July 13, 2018 / 8:59 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Speculators lift net long U.S. dollar bets to highest since March 2017 -CFTC

 (Adds table, details, comments, byline, bitcoin futures)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, July 13 (Reuters) - Speculators increased net long
U.S. dollar bets this week to their largest level since March
last year, according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity
Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.
    The value of the net long dollar position was $16.41 billion
in the week ended July 10, up from $13.16 billion the previous
week. Speculators were net long dollars for a fourth consecutive
week, after being net short for 48 straight weeks.
    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.
    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
long position of $17.94 billion in the week of July 10, up from
net longs of $15.30 billion a week earlier.
    The dollar continued to outperform other currencies,
bolstered by interest rate hike expectations and global trade
tension, with the United States seen as having the upper hand in
the event of an all-out trade war with its economic partners.
    Since hitting a more than three-year low against a basket of
six major currencies in February, the dollar has gained
nearly 8 percent.
    U.S. inflation is likely to creep higher due to an expected
increase in the price of goods arising from higher tariffs on
    Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst, at FOREX.com in London
said higher inflation could prompt the Federal Reserve to 
tighten its monetary policy more aggressively or at least cement
expectations over two additional rate rises before the end of
the year.. 
    That should push the dollar even higher, he added, having
already risen for the past three months. 
    In the cryptocurrency market, meanwhile, speculators' net
short position on bitcoin Cboe futures fell to 1,455 contracts
 from net shorts of 1,501 the previous week, the
data showed.
    Bitcoin on Friday fell 0.9 percent to $6,182.14 
on the Bitstamp platform.
    Increased global regulatory scrutiny led by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission has dampened interest in
    So far in 2018, bitcoin has fallen 55.4 percent, after
surging more than 1,300 percent last year.
   "Rising prices are really needed to catalyze further
interest," said Thomas Lee, managing partner, at Fundstrat
Global Advisors, in a research note.
    "The fact that BTC (bitcoin) fell 30 percent below its
200-day moving average and the fact it is 65 percent off its
highs is suggestive that technicals will soon improve." 
Japanese Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) 
 $4.486 billion
         10 Jul 2018            Prior week
 Long             60,563            49,990
 Short           100,395            88,720
 Net             -39,832           -38,730
EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros)
 $-3.575 billion
         10 Jul 2018            Prior week
 Long            179,401           189,005
 Short           155,044           152,258
 Net              24,357            36,747
POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling)
 $3.352 billion
         10 Jul 2018           Prior week
 Long             32,043           43,775
 Short            72,446           72,556
 Net             -40,403          -28,781
SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs)
 $5.057 billion
         10 Jul 2018           Prior week
 Long              8,308            9,599
 Short            48,429           50,093
 Net             -40,121          -40,494
CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars)
 $4.034 billion
         10 Jul 2018           Prior week
 Long             26,586           26,934
 Short            79,473           76,382
 Net             -52,887          -49,448
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars)
 $3.056 billion 
         10 Jul 2018           Prior week
 Long             30,112           35,061
 Short            71,085           74,291
 Net             -40,973          -39,230
MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos)
 $-0.743 billion
         10 Jul 2018           Prior week
 Long             66,485           60,815
 Short            38,353           54,900
 Net              28,132            5,915
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars)
 $1.817 billion 
         10 Jul 2018           Prior week
 Long             13,170           14,522
 Short            39,744           40,926
 Net             -26,574          -26,404
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; editing by Diane Craft)
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