COT: Broad-based buying lifts bullish bets

Commodities 5 minutes to read
Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy

Summary:  Commodity prices are on the rise as money managers pile into the space post-FOMC.

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.

To download your copy of the Commitment of Traders: Commodity report for the week ending March 19, click here 

Three weeks of buying have more than doubled the net-long position hedge funds hold across 25 major commodity futures. In the week to March 26 they bought a net 161k lots spread across 17 futures contracts. This was the week where global markets reacted to the dovish shift from the US Federal Open Market Committee on March 20.

Longs in WTI, Brent, gold, platinum and livestock extended further while short-covering was seen in soybeans, corn, wheat, sugar and cotton. 
The combined crude oil long in WTI and Brent jumped by 39k lots to 560k lots, a 22-week high. Since hitting a more than three-year low at 240k on January 8, the shorts have been chased out of the market leaving the long/short ratio at 6.8, the highest since last October when Brent traded above $80/b.

The continued risk-on sentiment across global stocks and the stronger than expected pick-up in Chinese PMI over the weekend continue to ease growth and demand concerns. These developments together with ongoing price supportive production cuts from the Opec+ group of producers are likely to attract a continued recovery in the speculative long.
Gold bulls bought a total of 38k lots before and after the March 20 FOMC meeting. The subsequent sell-off in response to a rising stocks and dollar would have left all of these longs out of pocket and helped drive the slump back below $1,300/oz last week. The net-longs in both gold and silver continue to trail the five-year average, an indication of the current lack of demand given the continued positive sentiment across other markets, not least stocks. 
HG Copper traders have also been struggling amidst the recent roller-coaster action. The recent correction lower towards support at the 50-day moving average saw speculators jump straight back into a net-short position. The 16k-lot reduction was the biggest in 10 months. Improved China growth signals since last Tuesday are likely to have forced funds back into long positions thereby supporting the latest move a near nine-months high.

The platinum net-long jumped to a one-year high before another failure to break resistance at $875/oz, combined with a speculative washout in palladium, helped send the price lower. 
Grains were bought for a second week ahead of Friday’s acreage and stock reports from the USDA which ended up sending all three crops lower Corn saw a larger-than.expected planted acreage release help to send prices tumbling just after funds had cut the record short by 22%. 
Friday’s acreage and stock report helped send corn prices sharply lower after US farmers boost their corn acres by more than expected. A silver lining could be the current soggy and wet conditions, which may force some farmers to switch to soybeans.  
Two weeks of strong buying have driven cotton’s net-short from a 12-year high back to neutral.  Friday’s acreage report gave the fiber another boost after planting came in below analysts’ forecasts.

What is the Commitments of Traders report?

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.

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited prepares and distributes information/research produced within the Saxo Bank Group for informational purposes only. In addition to the disclaimer below, if any general advice is provided, such advice does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of trading any financial instrument as trading can result in losses that exceed your initial investment. Please refer to our Analysis Disclaimer, and our Financial Services Guide and Product Disclosure Statement. All legal documentation and disclaimers can be found at

The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service. Access and use of Saxo News & Research and any Saxo Bank Group website are subject to (i) the Terms of Use; (ii) the full Disclaimer; and (iii) the Risk Warning in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group.

Saxo News & Research is provided for informational purposes, does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. No Saxo Bank Group entity shall be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information on Saxo News & Research.

To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, such content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication.

Please read our disclaimers:
- Full Disclaimer (
- Analysis Disclaimer (
- Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited
Suite 1, Level 14, 9 Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000

Contact Saxo

Select region


The Saxo trading platform has received numerous awards and recognition. For details of these awards and information on awards visit

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited ABN 32 110 128 286 AFSL 280372 (‘Saxo’ or ‘Saxo Capital Markets’) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saxo Bank A/S, headquartered in Denmark. Please refer to our General Business Terms, Financial Services Guide and Product Disclosure Statement to consider whether acquiring or continuing to hold financial products is suitable for you, prior to opening an account and investing in a financial product.

Trading in financial instruments carries various risks, and is not suitable for all investors. Please seek expert advice, and always ensure that you fully understand these risks before trading. Saxo Capital Markets does not provide ‘personal’ financial product advice, any information available on this website is ‘general’ in nature and for informational purposes only. Saxo Capital Markets does not take into account an individual’s needs, objectives or financial situation.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. AppStore is a service mark of Apple Inc.

The information or the products and services referred to on this website may be accessed worldwide, however is only intended for distribution to and use by recipients located in countries where such use does not constitute a violation of applicable legislation or regulations. Products and Services offered on this website is not intended for residents of the United States and Japan.
Please click here to view our full disclaimer.