Hedge Funds Cut Brent Crude Bets to Cap Longest Pullback in Year

  • Brent net-longs cut for fifth week to lowest in five months
  • Prices slide as disrupted supply returns, demand concerns grow

Oil Market Adjusts to Slower Global Demand

Hedge funds and other speculators curbed their bullish stance in Brent crude for a fifth week, the longest pullback in a year.

Money managers reduced their net-long positions in Brent by 8,899 contracts, or 2.9 percent, to 303,371 in the week to July 12, according to data from the ICE Futures Europe exchange. That represents the longest retreat in net-longs held by speculators since June 2015.

Brent rose to the highest in 8 months at more than $50 a barrel in early June as output disrupted in producers such as Canada and Nigeria. The international benchmark has since fallen to near $47 as halted supply returns while the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union adds to concern about the resilience of global fuel demand.

The change in Brent positions last week marks a contrast with hedge funds’ trading in the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate. Funds boosted their net-longs in WTI by 10,970 contracts, or 6.5 percent, to a three-week high of 180,469, according to data published Friday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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