Hedge Funds Bolster Brent Crude Net-Longs to Three-Week High

Hedge funds and other money managers raised bullish bets on Brent crude to their highest level in almost five months in the week to July 9, according to data from the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 176,988 lots, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. The increase of 28,458 lots, or 19.2 percent, is the biggest in percentage terms since November, 2012, and brings net-long positions to their highest since June 18.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of Brent outnumbered bullish positions by 400,082, an increase of 7.5 percent. It’s the biggest net-short position since January, 2011, the earliest available point for the data.

Brent rose 3.7 percent in the week to July 9, to $107.81 a barrel, and traded at $105.26 as of 12:05 p.m. London time.

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.

Swaps dealers reduced net-long positions by 3.2 percent to 254,418 in the week to July 9, according to the data.

Money managers’ net-long bets on European gasoil futures rose a second week, by 66 percent to 42,122 contracts. That’s the highest since April 2.

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