Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Investors Held $120 Bln in U.S. Commodities, Citigroup Says

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Investors and speculators held more than $120 billion of bets in U.S. commodities markets in April, the second-highest amount on record, helping to drive up prices of raw materials from oil to copper, Citigroup Inc. said.
Speculators held about $30.3 billion in natural gas bets, and $30.1 billion in oil bets, out of the 36 commodities studied, Citigroup analyst Alan Heap said in a May 5 report. The two commodities accounted for 47 percent of the bets held, followed by gold at 17 percent, or $13.3 billion, and copper 3 percent.
Investors worldwide are buying commodity-linked indexes and futures, seeking to beat returns from stocks and bonds as concern about raw material shortages pushes oil and copper to records. Global investments in commodity funds totaled about $200 billion in February, Heap had said then.
``We believe the hike in speculative positions has been a key driver for the latest surge in commodity prices,'' Heap said in the report.
Crude oil in New York has risen 15 percent this year, and gold has soared 31 percent. Copper futures prices in New York have jumped 72 percent this year. By contrast, the Standard and Poor's 500 Index of stocks has gained 6.1 percent.

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