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Determinants of the premium in forward contracts


Journal of Regulatory Economics


Management Science and Operations

Authors / Editors

Redl C;Bunn D W


Publication Year



Whilst the benefits of forward contracting for goods and services have been extensively researched in terms of mitigating market power effects in spot markets, we analyse how the risk in spot price formation induces a counteracting premium in the contract prices. We consider and test a wide-ranging set of propositions, involving fundamental, behavioural, dynamic, market conduct and shock components, on a long data set from the most liquid of European electricity forward markets, the EEX. We show that part of what is conventionally regarded as the market price of risk in electricity is actually that of its underlying fuel commodity, gas; that market power has a double effect on prices, insofar as it increases spot prices and induces a forward premium; that oil price sentiment spills over and that the premium reacts to scarcity and the higher moments of spot price uncertainty. We observe that considerations of the scale and determinants of the forward premium are at least as important as the market power effects in spot market price formation when evaluating the efficiency of wholesale power trading.

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