Oil, Energy ETF Hopes Dashed as Output Freeze Losing Traction

Oil and energy related exchange traded funds slipped Wednesday as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince laid the fate of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ output freeze on Iran’s shoulders.

On Wednesday, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, fell 3.1% toward its 50-day support while the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, dropped 2.8%.

WTI crude oil futures were 3.5% lower Wednesday to $37.0 per barrel, and Brent crude oil futures were down 3.7% to $38.8 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the energy sector was the worst performing segment of the S&P 500 on Wednesday, with the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) down 1.3% as energy producers retreated on the weaker oil outlook.

“The primary reason that oil prices are being dealt a solid dose of the WBWs (whoop-bang-wallops) today lies with Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Matt Smith, director of commodities research at Clipperdata, said in a note, according to Reuters. “The King’s son threw cold water on hopes of a production freeze.”

Oil has started off as one of the worst assets of the first day in the second quarter, declining after Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not join a program to freeze crude oil output without the participation of Iran and other major producers, reports Mark Shenk for Bloomberg. Moreover, the prince also noted that the country could even raise output if any other country boosts sales.