Showing posts with label energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label energy. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

L'Energia Verda és la realment subvencionada. Per Bjorn Lomborg


L'Energia Verda és la realment subvencionada. Per Bjorn Lomborg
Espanya malgasta l’1% del PIB en energies verdes
Les renovables reben tres vegades més diners per unitat d'energia que els combustibles Fòssils.
Wall Street Journal , 11 novembre 2013
Translation of Green Energy Is the Real Subsidy Hog to Catalan by Un Liberal Recalcitrant
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324432404579051123500813210


Extractes :

Durant 20 anys el món ha provat de subvencionar l'energia verda en lloc de centrar-se en fer-la més eficient . Avui Espanya gasta al voltant de l'1% del PIB en energies verdes com la solar i l'eòlica . Aquests 11.000 milions d’euros anuals sobrepassen la despesa espanyola en educació superior .

A finals d’aquest segle, amb els actuals compromisos, aquests esforços dels espanyols hauran retardat l'impacte de l’escalfament global en unes seixanta- una hores, segons les estimacions del prestigiós model dinàmic integral econòmic-climàtic de la Universitat de Yale. ¿Milers de milions d’euros per a seixanta-una hores adicionals? És un mal negoci .
Però quan es critiquen aquests ineficients subsidis verds, poden estar sergurs de que els defensors assenyalaran que el planeta subsidia encara més els combustibles fòssils. No hauríem de fer-ho amb cap. Però la desinformació que envolta els subsidis energètics és considerable i ajuda a impedir que el món prengui mesures raonables .

Tres són els mites dels subsidis de combustibles fòssils que val la pena desmuntar. El primer és l'al·legació [ ... ] de que els EUA subsidien més els combustibles fòssils que les energies verdes. No és així.

[S'estima] que el 2010 [aquests] subsidis van arribar als $4.000 milions anuals. Això inclou $ 240 milions en inversions per a instal·lacions de carbó net [que a aquest traductor no li sembla una cosa molt allunyada del “rotllet verd”], [ i ] una deducció de despeses sobre l'amortització dels equips de control de la pol·lució [alguna cosa que els verds haurien aplaudir, en la meva humil opinió]. Les fonts renovables van rebre més del triple d’squesta xifra, uns 14.000 $ milions . En tot això no considerem $ 2.500 milions per a l’energia nuclear [que estalvia emissions de CO2].

Encara més del que sembla, és més gran la desviació real de real de la despesa a favor de l'energia verda perquè les turbines eòliques i altres fonts renovables produeixen molta menys Energia que els combustibles fòssils, i els EUA estan pagant més per menys. L'electricitat que s'obté a partir del carbó és subsidiat per les Nacions Unides un 5% d’un centau per cada kWh produït, mentre que l'eòlica rep prop d’un centau per kWh. Per a la solar, el cost per al contribuent és de 77 centaus per kWh .

Els crítics de subsidiar els combustibles fòssils, com el científic climàtic Jim Hansen, també indiquen que la immensa grandària dels subsidis slobals és l’evidència del poder que tenen les companyies de combustibles fòssils i els escèptics del canvi climàtic sobre els governs.
[Aquests] subsidis globals superen els de les renovables en dòlars nominals - $523 milers de milions sobre $88 millers de milions [per a les les renovables], segons l'Agència Internacional d'Energia. Però aquesta disparitat es reverteix si es té en compte la proporció. Els combustibles fòssils suposen més del 80% de l'energia global, mentre que la moderna energia verda suposa prop del 5%. Això vol dir que les renovables reben encara tres vegades més de diners per unitat d'energia.

Però encara més important: els crítics ignoren que aquests subsidis de combustibles fòssils pertanyen gairebé de forma exclusiva a països no occidentals. Dotze d’aquestes nacions són responsables del 75% dels subsidis globals d’aquests combustibles. Iran és el primer amb $82.000 milions anuals, seguit per l’Aràbia Saudita amb $61.000 milions. Rússia, Índia i Xina, apliquen un pressupost d’entre $30.000 i $40.000 milions i Veneçuela, Egipte, Iraq, Emirats Àrabs Units, Indonèsia, Mèxic i Algèria, la resta.

Aquests subsidis no tenen res a veure amb intentar de congraciar-se amb companyies petrolieres o amb fer-los un bon regal als escèptics de l'escalfament global. Aquesta despesa és una manera de que aquests governs comprin estabilitat política: a Veneçuela, la gasolina es ven a uns 5,9 centaus el galó [un galó són 3,8 litres] , el que li costa al govern uns $22.000 milions anuals, més del doble del que es gasta en sanitat.

