What will oil prices be when the U.S. government begins selling tens of millions of barrels of oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in 2018?
The House passed a federal budget on Wednesday – which is reportedly on its way to likely Senate passage and Presidential signature – calling for the government to sell at least 58 million barrels of oil from the SPR over an 8-year period beginning in 2018. The SPR currently holds about 695 million barrels in 4 sites along the Gulf of Mexico coast. Per the budget bill, the U.S. may sell up to an additional $2 billion dollars’ worth of oil from the reserve to build new pipelines and otherwise modernize infrastructure. That program would represent an incremental 43.5 million barrels based on today’s prices, bringing the total number of barrels to be sold up to a possible 101.5 million. At today’s rates, that could add about $4.7 billion into the US Treasury.
I wrote last week about the best oil ETFs. In the process, I discovered an interesting feature of the PowerShares DB Oil ETF (DBO), of which I had not previously been aware.
Specifically, as I described, other oil ETFs have a practice of automatically rolling into the next month’s oil futures contract when the current month contract expires – even if doing so will cause some price decay, as in “contango,” when the next month’s contract is higher priced than the current months (which commonly happens due to storage costs incurred by the party holding the physical commodity, etc). DBO, on the other hand, designed their ETF to NOT automatically roll into the next month’s futures contract, specifically to address that problem of decay, or “negative roll yield.” Instead, PowerShares uses what it calls an “Optimum Yield” formula to automatically roll into the most attractive near-month futures contract (of the next 13 months). In so doing, DBO thereby claims to optimize the fund’s “roll yield” (whether markets are in a state of contango or the opposite condition, known as backwardation). Continue reading "In Search of the Most Efficient Energy & Commodity ETFs"→
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