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Funds boost commodity wagers on improving outlook

Hedge funds boosted wagers on higher commodity prices for the first time in three weeks as the outlook for the U.S. economy improved.

Money managers increased combined bullish positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 0.7 percent to 566,494 contracts in the week ended Nov. 29, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Investors trimmed their bearish holdings in copper for the first time in four weeks, and pared bets on lower wheat and soybean prices.

The value of world equities rose more than $2.2 trillion last week as the MSCI All-Country World Index climbed for five consecutive days, the longest rally since October. The Federal Reserve and five other central banks made it easier and cheaper for banks to obtain dollars in emergencies and China, the biggest consumer of everything from energy to copper to soybeans, lowered banks’ reserve requirements for the first time since 2008. The U.S. jobless rate fell to a two-year low in November.

“We’re more on a moderate growth path, not the death spiral people feared two months ago,” said Michael Strauss, who helps oversee about $27 billion of assets as the chief investment strategist at Commonfund in Wilton, Connecticut. “That puts a little bit more support into commodities.”

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