Speculators' net short dollar bets largest since May 2016 -CFTC, Reuters

Aug 4 (Reuters) - Speculators boosted their net short bets on the U.S. dollar this week to their largest since the second week of May 2016 amid political tension in Washington and diminished expectations of accelerated interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The value of net short bets on the dollar rose to $5.32 billion in the week ended Aug. 1 from $3.92 billion the previous week, according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.

Speculators were net short U.S. dollars for a third straight week. 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 and Canadian and Australian dollars.

In a wider measure of dollar positioning that includes net futures contracts in the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso, Brazilian real and Russian ruble, the U.S. dollar posted a net short position valued at $11.09 billion, the largest since January 2013, from $9.55 billion a week earlier. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by James Dalgleish)