Hedge Funds Cut Brent Crude Net-Longs to Lowest in 15 Months

Hedge funds and other money managers cut net bullish bets on Brent crude to the lowest level in almost 15 months, according to data from ICE Futures Europe.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 84,276 lots in the week ended Feb. 4, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. The reduction of 13,995 contracts, or 14 percent, reduces net-long positions to the lowest since Nov. 13, 2012.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of the North Sea crude outnumbered bullish wagers by 223,828 contracts, a decrease of 19,310, or 7.9 percent, in their net-shorts.

Brent futures fell 1.5 percent on the ICE exchange to $105.78 a barrel in the week to Feb. 4 and were at $109.42 as of 12:29 p.m. London time.

Swap dealers cut net-long positions in Brent for a second week, trimming them by 4 percent to 199,972 contracts.

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.

Money managers’ bullish bets on European gasoil fell for net longs for ICE Brent.

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