September 21, 2018 / 8:51 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Speculators raise net long U.S. dollar bets in latest week-CFTC, Reuters

 (Adds details, bitcoin futures, comment, table, byline)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Speculators' net long bets on
the U.S. dollar rose after declining for three straight weeks,
according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures
Trading Commission data released on Friday.
    The value of the net long dollar position rose to $22.98
billion in the week ended Sept. 18 from $19.16 billion the
previous week. Speculators have been net long dollars for 14
straight weeks.
    U.S. dollar positioning was derived from net contracts 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 contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso,
Brazilian real and Russian ruble, the U.S. dollar posted a net
long position of $24.78 billion in the week ended Sept. 18, from
$20.79 billion a week earlier.
    Analysts said underlying sentiment has cooled toward the
dollar given easing trade war concerns, which curbed appetite
for safe havens.
    For instance, while China and the United States continued to
wrangle over trade, the modest tariff increases were considered
less severe than expected and therefore likely to have only a
muted impact on global growth, analysts said.
    Since mid-August, the dollar index has fallen 3.3
    But a more hawkish outlook from the Federal Reserve next
week could further support the dollar in the near term. August's
U.S. nonfarm payrolls data showed a spike in wages last month,
boosting the inflation outlook and further underpinning rate
hike expectations.
    In other contracts, concerns about negotiations over
Britain's exit from the European Union have pushed sterling net
shorts to -79,258 contracts, the largest since May 2017.
    On Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said 
negotiations with the EU had hit an impasse.
    "The two sides remain far apart, meaning the chances of an
agreement being reached in October and finalized in November
seem pretty slim," said Thomas Pugh, UK economist at Capital
Economics in London.
    "For now, we see no reason to change our assumption that a
deal will only be secured at the eleventh hour, underpinning our
view that sterling is likely to drop to $1.25 by the end of the
year," he added.
    In the cryptocurrency market, speculators' net short
position on bitcoin Cboe futures rose to -1,318 contracts
 in the latest week, after hitting a record low
of -1,239 contracts the previous week, data showed.
    Bitcoin on Friday rose 4.2 percent to $6,757.28
on the Bitstamp platform. It cleared the $7,000 hurdle in late
    Michael Novogratz, former macro hedge fund manager and
founder of cryptocurrency asset management firm Galaxy Digital
Capital Management, said at a Yahoo Finance summit that
cryptocurrency prices have hit a bottom and bitcoin is due to
bounce back.
    Japanese Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) 
 $7.093 billion
         18 Sep 2018            Prior week
 Long             49,752            48,057
 Short           113,507           101,943
 Net             -63,755           -53,886
EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros)
 $-0.243 billion
         18 Sep 2018            Prior week
 Long            166,468           164,639
 Short           164,802           153,469
 Net               1,666            11,170
POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling)
 $6.513 billion
         18 Sep 2018           Prior week
 Long             32,856           65,982
 Short           112,114          127,161
 Net             -79,258          -61,179
SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs)
 $2.39 billion
         18 Sep 2018           Prior week
 Long              9,875            7,676
 Short            28,313           43,026
 Net             -18,438          -35,350
CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars)
 $2.321 billion
         18 Sep 2018           Prior week
 Long             25,979           30,506
 Short            56,090           57,448
 Net             -30,111          -26,942
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars)
 $4.908 billion 
         18 Sep 2018           Prior week
 Long             26,231           48,230
 Short            94,234           92,542
 Net             -68,003          -44,312
MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos)
 $-1.077 billion
         18 Sep 2018           Prior week
 Long            112,234          101,282
 Short            71,721           86,746
 Net              40,513           14,536
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars)
 $2.105 billion 
         18 Sep 2018           Prior week
 Long             11,021           19,408
 Short            43,010           42,055
 Net             -31,989          -22,647
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
Editing by Susan Thomas and James Dalgleish)
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