COLUMN-Hedge funds give up on indecisive “Doctor” copper – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – December 18, 2018)

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Fund managers have thrown in the towel on the copper market. The mega long position accumulated on the COMEX copper contract in 2017 is long gone. So too is the equally monstrous collective short bet seen more recently in August this year.

The money men look set to close out 2018 neutral on copper, unsure what the metal with the honorary doctorate in economics has to say on the global manufacturing outlook. The price has flatlined over the last couple of months and investors have voted with their feet.

COMEX open interest has slumped to two-year lows. So too has that on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE), where China’s speculators play the metal markets. The original bullish “Trump Trade” and the subsequent bearish “Trade War Trade” have played themselves out, leaving the market becalmed and investors scratching their heads. For now.

Money managers held a marginal net short position of 913 contracts on COMEX’s high-grade copper contract at the end of last week, according to the latest Commitments of Traders Report (COTR).

That compares with an equally marginal net long position of 960 contracts at the end of the prior week. Both outright long and short positions have been slashed as the market has lost all directional momentum.

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