The United States Oil Fund (USO) that was responsible for last Monday’s oil crash into negative territory is once again shaking up oil markets, and WTI is now down more than 21% on the day.
The USO Fund’s administration, USCF, announced on Monday that it intends to sell off all of its WTI contracts for June delivery—that’s all its front-month contracts that the fund was designed to invest in. Instead, the fund will now focus on futures contracts that are further out. The USO’s breakdown will now be comprised of 30% in the July contract, 15% each in the August, September, October, and December contracts, and 10% in the June 2021 contract.
The last time the USO fund shook up the oil market was one week ago today, the last day before the May 2020 futures contract for WTI expired. What set the disastrous events in motion was traders wishing to exit their positions before the contract expired. The USO, which would be unable to accept delivery of physical barrels of oil, headed for the exit, but found few willing buyers.
This time around, the USO fund is pulling out of all its near-term contracts over the course of the next few days, sending oil prices reeling once again.
The shift away from front-month contracts will amount to dumping 20% of its $3.6 billion portfolio over the next few days, Financial Times reports, citing a regulatory filing by USO.
The USO said that it would make the move because of the “evolving market conditions, regulatory accountability levels and position limits being imposed on USO with respect to oil futures contracts.”