On August 18, 2017, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission released its weekly Commitment of Traders report. It reported that hedge funds reduced their net long positions in US crude oil futures and options by 5,668 contracts to 274,441 contracts between August 8 and August 15, 2017.
Hedge funds reduced their net long positions in US crude oil futures and options for the second consecutive week. Thus, it seems that hedge funds are turning bearish on crude oil (IXC) (IYE) (BNO) prices. Lower crude oil prices have a negative impact on the earnings of oil and gas producers like ConocoPhillips (COP), Stone Energy (SGY), ExxonMobil (XOM), and Sanchez Energy (SN).
Crude oil price forecasts
Energy Aspects, a market intelligence company, thinks that US crude oil prices will trade between ~$52 and $54 per barrel. Rising demand and falling US crude oil inventories should drive crude oil prices higher.
Citibank estimates that US crude oil prices could trade between $40 and $65 per barrel until 2022. It also expects that prices could rise to $70 per barrel due to supply outages.
The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) estimates that US crude oil (RYE) (VDE) prices will average $48.9 per barrel in 2017 and Brent crude oil prices will average $50.79 per barrel in 2017. WTI and Brent crude oil prices averaged $43.3 per barrel and $43.7 per barrel, respectively, in 2016.
Read Will US Natural Gas Futures Fall in 3Q17? for more on natural gas.