Un Tercer mite el difon el recent informe de l'FMI, "Reforma dels Subsidis Energètics - lliçons i implications". L'Organització va anunciar el març passat que hi havia descobert uns $ 1.4 bilions de subsidis als combustibles fòssils que ningú havia vist . D’aquesta xifra , al·lega l'Informe, $ 700.000 milions vénen del món desenvolupat.

La gasolina i el dièsel dels EUA són receptors, en sí mateix, de prop de la meitat d’aquests 700.000 dòlars que l’FMI en diu subsidis. La gasolina i el dièsel haurien de tenir impostos més alts, atès l'informe, i així l’FMI considera aquests impostos no aplicats com a “subvencions” [Aquest traductor creu que aquestes idees tan brillants podria ser que sorgissin de la pròpia Administració Federal perquè casen amb les línies, o més ben dit, les corbes sinuoses del raonament de gent amb la preparació del Community Organizer in Chief]. Així, la pol·lució de l'aire acredita un impost de 34 centaus/galó, segons els models de l'FMI, mentre que els accidents de trànsit i la congestió haurien d’afegir prop d’un dòlar per galó .

A més hauria d’haver un IVA del 17% com en altres països, segons l'FMI, o prop de $0.80 per galó. Tots aquests impostos recaptarien $ 350.000, tractats ara per l’FMI com a subsidis.

[Això té diversos problemes.] L'Organització assumeix un cost social del CO2 de cinc vegades el que actualment té la Unió Europea. Els danys atribuïts a la pol·lució de l'aire són deu vegades més grans que les estimacions de la Unió Europea. ¿I què tenen a veure els accidents de trànsit amb els subsidis a la benzina?

Finalment, l’FMI Ignora a la pràctica els 49,5 centaus d'impostos sobre el galó de gasolina que el consumidor americà paga realment. Els models cancel·len, inexplicablement, aquest impost amb un "cost internacional d’enviament" [per mar, oleoductes, etc.] Però fins i tot si  vostè accepta les estimacions de l'FMI dels costos de la pol·lució i l'IVA a l'estil Europeu, el total del que parla l’FMI que no es recapta, es redueix només a 44 centaus / galó - menys que els impostos reals en les  EUA per centaus/galó [ ... ]
Les informacions inexactes com aquesta desinformen de manera innecessària la presa de decisions sobre polítiques públiques. Estic a favor d’acabar amb els subsidis globals als combustibles fòssils -i amb els subsidis a les energies verdes. Subsidiar energies verdes de primera generació, ineficients, fa als acomodats sentir bé en ells mateixos, però no transformarà els mercats energètics .

[ ... ]

El Dr Lomborg, director del Copenhagen Consensus Center , és l'autor de "How Much HaveGlobal Problems Cost the World? A Scoreboard from 1900 to 2050" ( Cambridge,  2013 ).

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Original, etc.: http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2013/11/la-energia-verde-es-la-realmente.html

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

La energía verde es la realmente subvencionada. By Bjorn Lomborg

La energía verde es la realmente subvencionada. Por Bjorn Lomborg
Las renovables reciben tres veces más dinero por unidad de energía que los combustibles fósiles.
Wall Street Journal, Nov 11, 2013
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324432404579051123500813210

Excerpts:

Durante 20 años el mundo ha intentado subvencionar la energía verde en vez de centrarse en hacerla más eficiente. Hoy España tira alrededor del 1% del PIB en energías verdes como la solar y la eólica. Esos €11 000 millones anuales son más de lo que España gasta en educación superior.

A finales de este siglo, con los actuales compromisos, esos esfuerzos de los españoles habrán retrasado el impacto del calentamiento global por unas sesenta y una horas, según las estimaciones del reputado modelo dinámico integral económico-climático de la Universidad de Yale. ¿Cientos de miles de millones de dólares para sesenta y una horas adicionales? Es un mal negocio.

Pero cuando se critican esos ineficientes subsidios verdes, pueden estar seguros de que los defensores señalarán que el planeta subsidia los combustibles fósiles aun más. No deberíamos hacerlo con ninguno. Pero la desinformación que rodea los subsidios energéticos es considerable y ayuda a impedir que el mundo tome medidas razonables.

Tres son los mitos de los subsidios de combustibles fósiles que vale la pena desmontar. El primero es la alegación [...] de que los EE UU subsidian más los combustibles fósiles que la energía verde. No es así.

[Se estima] que en 2010 [esos] subsidios alcanzaron los $4000 millones anuales. Esto incluye $240 millones en inversiones para instalaciones de carbón limpio [que a este traductor no le parece algo muy alejado del rollito verde]; [y] una deducción de gastos sobre la amortización de equpos de control de la polución [algo que los verdes deberían aplaudir, no?]. Las fuentes renovables recibieron más del triple de esa cifra, unos $14 000 millones. En todo esto no consideramos $2500 millones para energía nuclear [que ahorra emisiones de CO2].

