June 29, 2018 / 8:49 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Speculators boost net long U.S. dollar bets for 2nd week-CFTC, Reuters

 (Adds comments, details, byline, another dollar positioning
gauge, bitcoin futures)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, June 29 (Reuters) - Speculators increased bullish
bets on the U.S. dollar for a second straight week, pushing net
long positions to their  largest since mid-May last year,
according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures
Trading Commission data released on Friday.
    The value of the net long dollar position rose to $11.03
billion in the week ended June 26, from $8.64 billion the
previous week. 
    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
long position of $13.04 billion in the week of June 26, up from
net longs of $10.38 billion the previous week.
    That was also the largest net long positioning since
mid-May, Reuters data showed.
    U.S. dollar sentiment has improved over the last few months
due to an improving economic backdrop and expectations for
further gains have been reinforced after the Federal Reserve
signaled two more interest rate hikes this year a few weeks ago.
    "We think stronger U.S. growth should keep the Federal
Reserve on a hiking cycle with two more rate hikes this year and
three more next year, which also should ultimately be supportive
for the dollar," said Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a
research note.
    It added that U.S. economic reports are consistently better
than that of the euro zone and the bank expects this to continue
for the rest of the year.
    Since hitting a more than three-year low in mid-February,
the dollar index has rallied by more than 8 percent.    
    In the cryptocurrency market, meanwhile, speculators' net
short position on bitcoin Cboe futures fell to 1,368 contracts
 from net shorts of 1,595 the previous week, the
data showed. 
    That was the smallest net short since bitcoin futures
started trading on Cboe in December last year.
    Bitcoin on Friday fell as low as $5,774.72 on
Bitstamp, its weakest level since around mid-November. It
recovered, however, from that 7-1/2-month low and was last up
1.1 percent at $5,910.01.
    So far in 2018, bitcoin has fallen 57.4 percent, after
surging more than 1,300 percent last year.
    "Crypto is suffering from a negative reflexivity cycle — the
floundering prices, worsening technicals and poor liquidity are
keeping crypto-investors cautious, which is worsening liquidity
and further pushing down prices," said Thomas Lee, managing
partner, at Fundstrat Global Advisors in New York. 
    Japanese Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) 
 $3.887 billion
         26 Jun 2018            Prior week
 Long             44,430            46,565
 Short            78,651            82,127
 Net             -34,221           -35,562
EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros)
 $-4.935 billion
         26 Jun 2018            Prior week
 Long            190,147           190,684
 Short           156,243           154,566
 Net              33,904            36,118
POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling)
 $1.784 billion
         26 Jun 2018           Prior week
 Long             41,491           46,892
 Short            63,072           66,098
 Net             -21,581          -19,206
SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs)
 $4.8 billion
         26 Jun 2018           Prior week
 Long             13,242           18,837
 Short            51,273           50,794
 Net             -38,031          -31,957
CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars)
 $2.465 billion
         26 Jun 2018           Prior week
 Long             40,866           45,738
 Short            73,665           59,752
 Net             -32,799          -14,014
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars)
 $3.03 billion 
         26 Jun 2018           Prior week
 Long             33,105           32,212
 Short            74,083           75,311
 Net             -40,978          -43,099
MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos)
 $0.314 billion
         26 Jun 2018           Prior week
 Long             61,775           60,316
 Short            74,285           71,581
 Net             -12,510          -11,265
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars)
 $1.205 billion 
         26 Jun 2018           Prior week
 Long             14,898           14,656
 Short            32,460           30,596
 Net             -17,562          -15,940
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Richard
Chang and Tom Brown)
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