ETFs may shift oil price but not stockpiles

Inelastic oil market moved easily by speculation, finds macroeconomist

Oil price

The debate over the effect of speculative money on oil prices has raged for more than a decade. Now, new research implies exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can push spot prices around without touching inventories. 

Some traders have argued ETF money helped cause the July 2008 spike in oil prices, which led to an all-time high of $147. Some market participants also credited ETFs with cushioning an oil price drop in 2015, while others said they exacerbated the slump.

One theory, promoted by City

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