Quiet as it has been kept, the iPath Crude Oil Futures ETN (NYSEArca: OIL) has been on a torrid pace, surging 29% over the past three months. OIL’s run may not be over if the ETN’s charts are accurate gauges.
“Eventually of course, a breakout from that wedge becomes inevitable. At that point, one would expect the original range to re-establish itself, but that is often not the case. A lot of people will have spotted the trend by now and, in order to make the same amount from each trade, and emboldened by past success, it is likely that position sizes will have grown. Bear in mind too that range trades such as this are, by their nature, short term, so are usually protected by a stop loss fairly close to the original position. Those stop loss orders tend to be clustered around the original chart points, often providing enough momentum to break through them when the wedge pattern is broken,” according to OilPrice.com.
OIL “designed to provide exposure to the S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index,” according to iPath.
At the fundamental level, OIL and rival crude oil exchange traded products face challenges. While oil consumption is on the rise, global oil demand will not keep up with increasing supplies, potentially keeping a lid on any gains in the oil market and related exchange traded funds. [Oil ETFs: Iraq, OPEC Maintaining Higher Exports]
OPEC is unlikely to cut output in a bid prop up prices. Earlier this month, the oil cartel agreed to keep its spigots open for at least another six month, maintaining a 30 million barrels per day target. However, OPEC has been running over 1 million barrels per day above its official target for the past three consecutive months.
Some oil market observers argue that the energy sector could see further weakness as fundamentals remain unfavorable, with inventories reaching near their highest in over two decades. [Oil ETFs: Iraq, OPEC Maintaining Higher Exports]