I built a short-term West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price-forecasting model for two periods to understand how various drivers of crude oil behaved before and after the Great Recession. According to the Federal Reserve the Great Recession "...began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009" (Rich 1). The research involves two models spanning two periods. The first period encompasses 2000 to late 2007 and the second period encompasses early 2010 to 2016. The dependent variable for this model is monthly average WTI crude oil prices. The independent variables are based on what the academic community believes are drivers of crude oil prices. While the studies may be scattered across different time periods, they provide valuable insight on what the academic community believes drives oil prices. The model includes variables that address two different data groups including: 1. Market fundamentals/expectations of market fundamentals 2. Speculation One of the biggest challenges I faced was defining and quantifying "speculation". I ended up using a previous study's definition of "speculation", which it defined as the activity of certain market participants in the Commitment of Traders report released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. My research shows that the West Texas Intermediate crude oil market exhibited a structural change after the Great Recession. Furthermore, my research also presents interesting findings that warrant further research. For example, I find that 3-month T-bills and 10yr Treasury notes lose their predictive edge starting in the second period (2010-2016). Furthermore, the positive correlation between oil and the U.S. dollar in the period 2000-2007 warrants further investigation. Lastly, it might be interesting to see why T-bills are positively correlated to WTI prices and 10yr Treasury notes are negatively correlated to WTI prices.
Included in this item (2)