LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Investor are betting more heavily on a fall in Brent crude oil than they have at any time in more than a year, according to data on Monday from the InterContinental Exchange (ICE).
Hedge funds and other money managers raised their short positions by 27,734 contracts to 141,387 lots in the week to Nov. 17, according to the data, the largest number of short positions since October 2014.
“It’s a reflection of the negative sentiment we’ve seen in oil markets,” said Saxo Bank head of commodities research Ole Hansen, calling it “quite a sigificant adjustment”.
Hansen said the combination of high global stocks of crude, a strong U.S. dollar that makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies and forecasts of a warm winter in the northern hemisphere were all weighing on investor sentiment for oil.
Net long positions fell by 28,742 lots to 158,737, a seven-week low, as speculators’ long positions for Brent also fell.
Brent crude prices have fallen by roughly 10 percent since the beginning of the month as global stockpiles built and new loadings from the Atlantic Basin struggled to find outlets.
Fund managers also increased their net short positions in low-sulphur gasoil futures by 9,908 contracts to 25,954 lots. This is close to the highest net short position in at least four years, which was reached in late October.
Meanwhile the bearish bets on U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil overshadow those on Brent.
As storage at the Cushing, Oklahoma hub neared a tipping point, speculators’ short positions in U.S. crude oil grew to 154 million barrels.
Shorts on WTI have increased more than 70 percent since the middle of October and stand at the highest level since August, according to the data. (Reporting by Libby George; Editing by Greg Mahlich)