U.S. Markets

U.S. dollar net longs hit more than ninth-month high: CFTC, Reuters data

(Reuters) - Speculators increased positive bets on the U.S. dollar for a sixth straight week, with net longs touching their highest in more than nine months, according to Reuters calculations and data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday.

A money counter counts 100 U.S dollar banknotes in Kiev, Ukraine, October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

The value of the dollar’s net long position advanced to $20.78 billion in the week ended Nov. 1, from $18.81 billion the previous week. This week’s net long dollar position was the largest since late January.

Over the last few months, the dollar’s positive momentum has been driven by expectations the Federal Reserve will hike rates next month. An October U.S. non-farm payrolls report on Friday was generally viewed as positive overall despite coming out lower than expected with 161,000 jobs created.

“The October jobs report was generally better than expected despite the headline miss, and does not contain anything to deter the Fed from raising rates in December as we and many investors presently expect,” said Marvin Loh, senior global markets strategist at BNY Mellon in Boston.

The chances of a rate hike increased further and currently point to an 80 percent chance that the Fed raises the funds rate by 25 basis points in six weeks.

For the month of October, the dollar index rose more than 3 percent, although it pulled back a little bit this month, sliding 1.5 percent .DXY.

The upcoming U.S. presidential election has yet to figure in a significant way among speculative investors. The general perception though is that a victory by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would be positive for the dollar because it would mean a continuation of the Fed’s current monetary policy, said Kathy Lien, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management in New York.

Sterling net short contracts, meanwhile, continued its decline to 82,961 contracts, the lowest since late September. Short contracts on the pound have fallen for five straight weeks.

Worries have eased that Britain would undergo a "hard" exit from the European Union and lose its access to the single market. The pound has rebounded nearly 3 percent GBP=D4 this week to register its best weekly performance against the dollar since October 2009.

The euro net short position, on the other hand, touched its highest level since mid-January at 137,385 contracts, data showed.

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.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama