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Speculators boost bearish bets on U.S. dollar -CFTC, Reuters

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By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Speculators' net short dollar bets rose in the latest week to the largest position since mid-October, according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.

The value of the net short dollar positions, derived from net positions of International Monetary Market speculators in the yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc and Canadian and Australian dollars, was $9.59 billion, in the week to Jan. 16.

That compares with a net short position of $8.85 billion the previous week.

To be short a currency means traders believe it will fall in value.

In a wider measure of dollar positioning that includes net contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso, Brazilian real and Russian ruble, the U.S. dollar posted a net short position valued at $11.80 billion, compared with $10.14 billion the week before.

The trade-weighted dollar index rose 0.14 percent to 90.665 on Friday.

On Wednesday, the index touched the lowest level since December 2014, with investors selling on the view that more central banks will join the Federal Reserve in raising interest rates, after years of ultra-loose policy adopted to combat the 2008 global financial crisis and subsequent recessions.

The index was on pace for its fifth straight week of declines, its longest losing streak since May 2015, with worries over a possible U.S. government shutdown weighing on investor sentiment.

Speculators have maintained a bearish stance on the greenback since mid-July, Reuters data showed. Excessive bearish bets against the dollar could spur a short squeeze in the event of any positive news for the dollar, some analysts said. The net long position on sterling grew to 26,204 contracts, the highest since September 2014, the data showed.

Sterling has rallied against the greenback in recent weeks, with traders welcoming positive noises from the European Union about negotiations for Britain's exit. Growing risk appetite has also encouraged sterling bulls to add to their positions against a widely weakened dollar.

Meanwhile, speculators' net short position on bitcoin Cboe futures rose to a new high of 2,226 contracts, up from 1,907 contracts in the prior week, the data showed.

Regulatory fears have hurt bitcoin prices in recent days and earlier this week the first of the Cboe bitcoin futures contracts settled, netting big gains for bitcoin bears. Japanese Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) $13.508 billion

16 Jan 2018 Prior week

week Long 38,152 37,376 Short 157,502 162,912 Net -119,350 -125,536 EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros) $-21.375 billion

16 Jan 2018 Prior week

week Long 254,344 242,053 Short 114,854 97,362 Net 139,490 144,691 POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling) $-2.259 billion

16 Jan 2018 Prior week

week Long 84,661 85,039 Short 58,457 59,547 Net 26,204 25,492 SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs) $2.75 billion

16 Jan 2018 Prior week

week Long 14,233 18,523 Short 35,339 40,445 Net -21,106 -21,922 CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars) $-1.412 billion

16 Jan 2018 Prior week

week Long 61,473 58,581 Short 43,917 41,120 Net 17,556 17,461 AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars) $-0.802 billion

16 Jan 2018 Prior week

week Long 50,348 52,347 Short 40,274 46,889 Net 10,074 5,458 MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos) $-1.247 billion

16 Jan 2018 Prior week

week Long 82,790 78,703 Short 35,995 48,906 Net 46,795 29,797 NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars) $0.581 billion

16 Jan 2018 Prior week

week Long 17,795 17,304 Short 25,786 28,321 Net -7,991 -11,017

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ GRAPHIC: Dollar stuck on worst losing streak since 2015 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Reporting by Saqib Iqbal AhmedEditing by Chizu Nomiyama; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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