Crude Oil ETFs Surge Again as Analysts Project More Upside

Crude oil futures and ETFs are surging Monday amid a projected weather event, a potential issue with resurrecting the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and new input from Goldman Sachs.

Brent crude oil futures for July rallied $1.71, or 2.57%, to $68.15 per barrel, while the July contract for U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude futures hit $66.02 a barrel, up $2.43, or 3.75%.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures may also be gaining Monday as speculators bet that a storm in the Gulf of Mexico will result in supply disruptions.

The push higher has been driving crude ETFs like the United States Oil Fund (USO) and the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil (UCO) to gains as well, with USO up over 3% Monday, while UCO has climbed nearly twice that percentage.

Oil prices shed almost 3% last week after Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the United States was set to ease sanctions on Iran’s oil, banking, and shipping sectors.

Yet, the speaker of Iran’s parliament said this week that a multi-month monitoring agreement between Iran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog had concluded and that its access to images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites would not continue.

European diplomats said last week that failure to agree an extension of the monitoring deal could be problematic for the ongoing negotiations to resurrect the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

Former President Trump pulled the United States from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions.

“All in all, it seems to be only a matter of time before the sides involved put pen to paper on a new nuclear accord,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

“Investors are bracing for a fresh wave of what will surely be heavily discounted Iranian crude … yet for all this alarmism, an aggressive ramp-up in Iranian production and exports is unlikely to stall the drawdown in global oil stocks.”

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs analysts remain optimistic that oil could see higher prices, given the potential restart of Iran exports and a vaccine-driven increase in global demand.

“Even aggressively assuming a restart in July, we estimate that Brent prices would still reach $80 per barrel in fourth quarter 2021,” the bank said in a note.

The case for an October restart still supports an $80 per barrel forecast for this summer, Goldman added.

Technical analysis may also be supportive of a move higher.

“A sustained move over $64.29 will indicate the presence of buyers. This could create the upside momentum needed to challenge the Fibonacci level at $64.94. This is the trigger point for a potential acceleration to the upside with $67.02 the next target,” wrote fxempire analyst James Hyerczyk.

For investors looking for crude ETFs to play the run-up in oil, which has been fairly steady since November, the United States 12 Month Oil Fund (USL) and the iPath Pure Beta Crude Oil ETN (OIL) are two funds to consider.

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