Crude oil longs were left exposed following the pump and subsequent dump as Middle East tensions faded and after some longs established following the December 6 OPEC+ meeting became loss making. The selling was concentrated in WTI which saw the net-long being cut by -22% as domestic stocks rose. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was despite the 5.5% price slump, surprisingly left unchanged at 426k lots. Overall and due to the drop in WTI longs the combined position dropped to 652k lots, a five-week low.
The already record short in natural gas expanded further by 7% to 267k lots as winter demand stayed muted and the price drifted lower towards $2/therm. Today (Monday) the price rout continued as the price initially slumped by 9% in early trading to reach $1.83/therm, another seasonal record low, before clawing back half those losses. The lack of frigid cold weather this winter have seen producers being unable to shake off a supply glut amid rising production. With the winter soon giving way to spring the market is already beginning to worry about the prospect for storage facilities hitting max during the summer injection season.