- Bets by traders that oil prices will soar past $200 a barrel are coming in, Bloomberg reported Friday.
- One trader is even wagering that Brent crude will hit $250 a barrel.
- The international oil benchmark has surged 60% this year to top $82 as increased demand is met with a supply shortage.
The equivalent of 5 million barrels of Brent $250/$300 call spreads traded late Thursday and would make money if oil leaps to levels not anticipated by analysts since prices in 2008 hit record highs, the report said.
The contracts followed 8 million barrels of $200/$215 West Texas Intermediate call spreads and 4 million barrels of Brent at the same level for December 2022. The cost of all the contracts combined is about $1 million and marks the first time in 2021 that traders have bet on crude breaking above $200, Bloomberg reported.
Brent oil, the international benchmark, has gained about 60% in 2021 and was above $82 a barrel during Friday’s session. West Texas Intermediate crude oil , meanwhile, traded around $81 a barrel and has jumped roughly 67% this year.
The leap in oil prices comes as demand has improved as more consumers and businesses get back to in-person activities halted during the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the demand is being met with a supply deficit, with the world’s top oil producers modestly increasing output after slashing it during the height of the coronavirus crisis.
Rising energy prices were the main drivers of the spike in US consumer price inflation to 6.2% in October on a yearly basis, with fuel oil prices surging 12.3% on a monthly basis.
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