COT: Funds slash bullish commodity bets COT: Funds slash bullish commodity bets COT: Funds slash bullish commodity bets

COT: Funds slash bullish commodity bets

Commodities 10 minutes to read
Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy

Summary:  The latest US Commitment of Traders report showed a major decline in funds' total commodities position.

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: Commodities report for the week ending March 5, click here.

Hedge funds cut bullish commodity bets by almost one quarter last week. The total net-long slumped to a three-year low at just 494k lots. Looking at the table below we find the agriculture sector, led by grains, being out of favour with traders and investors holding net-short positions in 12 out of 14 futures contracts. At the opposite end the energy sector, led by crude oil, remains the most favoured followed by metals. 
Funds positioning
Source: Bloomberg
In crude oil, the combined net-long in WTI and Brent reached an 18-week high at 443k lots. While Brent saw reductions in both long and short positions, WTI traders were somewhat more bullish with a slump in US imports supporting fresh buying (10k lots) and short-covering (10k lots).

Since hitting a through at 243k lots on January 8 – a three-year low – funds have only bought back 200k lots despite having seen the price of both Brent and WTI recover close to half the October to December sell-off. Thishighlights that macroeconomic driven investors worry about the impact of slowing global growth despite the Opec+ group’s best efforts to support the price through cutting production.
Brent and WTI: Managed money
Gold’s recent trading behavior has seen funds unsuccessfully chase the market. After buying 44k lots in the run-up to the failed attempt at $1,350/oz, they then dumped 56k lots last week after gold came close to challenging key support at $1,275/oz. The biggest jump in short holdings since July may further support the price, especially on a technical break above $1,306/oz, the 38.2% retracement of the recent correction. 
COMEX Gold and Silver
The recently established net-longs in copper and platinum both increased further despite emerging signs of profit-taking. The rise in net-longs, however, were both driven by traders taking the opportunity to cover shorts at lower levels – especially in platinum, which dropped by more than 5% during the week. 
Copper and Platinum
Weeks of selling have seen the grains sector once again emerge as the most shorted. The combined net-short in soybeans, corn and wheat jumped 50% last week to 300k lots, a 13-month high and highest for this time of year since 2016.  Corn, which saw the May contract reach a contract low on Friday following a bearish monthly WASDE report, has been hardest hit in terms of selling during the past month.  
Agricultural commodities
Last Friday’s WASDE report for March helped send the May-19 CBOT Corn futures to a contract low after ending stocks beat the most optimistic forecast at 1,835 million bushels. Higher wheat stocks also weakened the price but the impact eventually turned out to be limited for both contracts, not least due to how much the price had already weakened ahead of the report but also due to the aforementioned report which shows that fund swere already holding very elevated short positions. 
Funds positioning
Source: USDA, Bloomberg, Reuters
Funds hold short positions in all four soft contracts. In cotton the net-short remains close to a 12-year high despite some light buying last week. The net-shorts in both sugar and cocoa more than doubled following a week of price weakness. 

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.

The Saxo 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 is not intended to and does not change or expand on this. 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 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 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 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 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 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 (

None of the information contained here constitutes an offer to purchase or sell a financial instrument, or to make any investments. Saxo does not take into account your personal investment objectives or financial situation and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the information nor for any loss arising from any investment made in reliance of this presentation. Any opinions made are subject to change and may be personal to the author. These may not necessarily reflect the opinion of Saxo or its affiliates.

Saxo Capital Markets HK Limited
19th Floor
Shanghai Commercial Bank Tower
12 Queen’s Road Central
Hong Kong

Contact Saxo

Select region

Hong Kong S.A.R
Hong Kong S.A.R

Saxo Capital Markets HK Limited (“Saxo”) is a company authorised and regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. Saxo holds a Type 1 Regulated Activity (Dealing in Securities); Type 2 Regulated Activity (Dealing in Futures Contract); Type 3 Regulated Activity (Leveraged Foreign Exchange Trading); Type 4 Regulated Activity (Advising on Securities) and Type 9 Regulated Activity (Asset Management) licenses (CE No. AVD061). Registered address: 19th Floor, Shanghai Commercial Bank Tower, 12 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong.

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. Trading in leveraged products may result in your losses exceeding your initial deposits. Saxo does not provide financial advice, any information available on this website is ‘general’ in nature and for informational purposes only. Saxo does not take into account an individual’s needs, objectives or financial situation. Please click here to view the relevant risk disclosure statements.

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

The information or the products and services referred to on this site 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 are not directed at, or intended for distribution to or use by, any person or entity residing in the United States and Japan. Please click here to view our full disclaimer.

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