This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.
Crude oil prices and related exchange traded funds are experiencing one of their best ever starts to a year as a more risk-on environment, hopes of rising demand and supply cuts all help support the energy markets.
Year-to-date, the United States Oil Fund (USO) , which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, increased 20.4% and the United States Brent Oil Fund (BNO) , which tracks Brent crude oil futures, advanced 21.2%.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil futures have jumped about 25% in the first two months of the year, the best January through February performance in figures going back to 1984, according to Dow Jones Market Data. WTI crude oil futures are now trading at around $57.0 per barrel and Brent crude was at $66.3 per barrel.
Crude oil is also heading toward its best two-month performance since 2016 when prices bounced in April and May following a precipitous plunge that sent prices below $27 per barrel, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The hard fought rebound this year has also come off a steep decline. Crude prices plunged 44% from a multi-year high in early October through the nadir on Christmas Eve as investors ditched energy in response to rising pessimism over global economic growth and potentially diminished demand across a range of commodities.
Oil furthers also popped Wednesday after data revealed U.S. stockpiles unexpectedly pulled back last week.
Looking ahead, fundamentals are improving. The International Energy Agency projects consumption to increase each quarter of 2019 year-over-year, albeit at a slower-than-usual pace for the first quarter. Meanwhile, on the supply side, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have been cutting output. Additionally, U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have reduced further bets on international supplies.
“Too many international barrels have been taken off the market,” Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA, told the WSJ. “There’s a lot of uncertainty around production.”
For more information on the energy sector, visit our energy category.
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