Gold price: Hedge funds bullish bets highest since 2011

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On Monday gold continued to bubble under the psychologically important $1,300 an ounce level following a volatile week where the metal briefly reached a nearly two-year high.

In mid-day trade on Monday gold futures in New York for delivery in August, the most active contract, was last exchanging hands for $1,292 an ounce down $2.70 from Friday’s close. On Thursday, the metal hit an intra-day high of $1,318.90 the highest since July 2014 and year to date remains in bull market territory, up 21.9% or more than $230 an ounce.

Gold has been capitalizing on a weaker US dollar, a collapse in bond yields, weakness and volatility on equity markets, and fears of the financial fallout from Britain leaving the European Union.

While those fears have receded somewhat, large scale gold futures and options speculators or “managed money” investors such as hedge funds continue to position themselves for further gains in the gold price.

Hedge funds dramatically raised bearish bets on gold during the final months of 2015 pushing the overall market into a  net short position – bets that gold could be bought back at a lower price in the future – for the first time since at least 2006, when government first started to collect the data.

The trend was thoroughly reverse this year however with investors building large bullish positions until early May when gold’s 2016 rally started going into reverse. Hedge funds reduced longs as gold declined steadily from the $1,300 mark hit at the end of April, but have now piled back and hold close to a new all-time record number of long contracts.

According to the CFTC’s weekly Commitment of Traders data up to June 14 released on Friday speculators cut shorts and added massively to longs for a net bullish position of 24.1 million ounces or 749.1 tonnes.

That’s the biggest holding by managed money investors on the gold derivatives market in New York since August 2011 when gold was peaking at an all-time high of $1,900.