Hedge Funds Bolster Brent Crude Net-Longs to One-Month High

Hedge funds and other money managers raised bullish bets on Brent crude to their highest level in a month, according to data from ICE Futures Europe.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 181,400 lots in the week ended July 16, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. The increase of 4,412 contracts, or 2.5 percent, is the third consecutive weekly gain and brings net-longs to their highest level since June 18.

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.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of Brent outnumbered bullish positions by 406,710, an increase of 1.7 percent. It’s the biggest net-short position since January, 2011, the earliest available point for the data.

Brent rose 1.5 percent in the week to July 16 to $109.40 a barrel, and traded at $108.35 as of 12:12 p.m. London time.

Swaps dealers reduced net-long positions by 6 lots to 254,412 in the week to July 16, the smallest change in weekly data extending back 2 1/2 years.

Money managers’ net-long bets on European gasoil futures net longs for ICE Brent.

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