With oil ranking as one of this year’s best-performing commodities, the energy equities are participating in that rally and that includes refiners. The VanEck Vectors Oil Refiners ETF (NYSEArca: CRAK), the only ETF dedicated to refiners, is up more than 11% year-to-date.
CRAK tracks the MVIS Global Oil Refiners Index, “which is a rules-based, modified capitalization weighted index intended to give investors a means of tracking the overall performance of companies involved in crude oil refining which may include: gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, fuel oil, naphtha, and other petrochemicals,” according to VanEck.
Some analysts believe much of the good news pertaining to refiners is already priced into the group.
“Despite normalization of operations, the strong margins and wide crude spreads have persisted, creating a very favorable environment for refiners,” said Morningstar in a note out Wednesday. “Although elevated gasoline inventories present a risk, distillate inventories are near five-year lows, while demand for both is strong and the economy is healthy, suggesting total margin strength will continue. Meanwhile, pipeline constraints don’t appear likely to be alleviated until late 2019, likely extending wide crude spreads for another year.”
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Stabilizing crude oil prices and potential production increases from U.S. shale producers could also bolster the case for North American refiners. The U.S. refining sub-sector has been one of the most profitable sectors in the U.S. economy over the past five years.