Traders closely monitor Commitments of Traders reports, which list the positioning of different groups of market participants and are normally released by the agency on Friday afternoons. However, the data was delayed for roughly five weeks due to a U.S. government shutdown that began in late December.
The CFTC has started issuing two reports per week, with the releases coming out in chronological order until the government gets caught up. One comes out on Fridays and another on Tuesdays.
Net long or short positioning in the CFTC data reflect the difference between the total number of bullish (long) and bearish (short) contracts. Traders monitor the data to gauge the general mood of speculators, although excessively high or low numbers are viewed by many as signs of overbought or oversold markets that may be ripe for price corrections.
The last report prior to the shutdown was for the week ending Dec. 18. At that time, money managers in the CFTC’s disaggregated report had a net-long position in gold futures of 11,198 contracts. A pair of reports released Friday and Monday show that the net long rose to 41,968 lots as of Dec. 24 and to 50,184 lots as of Dec. 31. At year end, there were 121,205 gross longs and 71,021 gross shorts.
For silver, money managers were net long by 1,789 lots as of the Dec. 18 report – the last one released ahead of the shutdown. Now that the releases have resumed, these accounts stood net long by 8,812 lots as of Dec. 24 and 30,046 lots as of Dec. 31. At year end, there were 60,752 total longs and 30,706 total shorts.
Meanwhile, as of Dec. 31, fund managers were net long by 13,490 futures contracts in palladium but net short by 4,466 lots in sister metal platinum.
The commission regularly issues two reports — a so-called “legacy” report and a “disaggregated” report, with the latter started in 2009 and meant to offer more detail.
The iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was trading at $14.76 per share on Wednesday afternoon, down $0.11 (-0.74%). Year-to-date, SLV has declined -7.69%, versus a 2.56% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
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