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The impact of oil price shocks on capital spending in the oil and gas industry: A VAR analysis at the firm level

Zahid Iqbal and Shekar Shetty

Managerial Finance, 2018, vol. 44, issue 11, 1347-1363

Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of oil price shocks on capital spending in relation to the following firm characteristics: firm size, debt ratio, growth prospects, earnings and key sectors of the oil and gas industry. Design/methodology/approach - To examine the impact of oil price changes on each of the sample firm’s capital spending, the authors utilize a vector autoregressive (VAR) framework which requires that the oil price and the firm’s capital spending series are stationary. The authors employ the Augmented Dickey–Fuller (ADF) procedure to test if these series are stationary in levels or in their first difference. Since the results show that the ADF values for adjusted oil price and for all but one capital spending series are stationary, the authors perform VAR analysis using the level data. Findings - The impulse response results show that there is a positive relationship between oil price shocks and capital spending by the oil and gas firms. In other words, the oil and gas firms reduce (increase) capital spending when oil prices fall (rise). The responses are highest around q3. Additionally, the responses are stronger for the exploration and production, drilling, and oil services firms, and weaker for the refining firms (oil majors). Also, the small, low-earnings and low p/e firms exhibit the highest responses to oil price shocks. The impulse response results for the debt quartiles are inconclusive. Practical implications - The findings shed light into the impact of oil price shocks on capital spending in relation to firm characteristics. The impulse response results that capital spending of the E&P, drilling and oil services firms, and the small firms in general, have a higher positive impact of oil shocks lend support to the argument that these firms more likely reduce capital spending because of financial constraints in the capital markets. A higher positive response by the low return on assets firms indicates that firms with low earnings and cash flow problems are more likely to reduce their capital spending when oil price drops. With regard to growth prospects, it appears that shocks in oil price dampen the outlook for the low p/e firms, which leads to a cut in their capital spending. On the other hand, the high p/e firms seem to rely more on their growth prospects and downplay the adverse impact of oil price shocks. Originality/value - Unlike previous studies in this area, the study focuses on firm-level data in detail, uses quarterly data and uses firm-specific variables that explain impact of oil price shocks on capital spending in oil and gas industry.

Keywords: Oil price shocks; Capital spending; G31; G39 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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