COT: Market uncertainty drives gold rush and crude selling
Head of Commodity Strategy
Summary: This summary highlights futures positions and changes made by hedge funds across commodities, forex and bonds in the week to last Tuesday, October 24. A week that saw global stock markets suffer from increased bond market volatility, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and a so far volatile US earnings season. The dollar traded steadily against a broad basket of currencies while the commodity sector saw weakness in energy and grains, being offset by strength in softs and not least precious metals where a near record buying pace was maintained in gold
What is the Commitments of Traders report?
The COT reports are issued by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the ICE Exchange Europe for Brent crude oil and gas oil. They are released every Friday after the U.S. close with data from the week ending the previous Tuesday. They break down the open interest in futures markets into different groups of users depending on the asset class.
Commodities: Producer/Merchant/Processor/User, Swap dealers, Managed Money and other
Financials: Dealer/Intermediary; Asset Manager/Institutional; Leveraged Funds and other
Forex: A broad breakdown between commercial and non-commercial (speculators)
The main reasons why we focus primarily on the behavior of speculators, such as hedge funds and trend-following CTA's are:
- 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
Do note that this group tends to anticipate, accelerate, and amplify price changes that have been set in motion by fundamentals. Being followers of momentum, this strategy often sees this group of traders buy into strength and sell into weakness, meaning that they are often found holding the biggest long near the peak of a cycle or the biggest short position ahead of a through in the market.
Commodity weekly: Gas, gold and cocoa on top in October
Global Market Quick Take: Europe – October 23 2023
A flat performance of the Bloomberg Commodity index disguised some major movements across the different sectors. The energy sector, led by losses in crude oil and diesel, traded lower with the market focus alternating between the risk of a not yet realized and low probability disruption to supply from the Middle East, and weakening fundamentals into the low demand season. Elsewhere the metal sectors traded mixed with gold attracting most of the buying interest from investors seeking shelter from elevated geo-risks and volatile price action in the US bond and equity market. Copper's ability to hold support combined with additional economic support measures from the Chinese government supported a small gain. Finally, the agriculture sector saw the grains sector show signs of stabilizing while the softs sector continued higher supported by gains in cocoa and coffee.