COT: Dollar buyers return after two months of selling

Forex

Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy

Summary:  The COT reports highlight speculators positions and changes made during the week to April 28 in FX, bonds and stocks. The risk on seen during this period was driven by hopes, in some cases premature, that the COVID-19 pandemic had started to loosen its stranglehold on the global economy. The S&P 500 jumped by 5% while the dollar despite trading softer was bought for the first time in nine weeks


Saxo Bank publishes two weekly Commitment of Traders reports (COT) covering leveraged fund positions in bonds and stock index futures. For IMM currency futures and the VIX, we use the broader measure called non-commercial.

A mixed week in forex saw speculators turn net buyers of dollars for the first time in nine weeks. The Greenback short against ten IMM currency futures and the Dollar index was cut by $1 billion to $8 billion. The haven currencies of yen and Swiss franc as well as the Mexican peso were all bought, the latter following more than three months of non-stop selling. These developments, however were more than off-set by selling of Sterling, Canadian and Australian Dollar and not least the euro where speculators had been adding length for the past eight weeks.

Leveraged fund positions in bonds, stocks and VIX

The speculative short position in the C'Boe VIX futures was cut by 41% to 19k lots, an almost 15 month low. The reduction occurred despite a 4.6% rally in the S&P 500 Index driving a 12% drop in volatility. Interestingly the reduction was almost entirely driven by short positions being closed, potentially a sign of fading optimism that the stock market rally can continue.

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.

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