The Commodity Futures Trading Commission confirmed late Thursday that its enforcement staff is investigating USO concerning its so-called "roll" into a new contract on Feb. 6. The scrutiny is part of a broader probe into the oil market.
"The CFTC takes seriously issues surrounding price movements in our nation's vital energy markets," acting CFTC Enforcement Director Stephen J. Obie said.
USO has grown so large in recent months -- its holdings account for 20% of all April crude futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange and about 30% of the contracts on ICE Futures Europe -- that it has a noticeable effect on oil prices when it moves in and out of contracts each month.
It is not clear what would happen to the USO in case impropriety is found and the fund is forced to shutdown and unwind its massive futures positions. Nonetheless, this could be a harbinger of increasing regulatory intervention in other ETFs which have seen a huge rise in trading in recent months. Sphere: Related Content Print this post