Energy exchange traded funds climbed on Wednesday, with crude oil prices breaking above $110 per barrel, as Russia’s aggression fueled supply fears.
Among the best-performing non-leveraged ETFs on Wednesday, the SPDR Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: XES) advanced 5.2%, the VanEck Vectors Oil Service ETF (NYSEArca: OIH) gained 5.2%, and the iShares U.S. Oil Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: IEZ) increased 5.5%. The broader Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), the largest equity-based energy exchange traded fund, was up 2.5%.
Meanwhile, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, were up 5.0% and 7.5%, respectively. WTI crude oil futures were up 8.1% to $111.8 per barrel, and Brent crude gained 9.1% to $114.6 per barrel.
While Western sanctions against Russia have excluded energy-related restrictions, Russian producers can’t offload cargoes in tenders since nobody is bidding, Oil Price reports. Additionally, many refiners, notably those in Europe, are shunning Russian crude and looking to secure alternatives.
“Because of the banking sanctions we’ve estimated about 70% of Russian crude oil exports can’t be touched. That’s about 3.8 million bpd,” Amrita Sen, director of research at Energy Aspects, told CNBC.
“Most European majors are not touching Russian oil, and only a few European refiners and trading firms are still in the market, but spiking freight rates and war insurance premiums are significantly complicating transactions,” Energy Aspects told the Financial Times.
With Western sanctions, Russian cargoes have become toxic for many traders, insurers, and tanker owners, even though the sanctions do not specifically target energy. This may be due to a combination of uncertainty over how the bank credits would work and some trying to avoid the association with Russia.
“The market panic is here,” Louise Dickson, senior oil market analyst at Rystad Energy, told CNN. “The initial upward price reaction after the conflict in Ukraine started six days ago is only intensifying.”
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