Aun más de lo que parece, es mayor el sesgo real del gasto a favor de la energía verde. Ya que las turbinas eólicas y otras fuentes renovables producen mucha menos energía que los combustibles fósiles, los EE UU están pagando más por menos. La electricidad que se obtiene a partir del carbón se subsidia a un 5% de un centavo por cada kWh producido, mientras que la eólica recibe cerca de un centavo por kWh. Para solar, el coste para el contribuyente es de 77 centavos por kWh.

Los críticos de los subsidios de combustibles fósiles, como el científico climático Jim Hansen, también indican que el inmenso tamaño de los subsidios globales es evidencia del poder que sobre los gobiernos tienen las compañías de combustibles fósiles y los escépticos del cambio climático. [En opinión de este traductor, Jim está mayor.]

[Estos] subsidios globales exceden los de las renovables en dólares nominales — $523 miles de millones sobre $88 miles de millones [para las renovables], según la International Energy Agency. Pero la disparidad se revierte cuando la proporción se toma en consideración. Los combustibles fósiles suponen más del 80% de la energía global, mientras que la moderna energía verde supone cerca del 5%. Esto significa que las renovables reciben aun tres veces más dinero por unidad de energía.

Pero mucho más importante, los críticos ignoran que estos subsidios de combustibles fósiles pertenecen casi exclusivamente a países no occidentales. Doce de tales naciones son responsables del 75% de los subsidios globales de tales combustibles. Irán es el primero con $82 000 millones anuales, seguido por Arabia Saudí con $61 000 millones. Rusia, India y China presupuestan entre $30 000 y $40 000 millones y Venezuela, Egipto, Iraq, Emiratos Árabes Unidos, Indonesia, México y Argelia son el resto.

Estos subsidios no tienen nada que ver con intentar congraciarse con compañías petroleras o con regalar a los escépticos del calentamiento global. Este gasto es una forma de que estos gobiernos compren estabilidad política: en Venezuela, la gasolina se vende a 5.9 centavos el galón [el galón son 3.8 litros], lo que cuesta al gobierno unos $22 000 millones anuales, más del doble de lo que se gasta en sanidad.

Un tercer mito lo difunde un reciente informe del IMF, "Reforma de los subsidios energéticos — Lecciones e implicaciones" ("Energy Subsidy Reform—Lessons and Implications"). La organización anunció en marzo que había descubierto unos $1.4 billones de subsidios a los combustibles fósiles que nadie había visto. De esa cifra, alega el informe, $700 000 millones vienen del mundo desarrollado. [Este traductor está parcialmente de acuerdo con el informe del IMF y cree que Lomborg yerra al no mencionar lo positivas que son muchas de las valoraciones y recomendaciones del informe. Los subsidios en países no desarrollados son una salvajada para esas economías, además de que benefician en igual proporción a todos los consumidores, es decir, benefician también a quienes no los necesitan, como los jerarcas del partido dominante o los crazy mullahs. Otra cosa es lo que comenta Lomborg, que es muy razonable IMHO: el rollo este de estimar costes que deberían ser impuestos y encima los suben más que los locos de Bruselas y que al no ser recaudados los meten en la línea de subsidios.]

La gasolina y el diesel en los EE UU por sí solos son cerca de la mitad de esos $700 000 millones que el IMF dice son subsidios. La gasolina y el diesel deberían tener impuestos más altos, dice el informe, así que el IMF cuenta tales impuestos no impuestos como "subsidios" [este traductor barrunta que estas ideas tan brillantes pudiera ser que surjan de la propia Administración Federal porque casan con las líneas, o más bien sinuosas curvas, del razonamiento de gente con la preparación del Community Organizer in Chief]. Así, la polución del aire amerita un impuesto de 34 centavos/galón, según los modelos del IMF, mientras que los accidentes de tráfico y la congestión deberían añardir cerca de $1 por galón.

Además debería haber un IVA del 17% como en otros países, según el IMF, o cerca de $0.80/galón [es fácil de engordar esta estimación, el gobierno español puede sugerir el vigente 21%]. La suma que tales impuestos recaudarían, $350 000 millones, se tratan como un subsidio.

[Esto tiene varios problemas.] La organización asume un coste social del CO2 de cinco veces el que actualmente emplea la Unión Europea. Los daños atribuidos a la polución del aire son 10 veces mayores que las estimaciones de la Unión Europea. ¿Y qué tienen que ver los accidentes de tráfico con los subsidios a la gasolina?

