The real world of oil trading — where actual cargoes are bought and sold — is doing little to help the hedge funds and other speculators who placed record bets that OPEC and its allies would drive up prices. Saudi Arabia, Russia and other big producers are trying to clear a global crude glut, but three months into the effort the physical oil market is still signaling plentiful supplies. The persisting excess offers little comfort to financial traders, whose bets that futures prices will rise equate to about $50 billion in nominal terms. The signs of physical oversupply abound from Europe to West Africa to the U.S. A North Sea grade that helps to set the global Brent benchmark is trading near its weakest in almost two years. In West Africa, lackluster demand means Angolan crude cargoes are selling more slowly than in previous months. In America, a closely […]