COT: Dollar short reduced; Swiss Franc long reaches 2016 high

Forex

Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy

Summary:  The Commitments of Traders reports highlight speculators positions and changes made during the week to May 5 in FX, bonds and stocks. The risk on seen during the previous weeks paused with the S&P 500, U.S. 10-year Notes and the dollar all trading softer. The dollar was nevertheless in demand against most of the ten IMM currency futures tracked in this, not least against the euro and Japanese yen. Exceptions being the Aussie dollar and the Swiss franc which reached a level of longs last seen in 2016.


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.

Hedge funds and other large speculators bought U.S. dollar for a second week to May 5. Buying against ten IMM currency futures were broad based resulting in the gross dollar short being reduced by 17% to $6.7 billion. The two exceptions being the Aussie dollar and the Swiss franc, with the long on the latter rising to the highest since 2016.

Biggest changes weighing the most on the sell side was the euro, which was sold for a second week, and the Japanese yen long which retraced after reaching a 13 months high a week earlier. Selling of the Mexican peso resumed despite rising 1.7% against the dollar.

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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