Bullish gasoline bets slump as cold blast chills demand

Other Markets

In other markets, money managers’ bullish wagers on U.S. ultra-low-sulfur diesel slid by 12,903 futures and options combined, or 80%, to 3,303, the lowest since Nov. 19. Diesel tumbled 2.3 cents, or 0.8%, to $2.9363 a gallon during the report week.

Net-long wagers in West Texas Intermediate oil, the U.S. benchmark, dropped by 17,455 futures and options combined to 229,722, the lowest since Nov. 26. Long positions held by money managers, including hedge funds, commodity pools and commodity- trading advisers fell by 7,066 futures and options combined, while shorts climbed by 10,389.

Crude retreated $1.08, or 1.2%, to $92.59 a barrel in the reporting period ended Jan. 14. Prices increased 41 cents to $94.37 a barrel on Jan. 17 and were 55 cents lower today at $93.82.

Brent Crude

Hedge funds and other money managers reduced bullish bets on Brent crude, the international benchmark, to the lowest level in 14 months, according to data from ICE Futures Europe.

Net-long positions in futures and options combined slid by 14,438 contracts to 85,658 lots. It was the second consecutive weekly reduction, bringing bets on rising prices down to their lowest level since Nov. 13, 2012.

Net-long wagers on four U.S. natural gas contracts rose by 1,965 futures equivalents, or 0.5%, to 384,599, the first increase in three weeks.

The measure includes an index of four contracts adjusted to futures equivalents: Nymex natural gas futures, Nymex Henry Hub Swap Futures, Nymex ClearPort Henry Hub Penultimate Swaps and the ICE Futures U.S. Henry Hub contract. Henry Hub, in Erath, Louisiana, is the delivery point for Nymex futures, a benchmark price for the fuel.

Natural gas futures rose 7 cents, or 1.6%, to $4.369 per million British thermal units on the Nymex in the period covered by the report.

“It’s been a mix of several things driving gasoline prices lower,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch & Associates LLC in Galena, Illinois. “Refiners are going to continue running and demand is going to stay soft. It looks to me like we’ll resume the downward move next week.”

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