February 2, 2018 / 9:27 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Speculators raise short U.S. dollar bets; bitcoin shorts up -CFTC, Reuters

 (Adds comment, bitcoin futures, details, table, byline)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Speculators' net short U.S.
dollar bets increased in the latest week to their highest since
mid-October, according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity
Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.
    The value of the net short dollar position, derived from net
holdings of International Monetary Market speculators in the
yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc and Canadian and
Australian dollars, was $13.73 billion, in the week to Jan. 30.
    The previous week's net short position on the dollar was
$11.47 billion.
    In a wider measure of dollar positioning that
includes net contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso,
Brazilian real and Russian rouble, the U.S. dollar posted a net
short position valued at $17.48 billion, compared with $14.458
billion.
    Sentiment on the dollar remained bearish, with net short
positions rising for a fifth straight week. Speculators have
been short the greenback for seven straight months.
    On Friday, U.S. job growth surged in January and wages
increased further, recording their largest annual gain in more
than 8-1/2 years and the dollar rallied on that.
    But many in the market remained skeptical this goodwill for
the dollar could be sustained.
    "Whether the jobs report's substantially positive impact on
the U.S. dollar on Friday results in any bonafide rebound and
recovery for the ailing currency remains to be seen," said James
Chen, head of research at FOREX.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.
    "However, the anticipation of higher interest rates was
strong and increasing well before Friday’s jobs data, and it
still failed to provide the greenback with any respite from its
persistent weakness." 
    The dollar index has been down 3.2 percent so far this year,
after posting a 10 percent loss in 2017.
    Speculators, meanwhile, pushed up net short positions on
bitcoin futures traded on CBOE Global Markets to 2,139 contracts
this week, from 1,746 short contracts the previous week, CFTC
data showed.
    Bitcoin on Friday fell as much as 15 percent, falling below
$8,000 at one point, amid worries about a regulatory clampdown
globally. On Thursday, India vowed to eradicate the use of
crypto-assets, joining China and South Korea in promising to ban
parts of the nascent market where prices have boomed in recent
years.
    The digital currency has come off its lowest level and was
last down more than 5 percent at $8,505 on the
Luxembourg-based Bitstamp platform.
       
Japanese Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) 
 $13.182 billion
         Jan. 30, 2018          Prior week
         week             
 Long             47,828            37,260
 Short           162,524           160,130
 Net            -114,696          -122,870
 
EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros)
 $-23.055 billion
         Jan. 30, 2018          Prior week
         week             
 Long            258,022           262,175
 Short           109,280           117,458
 Net             148,742           144,717
 
POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling)
 $-2.806 billion
         Jan. 30, 2018         Prior week
         week             
 Long             95,667           99,369
 Short            63,926           66,324
 Net              31,741           33,045
 
SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs)
 $2.72 billion
         Jan. 30, 2018         Prior week
         week             
 Long             16,673           14,245
 Short            37,000           36,360
 Net             -20,327          -22,115
 
CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars)
 $-2.714 billion
         Jan. 30, 2018         Prior week
         week             
 Long             75,296           69,446
 Short            41,831           46,889
 Net              33,465           22,557
 
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars)
 $-1.063 billion 
         Jan. 30, 2018         Prior week
         week             
 Long             63,496           63,551
 Short            50,345           46,872
 Net              13,151           16,679
 
MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos)
 $-2.133 billion
         Jan. 30, 2018         Prior week
         week             
 Long            110,923           97,964
 Short            30,878           36,809
 Net              80,045           61,155
 
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars)
 $-0.254 billion 
         Jan. 30, 2018         Prior week
         week             
 Long             29,667           24,620
 Short            26,197           26,086
 Net               3,470           -1,466
 
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Susan Thomas
and Chizu Nomiyama)
  
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