The latest Commitments of Traders report compiled by the CFTC shows that large speculators and small traders were net long a record 101,926 contracts on February 14. Each contract is for 42,000 US gallons, or 1,000 barrels, of gasoline. During the week of February 10, gasoline inventories in the US stood at 232 million barrels. In other words, speculators and traders, in effect, held a record 43.8% of US inventories.
They must be betting that the confrontation with Iran will worsen, pushing gasoline prices still higher. They certainly can’t be betting on strong US demand for gasoline. Over the past 52 weeks, gasoline usage fell to 8.88 million barrels per day, the lowest since November 28, 2003. Americans are driving less and driving in more fuel efficient vehicles. (More for subscribers.)