For the third time this year, hedge fund managers have become bullish on crude oil prices, raising their long position by 705 million barrels in the week ending on August 8th, according to a new report by Reuters.
Total long positions outnumbered short positions by 5.19:1, up from a June 27th low at a ratio of 1.95:1.
Most of the growth in long positions came from the ICE Brent contract, which grew by 40 million barrels. The net change in positions in the MYNEX and ICE WTI contracts was minimal, comparably.
Crude contracts for the final quarter of 2017 have moved from contango to backwardation in recent weeks, making Brent increasingly profitable for hedge funds holding long positions.
Large hedge firms that had banked on an oil price recovery in the first half of 2017 are now reeling from the effects of a bearish market that shows limited signs of a supply-side recovery. Three of the top five worst-performing hedge funds so far this year specialized in oil and energy trading, according to the financial firm HSBC.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had earmarked 2017 to be a year of recovery for global oil markets. According to the plan, the supply glut would have been at least partially alleviated via an international agreement to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day.
The timely rebound in barrel prices has been derailed by a high-speed restoration of oil production in both Libya and Nigeria. The two OPEC nations that had been granted exemptions from output quotas due to years and months of civil strife, respectively. Recently, Nigeria agreed to limit its output to 1.8 million barrels per day once national production reaches that level later this year.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…