June 9, 2014 / 7:26 PM / 6 years ago

Andy Hall's fund up 16 pct through May even in lackluster oil market

NEW YORK, June 9 (Reuters) - Oil trader Andy Hall’s hedge fund firm is up for a fourth straight month for its longest winning streak in three years and in a turnaround from 2013 losses, performance data it released to investors and seen by Reuters showed on Monday.

Hall, known for taking bullish long-term bets on the price of oil, has notched big gains despite a relatively range bound oil market lately.

His Westport, Connecticut-based fund company, Astenbeck Capital Management LLC, is up nearly 16 percent through May, after a positive showing since February, the data showed. The firm, mostly invested in oil and managing $3.4 billion across three separate funds, finished down about 8 percent last year.

The rise through May was Astenbeck’s longest stretch of monthly gains since 2011. That year, it had a similar four-month increase before ending the year down for its first annual loss.

This year, Astenbeck had a weak start, appearing to suffer investor redemptions as its assets fell from $4 billion in December to $3.5 billion by the end of January.

Since then, its gains have been in stark contrast to lackluster moves in oil prices as fears about rising global output offset heightened geopolitical tensions in Russia.

Year-to-date, U.S. crude oil is up 6 percent. UK Brent, the global benchmark for oil, is down slightly less than 1 percent.

In April and May alone, Astenbeck rose almost 7 percent.

Hall, who sends a monthly letter to Astenbeck’s investors along with its performance data, did not explain how his firm managed to beat the market by such a wide margin.

Astenbeck, which also invests in natural gas, platinum group metals and corn, did not immediately return a call from Reuters seeking comment on its performance.

Hall is known for a $100 million payday in 2008 when his trading company Phibro, under which Astenbeck was formed, was owned by Citigroup.

Global oil company Occidental Petroleum bought Phibro from Citi in 2009 and Hall came along as part of the deal, ending with an 80 percent stake in Astenbeck. Occidental is now looking to sell the 20 percent in Astenbeck that it owns to reduce proprietary trading activities. (Reporting by Barani Krishnan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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