November 28, 2016 / 8:56 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 2-Hedge funds raise bullish bets on U.S. crude ahead of OPEC meeting

(Adds analyst quote, positioning in refined products, further
detail on crude positioning)
    NEW YORK, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Hedge funds and money managers
have boosted their bullish wagers on U.S. crude oil, data showed
on Monday, as the market turned more optimistic that the world's
top oil producers would come together to hammer out the details
of a deal to cut output. 
    The speculator group raised its combined futures and options
position in New York and London by 23,873 contracts to 192,095
contracts in the week to Nov. 22, the U.S. Commodity Futures
Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Monday. 
    The speculator group also trimmed their gross short
positions in U.S. crude slightly from a three-month high.    
    The move to increase bullish bets for the second week in a
row came as U.S. crude oil prices rose nearly 5 percent
on growing expectations for an agreement among key producers.
  
    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
said in September it would limit output in an effort to boost
prices, which have languished at less than half their mid-2014
levels due to a persistent supply glut.
    Details of the deal, however, have yet to be agreed upon as
Iraq, among others such as Libya and Nigeria, have called for
exemptions while non-OPEC member Russia, along with top exporter
Saudi Arabia, have said markets would rebalance even without an
agreement. 
    OPEC experts ended their meeting on Monday without agreeing
on concrete details of the planned reduction in oil output by
individual countries that will be presented to an OPEC
ministerial gathering on Nov. 30, an OPEC source told
Reuters. 
    "Perhaps unsurprisingly, OPEC's deal-making centers around
the interplay among Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC
Russia," Standard Chartered analysts said in a note. 
    "While a deal still appears more likely than not, the
complicated relationships between the four main players leave
significant room for failure." 
    Meanwhile, crude stockpiles in the U.S. fell in the week to
Nov. 18 after three straight weeks of builds as imports dropped
and refineries hiked output.
    During that week, crude inventories fell 1.3
million barrels, compared with expectations for an increase of
671,000 barrels. 
    On Monday, U.S. crude rose more than 2 percent in choppy
trading as the market weighed the possibility of the deal to cut
output. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures 
settled up $1.02, or 2.21 percent, at $47.08 a barrel. 
    Among refined products, speculators cut their bullish bets
on gasoline, with a combined futures and options net long
position of 17,013 contracts in the week to Nov. 22.
    The group turned net long in heating oil as seasonal demand
picks up with forecasts for a colder winter, amassing a net long
position of 3,359 futures and options contracts.
    The data was delayed due to the U.S. Thanksgiving Day
holiday last week.

 (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by
Jonathan Oatis)

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