Do Firms Sell Forward for Strategic Reasons? An Application to the Wholesale Market for Natural Gas

J.L. Moraga Gonzalez, R. van Eijkel, G. Kuper

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Cournot models of oligopolistic interaction in forward and spot markets have shown that firms may sell forward for risk-hedging reasons only, or for both risk-hedging and strategic considerations. Using data from the Dutch wholesale market for natural gas where we observe the number of players, spot and forward sales, churn rates and prices, this paper presents evidence that strategic reasons play an important role at explaining the observed firms’ hedging activity. Our test for strategic behavior is based on the theoretical relationship between the number of sellers and the incentives to sell forward: if risk-hedging is the only motive behind firms’ decision to sell forward, then hedging activity ought to decrease in the number of firms; otherwise, if strategic reasons are relevant, then firms incentives to sell forward should increase in the number of competitors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-35
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Organization
Volume49
Issue numberNovember
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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