COT: Dollar short cut in half; Gold buyers return COT: Dollar short cut in half; Gold buyers return COT: Dollar short cut in half; Gold buyers return

COT: Dollar short cut in half; Gold buyers return

Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy

Summary:  Futures positions held and changes made by hedge funds across commodities, forex, bonds and stock indices up until last Tuesday, March 16. A reporting week that ended the day before the FOMC meeting caused renewed across-market uncertainty after it failed to reassure traders and investors on fears that yields and inflation will continue to rise. Key takeaways were an elevated oil long into last weeks collapse, renewed demand for gold and a halving of the dollar short.

Saxo Bank publishes 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.

The below summary highlights futures positions and changes made by hedge funds across commodities, forex, bonds and stock indices up until last Tuesday, March 16. A reporting week that ended the day before the FOMC meeting caused renewed across-market uncertainty after it failed to reassure traders and investors on fears that yields and inflation will continue to rise. However, during the reporting week markets were well behaved with the S&P 500 rising 2.3% and the VIX falling by 4%. The dollar traded softer, commodities were mixed while yields on US 10-year Notes climbed 9 basis points to 1.62%.


Speculators cut bullish commodity bets for a third week, but overall it was a mixed bag with no clear thread seen across and within the three sectors. Half of the 24 commodity futures tracked in this were sold, led by natural gas, wheat and copper while buying among the other half was concentrated in corn, gold and the three fuel contracts. Overall the net long was cut by 2% to 2.5 million lots to the lowest exposure since the week to December 22.

Energy: Speculators increased bullish WTI bets by 2.3k lots to 393k lots, a fresh 32-month high while the Brent long (-5.8k lots to 334k) was cut for a second week. Overall the combined net long held steady for a fifth week at 727k lots, just days before plunging the most since September on stalling vaccine rollouts, rising bond yields triggering reduced risk appetite and IEA saying speculation about a oil super-cycle is premature. However, concerns about OPEC+ action to stem the slide and both WTI and Brent successfully bouncing from their 50-day moving averages helped reduce the risk of further technical hedge fund selling. Continued buying of refined fuel products lifted the net long in gasoline, distillate and gas oil to a 14-month high at 194k lots.

Natural gas’ continued warmer weather slump, down 20% during the past month, triggered another week of aggressive long liquidation in four Henry Hub deliverable futures and swap contracts. In just three weeks funds have sold 144k lots, bringing the net down to an eight-month low at 212k lots.

Metals: Buyers returned to gold for the first time since January after it managed to find support within the important $1670-85 band of support. The 30% jump in the net long to 54.7k lots was driven by a combination of new longs (5.9k) and 7k of short covering. These developments unfolded before the post-FOMC recovery when the market stepped up its focus and hedging activity against the risk of rising inflation. Elsewhere the silver long was reduced by 6%, platinum buying lifted the net long by 11% while HG copper selling extended into a fourth week resulting in the net long being cut to just 45k lots, an eight month low.

Agriculture: Grains and softs, with the exception of corn and cotton saw mild net selling. Overall the total net long in grains was only reduced by 0.4% to 743k lots, and the sector maintain a near record long exposure ahead of the March 31 US Prospective Planting report which may set the tone into the planting and growing months. Wheat, both the soft and hard red winter variety saw a combined 19k lots reduction 56k lots as it continue to be least wanted of the three major crops.


Dollar short covering accelerated last week with the net short against ten IMM currency futures and the Dollar Index being almost cut in half to $12.3 billion, the least bearish dollar position since last June. 

Speculators sold a whopping 46k lots or $5.3 billion equivalent of yen futures, thereby flipping the position to a net short for the first time in a year. This was the largest weekly selling of yen since 2011 and interestingly it occurred during a week where the yen traded rangebound and only finished down 0.5%. The euro long was cut by 12k lots ($1.8 bn) to 90k lots, and since the August 2020 record peak it has now been reduced by 58%. Selling was seen in all but nine of the ten currency pairs with other major changes being a 31k lots ($0.7 bn) reduction in the MXN long and 11k lots ($0.8 bn) in NZD. 

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 reasons why we focus primarily on the behavior of the highlighted groups 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



The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website. This content is not intended to and does not change or expand on the execution-only service. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research 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. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the 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 under relevant laws.

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

Saxo Bank (Schweiz) AG
The Circle 38

Contact Saxo

Select region


All trading carries risk. Losses can exceed deposits on margin products. You should consider whether you understand how our products work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. To help you understand the risks involved we have put together a general Risk Warning series of Key Information Documents (KIDs) highlighting the risks and rewards related to each product. The KIDs can be accessed within the trading platform. Please note that the full prospectus can be obtained free of charge from Saxo Bank (Switzerland) ltd. or the issuer.

This website can be accessed worldwide however the information on the website is related to Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. All clients will directly engage with Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. and all client agreements will be entered into with Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. and thus governed by Swiss Law.

The content of this website represents marketing material and has not been notified or submitted to any supervisory authority.

If you contact Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. or visit this website, you acknowledge and agree that any data that you transmit to Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd., either through this website, by telephone or by any other means of communication (e.g. e-mail), may be collected or recorded and transferred to other Saxo Bank Group companies or third parties in Switzerland or abroad and may be stored or otherwise processed by them or Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. You release Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. from its obligations under Swiss banking and securities dealer secrecies and, to the extent permitted by law, data protection laws as well as other laws and obligations to protect privacy. Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. has implemented appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect data from unauthorized processing and disclosure and applies appropriate safeguards to guarantee adequate protection of such data.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.