April 20, 2018 / 9:12 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. dollar net shorts climb to 6-1/2-year peak -CFTC, Reuters

 (Adds comments, table, details on bitcoin futures, byline)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, April 20 (Reuters) - Speculators' net short dollar
position surged to the highest since August 2011 in the latest
week, according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures
Trading Commission data released on Friday.
    The value of the net short dollar position was $23.42
billion in the week ended April 17, compared with net shorts of
$22.77 billion the previous week. Short-term investors have been
short the dollar since mid-July last year.
    U.S. dollar positioning was derived from net contracts of
International Monetary Market speculators in the yen, euro,
British pound, Swiss franc and Canadian and Australian dollars.
    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 equivalent to $28.18 billion, up from  $27.21
billion the previous week.
    U.S. dollar positioning has reached an extreme that could 
lead to a pullback in short bets, especially given the
greenback's recovery this week.
    The dollar index gained 0.6 percent this week, the
largest weekly gain since late February.
    "There was not one, but four main catalysts for the U.S.
dollar's recovery this past week," said Kathy Lien, managing
director of FX strategy, at BK Asset Management in New York. 
    She cited the rise in Treasury yields, softer global data,
solid U.S. retail sales and a more upbeat Beige Book report,
including a generally quiet environment on the geopolitical
    Investors were overall relieved that U.S. President Donald
Trump did not escalate tensions in Syria after striking specific
targets in that country, instead abandoning plans for more
    "If President Trump stays relatively quiet, U.S. data beats
(forecasts) and 10-year Treasury yields edge closer to 3
percent, the U.S. dollar can extend its gains," Lien added.  
    Euro net longs, meanwhile, rose to a record high of 151,476
contracts, CFTC data showed.
    The single European currency ended the week on a sour
note, however, slipping about 0.3 percent, its weakest weekly
showing since mid-February.
    Next week should prove critical for the euro with the
upcoming European Central Bank Monetary policy meeting. The ECB
is not expected to move interest rates any time soon, but
investors would be looking for further guidance on the 
potential timing of an end to the ECB's quantitative easing.
    "Hawkish rhetoric will likely be constructive for the
recently struggling euro, while dovish tones are likely to weigh
further on the shared currency," said James Chen, head  of
research at Forex.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.
    Meanwhile, speculators' net short position on bitcoin Cboe
futures rose to 1,883 contracts, up from 1,721
the previous week, data showed. This week's net short bitcoin
futures were the largest since mid-February.
    Bitcoin hit an all-time high of just under $20,000 in
December 2017 and has since fallen to as low as $5,920. On
Friday, it was up 3 percent on the day at $8,515 on
the BitStamp platform.
    Cryptocurrencies overall have been pressured by concerns of
a clampdown from regulators and fears they have been in a
speculative bubble that is now contracting.
    Japanese Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) 
 $-0.303 billion
         April 17, 2018         Prior week
 Long             49,433            49,855
 Short            46,842            47,094
 Net               2,591             2,761
EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros)
 $-23.422 billion
         April 17, 2018         Prior week
 Long            238,829           236,344
 Short            87,353            88,881
 Net             151,476           147,463
POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling)
 $-4.259 billion
         April 17, 2018        Prior week
 Long            113,252           95,267
 Short            65,550           52,251
 Net              47,702           43,016
SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs)
 $1.361 billion
         April 17, 2018        Prior week
 Long             24,967           18,370
 Short            35,488           29,114
 Net             -10,521          -10,744
CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars)
 $2.417 billion
         April 17, 2018        Prior week
 Long             28,575           28,027
 Short            58,899           59,699
 Net             -30,324          -31,672
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars)
 $0.788 billion 
         April 17, 2018        Prior week
 Long             29,832           38,793
 Short            39,987           41,589
 Net             -10,155           -2,796
MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos)
 $-2.822 billion
         April 17, 2018        Prior week
 Long            155,624          147,519
 Short            53,783           45,301
 Net             101,841          102,218
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars)
 $-2.026 billion 
         April 17, 2018        Prior week
 Long             47,255           41,652
 Short            19,652           18,825
 Net              27,603           22,827
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
Editing by Leslie Adler and Dan Grebler)
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