Investors pulled a record $35.2 billion from commodity funds since the end of December, according to EPFR Global, which started tracking the flows in 2000. The GSCI index, which is heading for the first annual loss since 2008, reached a six-week high Dec. 6.
Bullish bets on crude oil climbed 7.8% to 246,661 contracts, the biggest gain since July, the CFTC data show. Fuel demand rose 1.7% to 20 million barrels a day in the seven days ended Nov. 29, according to figures from the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Energy Department’s statistical arm. Consumption was 8.9% higher than during the same week a year earlier.
Speculators reduced their net-short bets on copper to 19,316, compared with 19,738 a week earlier, the CFTC said. Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange have fallen to the lowest since February, while orders to withdraw the metal from warehouses in New Orleans are at a record. U.S. new-home sales jumped more than 25% in October, the biggest one- month surge since May 1980, a government report showed Dec. 4.
A measure of speculative positions across 11 agricultural products slid 1.1% to 283,025 contracts, the CFTC data show. Investors trimmed their bearish positions in corn and wheat and got more bullish on soybeans.
U.S. corn and soybean inventories before the 2014 harvests will be smaller than the government predicted in November after overseas demand for crops improved, according to a survey of as many as 31 analysts and trading firms by Bloomberg News. Wheat reserves may also fall.
The net-long position in cocoa climbed 1.7% to 78,881 futures and options, the highest in four weeks. Prices in New York jumped 25% this year, heading for the biggest annual rally since 2008 as dry weather threatened crops in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the top producers. Stockpiles at facilities tracked by ICE Futures U.S. have fallen 10% this year to the lowest since June 2011.
“Next year should be a better year, economically speaking, than 2013,” said John Kinsey, who helps manage about C$1 billion at Caldwell Securities Ltd. in Toronto. “Most of the materials, whether they’re precious metals, or base metals, have been beaten up pretty badly. Any sign of recovery would be a good thing for commodities.”