Source: Bloomberg

Hedge funds and broker trading desks shifted massively towards long positions in oil over the past year as the oil price rose, Commodity Futures Trading Commission shows. Shale producers hedged their future output over $50 a barrel by selling oil for forward delivery six months ahead, and the hedge funds took the other side of the trade as a directional bet on rising oil prices. This depressed future oil prices below spot. The hedge funds with long positions were losing money in a flat market with an inverted futures curve. Positive supply news last week gave them an excuse to sell, and the hedge funds stampeded out of the oil market in a herd. That took down oil prices as well as the energy sectors of equity markets, and became the main event on equity markets. Once the speculative interest is shaken out, the oil price should stabilize and recover.