January 26, 2018 / 9:42 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Speculators up short U.S. dollar bets, trims short bitcoin -CFTC, Reuters

 (Adds comment, details, table, byline)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Speculators' net short dollar
bets rose in the latest week to their largest amount since
mid-October, according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity
Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.
    The value of the net short dollar position, derived from net
holdings of International Monetary Market speculators in the
yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc and Canadian and
Australian dollars, was $11.47 billion, in the week to Jan. 23.
    The previous week's net short position on the dollar was
$9.59 billion.
    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
short position valued at $14.458 billion, compared with $11.80
billion the week before.
    Net short U.S. dollar contracts have increased for four
straight weeks, underscoring bearish sentiment on the greenback
despite the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates this year.
Other major central banks, such as the European Central Bank,
have been normalizing their monetary policies, boosting their
currencies, specifically against the dollar.
    It has been a choppy week for the dollar after U.S. Treasury
Secretary Steve Mnuchin commented that a weak currency is good
for the United States, only to backtrack after the greenback
fell sharply. President Donald Trump did his own damage control,
saying that the government still supports a strong dollar.
    "If you take the overall stance of the U.S. administration,
it's protectionist and still it's not clear what kind of dollar
the president and the Treasury want, but it still doesn't sound
like they really want a strong dollar given the fact that they
are aiming to boost exports," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency
strategist at Credit Agricole in New York.
    "Ultimately when you think about the dollar, it's still in a
downtrend," he said. "I don't think it changes the overall
picture very much. It's still in a downtrend."
    Speculators, meanwhile, pared back net short positions on
bitcoin futures traded on CBOE Global Markets to 1,746 
contracts this week, from a record high of 2,226 the previous
week, CFTC data showed.
    Digital currency bitcoin has been on a highly volatile track
in the last few months. After hitting an all-time high just shy
of $20,000 on Dec. 17 on the Bitstamp platform, it plunged more
than 50 percent in roughly a month to below $10,000. 
    Bitcoin has stabilized since then and was last down more
than 2 percent at $10,915.77.
  Japan Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) $13.926 billion
         Jan. 23, 2018          Prior week
 Long             37,260            38,152
 Short           160,130           157,502
 Net            -122,870          -119,350
EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros)  $-22.245 billion
         Jan. 23, 2018          Prior week
 Long            262,175           254,344
 Short           117,458           114,854
 Net             144,717           139,490
POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling)
   -$2.891 billion
         Jan. 23, 2018         Prior week
 Long             99,369           84,661
 Short            66,324           58,457
 Net              33,045           26,204
 SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs)  $2.887 billion
         Jan. 23, 2018         Prior week
 Long             14,245           14,233
 Short            36,360           35,339
 Net             -22,115          -21,106
CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars)  -$1.817
         Jan. 23, 2018         Prior week
 Long             69,446           61,473
 Short            46,889           43,917
 Net              22,557           17,556
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars)  -$1.334
         Jan. 23, 2018         Prior week
 Long             63,551           50,348
 Short            46,872           40,274
 Net              16,679           10,074
MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos)  -$1.636 billion
         Jan. 23, 2018         Prior week
 Long             97,964           82,790
 Short            36,809           35,995
 Net              61,155           46,795
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 NZ dollars)  $0.108
         Jan. 23, 2018         Prior week
 Long             24,620           17,795
 Short            26,086           25,786
 Net              -1,466           -7,991
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by
Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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