Strong USD, Weakening Market Sentiment Drag Oil ETFs Lower

Crude oil prices and related exchange traded funds slipped Friday as weakening market sentiment and a strengthening U.S. dollar pressured the energy market.

On Friday, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, declined 3.1% and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, decreased 2.5%.

Meanwhile, WTI crude oil futures were 2.4% lower to $51.3 per barrel and Brent crude fell 2.0% to $60.2 per barrel.

Crude oil prices weakened Friday as the markets remained wary of the global growth outlook, especially after Chinese data revealed a slowdown in industrial production in November and retail sales fell to its lowest level in 15 years, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The strength in the U.S. dollar, along with a volatile equity market, also exacerbated the selling pressure. Giovanni Staunovo, commodities analyst at UBS Wealth Management, pointed out that USD-denominated commodities like oil exhibit an inverse relationship to the greenback, which strengthened 0.4% against a basket of its major peers.