Por último, el IMF ignora en la práctica los 49.5 centavos de impuestos sobre el galón de gasolina que el consumidor americano paga realmente. Los modelos cancelan, inexplicablemente, este impuesto con un "coste internacional de envío" [por mar, oleoductos, etc.]. Pero incluso si Vd acepta las estimaciones del IMF de los costes de la polución y el IVA al estilo europeo, el total que dice el IMF que no se recauda se reduce a solo 44 centavos/galón — menos que los impuestos reales en los EE UU por cents/galón. [...]

Información inexacta como esta perjudica innecesariamente la toma de politicas públicas. Estoy a favor de terminar con los subsidios globales de combustibles fósiles — y con los subsidios a las energías verdes. Subsidiar energías verdes de primera generación, ineficientes, hace a los acomodados sentirse bien consigo mismos, pero no transformará los mercados energéticos.

[...]

El Dr. Lomborg, director del Copenhagen Consensus Center, es el autor de "How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World? A Scoreboard from 1900 to 2050" (Cambridge, 2013).
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Translation to Catalan: http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2013/11/lenergia-verda-es-la-realment.html. By Un Liberal Recalcitrant

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Green Energy Is the Real Subsidy Hog. By Bjorn Lomborg
Renewables receive three times as much money per energy unit as fossil fuels.
Wall Street Journal, Nov 11, 2013
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324432404579051123500813210

For 20 years the world has tried subsidizing green technology instead of focusing on making it more efficient. Today Spain spends about 1% of GDP throwing money at green energy such as solar and wind power. The $11 billion a year is more than Spain spends on higher education.

At the end of the century, with current commitments, these Spanish efforts will have delayed the impact of global warming by roughly 61 hours, according to the estimates of Yale University's well-regarded Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model. Hundreds of billions of dollars for 61 additional hours? That's a bad deal.

Yet when such inefficient green subsidies are criticized, their defenders can be relied on to point out that the world subsidizes fossil fuels even more heavily. We shouldn't subsidize either. But the misinformation surrounding energy subsidies is considerable, and it helps keep the world from enacting sensible policy.

Three myths about fossil-fuel subsidies are worth debunking. The first is the claim, put forth by organizations such as the Environmental Law Institute, that the U.S. subsidizes fossil fuels more heavily than green energy. Not so.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated in 2010 that fossil-fuel subsidies amounted to $4 billion a year. These include $240 million in credit for investment in Clean Coal Facilities; a tax deferral worth $980 million called excess of percentage over cost depletion; and an expense deduction on amortization of pollution-control equipment. Renewable sources received more than triple that figure, roughly $14 billion. That doesn't include $2.5 billion for nuclear energy.

Actual spending skews even more toward green energy than it seems. Since wind turbines and other renewable sources produce much less energy than fossil fuels, the U.S. is paying more for less. Coal-powered electricity is subsidized at about 5% of one cent for every kilowatt-hour produced, while wind power gets about a nickel per kwh. For solar power, it costs the taxpayer 77 cents per kwh.
Critics of fossil-fuel subsidies, such as climate scientist Jim Hansen, also suggest that the immense size of global subsidies is evidence of the power over governments wielded by fossil-fuel companies and climate-change skeptics. Global fossil-fuel subsidies do exceed those for renewables in raw dollars—$523 billion to $88 billion, according to the International Energy Agency. But the disparity is reversed when proportion is taken into account. Fossil fuels make up more than 80% of global energy, while modern green energy accounts for about 5%. This means that renewables still receive three times as much money per energy unit.

But much more important, the critics ignore that these fossil-fuel subsidies are almost exclusive to non-Western countries. Twelve such nations account for 75% of the world's fossil-fuel subsidies. Iran tops the list with $82 billion a year, followed by Saudi Arabia at $61 billion. Russia, India and China spend between $30 billion and $40 billion, and Venezuela, Egypt, Iran, U.A.E., Indonesia, Mexico and Algeria make up the rest.

These subsidies have nothing to do with cozying up to oil companies or indulging global-warming skeptics. The spending is a way for governments to buy political stability: In Venezuela, gas sells at 5.8 cents a gallon, costing the government $22 billion a year, more than twice what is spent on health care.

A third myth is propagated by a recent International Monetary Fund report, "Energy Subsidy Reform—Lessons and Implications." The organization announced in March that it had discovered an extra $1.4 trillion in fossil-fuel subsidies that everyone else overlooked. Of that figure, the report claims, $700 billion comes from the developed world.

U.S. gasoline and diesel alone make up about half of the IMF's $700 billion in alleged subsidies. Gasoline and diesel deserve more taxation, the report says, so the IMF counts taxes that were not levied as "subsidies." Thus air pollution merits a 34-cents-per-gallon tax, according to the IMF models, while traffic accidents and congestion should add about $1 per gallon.

