(Adds details of data, bitcoin futures contracts, table) By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss NEW YORK, April 5 (Reuters) - Speculators raised their net long U.S. dollar position to the highest level since around late December, according to calculations by Reuters and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday. The value of the net long dollar position was $32.30 billion in the week ended April 2, compared with $29.25 billion the previous week. U.S. dollar positioning was derived from net contracts of International Monetary Market speculators in the Japanese yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc and Canadian and Australian dollars. In a broader 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 $27.68 billion in the week ended April 2, compared with $24.22 billion the previous week. Despite the Federal Reserve's shift toward holding off on interest rate hikes, the dollar has held steady, boosted by data that showed generally stable growth for the world's largest economy. The dollar's fortunes have also been helped by Britain's woes in its planned exit from the European Union, with investors buying the greenback as a safe-haven currency. Britain could ask the European Union for a long Brexit delay next week if crisis talks between Prime Minister Theresa May's government and the opposition Labor Party fail to find a way out of the impasse over Brexit. The euro has struggled, benefiting the dollar, as the European Central Bank also took a dovish turn by restarting its stimulus program last month through a new round of cheap loans to banks. The dollar index so far this year was up 1.2 percent, after gains of 4.4 percent in 2018. In the cryptocurrency market, speculators' net short position on bitcoin Cboe futures further increased to 1,343 contracts in the week ended April 2, from 1,244 short contracts the previous week. Cboe Global Markets, however, said last month it no longer planned to offer bitcoin futures contracts, as the exchange operator reassesses its plans for trading digital asset derivatives amid slumping volumes. Currently listed Cboe XBT futures contracts, which expire in June, remain available for trading, Cboe said. Bitcoin though has started to creep higher, hitting a roughly five-month high of $5,345 early this week on the Bitstamp platform, after a major order by an anonymous buyer set off a frenzy of computer-driven trading, analysts said. On Friday, bitcoin was up 2.4 percent at $5,029.53. Japanese Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) $7.02 billion 02 Apr 2019 Prior week week Long 20,462 18,323 Short 83,203 80,444 Net -62,741 -62,121 EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros) $11.303 billion 02 Apr 2019 Prior week week Long 144,973 139,696 Short 244,157 219,974 Net -99,184 -80,278 POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling) $0.708 billion 02 Apr 2019 Prior week week Long 39,423 33,638 Short 49,354 42,220 Net -9,931 -8,582 SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs) $3.431 billion 02 Apr 2019 Prior week week Long 7,280 5,759 Short 33,546 33,054 Net -26,266 -27,295 CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars) $2.957 billion 02 Apr 2019 Prior week week Long 24,619 21,194 Short 68,942 60,765 Net -44,323 -39,571 AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars) $3.829 billion 02 Apr 2019 Prior week week Long 26,551 22,879 Short 82,294 76,549 Net -55,743 -53,670 MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos) $-3.83 billion 02 Apr 2019 Prior week week Long 186,698 198,612 Short 43,975 52,278 Net 142,723 146,334 NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars) $0.014 billion 02 Apr 2019 Prior week week Long 20,854 22,570 Short 21,259 22,772 Net -405 -202 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Richard Chang)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.