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Hedge Funds’ ICE Brent Crude Net-Longs at 2-Year High

Hedge funds and other money managers raised bullish bets on Brent crude to the highest in more than two years for a second straight week, according to data from ICE Futures Europe.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 208,313 lots, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. That’s up 7.6 percent from last week and is the most since at least January 2011, the starting point for the data series.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of Brent outnumbered bullish positions by 403,399, a 1.1 percent expansion from the week before, leaving their net-short position at the largest since July 16.

Brent advanced 0.3 percent in the week to Aug. 20 to $110.66 a barrel and traded at $110.96 as of 4:22 p.m. local time today.

ICE publishes, usually each Monday, aggregate numbers for long and short positions for speculators such as hedge funds 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.

Swaps dealers reduced net-long positions in Brent to the lowest since April 16, by 11 percent to 208,391.

Money managers’ net-long bets on European gasoil futures rose for the first time in four weeks, climbing 14.1 percent to 65,784 lots.

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