Memorial Day has come and gone and that means the start of the summer traveling season is officially underway. In years past, that has presented a good news/bad news scenario. Bad news for consumers that have summer travel plans and good news for traders looking to profit from rising prices at the pump.
ETF investors looking to profit from that trend have turned to the United States Gasoline Fund (NYSEArca: UGA), which tracks NYMEX-traded gasoline futures. UGA, home to $61.5 million in assets under management, could use the benefit of a strong summer run because as equity-based energy ETF have rallied this year futures-based UGA has slid 7.3%. [Energy Sector ETFs Heating Up]
UGA is close to support at $54, a price level it has bounced off of twice since last November, but the fundamental outlook is not encouraging. Recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed gasoline demand was 8.95 million barrels per day, the best level since August 2012. s
Still, U.S. gasoline inventories remain ample at 219.2 million barrels and “in its most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook expects average regular grade gasoline retail prices to average $3.53 per gallon during the peak April to September driving season. This figure is 16 cents per gallon lower than in 2012 and 10 cents lower than earlier forecast,” according to Options Express.
Further clouding the summertime outlook for UGA is soaring U.S. oil production. North American oil supply is set to grow by 3.9 million barrels per day, as emerging economies are on track to exceed oil product consumption by developed markets this year. Due to increased production at shale formations such as the Bakken in North North Dakota and Eagle Ford in South Texas, U.S. oil output is at its highest levels in more than two decades. [Shale Boom Resonates With Energy ETFs]