Money managers cut their bullish wagers on U.S. crude for the second straight week to the lowest in a month, data showed, as traders and investors turned increasingly skeptical that OPEC would deliver on its aim to trim output.
The speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 41,323 contracts to 227,655 during the week to Nov. 1, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said. That was the lowest since early October.
During that period, U.S. crude oil prices plunged more than 6 percent.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in September it would restrain output to boost prices, which have languished at less than half their mid-2014 levels due to a persistent crude glut.
Iraq, among other producers like Libya and Nigeria, have called for an exemption, raising concerns that an output cut would likely not have a discernable impact on the market.
Since then, tensions have resurfaced between Saudi Arabia and Iran, threatening to scupper any supply cut pacts.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude stockpiles have risen after falling slightly in the week to Oct 21.
Last week, stockpiles soared by more than 14 million barrels, the largest weekly build since the U.S. Energy Department started keeping records in 1982, bolstered by hefty imports and a decline in refining runs.
Managed money’s interest in gasoline continued to increase, with net long positions in U.S. gasoline futures and options jumping to 41,859 contracts, a high since early March 2015, the CFTC data showed. A fatal explosion on Monday caused Colonial Pipeline to shut its main gasoline line that ships over 1.3 million barrels a day of the fuel from the U.S. Gulf Coast to East Coast markets.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)