Hedge funds hiked their bullish bets on ags to the highest in two years amid the investor influx which drove prices to the highest in 17 months – although the upbeat positioning may spell bad news for wheat futures.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, raised by nearly 170,000 contracts its net long position in futures and options in the main 13 US-traded agricultural commodities in the week to last Tuesday, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulator.
The buying spree left the net long – the extent to which long positions, which benefit when prices rise, outnumber short bets, which profit when values fall – at 850,112 contracts, the highest in two years.
And it fuelled the rally which drove the S&P Agri index to a 17-month high last week, helped by the rise in prices of coffee, corn, cotton and wheat to multi-month highs, and of soybeans and sugar to their strongest in years.
‘Inflow of fresh money’
Commodities as a whole have attracted strong interest from investors this year, thanks to a price recovery, spurred by a softer dollar and some uptick in inflationary ideas, which has meant them offering better returns than shares or bonds – an outperformance which has only attracted further cash.
Weather worries, such as heavy rains in Europe and Argentina, and the potential onset of a La Nina, which some observers link to unduly hot US Corn Belt weather, have also encouraged investors back into ags.
In the week to last Tuesday “an inflow of fresh money saw total open interest surge 7.5%, the highest in nearly 12 months,” said Rabobank.
Open interest measures the number of “live” contracts and in Chicago corn, for instance, crossed above 2m contracts last week for non-commercial investors – up 140,000 lots week on week.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/hedge-funds-hike-bullish-ag-bets-to-2-year-high-amid-inflow-of-money–9638.html)