Energy sector-related exchange traded funds were leading the charge Wednesday after a combination of falling U.S. inventory levels and rising supply risks in the U.S. and Middle East sent crude oil prices surging.
Among the best performing non-leveraged ETFs of Wednesday, the SPDR Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: XES) increased 3.3% and Invesco Dyanmic Oil & Gas Services Portfolio (NYSEArca: PXJ) advanced 2.9%. Meanwhile, the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), the largest equity-based energy exchange traded fund, was 1.4% higher.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed that crude oil inventories decreased by 9.5 million barrels in the week ended July 5, vastly exceeding analysts’ expectations for a 2.4 million barrel drop in stockpiles, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Wednesday’s oil price rise was “a surprise, because we’ve had similar draws [in stocks]in recent weeks, but it’s definitely a positive,” Giovanni Staunovo, director of the chief investment office at UBS Wealth Management, told the WSJ.
The latest data from the EIA marked the fourth consecutive week of shrinking U.S. crude stocks after several weeks of unseasonable builds. Those previous crude level increases fueled fears that the U.S.’s growing supply glut signaled a drop in demand and slowing economic growth during a period when several overseas economies also revealed weak data.
The rising growth fears also came alongside last week’s Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ statement that they would extend their current output cuts for another nine months.
Further adding to the momentum in the energy sector, a number of U.S. oil producers off the Gulf of Mexico had evacuated and closed down operations ahead of a tropical storm expected to land Wednesday.
Additionally, analysts warned of tensions in the Middle East relating to Iran, which could further add to oil supply uncertainty in the region. The contentious relations between the U.S. and Iran have helped lift crude prices in recent months, with Iran beginning to enrich uranium above limits set out in the 2015 nuclear accord in response to heightened U.S. economic sanctions.
“Geopolitical risk still provides underlying support but it’s hard to put a number on the impact further tensions might have,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, told the WSJ.
For more information on the energy sector, visit our energy category.