Hedge Funds Boost Brent Crude Net-Longs to Five-Month High

Hedge funds and other money managers increased bullish bets on Brent crude to their highest level in more than five months, according to data from ICE Futures Europe.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 191,433 lots in the week ended July 23, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. The increase of 10,033 contracts, or 5.5 percent, is the fourth consecutive weekly gain and brings net-longs to their highest level since Feb. 12.

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 394,148, a fall of 3.1 percent. Net-short positions in the week ended July 16 was the biggest since January 2011, the earliest available point for the data.

Brent declined 0.9 percent in the week to July 23 to $108.42 a barrel and traded at $107.51 as of 12:38 p.m. London time.

Swaps dealers reduced net-long positions by 8.6 percent to 232,463 in the week to July 23, the lowest since April 23.

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

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