(Corrects gasoil net-long in seventh paragraph.)
Hedge funds and other money managers raised bullish bets on Brent crude to their highest level in four months, according to data from ICE Futures Europe.
Speculative bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 185,653 lots in the week ended June 18, the London-based exchange said today in its weekly Commitments of Traders report. The increase of 25,620 contracts, or 16 percent, is the biggest jump in percentage terms since Jan. 29 and brings net-long positions to the highest since Feb. 19.
Bearish positions by producers, merchants, processors and users of Brent outnumbered bullish positions by 394,324 lots, rising 8.4 percent from the previous week to their highest net-short position since at least January 2011, the starting point for the data.
Brent climbed 3 percent in the week to June 18 to $106.02, and traded at $100.50 a barrel as of 1:36 p.m. London time.
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.
Swaps dealers were net-long 241,098 lots, down 1.7 percent from a week earlier to the lowest since April 23.
ICE also reported data on trader positions for European gasoil, which shifted to a net-long position from net-short for the first time since April 23, increasing their bullish bets by 29,256 lots to 26,176 contracts, according to the data.
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