Hedge Funds Cut Brent Net-Longs for First Time in Five Weeks

Hedge funds and other money managers reduced bullish bets on Brent crude for the first time in five weeks, according to ICE Futures Europe.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 224,905 lots in the week to Sept. 3, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. That’s down 3 percent from last week, when net-longs were at their highest since at least January 2011, the starting point for the data series.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of Brent outnumbered bullish positions by 399,726, a 3 percent reduction in their net-short position from a week earlier, when it was at the largest since the data began.

Brent advanced 1.2 percent in the week to Sept. 3 to $115.68 a barrel and traded at $115.06 as of 12:14 p.m. local time today.

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.

Swaps dealers reduced net-long positions in Brent to the lowest since April 9, by 2.6 percent to 186,717.

Money managers’ net-long bets on European gasoil rose for a third week, climbing 10 percent to 83,433 lots.

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