Hedge funds double bullish gold price bets

Large scale speculators in gold futures continue to add to bets on a rising price even as the metal struggles to hold onto the $1,200 an ounce level.

On Monday gold for delivery in June – the most active futures contract – drifted lower from Friday's closing price hitting a low of $1,196.35 during late morning trade in New York.

Gold has recovered 4% from its 2015 low of $1,148.20 an ounce hit mid-March but has not been able to break through $1,220 an ounce resistance, stymied by a strong dollar.

The greenback was trending higher on Monday with the US dollar index again jumping the 100-level against major world currencies. The dollar is up more than 25% in value over the past year and is trading near 12-year highs.

After eight straight weeks of increasingly bearish positioning on the gold market to levels last seen December 2013, large investors like hedge funds or so-called "managed money" have now doubled their bullish positions within the space of two weeks.

In the week to April 7 according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly Commitment of Traders data, hedge funds slashed short positions and at the same time added to long positions in gold.

That resulted in a 43% increase in their net long positions – bets that price will rise – for the week and a similar rise as the week before. Hedge funds are now long 6.5 million ounces compared to 3.1 million ounces mid-March.