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Oil price assumptions for macroeconomic policy

Degiannakis, Stavros and Filis, George (2020): Oil price assumptions for macroeconomic policy.

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Abstract

Despite the arguments that are put forward by the literature that oil price forecasts are economically useful, such claim has not been tested to date. In this study we evaluate the economic usefulness of oil price forecasts by means of conditional forecasting of three core macroeconomic indicators that policy makers are predicting, using assumptions about the future path of the oil prices. The chosen indicators are the core inflation rate, industrial production and purchasing price index. We further consider two more indicators, namely inflation expectation and monetary policy uncertainty. To do so, we initially forecast oil prices using a MIDAS framework and subsequently we use regression-based models for our conditional forecasts. Overall, there is diminishing importance of oil price forecasts for macroeconomic projections and policy formulation. An array of arguments is presented as to why this might be the case, which relate to the improved energy efficiency, the contemporary monetary policy tools and the financialisation of the oil market. Our findings remain robust to alternative oil price forecasting frameworks.

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