Hedge Funds Cut ICE Brent Crude Net-Longs to Three-Month Low

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Hedge funds and other money managers cut bullish bets on Brent crude for a fifth consecutive week to their lowest level in three months, according to data from ICE Futures Europe.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 161,340 lots in the week ended Oct. 1, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. The reduction of 6,405 contracts, or 3.8 percent, curbs net-longs to their lowest since July 2.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of Brent outnumbered bullish positions by 318,428, a 4.4 percent reduction from a week earlier that brings their net-short position to its smallest since April 23.

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 slipped 0.6 percent to $107.94 a barrel in the week to Oct. 1 and traded at $108.36 as of 12 p.m. local time on the ICE exchange.

Swaps dealers curtailed net-long positions in Brent for a second week, by 2.8 percent to 172,864, the lowest level since April 9.

Money managers’ net-long bets on European gasoil fell for a fourth week, shrinking 3.2 percent to 60,357 lots.

See ICCBBMMN <Index> GP <GO> for a chart of managed money net longs for ICE Brent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net

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