According to a Reuters report on September 7, after Hurricane Ida disrupted the production of offshore oil wells and onshore refineries in the Gulf of Mexico , hedge funds purchased oil last week at the second fastest rate this year.
In the seven days ending August 31, fund managers purchased six of the most important oil futures and options contracts, amounting to 60 million barrels.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, portfolio managers sold the equivalent of 1 million barrels of WTI crude oil, bought 6 million barrels of US gasoline, 7 million barrels of US diesel, 21 million barrels of European natural gas, and 28 million barrels of Brent crude.
According to the position records of the European Futures Exchange and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (cftc), the funds sold the equivalent of 268 million barrels of crude oil in the past 10 weeks. But in the last two weeks, the selling speed has slowed down because prices have begun to rise, heralding a possible turning point and creating favorable conditions for a new round of buying.
In this case, the interruption of offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and refining activities in Louisiana will tighten the supply of crude oil and refined fuels, which provides additional impetus for the recovery.
Fund managers are particularly optimistic about the prices of middle distillates such as US diesel and European diesel. The ratio of long positions to short positions has risen to 8.6 to 1. It is worth mentioning that this bullish ratio is the highest level since October 2018, when the new crown pneumonia epidemic had not yet erupted and the international trade situation eased.
In addition, freight demand will remain strong, and the renewed severity of the epidemic situation restricts aviation and private automobile traffic. Funds predict that the imbalance in demand for refined petroleum products will worsen and aggravate the shortage of diesel.