Oil ETFs: Two Ways to Get Your Fix

You’ve probably already noticed that the pump prices are getting a little more painful. It may not help your budget, but exchange traded funds (ETFs) are certainly in line to benefit.

Today oil prices are lingering around $91 per barrel, but where it goes next is a matter of debate. Oil is smack in the middle of a three-year trading range, says Matthew D. McCall for Index Universe. That means everyone has a prediction.

According to Brai Odion-Esene for Automated Trader, the the EIA presented updated projections for U.S. energy markets through 2035. Those projections estimate that the real price of crude oil will be $125-$200 per barrel by then.

One thing is fairly certain: the days of $40 oil a barrel seen in 2009 are long gone. The global economic recovery is in play, and greater demand for oil goes hand-in-hand with this growth. [CFTC Rules Already Baked Into ETFs.]

Two ETFs can help give exposure to oil. Both funds trade futures contracts – there’s no physically-backed oil ETF; can you imagine the storage space that would be required?

United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO) is down year-to-date due to contango. There has been a flattening of the curve, and some suspect backwardation (the exact opposite of contango) could be right around the corner, which would benefit USO. [Gasoline ETF: Offset Higher Prices At the Pump.]

United States 12-Month Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USL) helps mitigate contango that could occur when rolling out of a contract into the next front-month contract. USL has slightly outperformed USO and is up 2% for the year.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

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