Oil ETFs Slip as Saudi Arabia Ramps Up Production

Crude oil prices and energy-related ETFs plunged Tuesday after Saudi Arabia pledged to increase output despite growing concerns over global growth.

On Tuesday, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, declined 4.8% and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, decreased 4.5%.

Meanwhile, WTI crude oil futures were 4.2% lower to $66.5 per barrel and Brent crude was down 3.9% to $76.7 per barrel

“It’s taking a real severe walloping today,” Gene McGillian, research manager at Tradition Energy, told the Wall Street Journal. “The question now is, how severe of a correction are we going to see?”

Oil prices were slipping after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih reportedly said the kingdom would increase crude production to 11 million barrels a day, compared to the current average of 10.7 million barrels a day.

“That rhetoric draws parallels to OPEC’s strategy that helped crash crude prices lower in late 2014, though today’s market has much more limited spare capacity and lower overall inventories,” analysts at Schneider Electric said.

Market Sell-Off

Further exacerbating the sell-off, the market was growing increasingly wary of the global growth outlook.

“This market was going to be under pressure anyhow, along with anything seen on the risky side, but then the Saudis came out with that statement and added to the downside pressure,” Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities U.S.A. told the WSJ. “It’s hard to really get out there and find a bullish situation here.”