According to the IMF, the U.S. also should have a 17% value-added tax like other countries, at about 80 cents per gallon. The combined $350 billion such taxes allegedly would raise gets spun as a subsidy.

The assumptions behind the IMF's math have some problems. The organization assumes a social price of carbon dioxide at five times what Europe currently charges. The air-pollution damages are upward of 10 times higher than the European Union estimates. And what do traffic accidents have to do with gasoline subsidies?

Finally, the IMF effectively ignores the 49.5 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes the U.S. consumer actually pays. The models cancel out this tax, inexplicably, with an "international shipping cost." But even if you accept the IMF's estimated pollution costs and the European-style VAT, the total tax the IMF says goes uncollected comes to only about 44 cents per gallon—or less than the actual U.S. tax of 49.5 cents per gallon. The real under-taxation is zero. The $350 billion is a figment of the IMF's balance sheet.

Inaccurate information of this sort is needlessly misinforming public policy. I'm in favor of ending global fossil-fuel subsidies—and green-energy subsidies. Subsidizing first-generation, inefficient green energy might make well-off people feel good about themselves, but it won't transform the energy market.

Green-energy initiatives must focus on innovations, making new generations of technology work better and cost less. This will eventually power the world in a cleaner and cheaper way than fossil fuels. That effort isn't aided by the perpetuation of myths.

Dr. Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, is the author of "How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World? A Scoreboard from 1900 to 2050" (Cambridge, 2013).

Monday, December 17, 2012

Optimal Oil Production and the World Supply of Oil

Optimal Oil Production and the World Supply of Oil. By Nikolay Aleksandrov, Raphael Espinoza, and Lajos Gyurko
IMF Working Paper No. 12/294
Dec 2012
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=40169.0

Summary: We study the optimal oil extraction strategy and the value of an oil field using a multiple real option approach. The numerical method is flexible enough to solve a model with several state variables, to discuss the effect of risk aversion, and to take into account uncertainty in the size of reserves. Optimal extraction in the baseline model is found to be volatile. If the oil producer is risk averse, production is more stable, but spare capacity is much higher than what is typically observed. We show that decisions are very sensitive to expectations on the equilibrium oil price using a mean reverting model of the oil price where the equilibrium price is also a random variable. Oil production was cut during the 2008–2009 crisis, and we find that the cut in production was larger for OPEC, for countries facing a lower discount rate, as predicted by the model, and for countries whose governments’ finances are less dependent on oil revenues. However, the net present value of a country’s oil reserves would be increased significantly (by 100 percent, in the most extreme case) if production was cut completely when prices fall below the country's threshold price. If several producers were to adopt such strategies, world oil prices would be higher but more stable.

Excerpts:

In this paper we investigate the optimal oil extraction strategy of a small oil producer facing uncertain oil prices. We use a multiple real option approach. Extracting a barrel of oil is similar to exercising a call option, i.e. oil production can be modeled as the right to produce a barrel of oil with the payoff of the strategy depending on uncertain oil prices. Production is optimal if the payoff of extracting oil exceeds the value of leaving oil under the ground for later extraction (the continuation value). For an oil producer, the optimal extraction path corresponds to the optimal strategy of an investor holding a multiple real option with finite number of exercises (finite reserves of oil). At any single point in time, the oil producer is also limited in the number of options he can exercise, because of capacity constraints.

Our first contribution is to present the solution to the stochastic optimization problem as an exercise rule for a multiple real option and to solve the problem numerically using the Monte Carlo methods developed by Longstaff and Schwartz (2001), Rogers (2002), and extended by Aleksandrov and Hambly (2010), Bender (2011), and Gyurko, Hambly and Witte (2011). The Monte Carlo regression method is flexible and it remains accurate even for high-dimensionality problems, i.e. when there are several state variables, for instance when the oil price process is driven by two state variables, when extraction costs are stochastic, or when the size of reserves is a random variable.

We solve the real option problem for a small producer (with reserves of 12 billion barels) and for a large producer (with reserves of 100 bilion barrels) and compute the threshold below which it is optimal to defer production. In our baseline model, we find that the small producer should only produce when prices are high (higher than US$73 per barrel at 2000 constant prices), whereas for the large producer, full production is optimal as soon as prices exceed US$39. Optimal production is found to be volatile given the stochastic process of oil prices. As a result, we show that the net present value of oil reserves would be substantially higher if countries were willing to vary production when oil prices change. This result has important implications for oil production policy and for the design of macroeconomic policies that depend on inter-temporal and inter-generational equity considerations. It also implies that the world supply curve would be very elastic to prices if all countries were optimizing production as in the baseline model—and as a result, prices would tend to be higher but much less volatile.

