Specs trim bets vs dollar, raise sterling short position-CFTC

NEW YORK Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:46pm EST

NEW YORK Feb 15 (Reuters) - Currency speculators reduced their bets against the U.S. dollar in the latest week and built up the largest short sterling position since last June, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday.

The value of the dollar's net short position fell to $3.02 billion in the week ended Feb. 12, from $9.15 billion the previous week.

Much of the dollar's gain came at the expense of the British pound sterling. Short contracts on the UK currency swelled to 16,776, the most since mid-June 2012.

The Bank of England said last week it wold reinvest its government bond holdings as they mature next month and promised to provide more stimulus if needed to boost economic recovery.

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

Speculators cut bets against the Japanese yen but remained short to the tune of 61,306 contracts. Plans for aggressive monetary easing in Japan have sent the yen down sharply against the dollar and euro in recent weeks and caused consternation among some countries who feel Tokyo is deliberately weakening its currency to get a trade advantage.

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.