Column: Rapid oil price rise divides fund managers

LONDON (Reuters) by John Kemp – Hedge fund managers are starting to diverge over the likelihood of further oil price increases as Brent futures surge above $50 per barrel and global coronavirus infections accelerate. Hedge funds and other money managers purchased the equivalent of 14 million barrels of futures and options in the six most important contracts in the week ending Jan. 5. Last week’s buying takes total purchases to almost 400 million barrels in the nine weeks since the first successful coronavirus vaccine trials were announced in early November. But the rate of buying has slowed as prices have climbed and the balance of short-term price risks has progressively shifted from the upside through neutral to the downside. In the most recent week, fund managers added 43 million barrels of bullish long positions, but also 30 million barrels of bearish short ones, the largest increase for two months. The total ratio of long to short positions fell to 4.73:1, down from 5.30:1 the previous week, and the first decline since early November. Position changes last week were small across all contracts, with minor buying in Brent (+12 million barrels), NYMEX and ICE WTI (+3 million), U.S. gasoline (+2 million)… continue reading

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