Open interest for West Texas Intermediate oil futures reached a record high in New York yesterday as prices broke below $90 a barrel for the first time since December.
The amount of total contracts outstanding rose to 1.675 million on the New York Mercantile Exchange, according to data from CME Group Inc., owner of the Nymex. Futures prices ended at the lowest level in more than two months on concern slowing growth in China may reduce crude demand.
“We have technical levels being broken and a lot of short- term traders are bottom-fishing,” said Tariq Zahir, a New York- based commodity fund manager at Tyche Capital Advisors. “However, fundamentals are extremely weak, and I won’t be surprised to see open interest come lower in the next few days.”
WTI for April delivery slid 56 cents to $90.12 a barrel yesterday, the lowest settlement since Dec. 24. Prices fell to $89.33 in intraday trading, dropping below the $90 level for the first time since Dec. 26. The contract added 16 cents to $90.28 at 1:04 p.m. today.
Yesterday’s open interest broke an earlier record of 1.672 million set on March 1. Oil has tumbled 7 percent since Feb. 13, when open interest set a then record of 1.665 million.
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