by Mark Shenk at Bloomberg
Hedge funds trimmed bullish oil bets for the first time in six weeks, losing faith in a swift recovery as Russia boosted output to the highest since the Soviet Union collapsed.
Speculators reduced their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 9.1 percent in the week ended Sept. 29, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Longs dropped from a 12-week high while shorts increased.
U.S. crude output is down 514,000 barrels a day from a four-decade high reached in June, Energy Information Administration data show. The number of rigs targeting oil in the U.S. dropped to a five year low, Baker Hughes Inc. said Oct. 2. WTI traded in the tightest range since June last month as China’s slowing economy and the highest Russian output in two decades signaled the global glut will linger.
“The U.S. producers are the only ones doing their part to reduce the global glut,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund, said by phone. “Other countries, such as Russia, are pumping at full tilt. The cutbacks by shale producers here aren’t going to have much impact, especially given the slowing global economy.”
WTI decreased 1.3 percent in the report week to $45.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It settled at $45.54 Friday.
U.S. crude stockpiles, already about 100 million barrels above the five-year average, may swell further. Stockpiles have climbed during October in eight of the last 10 years as refiners slow operations to perform seasonal maintenance.
Russian oil output rose to a post-Soviet record last month as producers took advantage of the weak ruble to push ahead with drilling. The nation’s production of crude and condensate climbed to 10.74 million barrels a day, 1 percent more than a year earlier and topping a record set