Astenbeck Snaps Losing Streak

Aug 3 2012 | 10:59am ET

Two months after his second-worst calendar month in history, Astenbeck Capital Management's Andrew Hall is back where he is used to being: up.

The $4.7 billion commodity fund returned 4% last month, its first positive month since February, Reuters reports. The March-through-June losing streak erased Astenbeck's gains in January and February, and Hall's "mensis horribilis" in May, when Astenbeck lost 14%, had him looking at the unthinkable: following up his first-ever down year with a second.

Astenbeck is still in the red year-to-date, down about 4%.

Hall, who also runs Phibro Trading, is persisting with his bet that oil prices will rise, telling investors in his June letter that "it ain't over yet till the fat lady sings." This month, he said there was very little room left for oil prices to drop, and that "it is becoming increasingly clear that claims that the development of shale oil would inundate the world with large volumes of cheap oil were wide of the mark. There is oil to be extracted from these resources but it will require high prices to make it happen." And Hall said that demand for black gold was holding up.

Astenbeck is used to volatility. It swung from 12% down in August 2010 to finish the year up 12%. Last year, Astenbeck was up 18% through April and down 10% through August. It recovered, but lost 18% in September—its worst-ever month—but managed to get back to even by October before ending down.

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