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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hedge funds and money managers raised their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts to record highs in the week to June 21, days ahead of the surprise "Brexit" vote by Britain to leave the European Union, U.S. government data showed on Friday.
The speculators lowered their net short position in copper futures and options, taking it off the prior week's record, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed.
In gold, they added 16,036 contracts to their net long position, bringing it to 256,898 contracts, the highest since records became available in 2006. This was the third straight weekly increase as bullion prices rose to the highest in nearly two years, after the U.S. Federal Reserve lowered its economic growth forecasts through 2017.
Bullion prices then fell, however, as the "Brexit" campaign was seen losing steam as polls ahead of the referendum showed Britain could opt to remain in the European Union.
On Friday, gold prices soared as much as 8 percent to their highest in more than two years after Britain delivered a shock vote to leave the European Union. [GOL/]
In silver, the hedge funds and money managers added 14,220 lots to their net long position, increasing it to 75,155 contracts, also the highest since records became available.
They reduced their record net short position in copper, cutting it by 19,347 lots to 27,762 lots.
Copper prices reacted to the British referendum results by falling on Friday, as worries about economic growth increased. [MET/L]
Reporting by Marcy Nicholson, editing by G Crosse and Chizu Nomiyama