You may have often heard that the crude is the new gold, but unlike gold, it has much more impact on the other commodities; no doubt, it is one of the most traded commodities across the globe. The price of crude oil affects the prices of different commodity products such as natural gas and gasoline, but that’s not it as the oil prices also have significant effects on bonds, stocks and forex being traded across the world.
Who buys oil futures?
With changing times, nations are thinking to develop and use renewable energy sources, but still, crude remains the popular source of energy. Though that’s about its general usage, the best way to take advantage of this commodity is by trading crude oil through oil futures, which is a derivative instrument. The question may arise in your mind that who buys oil futures, what are oil futures, and how to trade oil futures, right? Well, this article would answer all your doubts.
Oil Futures Basics
As you might know, crude is a raw form which is used to make heating oil, gasoline, diesel, petrol, fuels, and other petrochemical products. Even in these different types, there are various fundamental grades and popularity levels for trading purposes. The most famous crude oil futures is “light sweet crude oil” as it is easy to transform it into other products; it gets traded on NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange.) In the second place comes Brent Blend Crude oil, which is mostly traded on the London market.
The futures market for crude oil is highly active and attractive to traders. The rates of these futures contracts get affected even by the smallest of news, which makes it a heaven for day traders and swing traders. Oil futures markets are volatile and are suitable for short term to long term trading, but if you lack skills and knowledge, you can get burnt.
Types of Oil Futures
Three major countries across the globe are pioneers in producing oil, in which the United States is in the first place, and recently Russia has taken the second place of Saudi Arabia, putting it at the third place.
There are many types of oil futures, just like there are many types of markets to trade them. One of such is WTI (West Texas Intermediate), which is crude from the US wells; this product is sweet and light and suitable for making gasoline. It is traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) under the ticker name CL.
Another one is NYMEX Middle Eastern crude that is also known as the Dubai and Oman oil; because of its high sulfur content, it is said to be heavy and sour oil. It is traded on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange.
If you want to learn more about the crude market and keep yourself updated with the ups and downs, you should follow the Weekly Energy Stocks report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on every Wednesday around 1 o’clock in the noon (Eastern Time.)
What are Oil Futures?
If you are new in this commodity field, you may wonder what exactly are oil futures, well here is your detailed answer. Learn and remember these specs before you start trading.
|Hours of Trading|
6 to 5 pm (Eastern time)
42,000 Gallons or 1000 US Barrels
|Price / Quote|
Per Barrel Price
$10 per Contract per $0.01 per Barrel
|The Last Day of Trading||The third business day before the 25th calendar day of the month preceding the delivery month|
As a crude oil trader, you have to understand the basics of oil futures. By taking an oil futures contract, you are agreeing to buy or sell the commodity at the stated date of expiration at a pre-decided price. By holding the contract, you have to take the physical delivery of the oil barrels, and the only method or avoiding it is to execute the contract before expiry. You should not trade in oil futures if you are just starting off trading in the commodity market.
When to Trade Oil Futures?
Other commodity products such as heating oil and unleaded gas prices can impact the rates of crude oil futures. It witnesses higher demands at the time of summer and winter as in summer, people take vacations, and it boosts the usage of crude oil, while in winter, people use heating oil (especially in Northeast) to keep the surroundings warm. This led to higher demand and higher price fluctuations.
You should also keep yourself updated with the price slump or increase in supply by the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) as it impacts the oil prices around the globe very actively.
What Affects Crude Futures?
The following events impact the prices of crude futures.
- News Events around the globe (it can be during the day or night time, as futures are traded 24 hours a day.)
- Middle East nation’s economic condition as they are a significant producer of oil.
- Price cut and supply acceleration of crude oil.
- Day trading investors’ emotions.
- Demand and Supply of oil.
- Geopolitical tensions in the middle east nations as it can create supply disruptions.
Another thing impacting crude prices is the value of the American dollar. If the price of the dollar is high, it will hike the crude prices, whereas a lower dollar rate would work as a support to the oil rates. Crude futures go parallel with the stock market, but like gold, they go in the opposite direction.
It is true that a stable and growing economy along with a soaring market can prove boon for higher crude oil rates. Though when oil prices hike dramatically and reach levels like $100 per barrel, it would only harm the economy. A trader has to keep him/herself on track with all these news and changes and work on the trading strategy accordingly to avoid losses and make profitable trades.
Price Fluctuations in Trading Crude Futures
In crude futures, the price fluctuates very rapidly, and the reason behind it is the traders. Day traders often wind up their positions when the price moves up or in the opposite direction. They even cover the trade with the buy order, for example, when they see that their short selling is not working out, they immediately sell their trade and place buy order to go along with the long positions taken by other speculators.
Though in many cases, they may even get a margin call if their trading accounts go beyond the minimum margin requirements with regards to a sudden event causing loss.
Crude futures are many times driven by psychological trades (trader biases of whether the price would shoot up or fall.) Following the trend in this market can prove helpful, but it can change at any time. Though the changes are not that random as the market does give some technical signs to traders; it requires experience and skills to identify such indicators and place the trade at the exact time. One of such indicators is trading in ranges; traders trade within a certain price range until the price bracket finally breaks out and has no room for the same type of price movements.
How to Trade Oil Futures?
No doubt, crude oil futures are very popular among day traders, but still, they are of high risk given the sensitivity with the global events.
As a day trader of oil futures, you should keep an eagle eye on the pivot points to get the support level and resistance level. You should also have a stop loss in place to save your trades from downside risk. Keeping yourself updated with global events is something that you have to learn on a daily basis. Trading crude futures is very similar to trading stock index futures like E-mini S&P.
Trading crude futures is not rocket science but definitely involves meticulousness in trading and thinking capabilities. So, keep yourself focused, gain exposure, make mistakes (not too much that you can’t afford to trade again) and learn from your experience. And with time, you would get ease in trading this commodity for sure.