COT: Bullish commodities bets vanish as trade tariffs and growth concerns weigh

Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy, Saxo Bank Group
Ole Hansen joined Saxo in 2008 and has been Head of Commodity Strategy since 2010. He focuses on delivering strategies and analyses of the global commodity markets defined by fundamentals, market sentiment and technical developments.

To download your copy of the Commitment of Traders: Commodities report for the week ending June 26, click here.

Trade war concerns, a stronger dollar and signs of an economic slowdown among key EM countries, led by China, continued to take its toll on money managers' appetite for commodities last week. During the week to June 26 net-selling was seen in 19 out of the 24 futures contracts tracked in this update and following four weeks of continued selling the combined net-long has fallen by 617,000 lots to 1.3 million, the lowest since January 2. 

The only contract seeing noticeable buying was WTI crude with the story otherwise being the continued selling of gold and copper and not least the three major row crops of corn, soybeans and wheat.

Crude oil was mixed during a week which saw the spread between WTI and Brent collapse while the WTI prompt spread surged. Both of these events were triggered by a supply outage from Canada which may last through July and support a continued tightening at Cushing, Ok., the delivery hub for WTI crude oil futures. As a result the Brent net-long was cut by 1% while bullish WTI crude oil bets jumped by 25% to 391k lots, a 7-week high. A collapse in the WTI crude oil gross-short to just 20k, at 6-year low, lifted the long/short ratio to almost 21, a 7-year high.

Funds cut their gold net-long by 82% to just 4,000 lots, a 17-month low. The continued capitulation was driven by the biggest two-week jump in the gross-shorts since November 15 as the technical outlook deteriorated below $1,285/oz. The silver net-long exceeded that of gold for the first time since March 2017.

HG Copper longs capitulated in response to a deteriorating macroeconomic outlook led by fears of a Chinese slowdown driven by trade wars and slowing credit growth. The net-short in platinum meanwhile hit a fresh record of 26,000 lots.

The grains sector witnessed another week of heavy selling with funds now once again holding a short position in all of the three major crops. Trade war concerns (US corn to Mexico and soybeans to China) and improved US growing conditions helped create a perfect storm of negative price pressure during June.

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