Speculators raise bullish bets on US bond futures-CFTC
NEW YORK, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Bond speculators raised bullish bets on U.S. Treasury futures early this week on anxiety that Washington will fail to reach a timely deal to avert a fiscal crisis, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday. Investors fear the "fiscal cliff," a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts which would phase in from early 2013 if U.S. President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders do not reach a compromise by year-end. Going over the fiscal cliff could stun the U.S. economy back into recession, according to many economists. Speculators' net long positions in 10-year Treasury futures increased to 158,519 contracts on Nov 13 from 110,357 last week, according to the CFTC's latest Commitments of Traders data. On Friday, 10-year Treasury futures closed 3/32 higher at 134-4/32, while the yield on cash 10-year Treasury notes finished down 1 basis point at 1.58 percent. Ten-year note futures touched their highest level since early September, while the 10-year cash yield fell to its lowest since early September. In the meantime, speculators raised their bullish or long bets in two-, five- and 30-year Treasury futures. There were 16,912 more speculative long positions in 30-year Treasury bond futures versus bearish or short positions on Tuesday. A week earlier, there were 22,654 more speculative shorts in T-bond futures than longs. Net speculative long bets on two-year T-notes inched up to 4,875 contracts from 4,145 last week. Net speculative long bets on five-year T-note futures jumped to 118,837 contracts from 72,858 the prior week, the data showed. Bond speculators remained bearish on the Chicago Board of Trade's "ultra" bond contracts, as worries about a protracted struggle to attain a long-term budget deficit plan made holding very long-term debt unappealing. There were 28,160 more speculative short positions than longs in the "ultra" contracts on Tuesday, compared with 19,802 net shorts a week ago, the data showed.