Oil Posts Biggest Gain as Traders Caught in End-Month Squeeze.
Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil climbed more than $25 a barrel, the biggest gain ever, as traders scrambled to unwind positions on the October contract's last day of trading. The more-active November contract rose $6.62.
``This looks like a squeeze play,'' said Phil Flynn, senior trader at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago. ``All of the contracts are up, but nothing like October. This is the last day of trading and someone is scrambling to guarantee supply.''
Crude oil for October delivery rose $16.37, or 17 percent, to settle at $120.92 a barrel at 2:46 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the highest settlement price since Aug. 21. Futures for November delivery rose 6.4 percent to settle at $109.37 a barrel.
Prices climbed today as traders who sold the October contract last week, when oil dipped close to $90, had to buy the futures back. In a squeeze a trader has gone short by selling contracts hoping the price will decline. In the last days before the contract expires the trader must buy back the same number of futures or be forced to deliver the underlying oil.
``I don't think there's any doubt that's the indication of a huge squeeze,'' said Craig Pirrong, director of energy markets for the University of Houston's Global Energy Management Institute. ``It's just stunning this could happen'' given the recent scrutiny in Congress and among U.S. regulators concerning the crude oil markets, he said.