Hedge fund gold position at six-month high after rally

Commodity Holdings

Net-long positions in copper jumped 104% to 14,356 contracts, CFTC data show. Money managers turned bullish a week earlier, after betting on lower prices for 24 consecutive weeks, the longest bearish stretch since July 2009. Prices are heading for the biggest monthly gain since September amid speculation that China’s growth is gaining traction.

A preliminary purchasing managers index for China by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics rose to 50.1 from 47.7 in July, exceeding all 16 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Bullish bets on crude oil slipped for the fourth straight week, to 302,762 contracts, CFTC data show. Prices are heading for the third straight monthly gain amid concern that violence in the Middle East may disrupt supply.

A measure of net-long positions across 11 agricultural products more than doubled to 215,958 futures and options, government data show. The S&P GSCI Agriculture Index of eight commodities rose for the second straight week.

Soybean holdings jumped 112% to 99,988 contracts, while the net-short position in corn shrank to 91,778 contracts, from a record 123,221 a week earlier.

Billion Bushels

The U.S. corn harvest will be 13.46 billion bushels, less than the 13.763 billion estimated this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cedar Falls, Iowa-based Professional Farmers of America said in a report Aug. 23. That followed a four-day tour last week of 2,600 fields in seven Midwest states. Soybean output will be 3.158 billion bushels, below the USDA forecast of 3.255 billion. The U.S. is the world’s largest grower of both crops.

“We have seen renewed interest in commodities,” said Walter “Bucky” Hellwig, who helps manage $17 billion of assets at B&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama. “News out of China coupled with expectations of continued easing from the Fed will keep the commodities pack stronger.”

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