Between June and December 2014, the price of crude oil has fallen by nearly 50%, which represents one of the most dramatic declines in recent history. Within the same period, the average price reduction of coal, natural gas, agricultural commodities in general, metals, and food has been significantly less severe. Academic researchers, economists and policymakers have started to analyse the effects of relatively low oil prices on the economic and political stability of the oil-exporting countries, the sustainability of alternative forms of energy production, the international energy and non-energy commodity markets, and the new growth opportunities for the global economy. At the same time, efforts have been devoted to identify the causes of the recent oil price collapse, among which positive oil supply shocks originating from oil-producing countries and shocks to oil price expectations due to the end-of-last-year OPEC announcements. Finally, the “big” question on whether the decline of the price of oil is similar to past oil price drops, and, more important, if it is likely to continue or to stop soon, is still unanswered.   

The 2015 FEEM International Workshop on “Recent Evolution of Oil and Commodity Prices” is the natural continuation of a series of events organized by the FEEM research programme “Energy: Resources and Markets” in the last three years, namely “Financial Speculation in the Oil Markets and the Determinants of the Oil Prices” (2012), “Oil Price Forecasts and Trends” (2013), and “Oil and Commodity Price Dynamics” (2014).

The aim of this year’s workshop is to provide participants with updated and high-quality perspectives on a number of issues which are crucial to understand oil price evolution and dynamics during the last months, the causes and the consequences of low oil prices, the challenges that rapid oil prices declines and increases offer to oil price forecasters, the complexity of the international oil and commodity markets, the financialization and the interconnections of energy and non-energy commodity derivatives markets.

This aim is accomplished by gathering together internationally distinguished scholars, renowned professionals from energy and financial institutions, as well as FEEM senior and junior researchers, who will present and discuss fresh results from their own research works.