The following chart comes via John Kemp at Reuters. And as he notes this one kind of speaks for itself:
As a reminder, there are four reporting classifications: Producers, swap dealers, managed money (MM) and “other reportables” — thus, if managed money (which combines both speculative & passive positions) is nearly 12:1 long, some of the respective “others” must be somewhat short.
In fact, here’s a further breakdown of the WTI positions specifically via the Oil Commodity Strategy team at BNP Paribas:
And here’s the contrasting position of swap dealers versus managed money in the market in particular:
With regards to who is really on the other side of those longs, John Kemp himself offers the following comment:
In the most recent week, the physical trade was net short just 61 million barrels (Chart 2). If hedge funds are at or near record long, it is not because the physical trade wants to be short. Instead, the other side of the hedge fund longs is dominated by banks and other swap dealers. In the most recent week, swap dealers’ net short position crept above 400 million barrels for the first time. As the net short position of the physical trade has shrunk, swap dealers have emerged as the overwhelming counterparties for the hedge funds and other investors. Swap dealers’ net short position is more than a third higher than before the flash crash, when it was just 287 million barrels. Swap dealers now have almost 2.4 short positions for every long (excluding spreading positions), the highest short ratio since the CFTC begins in 2006.
Cushions to stem Iran oil price spike are proving elusive – FT
Just when it makes sense to sit in oil futures… – FT Alphaville