Hedge Funds Cut Brent Crude Bullish Bets for a Second Week

Hedge funds and other money managers cut bullish bets on Brent crude for a second week and by the most in two months, according to ICE Futures Europe.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 91,371 lots in the week ended Dec. 17, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. The decrease of 25,774 contracts is the biggest since the week ended Oct. 29.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of Brent futures outnumbered bullish wagers by 221,910 contracts. The 10 percent decline in net-short bets from the previous week brings their position to the smallest since the week ended March 19.

ICE publishes, usually each Monday, aggregate numbers for long and short positions for speculators and institutional investors, as well as commercial companies that buy or sell futures to protect against price moves. Analysts and investors follow changes in speculators’ positions because such transactions can reflect an expectation of a change in prices.

Brent futures fell 0.9 percent to $108.44 a barrel in the week to Dec. 17 and were at $111.50 as of 12:04 p.m. local time.

Swap dealers increased net-long positions by 1.4 percent to 180,993 contracts in the period.

Money managers’ bullish bets on European gasoil fell for the first time in five weeks, by 25 percent to 66,143 lots, ICE data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Morgane Lapeyre in London at mlapeyre@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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