Crude oil futures and commodity-related exchange traded funds are heading toward their largest two-day rally since 2009 as overdone selling and a sudden spike in heating demand helped oil bounce off a 12-year low.
On Friday, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, gained 7.0% and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, rose 8.0%. Since the Wednesday low, USO surged 15.8% and BNO advanced 16.8%.
WTI crude oil futures were 7.6% higher to $31.8 per barrel Friday while BNO crude oil futures were up 8.1% to $31.6 per barrel.
Meanwhile, leveraged oil ETFs also shot up on the action. On Friday, the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil (NYSEArca: UCO), which takes two times or 200% daily performance of WTI crude oil, increased 14.5% and the VelocityShares 3x Long Crude ETN (NYSEArca: UWTI), which tracks three times or 300% the daily performance of WTI crude, jumped 20.7%.
Oil rallied Friday as a cold weather gripped both sides of the Atlantic, fueling the bets of improved heating oil demand, Reuters reports.
The rebound, though, may be short lived as the global supply glut that dragged oil prices to 2003 lows are still in effect, with Iran expected to dump exports onto global markets ahead. Nevertheless, some observers argue that we may not return to the oversold levels.
“I think panic took over common sense and now we’re starting to get a grip on reality,” Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group, told Reuters. “There’s no doubt, there are fundamentals out there that mean weaker energy prices, but a price of $26 a barrel is pricing in a global recession and we’re not in one.”
The sudden bounce in oil prices may have also forced short covering among overly bearish traders and helped the rally push higher. Investors with heavy short positions are forced to cover, or buy back, their shorts in the event of positive reports that result in a share appreciation. Consequently, the additional buying momentum from short sellers covering their options contracts helped bolster prices even further.
“Oil is going to rally into the spring,” James Cordier, founder of Optionsellers.com, told Bloomberg. “It’s short-covering rally, but we do think it has legs to continue.”
United States Oil Fund
Max Chen contributed to this article.
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.