ETF Trends
ETF Trends

The United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, is off 14.5% over the past month, but the exchange traded product’s ongoing struggles are not stopping investors from putting new money to work with the fund.

China, which consumes about 12% of the world’s crude oil, could see lower demand as economy shifts to a less energy-intensive economic model, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Consequently, the markets may be in for an extended low oil environment. The International Energy Agency also recently warned that the world could “drown in oversupply” of oil in 2016, especially as Iran’s exports begin flowing into global markets.

Remember that despite some modest, recent upside in oil futures, which was obliterated Monday, many big-name banks are still bearish in their oil outlooks, at least for the first half of this year. For example, Goldman Sachs Group has also forecast oil to drop to $20 per barrel but attributes further weakness to potential storage tank limits as producers keep pumping until they completely fill up storage space and halt some production. However, Goldman also sees a new bull market being born from oil’s current bear market in the second half of 2016.

Through Feb. 3, USO added $857.6 million in new assets this year, making it 2016’s ninth-best ETF in terms of new assets added.

“The U.S. Oil Fund, the biggest exchange-traded fund that tracks oil prices, had the largest monthly inflow in one year in January on speculation that crude prices will rebound. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped $3.42 last month, posting third straight decline,” reports Moming Zhou for Bloomberg.

OPEC has kept up production to pressure high-cost rivals, such as the developing U.S. shale oil producers. The International Energy Agency expects it will take several years before OPEC can effectively price out high-cost producers. [Oil ETFs Face World-Record Supply Glut]

Oil’s ongoing weakness has prompted an array of big-name Wall Street banks to slash their price forecasts on crude. Morgan Stanley analysts, including Adam Longson, head of energy commodity research, argue that investors are putting too much emphasis on fundamental factors and are not paying attention to an appreciating U.S. dollar.

United States Oil Fund

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.