(Adds table, details on yen contracts) March 4 (Reuters) - Speculators increased bullish bets on the U.S. dollar for the first time in 10 weeks, although net longs were still the smallest since late May 2014, according to Reuters calculations and data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday. The value of the dollar's net long position rose to $7.45 billion in the week ended March 1, from $5.75 billion the previous week. Net dollar longs came in below $10 billion for a third straight week. The dollar benefited last week from heightened fears of a possible British exit from the European Union, undermining sterling and the euro. In addition, U.S. data in the latest week were positive overall, such as the rise in consumer spending and a less dire report on economic growth for the fourth quarter. That together with Friday's strong U.S. jobs report for February have somewhat revived expectations for a couple of U.S. rate hikes this year. The dollar though was still down 1.4 percent so far this year. In other currencies, investors pushed net long positions on the yen to their highest in eight years. Net long contracts on the yen rose to 59,625 in the latest week, from 52,734 the week before. Fears about a British exit from the EU and persistent concerns about the oil and stock markets have helped the yen, given that it's a safe-haven currency. The yen tends to struggle in times of increased risk appetite because it is often used to fund investments in riskier, but higher-yielding currencies. In times of market stress, investors typically sell those riskier assets and buy back the Japanese currency. So far this year, the yen has gained 5.6 percent against the dollar. The Reuters calculation for the aggregate U.S. dollar position is derived from net positions of International Monetary Market speculators in the yen, euro, sterling, Swiss franc and Canadian and Australian dollars. Japan Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen): March 1, 2016 Prior week week Long 94,070 92,376 Short 34,445 39,642 Net 59,625 52,734 EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros): March 1, 2016 Prior week week Long 103,965 107,566 Short 172,506 154,423 Net -68,541 -46,857 POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling): March 1, 2016 Prior week week Long 38,965 35,479 Short 78,343 68,547 Net -39,378 -33,068 SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs): March 1, 2016 Prior week week Long 19,723 20,213 Short 21,230 22,534 Net -1,507 -2,321 CANADA DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars) March 1, 2016 Prior week week Long 31,018 31,487 Short 61,496 68,427 Net -30,478 -36,940 AUSTRALIA DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars) March 1, 2016 Prior week week Long 76,480 72,523 Short 59,619 62,948 Net 16,861 9,575 MEXICO PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos) March 1, 2016 Prior week week Long 25,194 30,149 Short 81,667 83,008 Net -56,473 -52,859 NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 NZ dollars) March 1, 2016 Prior week week Long 16,593 15,968 Short 20,750 22,583 Net -4,157 -6,615 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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