Detecting West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Prices' Bubble Periods
Oil prices have had considerable surges and bursts since the first oil crisis of 1973. Until then its price was stable, with almost zero volatility. Since then, apart from the two oil crises of 1973 and 1978/9, oil prices had consecutive bubble episodes like the surges up to 2008 and 2014 and their successive bursts, respectively. The trace of these bubble periods is of crucial importance for policymakers, since their drivers and consequences impact global economic developments. Phillips et al.
... and Phillips et al. methodologies are applied to detect whether West Texas Intermediate prices experienced bubble periods. Both methodologies suggest that WTI prices experienced explosive episodes, which could be fundamentally, speculatively, or politically attributed. Some suggested periods coincide for both methods, but the second methodology seems to be more sensitive than its predecessor is, leading to better bubble detection but also to identification of non-existent bubbles. The identified bubble periods are compared to relevant research in the literature concerning their presence, duration, and explosiveness. The main goal of the research, apart from the detection of bubbles' presence and duration, is to identify the causal underlying reasons for each explosive episode. Further, we compare the start and endpoints of each bubble episode with time-points when structural changes occurred. The contribution of the paper is that it clearly defines the bubble episodes with their corresponding drivers. The paper identifies the importance of market fundamentals' swifts in explaining the bubble periods. The findings of the papers can help policymakers and other stakeholders to monitor oil price shifts and their underlying reasons, and then proceed with prompt actions. Since bubble episodes are fundamentally explained, then the practical utility is that by focusing on the market fundamentals, stakeholders can avoid actions that could result in market failures.