October 7, 2014

In June of 2012, when there appeared to be a serious threat that Europe’s monetary union would unravel, the Speculative net-short position and the offsetting Commercial net-long position in euro futures reached an all-time high. The following chart from Sharelynx.com shows that over the past two months the Speculative net-short and Commercial net-long positions got almost as high as their 2012 extremes, despite the absence of an existential threat to the euro.

The COT situation tells us that euro-related sentiment is ‘in the toilet’ and that there is a lot of speculative-short-covering fuel to power a euro rally. However, the main reason for including this chart is to show that the Speculative net-short and the Commercial net-long positions had already reached unusually high levels in August when the euro was trading at 1.34. This means that the bulk of the euro’s decline occurred AFTER the Commercials became massively net-long in the futures market. The question is: How could the Commercials be so dumb in the currency market and at the same time be so smart in the gold market?

The answer is that the Commercials are neither dumb in the currency market nor smart in the gold market. As I’ve explained in the past, the Commercial net-position in the futures market is simply a mathematical offset of the Speculative net-position, with Speculators being the driving force behind short-term price trends. The Commercials only appear to have been wrong based on their recent positioning in euro futures and right based on their recent positioning in gold futures because euro speculators (as a group) have recently been right and gold speculators (as a group) have recently been wrong.

It is also worth reiterating that the Commercial position in the futures market does not generally reflect the overall Commercial position. For example, a Commercial that is net-short in the futures market could be either flat or net-long when all positions are taken into account. In fact, a Commercial that establishes a large net-short position in the futures market is probably doing so BECAUSE it has a large net-long position to hedge in the cash market.

When the euro’s short-term trend reverses upward, the Speculators will be on the wrong side of the market and the Commercials will start to look right.

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