We investigate why observed production is not as volatile as what is predicted by the baseline calibration of the model. One possible explanation is that producers are risk averse. Under this assumption, production is accelerated and is more stable, but a risk averse producer should also maintain large spare capacity, a result at odds with the evidence that oil producers almost always produce at full capacity. A second potential explanation is that producers are uncertain about the actual size of their oil reserves. Using panel data on recoverable reserves, we show however that, historically, this uncertainty has been diminishing with time and therefore this explanation is incomplete, since even mature oil exporters maintain low spare capacity. A third explanation may be that the oil price process, and in particular the equilibrium oil price, is unknown to the decision makers. Indeed, the optimal reaction to an increase in oil prices depends on whether the price increase is perceived to be temporary or to reflect a permanent shift in prices. If shocks are known to be primarily temporary, production should increase in the face of oil price increases. But if shocks are thought to be accompanied by movements in the equilibrium price, the continuation value jumps at the same time as the immediate payoff from extracting oil. In that case an increase in price may not result in an increase in production. Faced with uncertain views on the optimal strategy, the safe decision might well be to remain prudent with changes in production.

In practice, world oil production is partially cut in the face of negative demand shocks. The last section of the paper investigates whether the reduction in oil production during the 2008–2009 crisis can be explained by the determinants predicted by the model. We find that the cut in production was larger for OPEC, for countries facing a lower discount rate, as predicted by the model, and for countries with government finances less dependent on oil revenues.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oil-price shocks have had substantial and statistically significant effects during the last 25 years

Measuring Oil-Price Shocks Using Market-Based Information. By Tao Wu & Michele Cavallo
IMF Working Paper No. 12/19
January 01, 2012
http://www.imfbookstore.org/ProdDetails.asp?ID=WPIEA2012019

Summary

We study the effects of oil-price shocks on the U.S. economy combining narrative and quantitative approaches. After examining daily oil-related events since 1984, we classify them into various event types. We then develop measures of exogenous shocks that avoid endogeneity and predictability concerns. Estimation results indicate that oil-price shocks have had substantial and statistically significant effects during the last 25 years. In contrast, traditional VAR approaches imply much weaker and insignificant effects for the same period. This discrepancy stems from the inability of VARs to separate exogenous oil-supply shocks from endogenous oil-price fluctuations driven by changes in oil demand.

Excerpts:

I. INTRODUCTION
The relationship between oil-price shocks and the macroeconomy has attracted extensive scrutiny by economists over the past three decades. The literature, however, has not reached a consensus on how these shocks affect the economy, or by how much. A large number of studies have relied on vector autoregression (VAR) approaches to identify exogenous oilprice shocks and estimate their effects. Nevertheless, estimation results generally have not provided compelling support for the conventional-wisdom view that following a positive oilprice shock, real GDP declines and the overall price level increases. In addition, the estimated relationship is often unstable over time. This is why, after a careful examination of various approaches, Bernanke, Gertler, and Watson (1997) conclude that “finding a measure of oil price shocks that ‘works’ in a VAR context is not straightforward. It is also true that the estimated impacts of these measures on output and prices can be quite unstable over different samples.”

Traditional VAR-based measures of oil-price shocks exhibit two recurrent weaknesses: endogeneity and predictability. With regard to the first one, VAR approaches often cannot separate oil-price movements driven by exogenous shocks from those reflecting endogenous responses to other kinds of structural shocks. For instance, the oil price increases that occurred over the 2002–2008 period were viewed by many as the result of “an expanding world economy driven by gains in productivity” (The Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2006). The occurrence of such endogenous movements will undoubtedly lead to biased estimates of the effects of oil shocks.

On the other hand, part of the observed oil price changes might have been anticipated by private agents well in advance. Therefore, they can hardly be considered as “shocks.” Most measures of oil-price shocks in the literature are constructed using only spot oil prices. However, when the market senses any substantial supply-demand imbalances in the future, changes in the spot prices may not fully reflect such imbalances. A number of authors (e.g., Wu and McCallum, 2005; Chinn, LeBlanc, and Coibon, 2005) have found that oil futures prices are indeed quite powerful in predicting spot oil price movements, indicating that at least a portion of such movements may have been anticipated at least a few months in advance. Both these concerns underscore the need to pursue a different approach to obtain more reliable measures of exogenous oil-price shocks.

