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US net long dollar bets rise

New York

SPECULATORS raised their net long US dollar position to the highest level since around late December, according to calculations by Reuters and US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.

The value of the net long dollar position was US$32.30 billion in the week ended April 2, compared with US$29.25 billion the previous week.

US dollar positioning was derived from net contracts of International Monetary Market speculators in the Japanese yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc and Canadian and Australian dollars.

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In a broader measure of dollar positioning that includes net contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso, Brazilian real and Russian rouble, the US dollar posted a net long position of US$27.68 billion in the week ended April 2, compared with US$24.22 billion the previous week.

Despite the Federal Reserve's shift towards holding off on interest rate hikes, the dollar has held steady, boosted by data that showed generally stable growth for the world's largest economy.

The dollar's fortunes have also been helped by Britain's woes in its planned exit from the European Union, with investors buying the greenback as a safe-haven currency.

Britain could ask the European Union for a long Brexit delay this week if crisis talks between Prime Minister Theresa May's government and the opposition Labour Party fail to find a way out of the impasse over Brexit.

The euro has struggled, benefiting the dollar, as the European Central Bank also took a dovish turn by restarting its stimulus programme last month through a new round of cheap loans to banks.

The dollar index so far this year was up 1.2 per cent, after gains of 4.4 per cent in 2018.

In the cryptocurrency market, speculators' net short position on bitcoin Cboe futures further increased to 1,343 contracts in the week ended April 2, from 1,244 short contracts the previous week.

On Friday, bitcoin was up 2.4 per cent at US$5,029.53. REUTERS