Bullish bets fell most in seven weeks before slump

Gold Holdings

The net-long position in gold jumped 18% to 40,229 contracts, the government data show. Short holdings slid 5.3% to 68,707, the lowest since mid-November. Prices gained for three straight weeks, the longest rally since August. Some investors have increased purchases of coins, bars and jewelry after prices tumbled 28% in 2013, the most since 1981.

Speculators lowered their net-long position in copper by 1.7% to 35,030 contracts. Supplies will top demand by 127,000 metric tons this year, Barclays estimates.

A measure of speculative positions across 11 agricultural products fell 20% to 163,319 contracts, the lowest since August, the CFTC data show. Holdings fell for an eighth week, the longest decrease since 2007.

Sugar Bears

Investors are holding a net-short wager in sugar of 37,758 contracts, the most since September and up from 25,626 a week earlier. Ten of 16 traders surveyed by Bloomberg said they expect raw sugar to decline this week on speculation that exports will increase from India, the world’s second-largest producer.

The bearish wheat holding reached 73,088, the most since the data begins in 2006. Global stockpiles at the end of May will be 185.4 million tons, compared with 182.78 million estimated in December, the USDA said Jan. 10. Analysts expected 182.68 million, according to a Bloomberg survey.

“There is a whole lot of inventory out there for many commodities,” said John Stephenson, who helps oversee about $2.61 billion at First Asset Investment Management Inc. in Toronto. “This will be a year of low prices, and I will stay away from agriculture and precious metals.”

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