In this paper, we combine narrative and quantitative approaches to develop new measures of exogenous oil-price shocks that avoid the endogeneity and predictability concerns. We begin by identifying the events that have driven oil-price fluctuations on a daily basis from 1984 to 2007. To achieve this goal, we first collect information from daily oil-market commentaries published in a number of oil-industry trade journals, such as Oil Daily, Oil & Gas Journal, and Monthly Energy Chronology. This leads to the construction of a database that identifies the oil-related events that have occurred each day since January 1984. We then classify these daily events into a number of different event types based on their specific features, such as weather changes in the U.S., military actions in the Middle East, OPEC announcements on oil production, U.S. oil inventory announcements, etc. (see Table 1). Next, for each event type we construct a measure of oil-price shocks by running oil-price forecasting equations on a daily basis. Finally, shock series from exogenous oil events are selected and aggregated into a single measure of exogenous oil-price shocks. By construction, these shock measures should be free of endogeneity and predictability problems, and statistical tests are also conducted to confirm their exogeneity. For robustness, we also provide a number of alternative definitions of exogenous oil-price shocks and construct corresponding shock measures for each one of them.

We employ our new, market-information based measures to study the responses of U.S. output, consumer prices, and monetary policy to exogenous oil-price shocks. We also compare the estimated responses with those obtained following two traditional VAR-based identification strategies that are very popular in the literature. Estimation results reveal substantial and statistically significant output and price responses to exogenous oil-price shocks identified by our market-based methodology. In contrast, responses implied by the VAR-based approaches are much weaker, statistically insignificant, and unstable over time. Moreover, we find that following a demand-driven oil-price shock, real GDP increases and the price level declines. This finding is consistent with scenarios in which oil-price fluctuations are endogenous responses to changes in the level of economic activity rather than reflecting exogenous oil shocks. We argue that traditional VAR-based approaches cannot separate the effects of these two kinds of shocks and consequently lead to biased estimates of the dynamic responses.

Our approach is similar in spirit to the narrative approach pursued in a number of existing studies. Romer and Romer (2004, 2010) adopt it in their analyses of monetary policy and tax shocks, Alexopoulos (2011) and Alexopoulos and Cohen (2009) in the context of technology shocks, and Ramey (2009) in her analysis of government spending shocks. With regard to oil-price shocks, several earlier studies have tried to isolate some geopolitical events associated with abrupt oil-price increases and examine their effects on the U.S. economy. Hamilton (1983, 1985) identifies a number of “oil-price episodes” before 1981, mainly Middle East tensions, and concludes that such oil shocks had effectively contributed to postwar recessions in the U.S. Hoover and Perez (1994) revise Hamilton’s (1983) quarterly dummies into a monthly dummy series and find that oil shocks had led to declines in U.S. industrial production. Bernanke, Gertler, and Watson (1997) construct a quantitative measure, weighting Hoover and Perez’s dummy variable by the log change in the producer price index for crude oil, yet they were not able to find statistically significant macroeconomic responses to oil shocks in a VAR setting. Hamilton (2003) identifies five military conflicts during the postwar period and reexamines the effects of the associated oil shocks on U.S. GDP growth. Finally, Kilian (2008) also analyzes six geopolitical events since 1973, five in the Middle East and one in Venezuela, and examines their effects on the U.S. economy. Our study contributes to the literature by constructing a database of all oil-related events on a daily basis. This allows us to identify all kinds of oil shocks and conduct a more comprehensive analysis than earlier studies. Extracting the “unpredictable” component of oil-price fluctuations using an oil futures price-based forecasting model represents another novelty of our work.

More recently, Kilian (2009) has also used information from the oil market to disentangle different kinds of oil-price shocks. In particular, he has constructed an index of global real economic activity, including it in a tri-variate VAR, along with data on world oil production and real oil prices. Using a recursive ordering of these variables, he recovers an oil-supply shock, a global aggregate demand-driven shock, and an oil market-specific demand shock.  Although his approach is completely different from ours, the effects on the U.S. economy of all three kinds of structural shocks estimated in his work are quite close to our empirical estimates.  This, in turn, corroborates the validity of our approach. We present detailed evidence in subsequent sections.

Our study is also related to the ongoing debate about how the real effects of oil-price shocks have changed over time. For instance, VAR studies, such as those of Hooker (1996) and Blanchard and Galí (2009), have usually found a much weaker and statistically insignificant relationship between their identified oil-price shocks and real GDP growth in the U.S. and other developed economies during the last two to three decades. These results are often cited as evidence suggesting that the U.S. economy has become less volatile and more insulated from external shocks, the result of better economic policy, a lack of large adverse shocks, or a smaller degree of energy dependence (e.g., a more efficient use of energy resources and a larger share of service sector in the U.S. economy), all contributing to a “Great Moderation” starting in the first half of the 1980s. Although we do not challenge this general characterization of the “Great Moderation,” our estimation results reveal a substantial and significant adverse effect of exogenous oil shocks on the U.S. economy, even during the last two and a half decades. Results from VAR studies, in particular the time variation in coefficient estimates, may simply reflect an inadequate identification strategy.

