Speculators pare bullish U.S. dollar bets to lowest since mid-Aug -CFTC, Reuters data

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Speculators’ net long positioning in the U.S. dollar dropped in the latest week to the lowest level since mid-August 2021, according to calculations by Reuters and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.

The value of the net long dollar position fell to $5.12 billion for the week ended March 1, from $5.80 billion the previous week. U.S. dollar net long positioning fell for a seventh consecutive week.

The U.S. dollar positioning was derived from net contracts of International Monetary Market speculators in the Japanese yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc, as well as Canadian and Australian dollars.

In a wider measure of dollar positioning, which includes net contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso, Brazilian real and Russian rouble, the greenback posted a net long position of $3.84 billion this week, from $5.05 billion in the prior week.

“Data released today showed a decline in U.S. dollar bullish sentiment despite elevated market anxiety owing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” wrote Scotiabank in a research note after the release of the CFTC data.

Speculators also increased net long positioning on the euro to 64,939 contracts, the largest since July 2021.

Scotia, however, said positive drivers are limited for the euro. That should see investors trim net bullish positions on next week’s data “particularly ahead of a dovish ECB (European Central Bank) decision on Thursday given the risks posed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

In the wake of Russia’s attack and the consequent financial sanctions on the country, net longs on the Russian rouble were slashed to 9,674 contracts, the lowest since late January.

In cyptocurrencies, speculators turned net long on bitcoin futures, with 80 contracts, for the first time since the week of Feb. 1, CFTC data showed.

It has been a roller-coaster ride for bitcoin over the last couple of months. Like most risk assets, bitcoin has struggled amid growing expectations that the Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy at its meeting later this month.

So far this year, bitcoin has fallen 14% versus the dollar. It was last down 7.2% at $39,411.