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Hedge Funds Raise Brent Crude Net-Longs to Seven-Week High

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Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Hedge funds and other money managers raised net bullish bets on Brent crude to the highest level in seven weeks, according to data from ICE Futures Europe.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 121,707 lots in the week ended Feb. 18, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. The increase of 12,484 contracts, or 11 percent, is the second weekly addition and brings net-longs to their highest since Dec. 31.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of the North Sea crude outnumbered bullish wagers by 245,768 contracts, little changed from last week.

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.

Brent futures rose 1.6 percent on the ICE exchange to $110.46 a barrel in the week to Feb. 18 and were at $109.81 as of 1:32 p.m. London time.

Swap dealers cut net-long positions in Brent for a fourth week, trimming them by 0.5 percent to 196,607 contracts.

Money managers’ bullish bets on European gasoil rose for a second week, by 11,397 contracts, or 21 percent, to 65,273 lots, the highest since Dec. 31, ICE data show.

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

To contact Bloomberg News for this story: +1-212-318-2000 or newsdev@bloomberg.net

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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