Hedge Funds Raise Brent Net-Longs to Highest Since October

Hedge funds and other money managers raised bullish bets on Brent crude to the highest level in more than four months, data from ICE Futures Europe show.

Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 146,785 lots in the week ended March 4, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. The gain of 6,864 contracts, or 4.9 percent, is the fourth weekly increase and brings net-longs to their highest level since Oct. 22.

Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of the North Sea crude outnumbered bullish wagers by 269,638 lots, rising 1.4 percent from the previous week.

ICE publishes, usually each Monday, aggregate numbers for long and short positions for speculators 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.

Brent futures slid 0.2 percent on the ICE exchange to $109.30 a barrel in the week to Feb. March 4 and were at $108.06 as of 12:08 p.m. London time.

Swap dealers cut net-long positions for a sixth week, trimming them by 1.9 percent to 190,024 contracts.

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

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