December 21, 2018 / 8:50 PM / in 5 months

Speculators' net long dollar bets grow in latest week: CFTC, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Speculators’ net long bets on the U.S. dollar rose in the latest week, according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.

An employee counts U.S. dollar banknotes at a currency exchange office in Jakarta, Indonesia October 23, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

The value of the net long dollar position was $29.72 billion in the week ended Dec. 18, up from $28.48 billion the previous week. Speculators have been net long on dollars since the middle of June.

The value of the net long dollar position rose to a near two-year high of $31.12 billion earlier in December.

To be long on a currency means traders believe it will rise in value, while being short points to a bearish bias.

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.

The dollar gained on Friday as investors sought the currency’s safety amid persistent equity market volatility and a possible U.S. government shutdown.

The dollar index, which measures the value of the greenback against a basket of six foreign currencies, rose 0.79 percent to 97.036.

For the week, the index was still down 0.4 percent. The dollar tumbled hard this week after the Federal Reserve signaled fewer interest rate hikes over the next two years and expressed caution about the U.S. economic outlook.

Speculators boosted their net short position on bitcoin Cboe future contracts to 1,342 contracts, up from a net short position of 913 contracts, the data showed.

Bitcoin rallied about 19 percent this week, hitting $4,000 for the first time in more than two weeks after losing half its value in six weeks to mid-December.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Jonathan Oatis

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