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Hedge Funds Racing Oil Refiners to $100 a Barrel: Energy Markets

Bloomberg: Hedge funds and refiners vied to buy oil futures last month, pushing crude to the highest level since September, as the U.S. added jobs and expanded manufacturing while the government said fuel demand will rebound this year.

Money managers increased net-long positions, or wagers on rising U.S. prices, to a nine-month high of 218,604 in the week ended Jan. 29, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Feb. 1 Commitments of Traders report. It was their seventh week of increasing bullish positions, the longest run of gains in records dating back to June 2006.

Oil climbed for an eighth week, the longest stretch of weekly advances since 2004, on signs that economic growth is accelerating. Bullish wagers held by refiners and producers advanced for a fifth week to the most since at least June 2006. The Energy Information Administration said that petroleum consumption will rise in 2013 for the first time in three years.

“It looks like we’re headed for $100, if not higher, which is getting the attention of both investors and commercial market participants,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based energy hedge fund, said by phone Feb. 1, referring to U.S. crude. “There’s been a lot of positive economic news, supply jitters and a cutback in OPEC production.”

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