the major oil producers try to compensate their loss of revenues by raising production. Taking demand and supply adjustments to oil price changes as a whole, we conclude that oil markets equilibrate but rather slowly, with large episodic swings between low and high oil prices.
Samya Beidas-Strom and Mr. Andrea Pescatori
How much does speculation contribute to oil price volatility? We revisit this contentious question by estimating a sign-restricted structural vector autoregression (SVAR). First, using a simple storage model, we show that revisions to expectations regarding oil market fundamentals and the effect of mispricing in oil derivative markets can be observationally equivalent in a SVAR model of the world oil market à la Kilian and Murphy (2013), since both imply a positive co-movement of oil prices and inventories. Second, we impose additional restrictions on the set of admissible models embodying the assumption that the impact from noise trading shocks in oil derivative markets is temporary. Our additional restrictions effectively put a bound on the contribution of speculation to short-term oil price volatility (lying between 3 and 22 percent). This estimated short-run impact is smaller than that of flow demand shocks but possibly larger than that of flow supply shocks.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
En mettant l’accent sur le travail du FMI et sur les grandes questions macroéconomiques et financières internationales, le Bulletin du FMI présente une analyse des développements nationaux, régionaux et mondiaux, des informations sur le travail, les politiques, les réformes et les activités d'assistance technique du FMI, les conclusions d'études de calibre mondial, des données essentielles qui ne sont souvent pas disponibles ailleurs, ainsi que des rapports sur les discussions économiques et financières au sein du FMI et ailleurs. Publié douze fois par an, ce bulletin de seize pages s'adresse à un large public : dirigeants, analystes, chercheurs, étudiants et journalistes. Disponible en anglais, français et espagnol.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
El Boletín del FMI aborda de manera específica el trabajo del FMI y los grandes temas macroeconómicos y financieros internacionales y ofrece análisis sobre la evolución en los distintos países y regiones y en el mundo; información sobre las operaciones, políticas, reformas y asistencia técnica del FMI; síntesis de las principales investigaciones económicas mundiales; datos fundamentales que no suelen estar disponibles en otras fuentes, e informes sobre debates económicos y financieros que tienen lugar dentro y fuera del FMI. Este boletín de 16 páginas, publicado 12 veces al año, está orientado a una vasta audiencia, que incluye autoridades de política económica, analistas, profesionales del mundo académico y de los medios de difusión y estudiantes. Disponible en inglés, español y francés.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
IEO on IMF exchange rate advice; GFSR: financial system risks and issues for regulators; good times in Belgium; Africa's oil exporters; outlook for Middle East and Central Asia; Caucasus and Central Asia:capital flows; lessons from a decade of crises.
Mr. Noureddine Krichene
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.
Mr. Noureddine Krichene
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.
Mr. Aasim M. Husain and Chakriya Bowman
This paper assesses the performance of three types of commodity price forecasts—those based on judgment, those relying exclusively on historical price data, and those incorporating prices implied by commodity futures. For most of the 15 commodities in the sample, spot and futures prices appear to be nonstationary and to form a cointegrating relation. Spot prices tend to move toward futures prices over the long run, and error-correction models exploiting this feature produce more accurate forecasts. The analysis indicates that on the basis of statistical- and directional-accuracy measures, futures-based models yield better forecasts than historical-data-based models or judgment, especially at longer horizons.