Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate slumped to five-year lows amid concern that hedge funds and other money managers bet too much on rising prices.
Both futures dropped 4.2 percent. Net-long positions on Brent rose to the highest in four months in the week to Dec. 2, according to data from the ICE Futures Europe exchange, while bullish bets on WTI climbed the most in 20 months. Brent declined 9.9 percent in the period and WTI slumped 9.7 percent.
“People might consider it a buying opportunity but we still have an over-supplied market,” said Tom Finlon, Jupiter, Florida-based director of Energy Analytics Group LLC. “New lows will be tested. We are in for a volatile market. You have to expect very sharp swings.”