Demand for industrial raw materials from emerging economies, particularly emerging Asia, is widely believed to have fueled the surge in oil and industrial commodity prices during 2002-2008. The paper first presents a simple storage model in which commodity prices respond to market participant’s changing expectations of the future macroeconomic environment.
Based on recent research, this article discusses three ways that oil-futures prices can improve our understanding of current conditions and future prospects in the global market for crude oil. First, the response of the oil-futures curve can be used to identify the persistence of oil-price shocks and to obtain an indicator of the rate at which they will diminish. Second, the spread between the current futures price and the spot price of oil can be interpreted as an indicator of the precautionary demand for oil. Third, because oil-futures prices are volatile, forecasts of the future spot price of oil using futures prices should be supplemented with other information to improve their accuracy.
The intertemporal approach to the current account suggests modeling movements in the current account in a forward-looking, dynamic framework. In this framework, the current account reflects consumption smoothing of agents that lend and borrow from the rest of the world in the face of transitory shocks to income.