EnergySpeculators raised bullish crude oil bets by a combined 38k lots to 426k lots, an 18 week high. In the week both WTI and Brent rallied by more than 3% in response to OPEC+ production cuts and renewed optimism about demand in China, developments that helped attract fresh longs, primarily into Brent. Small profit taking reduced the net length in gas oil and gasoline. In natural gas a 7% price drop triggered profit taking among short sellers resulting in the net short falling by 21% to -68k lots.
Money managers were net sellers of gold for a third week ahead of last week's FOMC meeting. The 17% increase to -39k lots took the net short back to near a four-year high, just ahead of a volatile few trading days where anotherr downside rejection at $1615 support helped trigger a strong short covering rally ahead of the weekend. Short covering reduced the silver net short by 43% to 3.4k lots, platinum length was added for a fifth week taking the net long to 13.3k lots and highest since March. Copper buyers sensing support from developments in China helped flip the net back to a long position of 5.3k lots and highest since June.
The grains sector saw net buying for a second week lifting the combined long across six grains and soy contracts to a 19-week high at 553k lots. The bulk of the buying was led by the soybeans, soy meal and oil contracts with corn seeing a small increase in the net long. The 8% jump in wheat on Ukraine export worries did not alter the overall bearish view held by funds. Selling into strength they lifted the net short in Chicago wheat to -37k lots, the biggest short bet since the depth of the pandemic panic in June 2020.
The four major softs commodities continued to see heavy net selling, this week being led by 48% reduction in the sugar long to 44k lots. The cocoa net short extended to -43.7k lots and not far from a five-year high, a development that increasingly could trigger a sharp rebound should the technical and/or fundamental outlook turn more friendly. Weeks of coffee selling continued resulting in the net flipping back to a net short of -10.4k lots for the first time in 25 months. A similar situation in cotton where nine weeks of continued selling has taken the net close to neutral at just 5.4k lots.