COT: Agriculture spec short on the rise; gold buying resumed
Head of Commodity Strategy
Summary: Changes in speculative positions held by funds across 24 commodity futures during the week to August 20. Speculators were broad-based sellers of agriculture commodities with funds holding net-short positions in all but a couple. Gold and silver saw fresh buying while oil was mixed.
Saxo Bank publishes two weekly Commitment of Traders reports (COT) covering leveraged fund positions in commodities, bonds and stock index futures. For IMM currency futures and the VIX, we use the broader measure called non-commercial.
Of the three major crops corn took the biggest hit. After having sold 101k lots during the week funds are once again holding a net-short position. Ample supply, despite one of the wettest growing seasons on record, together with worries about demand has kept key crops under pressure during the growing season. Ahead of the tariff announcement last Friday speculators had sold 6k lots of soybeans.
The small price setback in gold and silver did nothing to dampen the bullish sentiment. The net-long in gold rose by 7k lots on a combination of short-covering and fresh longs while the 27% jump in silver longs was primarily driven by short-covering. HG Copper was bought for a second week and during this time the net-short has been reduced by 17%, primarily on short covering. The trade war escalation on Friday helped trigger renewed selling with the price closing at the weakest level since May 2017.
The Commitments of Traders (COT) report is issued by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) every Friday at 15:30 EST with data from the week ending the previous Tuesday. The report breaks down the open interest across major futures markets from bonds, stock index, currencies and commodities. The ICE Futures Europe Exchange issues a similar report, also on Fridays, covering Brent crude oil and gas oil.
In commodities, the open interest is broken into the following categories: Producer/Merchant/Processor/User; Swap Dealers; Managed Money and other.
In financials the categories are Dealer/Intermediary; Asset Manager/Institutional; Managed Money and other.
Our focus is primarily on the behaviour of Managed Money traders such as commodity trading advisors (CTA), commodity pool operators (CPO), and unregistered funds.
They are likely to have tight stops and no underlying exposure that is being hedged. This makes them most reactive to changes in fundamental or technical price developments. It provides views about major trends but also helps to decipher when a reversal is looming.