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Funds Wager Heavily, Wrongly on Commodity Prices

Monday, January 16, 2012

(Bloomberg) Speculators increased wagers on rising commodities to the highest level since November just as prices headed for the biggest three-day slide in almost a month.

Money managers expanded combined net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 7.2 percent to 719,991 contracts in the week ended Jan. 10, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 2.5 percent in the following three days.

While the index rose 14 percent from a 10-month low in October, prices dropped last week after the U.S. government predicted supplies of corn and soybeans that were bigger than anticipated by analysts. A report on U.S. retail sales fell short of forecasts while jobless claims exceeded estimates. The dollar rose to a 15-month high, increasing the cost of dollar- denominated raw materials outside the world’s biggest economy.

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