UGA (U.S. Gasoline Fund, Expense Ratio 0.60%) has seen a healthy uptick in trading activity this week as tensions in Syria grow seemingly by the day, and this is a fund that we have highlighted in these columns on several occasions in the past as a good barometer for commodity/energy traders whom are utilizing ETPs for such exposure.
UGA debuted in 2008 and still remains somewhat small in terms of fund size ($58 million in assets under management) although average daily trading volume has been growing steadily over time.
Prices spiked earlier this week in Gas and Crude Oil on the headlines coming out of the Mideast, and if such volatility continues into the fall and winter months, there is no reason to believe that UGA will not be in focus.
Of course, Crude Oil related ETPs such as USO (U.S. Oil Fund, Expense Ratio 0.45%) tend to steal the spotlight during broad energy commodity moves such as one we are seeing currently, as USO and related products have also seen an impressive spike in price amid much heavier trading volume in recent sessions. [Oil ETF Highest in a Year on Syria]
UGA is structured as an ETF, not an ETN, and employs a futures based strategy much like other energy commodity products that fall within the same broad category as it does in order to provide some level of tracking to Gasoline prices over time.
Products with such methodologies should be investigated thoroughly in terms of their actual historical tracking to spot commodity prices, and thorough due diligence is encouraged in terms of how the fund has and/or may handle situations of backwardation and contango in the futures markets.