Hedge funds increased bullish bets on crude oil to the highest in three months as stockpiles dropped and the U.S. economy expanded more than forecast. Money managers raised net-long positions , or wagers on rising prices for West Texas Intermediate crude, by 4.4 percent in the week ended Dec. 24, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. It was the fourth consecutive increase, the longest streak since July. WTI topped $100 a barrel for the first time in two months on Dec. 27, propelled by falling inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil-consuming country. The Federal Reserve cited prospects for improved growth for a reduction in its bond-buying program, and a government report showing that the domestic economy accelerated in the third quarter at a faster rate than previously estimated bolstered expectations for strengthening fuel demand. “There’s a strong demand environment here and that’s attracted the interest of […]