Oil prices just crashed to negative levels reaching almost -$40/barrel. This is due primarily to USO (a US Oil ETF that tracks the West Texas Intermediate Grade Oil Futures and owns approximately 35% of the front-month contracts) unloading a series of WTI May futures today to purchase contracts for June and July. The ETF purchases futures contracts for WTI but never exercises the futures contracts to obtain the underlying oil commodity. This is effectively a useful fund for traders who want to be involved in oil but do not want to deal with the underlying commodity. The ETF obtains the nearest month contract and sells them near expiry to purchase the following month's contracts. This makes the ETF extremely volatile when there is a large discrepancy between the current spot price and the future spot price of oil. Given the reduction of global oil demand and the Saudi-Russia-USA war, investors know that the low price of oil is only temporary and are speculating the return of oil. However given the scenario that played out today, June and July futures could drop significantly as well if global demand doesn't pick up - which is very likely to be the case. As a result USO could drop to near 0. Another indication of USO's bearishness is that the negative prices today indicate that there is no more storage available for oil that is currently being purchased, meaning that when June / July comes around, the excess oil bought today could be used to satisfy future demand if production doesn't halt. Production is unlikely to be interrupted given the nature of the business of setting up an oil rig, obtaining substantial loans, and acquiring permits for drilling. The ETF and the global oil industry is looking at a near term catastrophe. However, given that this tracks WTI which is a US-based oil derivative, Trump and his administration could implement import taxes to artificially prop prices up for the near term. This would go against Republican views of a free market, and would not likely work in the long run - though it is important to note the risks.