Energy ETFs Climb on Bets That OPEC# Could Extend Production Cuts

Energy markets and related exchange traded funds rallied Monday on expectations that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies will push off plans to curb production cuts.

On Monday, the SPDR Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: XES) advanced 4.4%, VanEck Vectors Oil Service ETF (NYSEArca: OIH) jumped 5.1%, and iShares U.S. Oil Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: IEZ) increased 3.9%. Meanwhile, the broader Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), the largest equity-based energy exchange traded fund, was up 3.9%.

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 also 2.9% and 2.5% higher, respectively on Monday. WTI crude oil futures were up 1.5% to $36.3 per barrel and Brent crude gained 1.6% to $38.5 per barrel.

“Market concerns that major developed economies are heading for a potential ‘double dip’ recession” have been weighing on oil prices, Cailin Birch, Global Economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit, told MarketWatch.

“A second economic slowdown could send [oil]stocks rising again in the coming months,” she said. However, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, or OPEC+, are “well aware of this challenging new environment.”

OPEC+ previously planned to tone down production cut targets from 7.7 million barrels a day to about 5.8 million barrels a day at the start of the new year.

“If OPEC+ don’t respond soon, the pressure will continue to increase and both Brent and WTI could find themselves closing in on $30 a barrel once again,” Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

“The group can only sustain so much and these lockdowns are only going to spread further. It’s not a case of if they’ll push back production increases, it’s now a case of when,” he added.

Birch pointed out that The Economist Intelligence Unit expects OPEC+ members could agree to “extend the current quotas by another three months, in anticipation of a difficult winter.”

“Greater production restraint from OPEC+ is likely to nudge oil prices slightly higher,” back to the $40 baseline, Birch added. “The tepid recovery in the U.S. oil and gas sector should also help to avoid further supply-side pressure on prices.”

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