Views on commodities and energy
Oil prices have been trading in an unusually strong positive correlation with equities markets over the past few months on hopes that signs of an economic recovery could mean a boost for energy demand.
But with oil and product inventories swelling and little sign of demand improving in the United States and other big developed economies, analysts warn that the linkage may be hard to maintain, especially if U.S. motorists cut back on vacations this summer.
The United States Oil Fund LP exchange traded fund has built up a large position in crude oil over the past four months, accounting for nearly a quarter of the open interest in the March contract on the NYMEX last week.
Following is a list of the tentative 2009 oil futures contract roll dates for the fund, according to United States Oil Fund’s Website.
U.S. crude futures have just settled down 5.4 percent at $95.71 a barrel. Turmoil in the stock market plays a role but early signs Hurricane Ike spared key energy infrastructure also weighed on prices. In Texas, Chris Baltimore writes “widespread power outages were the key hindrance. Electricity is the lifeblood to Gulf coast refineries.”
Early indications are that the storm caused only minor to moderate damage to platforms and coastal refineries.