By Elizabeth Campbell - Mar 31, 2013 10:12 PM ET
Investors are boosting wagers on higher commodity prices at the fastest pace in almost four years, rebounding from the least bullish position since 2009, on signs that the U.S. is accelerating and Europe’s debt crisis is easing.
Hedge funds and other large speculators increased net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 10 percent to 679,191 contracts in the week ended March 26, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show. The bets surged 67 percent in three weeks, the biggest advance since May 2009. Wagers on higher oil prices climbed the most this year, while those for cattle are at a six-week high.
An employee works with copper sheets at Industrial Metal Supply Co.'s warehouse in San Diego. Production will outpace demand in aluminum, copper, lead, nickel and zinc in 2013, Barclays said in a March 14 report. Photographer: Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rebounded 2.7 percent from a 10-week low on March 4 as contracts outstanding jumped 10 percent last quarter, the most in a year. The U.S. economy grew at a faster pace than previously estimated in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said March 28. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades vowed to keep his nation in the euro on March 29 after it became the fifth country to seek a rescue since the region’s crisis began in 2009.
“Over the last quarter, we’ve seen an improvement in U.S. economic activity far above expectations,” said Chad Morganlander, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based fund manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $130 billion of assets. “That has ginned up demand expectations