TOKYO Feb 21 U.S. crude futures rose for a
second day on Tuesday, with data showing hedge funds are betting
big across oil markets following OPEC production cuts agreed
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 23 cents at
$53.63 a barrel at 0032 GMT. It gained about 29 cents, or 0.5
percent, on Monday, which was a shortened session due to a U.S.
Brent futures were yet to trade, after ending the
previous session up 0.7 percent at $56.18 a barrel.
Investors now hold more crude futures and options than at
any time on record, after members of the Organization of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) committed last year to cut
Speculators raised their bets on a rally in Brent oil prices
to a record last week, data from the InterContinental Exchange
showed on Monday, mirroring the optimism in the U.S. crude
Data on Friday showing net long U.S. crude futures and
options positions in the week to Feb. 14 were at a
"As bullish positioning by hedge funds continues to push on
in unchartered territory, the risk of a swift, sharp snapback in
prices continues to build," ClipperData analyst Matt Smith said
in an overnight note.
"Especially given the bearish backdrop of record crude and
gasoline inventories amid lower fuel demand year-on-year," he
U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories soared to record
highs last week as refineries cut output and gasoline demand
softened, the Energy Information Administration said last week.
The oil market will have to wait until Thursday, a day later
than normal, for the release of this week's official data, due
to the holiday on Monday.
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Joseph Radford)