Exchange traded funds (ETFs) and the general markets are off slightly after the trade deficit rose to a 16-month high and oil continued to head south.

Oil imports hit an all-time high this summer, which offset strong growth among exports, reports Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press. The deficit rose by 5.7% to $62.2 billion in July, much worse than the $58 billion Wall Street expected.

The deterioration reflected record oil prices that pushed America’s foreign oil bill up to an all-time high of $51.4 billion. U.S. exports delivered a solid showing, which rose by 3.3%.

This morning, oil is falling toward $100, last seen at $100.70 a barrel, report Myra P. Saefong and Polya Lesova for MarketWatch. Since Hurricane Ike isn’t predicted to hit Texas until Saturday, oil’s price can be expected to be volatile, says one expert.

Gas prices have jumped to unprecedented levels in the wholesale markets, ranging from $4 to almost $5 a gallon – a huge jump from $3 to $3.30 a gallon on Wednesday. An oil analyst says Hurricane Ike is going to shut down the biggest cluster of refiners for at least five to as many as seven days.

If these wholesale prices hold, pump prices could shoot past the July 17 record of $4.114 a gallon, reports Madlen Read for the Associated Press.

Affected ETFs:

  • United States Oil (USO), up 9.5% year-to-date
  • United States Gasoline (UGA), up 3.4% since Feb. 28 inception
  • iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index (OIL), up 9.1% year-to-date
  • PowerShares DB Oil (DBO), up 14.7% year-to-date

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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