Speculators Trimmed Exposure Ahead of Super Thursday

new businessIn the CFTC reporting week that covered the US employment data and the run-up to Super Thursday that featured an ECB meeting, former FBI Director Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the UK election, speculators mostly reduced exposure in the foreign exchange futures market.    We track 16 gross positions.  Of these, all but three involved reducing exposures.  

 Speculators add to gross short sterling positions.  It is the only short position of the eight currency future we follow that increased.  It was minor adjustment, but the sign was notable.  Speculators added 1.6k contracts to the gross short position, lifting it to 76.9k contracts.  Incidentally, the bulls liquidated 5.4k gross long contracts, leaving 40.1kc contracts.

The gross long New Zealand dollar and Mexican peso futures were increased by speculators; 2.5k and 3.1k contracts respectively.  The gross long Kiwi position stands at 19.3k contracts and the gross long peso position rose to 115.6k contracts.

Speculative positions were barely adjusted even if they were mostly in the same direction.  Three quarters of the gross positions changed by 4k contracts or less. There were only two significant gross position adjustments (more than 10k contracts) and both were accounted for by the euro.  The bulls trimmed 11.3k contracts leaving them long 164.9k contracts. The bears covered 12.5k contracts. A 90.9k gross short position remained.

Although the absolute adjustment was small, it was sufficient to turn the net speculative position in the Australian dollar futures net short for the first time in five months, and lift the net long peso position to its largest in three years.  The speculators trimmed the gross long Aussie position by 4k contracts and covered a little less than a thousand previously sold contracts.  This put the net speculative position short a hundred contracts.  The net long position has fallen in every week here in Q2 after ending Q1 with a net long position of around 53k contracts.

Meanwhile, the peso bulls are very much in the driver’s seat.  They added another 3.1k contracts to the gross long position, which stands at 115.6k contracts.  The bears felt the heat and covered another 6.7k contracts, leaving a gross short position of 30.8k contracts.  The net long position increased to 84.8k contracts and is the largest among the currency futures. Indeed with the turn in the Aussie, of the eight currency futures were track,  speculators are only net long (net short dollars) against the peso and euro.

The reporting period ended on the day when US 10-year Treasury yields recorded the low for the year near 2.13%.  The speculative positioning suggest the bulls were getting tired.  They added only 1.4k contracts to their gross long position.  It stands at 878.9k contracts (each one with a notional value of $100,000).  The bears are picking a top in the note.  They shorted another 47.5k contracts, giving a gross short position of 666.8k contracts.  The net long position was reduced to 212.1k contracts form 258.2k.  It is the second week it has fallen after peaking near 362k contracts.

The price of oil was a down draft.  The recent peak was at $52 on May 25 for the July light sweet contract.  It fell to about $46.75 by the end of the reporting period, and fell to $45.20 subsequently. Oil bulls were not discouraged, they bought into weakness.  They took advantage of the retreat to accumulate another 29.3k contracts, giving them 624.9k contracts.  The bears pushed the trend and added 20.6k contracts to their gross short position, now 242.4k contracts.   The net long position rose by 8.7k contracts to 382.5k (each contract representing 1000 barrels).

 

6-Jun        Commitment of Traders
Net  Prior  Gross Long Change Gross Short  Change
Euro 74.0 72.9 164.9 -11.3 90.9 -12.5
Yen -55.0 -52.3 39.7 -3.7 94.8 -0.9
Sterling -36.7 -29.7 40.1 -5.4 76.9 1.6
Swiss Franc -16.6 -18.5 6.8 -2.0 23.3 -3.9
C$ -94.5 -98.2 26.5 -2.8 121.0 -0.9
A$ -0.1 3.1 39.1 -4.0 39.2 -0.9
NZ$ -1.8 -5.5 19.3 2.5 21.1 -1.3
Mexican Peso 84.8 75.0 115.6 3.1 30.8 -6.7
(CFTC, Bloomberg) Speculative positions in 000’s of contracts