February 16, 2018 / 9:49 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Speculators trim bearish dollar bets to six-week low -CFTC, Reuters data

 (Adds details, table, analyst's comment, byline)
    By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
    NEW YORK, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Speculators' net short bets on
the U.S. dollar in the latest week shrank to a six-week low,
according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures
Trading Commission data released on Friday.
    The value of the net short dollar positions - derived from
net positions of International Monetary Market speculators in
the yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc and Canadian and
Australian dollars - totaled $8.19 billion, in the week to Feb.
    That compares with a net short position of $12.93 billion
the previous week.
    To be short a currency means traders believe it will fall in
    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 valued at $12.03 billion, compared with $17.0
billion a week earlier.
    "Whenever you have instances of higher risk aversion you
might see flows coming back into the dollar," said Sireen
Harajli, a currency strategist at Mizuho in New York.
    Higher-risk assets took a beating last week as investors
grappled with increased volatility across markets. The dollar
index, which measures the greenback against a basket of
six major currencies, rose 1.4 percent last week to notch its
best weekly performance since November 2016.
    The index gave up all those gains this week and hit a fresh
three-year low on Friday.
    "Our view is that the dollar is going to be trading on the
defensive this year," Harajli said.
    Worries about the U.S. budget deficit are expected to weigh
on the greenback, Harajli said.
    Meanwhile, speculators' net short position on bitcoin Cboe
futures fell to 1,875 contracts, down from a net short position
of 2,040 contracts in the prior week, the data showed.
    Bitcoin rose above $10,000 on Thursday for the first time in
more than two weeks, as investors bought back the digital
currency after it had fallen 70 percent from its all-time peak
hit in mid-December.
    Japanese Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) 
 $13.391 billion
         Feb. 13, 2018          Prior week
 Long             42,299            39,108
 Short           157,808           151,984
 Net            -115,509          -112,876
EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros)
 $-19.65 billion
         Feb. 13, 2018          Prior week
 Long            230,785           251,369
 Short           103,496           110,546
 Net             127,289           140,823
POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling)
 $-1.297 billion
         Feb. 13, 2018         Prior week
 Long             64,164           81,698
 Short            49,224           53,831
 Net              14,940           27,867
SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs)
 $2.665 billion
         Feb. 13, 2018         Prior week
 Long             17,763           16,898
 Short            37,688           37,139
 Net             -19,925          -20,241
CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars)
 $-2.584 billion
         Feb. 13, 2018         Prior week
 Long             62,535           69,492
 Short            30,006           29,328
 Net              32,529           40,164
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars)
 $-0.714 billion 
         Feb. 13, 2018         Prior week
 Long             49,208           68,273
 Short            40,127           54,525
 Net               9,081           13,748
MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos)
 $-2.594 billion
         Feb. 13, 2018         Prior week
 Long            122,762          127,650
 Short            25,984           34,795
 Net              96,778           92,855
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars)
 $-0.161 billion 
         Feb. 13, 2018         Prior week
 Long             28,648           29,316
 Short            26,428           25,984
 Net               2,220            3,332

 (Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, editing by G Crosse)
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