Crude oil prices and energy sector-related exchange traded funds rallied Wednesday on signs of increasing fuel demand.
Among the best performing non-leveraged ETFs of Wednesday, the Invesco S&P SmallCap Energy ETF (NasdaqGM: PSCE) jumped 2.7%, SPDR Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: XES) advanced 2.0%, VanEck Vectors Oil Service ETF (NYSEArca: OIH) gained 2.4%, and iShares U.S. Oil Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: IEZ) increased 2.5%. Meanwhile, the broader Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), the largest equity-based energy exchange traded fund, was up 2.9%.
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 up 5.6% on Wednesday. WTI crude oil futures were up 5.6% to $61.0 per barrel, and Brent crude gained 5.7% to $64.2 per barrel.
The Energy Information Administration’s latest data revealed U.S. crude inventories increased last week and gasoline demand hit its highest level since November, Bloomberg reports.
Further supporting energy markets, a record jump in European factory output helped offset weakening near-term outlook on the region as a resurgence in coronavirus cases triggers shutdown measures.
Additionally, a giant container ship was stuck, blocking the Suez Canal, limiting traffic in one of the world’s most important waterways and disrupting oil supply through the region. The Suez Canal is frequently used to transport crude from the world’s top exporters in the Middle East to European markets. A 400-meter, or 1,300-foot, long container ship, the Ever Given, was wedged lengthways across the canal on Tuesday.
“The impact on the oil market will be fleeting,” Kevin Solomon, analyst at brokerage StoneX Group, told Bloomberg of the Suez Canal blockage. “At $70 the futures market had risen too quickly, but with oil at $60 it is an opportunity to buy at much more attractive levels.”
Crude oil prices have weakened in the past two weeks due to softening physical demand and unwinding long positions, but some traders saw the pullback as a short-term trend that helps the energy market consolidate gains in recent months.
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