Hedge Funds Cut Commodities Bets

Sep 25 2012 | 12:34pm ET

Hedge funds trimmed their commodities exposure for the first time this month as prices dropped for the first time since September and bad news flowed from China and Europe.

Hedge funds and other money managers cut their net-long bets on 18 U.S. commodity futures and options by 1.7% in the week ended Sept. 18, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. The drop followed two straight weeks of increased exposure that sent hedge fund holdings to a 16-month high.

Much of the decline can be attributed to a 7.3% drop in bets on U.S. agricultural commodities, as soybean, cocoa and corn prices fell last week. By contrast, bullish bets on crude oil rose 5.6% and on gold 7.7%.

The moves came amidst word that Chinese manufacturing faces and 11th-straight month of contraction and euro-zone services and output fell to a 39-month low.

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