International Economics

<< N°164

Issue Q4 2020  
Oil price jumps and the uncertainty of oil supplies in a geopolitical perspective: The role of OPECís spare capacity  
Refk Selmi
Jamal Bouoiyour
Amal Miftah
The contribution of this paper is threefold: first, it introduces a new geopolitical risk index that incorporates recent geopolitical events ignored in Caldara and Iacoviello (2018)’s index. In addition to war threats and acts, terrorist threats and acts and nuclear threats, the new indicator accounts for global trade tensions, the changing fundamentals of U.S.-China relations, the escalated U.S.-Iran conflict, Saudi Arabia’s uncertainty, Venezuela’s crisis, and OPEC news that rise in response to important OPEC meetings and events connected with OPEC production levels. Second, it addresses how the volatility of six oil prices (the Nigerian Bonny Light, Brent, Dubai, OPEC, Tapis, and WTI) behave when the developed geopolitical risk index unexpectedly changes. Third, it examines whether OPEC maintains a buffer of spare capacity that it uses to respond to potential crises that reduce oil supplies. We show that an increase in the geopolitical risk index is significantly associated with unanticipated oil price changes, though with varying sensitivities. Our findings also reveal that OPEC’s use of spare capacity reduces the reaction of oil price to geopolitical risks but moderately, thus suggesting a limited stabilizing influence on the oil market. The limited amount of spare production capacity leaves the oil market on a knife’s edge as it deals with a host of potential supply disruptions stemming from geopolitical issues.

Oil price jumps ; Geopolitical risks ; OPECís spare production capacity ; Keywords
G11 ; G15 ; C58 ; JEL classification
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