COT: Dollar bought, JPY sold ahead of virus focus
Head of Commodity Strategy
Summary: Speculators turned buyers of dollars for the first time in seven weeks during the week to January 21. With GBP and JPY selling being the main drivers the market was left unprepared for the risk off that followed news about the corona virus outbreak in China.
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.
Before corona virus worries became the major market driver speculators bought dollars for the first time in seven weeks. In the week to January 21 the dollar long against ten IMM currency futures and the Dollar Index rose by $0.9 billion to $3.8 billion. The change was primarily driven by another week of JPY selling together with the first weekly reduction in GBP longs since late November.
The AUD long reached a fresh 18 month high while the record long in MXN expanded again to reach the equivalent of $4.5 billion. Both are under pressure this Monday as commodities take a hit with iron ore, one of Australias biggest export goods, taking a 6% hit overnight in Asia. Emerging markets weakness has driven USD/MXN to near one-month high.
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.