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Speculators raise net short dollar bets to $9.40 billion – CFTC, Reuters

(Reuters) - Speculators increased bearish net-short bets against the dollar to $9.40 billion in the latest week of trading, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission calculated by Reuters showed on Friday.

The increase in short contracts came as speculators have increasingly lost faith in U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to pass his proposed tax cuts and infrastructure spending plans, which were expected to pump up growth and inflation, increasing the pace of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Higher interest rates provide better yield to investors and make a currency more attractive.

“Momentum has been against the dollar this whole summer and with volume low and not too much happening before today’s Jackson Hole meeting that momentum is going to continue with nothing to stop the dollar from falling,” said John Doyle, director of markets at Tempus Inc in Washington.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major currencies, fell to its lowest level since May 2016 on Friday after Fed Chair Janet Yellen did not comment on monetary policy in her prepared remarks at the Jackson Hole Symposium and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi did not comment on capping the euro’s strength.

Last week the value of net-short positioning fell to $8.84 billion, marking the first reduction in net short dollar bets in seven weeks. In the latest week, which closed Aug. 22, speculators renewed their positioning for continued weakness in the dollar.

A broader measure of speculator positioning that includes net contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso, Brazilian real and Russian ruble, showed a net short position of $13.93 billion for the dollar, up from $13.36 billion last week.

Net short contracts on the Japanese yen fell, bringing the number of negative contracts on the Japanese currency to the lowest since late June. The number of net-short contracts on the yen has fallen every week for the past five.

To be long a currency is to bet it will appreciate in value while to be short a currency means investors bet its value will fall.

The Reuters calculation for the aggregate U.S. dollar position is derived from net positions of International Monetary speculators in the yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc and Canadian and Australian dollars.

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