(Photo: Bloomberg)
(Photo: Bloomberg)

Oil optimism slumps to 12-week low as price dips to bear market

  • Optimism on Brent crude, the global benchmark, declined by the most this year
  • The net-long WTI position fell 8.5% to 183,372 futures and options contracts in the week ended 4 June

New York: Hedge funds kept running away from oil as prices tumbled into a bear market.

They cut bets on West Texas Intermediate crude’s rally to the lowest level in 12 weeks, according to data released Friday. Optimism on Brent crude, the global benchmark, declined by the most this year.

WTI reached bear territory last Wednesday, dropping more than 20% from its April high amid escalating disputes between the US and its trading partners. Prices rebounded toward the end of the week as Saudi Arabia and Russia reiterated their commitment to supply cuts, leaving it unclear whether investors had made the right call.

“The zeitgeist of the oil market is that it wants to track the broader macro environment," said Tamar Essner, Nasdaq’s director of energy & utilities. “A lot hinges on what the outlook for the global economy looks like, which really hinges on a trade deal."

The net-long WTI position -- the difference between bets on a price increase and wagers on a decline -- fell 8.5% to 183,372 futures and options contracts in the week ended 4 June, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. Long positions fell 6.1%, while short-selling wagers ticked up 3.2%.

“People were trimming but they weren’t running for the exits," said Rob Haworth, who helps oversee $159 billion at US Bank Wealth Management in Seattle. With more optimistic news for oil bulls near the end of the week, investors still had “room to get more constructive on prices," he said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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