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How ETFs, New Whales of the Oil Market, Are Roiling Prices

  • Fears of negative prices prompt funds to dump June futures
  • Two products sold about 110,000 June WTI contracts on Tuesday
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
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Two exchange-traded funds contributed to the carnage in oil markets on Tuesday, selling vast quantities of benchmark U.S. oil futures as they shifted their exposure to later-dated contracts amid fears of negative prices.

The United States Oil Fund and the Samsung S&P GSCI Crude Oil ER Futures ETF sold about 110,000 contracts in the most-liquid June WTI futures on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the funds’ filings -- equivalent to 19% of the total open interest in the contracts at the end of the previous day.