Money managers raised their combined crude oil net long to a seven-week high despite the recessionary clouds growing ever darker and the dollar continued to strengthen. During the reporting week when oil dropped around 3% the total net long in WTI and Brent was raised by 13.5k contracts to 355k lots. The ICE gas long meanwhile slumped by 30% to a 22-month low while in New York the ULSD (diesel) length was cut by 17% to 15.7k contracts. Despite falling by around 7% only small changes were seen in natural gas.
Gold selling accelerated last week with the net short jumping by 225% to 33k contracts to near a four-year low. This the culmination of six consecutive weeks of selling driven by a stronger dollar and rising Treasury yields as well a firm belief the FOMC will successfully manage to bring inflation under control next year. Silver saw no major net change with reductions in both long and short positions offsetting each other. The copper net short was unchanged at 4k contacts, the weakest belief in lower prices since June while platinum’s 3.5% rally supported an 82% reduction in the net short to just 2k contracts, again weakest short bet since June.
The grains sector saw continued demand with speculators having been net buyers in all but one of the past eight weeks. The increase last week was led by a 16% increase in the soymeal long to 102k contracts, a seasonal high while corn buying extended to an eight week. The wheat market which found support from renewed threats to the Ukraine grain corridor saw net buying of both Chicago and Kansas wheat. Overall however the net exposure remains close to zero with a 16k contracts CBT net short partly offsetting a 19k contracts long in KCB wheat.
Renewed selling of sugar cut the net long by 72% to 8.6k contracts, the cocoa net short extended to a fresh 3-1/2 year high while long liquidation continued in both coffee and cotton.