V. CONCLUDING REMARKS
This paper combines narrative and quantitative approaches to examine the dynamic effects of oil-price shocks on the U.S. economy. To correctly identify exogenous oil shocks, we first collect oil-market related information from a number of oil-industry trade journals, and compile a database identifying all the events that have affected the global oil market on a daily basis since 1984. Based on such information, we are able to isolate events that are exogenous to the U.S. economy and construct corresponding measures of exogenous oil-price shocks.  Furthermore, shock magnitudes are calculated by running a real-time oil-price forecasting model incorporating oil futures prices. These procedures help alleviate the endogeneity and predictability problems that have pestered the traditional VAR identification strategies in the literature.

One contribution of our work is the thorough examination of all kinds of oil-related events in the past two and a half decades, more comprehensive than just focusing on geopolitical or military events, as most of the earlier literature has done so far. Moreover, in constructing the database, we have preserved as much primitive information on the oil-market developments as possible, with the hope of facilitating possible future studies by other researchers on the nature and implications of these events. 

After deriving our measures of various kinds of oil shocks, we go on to examine their dynamic macroeconomic effects. We find that exogenous oil-price shocks have had substantial and statistically significant effects on the U.S. economy during the past two and a half decades. In contrast, traditional VAR identification strategies imply a substantially weaker and insignificant real effect for the same period. Further analysis reveals that this discrepancy is likely to stem from the inability of VAR-based approaches to separate exogenous oil-supply shocks from endogenous oil-price fluctuations driven by changes in oil demand. Notably, our study also suggests that the U.S. economy may not have become as insulated from oil shocks during the last two and a half decades as earlier studies have suggested. To examine fully how the oil price-macroeconomy relationship has evolved during the whole postwar period, a thorough study along the same narrative and quantitative approach for the period prior to the “Great Moderation” is called for. This will be the topic for future research.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How is MENA destabilization affecting global markets for oil, energy, etc.?

QUESTION: With continuing uncertainty in the Middle East – in places like Libya, Syria, and Yemen – how is this destabilization affecting global markets for oil, energy, and other goods and services? What do you think are the important issues that are not being covered in the media?

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1  Effects of instability in energy markets

There are two kinds of effects: The easily measurable ones, and the subjective, or irrational, ones.

The first are easy to see. If any of these countries of the table below [1] stop (partly or completely) their oil exports, the effects are, depending of disruption time, going to be more or less close to last column's values:





This is the table for gas [1]:




You can run your models to try to estimate how big will be the final effect in prices, and further run the models to try to ascertain the impact on growth, inflation, employment, etc., making use of the rational expectations principle.

Recent comments by Ms Jean Boivin, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, at the Canadian Association for Business Economics this week [2] explains that rational expectations (in its stronger form) means that we assume that people is very sophisticated: individuals "fully understand how economies and markets work, take into account all the information available, fully appreciate the future consequences of their actions today, and make decisions that are fully consistent with this understanding."

Now, this is just a starting point, the dominant undercurrent of people's actions in economic tasks. Analysts pour over the tables above and other data to try to objectivize behaviors. But there are "perturbations" to the mathematical equations that introduce a distance between the ideal (rational expectations) and the real thing. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to introduce into the models the non-objective part.

So the summary is this: effects will gravitate around the values in the tables above, but there is a volatility in the final values that depends of how fearful are investors, and fear is non-computable.


2  Important issues not being covered in the media

Most issues not covered in the media are, IMHO, due to lack of familiarity with the MENA countries. There is not enough knowledge among investors, policymakers, and citizens of those societies: their culture, their history, who are powerful and why.

So most commentary on the risks of a jihadist takeover, or the lack of attention to countries like Mauritania, ignore basic data about those societies and the interactions in the area.


Data like this, which shows efforts (and their relative weight) to influence North Africa by countries outside the area [3], are not being discussed:




References

[1]  Michael Ratner & Neelesh Nerurkar: "Middle East and North Africa Unrest: Implications for Oil and Natural Gas Markets." Congressional Research Service, March 10, 2011.

[2]  Jean Boivin: How people think and how it matters. Remarks by Ms Jean Boivin, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, presented to the Canadian Association for Business Economics, Kingston, Ontario, August 23, 2011.

[3]  The Moor Next Door, Oct 17, 2010, http://themoornextdoor.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/experiments-in-map-making > map in section 5 (http://themoornextdoor.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/screen-shot-2010-10-27-at-10-53-20-am.png?w=700&h=386)