COT: Dollar strength and trade fears trigger big changes
Head of Commodity Strategy, Saxo Bank Group
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The speculative dollar position against nine IMM currency futures saw the biggest bullish shift on record in the week to June 19. After buying a record $17.5 billion, traders ended up holding a gross dollar long for the first time in a year. Just two months ago traders held a record dollar short of almost $29 billion, with the vast majority being against a EUR long. The belief in a stronger euro finally received a knock during the week where the Federal Open Market Committee raised rates and the European Central Bank maintained its dovish stance.
The AUD net-short reached an 18-month high while the JPY position flipped to a net-short. Bearish bets on the Mexican peso almost halved as the currency bounced. With the sheer amount of new positions now looking for continued dollar strength, failure risks triggering a reversal. Last week the euro found support ahead of €1.15 while the dollar index ran out of buyers above 95 so there's potentially an interesting week ahead.
Hedge funds cut bullish commodities bets by 14% or 248,357 lots in the week to June 19. The biggest changes were seen across metals and grains where longs were trimmed and fresh shorts added. This came in response to continued dollar strength as well as growth and demand concerns due to heightening trade tensions together with improved US growing conditions for key crops.
The energy sector had a relatively quiet week with funds cutting both long and short positions ahead of the June 22 Opec meeting.
The sharp sell-off across the metals space on June 15 helped trigger a 64% reduction in bullish gold bets to 23.5k lots, a 2½–year low. The eight-fold increase in silver longs the previous week led to a 30% reduction while bearish platinum bets hit a record 25k lots.
Dollar strength, improved US growing conditions and not least trade war fears helped send the combined position in the three major crops of corn, wheat and soybeans back to a net short. During the past three weeks funds sold a combine 352k lots with soybeans and not least corn being the hardest hit.
In fixed income, leveraged funds made a small reduction in bearish bond bets during the week where the FOMC hiked rates, US 10-year yields reached a low of 2.85% in response to escalating trade tensions and the curve continued to flatten.
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