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Hedge Funds Raise Brent Crude Net-Longs to Four-Month High

Hedge funds and other money managers raised bullish bets on Brent crude to a four-month high, according to data from ICE Futures Europe.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 139,921 lots in the week ended Feb. 25, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. That’s the third weekly gain and the most since Oct. 22. Net-long positions rose by 18,214 contracts, or 15 percent, from the previous period.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of the North Sea crude outnumbered bullish wagers by 266,017 lots, rising 8.2 percent from the week earlier.

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 on the ICE exchange to $109.51 a barrel in the week to Feb. 25 and were at $111.92 as of 12:35 p.m. London time.

Swap dealers cut net-long positions for the fifth week, trimming them by 1.5 percent to 193,636 contracts.

Money managers’ bullish bets on European gasoil gained for the third week, rising 21 percent to 78,937 contracts. That’s the highest since Dec. 31.

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