Bullish gold wagers fell 14% to 60,126 futures and options in the week to March 26, the CFTC data show. The bets are down 41% this year. Those for silver fell 77% last week to 632 contracts, the lowest since September 2007.
Gold will average $1,670 an ounce this year, down from a previous forecast of $1,680, Michael Widmer, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, said in a report March 26. Investors lack a reason to increase bullion holdings because “the business cycle is in the ‘recovery’ stage,” he said.
Gold futures for June delivery rose 0.2% to $1,598.60 at 9:24 a.m. on the Comex in New York. Holdings in exchange-traded products stood at 2,449.84 metric tons on March 28, 6.9% lower in 2013.
Crude-oil holdings jumped 16% to 199,129 contracts, the biggest gain since Dec. 18. The net-long position in natural gas climbed 41% to 65,040 contracts, the highest since the data starts in 2006.
A measure of speculative positions across 11 agricultural products from wheat to coffee to cattle rose 15% to 306,279 contracts, the highest since Feb. 12.
Bullish corn bets rose 32% to 192,561, a fourth straight gain and the highest since Dec. 11. Soybean wagers jumped 12% to 112,352, the biggest gain in seven weeks. The investors trimmed their outlook for a decline in coffee to 28,769 contracts from 30,162 a week earlier.
“It’s global growth at the end of the day that’s keeping the bid under commodity prices,” said James Paulsen, the Minneapolis-based chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, which oversees about $325 billion of assets. “Over the next few years, I think commodities are likely to do OK. I don’t know if they’re the best-performing asset class. I think they’re going to be a decent-performing asset class.”