Marquee oil ETFs could see increased volatility ahead as lack of new investment catches up with oil industry.
Traders will especially be looking to 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.
Declining prices in recent years have prompted scores of major oil producers to rein in capital spending. Technological improvements and greater efficiency has helped U.S. shale producers pump out crude oil at lower margins – some say it is now profitable at less than $50 per barrel. Additionally, companies are finding easy access to credit and private-equity firms have bought out struggling companies, which have kept production flowing.
“Oil markets could experience more intense price volatility in the coming years because of insufficient investment in new production, according to the head of the International Energy Agency’s oil market and industry unit, Neil Atkinson,” reports OilPrice.com.
While U.S. shale producers previously continued pumping in the face of low prices, the industry has recently revealed a spate of capital spending reductions, indicating still low crude prices are taking a toll. Low oil prices are also prompting speculation about credit downgrades for some exploration and production firms that already carry junk credit ratings.