Investors seem to be convinced that commodity prices are heading up
Investors are holding their biggest positions on record in the commodities markets as prices surge and debate intensifies among U.S. regulators about whether to limit the amount that any one trader can bet in markets for energy, metals and agricultural products.
Hedge funds, pension funds and mutual funds dramatically ramped up their holdings in everything from oil and natural gas to silver, corn and wheat this year. In many cases, the number of contracts held for individual commodities now far exceeds the amount outstanding in mid-2008, the last time commodity markets were soaring to records and debate raged about whether excessive speculation was driving up prices.
Contracts held by investors have risen 12% this year through October and are 17% higher than June 2008, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the market regulator. . . .