Nicolas Maystre, David Bicchetti, 05 April 2012

Trade in commodity derivatives – such as oil futures – has grown tremendously over the last few decades. Some believe that the "financialisation" of commodity markets has made them more efficient. Others worry that financialisation has resulted in greater price distortions and volatility. This column presents high-frequency trading data suggesting that the sceptics may have a point.

Lutz Kilian, Bassam Fattouh, Lavan Mahadeva, 26 March 2012

What caused the price of oil to surge in 2003–08? CEPR DP8916 assesses – and finds little evidence for – the popular view that ‘speculation’ drives oil price shocks. Economic fundamentals, the authors argue, are still the main determinants.

Cédric Tille, Philippe Bacchetta, Eric van Wincoop, 19 July 2010

Why did the world economy plunge into the worst recession since the Great Depression? This column argues that economic fundamentals do not explain the global crisis. But they did play a role. Events such as the fall of Lehman Brothers can become focal points for investors’ risk perceptions, changing the way the fundamentals are interpreted. This can lead to “risk panics” – self-fulfilling spikes in risk and a collapse in asset prices.


CEPR Policy Research