ETF Trends
ETF Trends

The increasingly large natural gas exchange traded fund (ETF) finally became so large that it was forced to stop issuing shares in trading on Tuesday when it didn’t win approval for more shares in time. Some wonder if these and other commodity funds are getting too large and weighing on the markets.

United States Natural Gas (UNG) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in early June to increase the available shares nearly 10-fold. Such a request can take weeks to receive approval. The ETF has grown in popularity over recent months, and concerns over the distortion of trading markets was pinned to this ETF and others.

Today, the ETF climbed to the largest position in its 27-month history as it awaits government approval to issue more shares, reports Asjylyn Loder for Bloomberg. John Heine, SEC spokesman, says the timeline for approval varies from case to case.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is considering trading restrictions on hedge funds and other “speculative” trading in the markets (defined as those who are non-commercial investors who aren’t users or producers of those commodities). Speculators are no strangers to boogeyman suspicions, as last year they were blamed for sending oil up to nearly $150.

But is that fair or accurate?

John Hyland, chief investment officer at U.S. Commodity Funds defends his funds and says they are not hurting trading markets, report Ian Salisbury and Daisy Maxey for The Wall Street Journal. He defends publicly listed commodity funds and says they are not having a negative impact on the markets. The providers are supporting an open, transparent, and orderly commodities market that is open to public investors.

While many want to blame speculators, there are others who feel that speculators are what keep the markets moving. Without them, some say, the markets become less liquid and there’s weaker price discovery.

For more stories about commodities, visit our commodity category.

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.