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Observations From The Speculative Positioning In The FX Futures Market

Observations From The Speculative Positioning In The FX Futures Market

We look at the speculative positioning in the futures market as a proxy for short-term trend and momentum participants. We are interested in gross positioning more than net because it reveals more insight into exposures. It is also more true to our experience that differentiates buying to go long and buying to cover shorts, for example.

Gross position adjustments were among the smallest of the year. There were no significant (10k+ contracts) gross position change. In fact, only two of the 16 gross currency position we track saw more than a 5k adjustment. The gross long euro position rose 5.7k contracts to 71.1k. The gross short Australian dollar position fell by 6.5k contracts, leaving 76k.

However, there were three clear patterns even from the minor position adjustments. First, the net short position fell among all the currency futures, except for the British pound. Sterling’s net short position rose to 7.5k contracts from -4.5k in the prior reporting period. It is the third week they have risen after being net long for a week.

The second clear pattern is the short-covering. All the gross short currency futures positions were reduced without exception. The small short-covering in the New Zealand dollar (1700 contracts) was sufficient to switch the net position to the long side even if barely (700 contracts) for the first time since May.

The third pattern is risk reduction. Thirteen of the 16 gross positions saw a reduction of exposure. Exceptions included the gross long New Zealand dollar position that we rounded to 0 from a small decline. The other exceptions were the 5.7k contract increase in the long euro position and the less than 1k contract increase in the Australian dollar.

These patterns in speculative positioning were also seen in the U.S. 10-Year Treasury and crude oil futures market. Position adjustments were small, bias toward short-covering and risk reduction.

In the crude oil futures, the longs were pared by 3.4k contracts to 487.7k. The shorts were trimmed by 10.1k contracts leaving 222.7k. This resulted in a 6.7k increase in the net long speculative position to 265k contracts.

The net speculative position in the 10-year Treasury futures switched back to being net long. This reflected a counter-pattern 20k increase in gross long positions (to 470.9k contracts). The gross shorts were slimmed by two hundred contracts (leaving a gross short position of 222.7k contracts). The net long position stands at 17.7k contracts. Consider at the end of last year the net short positions stood near 250k contracts.

Commitment of Traders, Week of October 13, 2015

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