UPDATE 1-Speculators boost short US dollar bets in latest week-CFTC

Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:16pm EST

NEW YORK Dec 28 (Reuters) - Currency speculators increased their bets against the U.S. dollar in the latest week, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.

The value of the dollar's net short position rose to $6.49 billion in the week ended Dec. 24, from a net short position of $6.39 billion the previous week.

The CFTC data normally includes positioning as of Tuesday, but the cutoff was moved to Monday because Tuesday was the Christmas holiday.

Speculators sharply reduced bets against the euro in the latest week to 2,549 contracts from 9,736 contracts. Sentiment on the euro has improved, driving it to a 8-1/2-month high on Dec. 19, as worries about the euro zone debt crisis eased.

The other major change in positioning was in the Swiss franc, with speculators more than doubling bets in favor of the currency. Long bets rose to 11,435 contracts in the latest week, the highest since August, 2011.

Bets on further losses in the Japanese yen fell for a second straight week after hitting more than five-year peaks earlier this month.

The yen has weakened sharply and hit a more than two-year low against the dollar on Friday on expectations Japan's new government will push for aggressive monetary easing.

To be short a currency is to bet it will decline in value, while being long is a view its value will rise.

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

JAPANESE YEN (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen)

12/24/12 week 12/18/12 week

Long 26,757 27,935

Short 112,365 117,098

Net -85,608 -89,163

EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros)

12/24/12 week 12/18/12 week

Long 75,072 69,460

Short 77,621 79,196

Net -2,549 -9,736

POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling)

12/24/12 week 12/18/12 week

Long 74,466 79,375

Short 37,145 51,339

Net 37,321 28,036

SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs)

12/24/12 week 12/18/12 week

Long 21,897 17,361

Short 10,462 13,081

Net 11,435 4,280

CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars)

12/24/12 week 12/18/12 week

Long 72,777 81,493

Short 9,425 7,215

Net 63,352 74,278

AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars)

12/24/12 week 12/18/12 week

Long 116,141 144,966

Short 40,708 47,470

Net 75,433 97,496

MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos)

12/24/12 week 12/18/12 week

Long 157,338 169,413

Short 7,983 21,664

Net 149,355 147,749

NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars)

12/24/12 week 12/18/12 week

Long 27,425 31,830

Short 12,686 17,600

Net 14,739 14,230