Hedge funds aggressively bearish towards U.S. crude: Kemp

(Reuters) by John Kemp – A relatively small group of hedge fund managers has placed a record bet on U.S. oil prices declining further in the months ahead. Hedge funds and other money managers had accumulated gross short futures and options positions totaling 163 million barrels in the main NYMEX light sweet crude contract by Aug. 11, according to data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The number of gross short positions was up from 59 million barrels on June 2 and closing in fast on the record 179 million barrels set back in March. The number of traders identified by the CFTC as having shorts above the reporting threshold has actually fallen slightly over the same period, from 60 to 57. The number of hedge funds with reported short positions is not especially high and well below the record 84 identified in March (link.reuters.com/hyn45w). But the average short position has almost tripled since June, from under 1 million barrels to almost 3 million, a record and nearly twice the 1.6 million barrels reported in March (link.reuters.com/kyn45w). The CFTC data is anonymized to prevent identification of individual traders so it is not possible to know whether the 57 traders … continue reading

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