With oil market watchers anticipating low energy prices are here to stay, the depressed crude oil prices could fall below break-even levels for the shale industry, further pressuring sector-related exchange traded funds.
The energy sectors that cover the U.S. oil boom have been among worst performing areas of the market this year. For instance, year-to-date, the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEArca: XOP) declined 17.8% and iShares U.S. Oil Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: IEZ) decreased 15.3%.
Meanwhile, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, has plunged 31.8% year-to-date. WTI crude oil futures are now trading around $42.4 per barrel.
Now, oil experts project crude prices will continue to dip to levels where many shale producers will be unable to generate a profit, reports Patti Domm for CNBC.
According to a recent CNBC oil survey, the majority of investors and analysts believe WTI will slide to between $30 and $40 per barrel this fall, with about 62% of respondents anticipating the WTI crude to trade between the range and stay low toward the end of the year,
Additionally, 43% of respondents believe the breakeven price for the U.S. shale industry is about $45 to $55 per barrel, and 24% estimate the breakeven level at $55 to $65.