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Slowing Global Economy, Rising Output Put Oil ETFs in Focus

Sweta Jaiswal, FRM

Oil is facing waning demand due to slowing global economic growth and the Sino-US trade spat. Moreover, Russia’s failure to meet its output reduction commitment in September under theOrganization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)+ alliance is building pressure on oil prices. Let’s take a closer look at the factors that are keeping the oil price in check (read: 4 Sector ETFs & Stocks to Bet on Ahead of Q3 Earnings).

Slowing Global Economic Growth

A slowdown in global economic growth is being observed since Trump waged the trade war with China. In fact, China’s economic growth data has disappointed investors again. The world’s second-largest economy’s third-quarter GDP growth of 6% year over year was the slowest after first-quarter 1992. The economic growth rate also lagged expectations of 6.1%, per a Reuters’ poll.

Moreover, Japan has seen a decline in exports for the tenth straight month in September. Per data from the Ministry of Finance, exports fell 5.2% year over year in comparison to a 4% fall projected by economists. In terms of volumes, Japan exports contracted 2.3% between January and September. The Eurozone economy has been struggling with declining demand for goods and services, largely due to the trade war and Brexit issues. Also, the latest report on U.S. manufacturing, released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) has failed to cheer investors. The ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in the United States was the lowest in more than 10 years at 47.8% for September 2019.

IMF Cuts Global Growth Outlook

The International Monetary Fund recently cut global growth expectations for this year to the lowest since 2009. According to IMF, the global economy is expected to expand 3% this year in comparison to July’s forecast of 3.2%. The global growth estimate for 2020 has also been slashed to 3.4% from 3.5%. Moreover, IMF expects growth in advanced economies to decline to 1.7% in 2019 from 2.3% in the previous year (read: Low-Volatility ETFs to Buy as IMF Cuts Global Growth Outlook).

Slowing global economic growth, largely due to trade war tensions, has been the major reason for the fifth straight cut in global growth outlook. China's economic growth is expected to drop to 6.1% in 2019 from 6.6% last year. Moreover, the growth rate in the United States is expected to slow from 2.9% in the previous year to 2.4% in 2019.

In this regard, Gita Gopinath IMF’s Chief Economist has mentioned in the report that “with a synchronized slowdown and uncertain recovery, the global outlook remains precarious.”

Rising Output Levels

Russia mentioned the rise in natural gas condensate output as the reason behind not being able to meet the promised supply reduction levels for September. Moreover, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are in discussion to restart oil production from joint fields in the Neutral Zone. If worked out, it will add 500,000 barrels to the market every day.

Oil ETFs in Focus

This has compelled many investors to take a closer look at the oil commodity space and related ETFs (see all Energy ETFs here).

United States Brent Oil Fund BNO

The fund tracks the daily price movements of Brent crude oil (read: Oil ETFs in Focus as US, Russia & OPEC's Output Declines).

AUM: $77.2 million

Expense Ratio: 0.90%

YTD Return: 18.2%

United States Oil Fund USO

The United States Oil Fund seeks to track the daily price movement of WTI light, sweet crude oil (read: Top ETF Stories of Third Quarter).

AUM: $1.33 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.73%

YTD Return: 16.2%

Invesco DB Oil Fund DBO

The fund tracks changes, whether positive or negative, in the level of the DBIQ Optimum Yield Crude Oil Index Excess Return plus the interest income from the holdings of primarily US Treasury securities and money market income less expenses (read: Profit From the Oil Rush With These ETFs).

AUM: $266.1 million

Expense Ratio: 0.78%

YTD Return: 12.2%

US Commodity Funds United States 12 Month Oil USL

The fund replicates with possible accuracy the movement of West Texas Intermediate light, sweet crude oil.

AUM: $51.9 million

Expense Ratio: 0.82%

YTD Return: 13%

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