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You do not know which direction to keep for trading. The positions of the major market participants are graphically displayed in our COT tool. Here you can see the direction of the trade and receive the necessary COT signals.

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What is the “COT Report” and what exactly does it tell us? How do we evaluate it and how do we use COT data for our trading preparation? This article will give you the answers to those questions.

What is the Commitments of Traders (COT) report?

The Commitments of Traders (COT) report is an exchange report that is published weekly by the American Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

The CFTC was created by the US Congress as an independent authority in 1974.

It has the mandate to regulate the commodity and options markets in the United States. Through this oversight, the CFTC ensures that the futures markets perform two important functions: pricing in the commodities sector and reducing price risk in the futures and options market.

The report presents the US futures as transparent financial instruments and thereby creates fair competitive conditions for all large and small traders on the futures markets.

It is usually published at market close (at 21:30 CET) on a Friday on the CFTC website and presents the positions of the market participants subject to reporting requirements. These positions are reported by brokers to the CFTC for analysis and verification. The data refers to the market situation at market close on Tuesday of the relevant trading week.

What information does the report offer?

Firstly, one thing must be clarified: There is no ONE COT report. Instead, there are a number of different formats that have evolved over time since the beginning of reporting. They also highlight special areas of the futures markets, such as the Traders in Financial Futures report (TFF), which covers traders in financial futures contracts such as currencies, US Treasury securities, Eurodollars, stocks, VIX or the Bloomberg Commodity Index.

In this article, I will deal exclusively with the Legacy Report, the report originally broken down by exchange and, specifically, we will regard the “Futures Only” report, not the “Futures and Options Combined” report.

After downloading the current report from the website of the CFTC, you will see the following picture. (click on the graphics to zoom)

The long and short positions of the three groups of market participants can be seen (note: a special feature is the “spreads” value of the group of non-commercials, which we are not interested in at the moment). The report also shows the total open interest in this market.

CFTC Commitments of Traders Short Report – CBT (Futures Only)

Fig. 1: CFTC Commitments of Traders Short Report – CBT (Futures Only)

What groups of market participants can we find in the COT report?

There are two major groups of market participants active in the market: commercials and non-commercials. Non-commercials are also known as large speculators. These two groups are the reporting agent traders, known as reportables. The third group, the non-reportables (often referred to as small speculators or small traders) is calculated by subtracting the total number of long or short positions in the reportables from the total open interest.

Commercials aka the hedgers

The term “commercials” refers to market participants who operate on the futures markets primarily for hedging purposes. Another term for commercials is hedgers. They are typically manufacturing or processing companies that wish to hedge against price fluctuations on the futures market in order to avoid dependence on commodity prices. Commercials do not speculate. They want to protect themselves by opening positions against price expectations.

A commercial produces a product and therefore has a larger stock of the product, or needs the product for his business. Commercials could be, for example, large agricultural cooperatives or multinational production companies (Nestle, Procter & Gamble, etc.)

Non-commercials aka the large speculators

The non-commercials are different. These are the market participants who conduct speculative transactions on a large scale. Typically, this would be the institutional traders, hedge funds or large investment banks, all of whose positions exceed the limit of the reporting obligation.

Non-reportables aka the small fish

The figures for non-reportables are calculated by deducting the totals of the reportables from the total value of open interest. Non-reportables are those market participants who are not subject to reporting requirements, in other words, they are “small traders like you and me”. However, they could also be trading companies (small banks, trading houses), which do not exceed the defined limits on traded contracts.

How do we use the report for our trading?

The report is analyzed for the net positions

We use the COT report as a source of basic information for our actions. However, in the form in which it is available from the CFTC site, it is not very helpful. Compare it to Figure 1, where the raw data must first be evaluated. Let’s take a look at the net positions of the commercials.

The result comes from the difference between the long and short positions of the report. From the example above, we can see:

Net position = 113,175 – 128,957 = – 15,782

which means 15,782 contracts net short

We then present these net values graphically in order to get an overview of the development, and especially the changes of the positions.

Significance of the net positions in terms of the commercial index

After calculating the net positions, we are already one step further, but have not yet reached our goal. The net position itself does not tell us anything about how the commercials have actually positioned themselves. If we only know that the commercials are 15,782 contracts short this week, that does not help us much.

How should this figure be interpreted? Are the commercials now extremely short or are they actually in their normal short range?

We need an indicator that lets us evaluate this figure. And we get it by relating the current position to the positions over a certain period. So, we calculate an index that allows us to evaluate the current position as a percentage:

We calculate the commercial index (as a fixed period, we are looking at three years here):

COT Commercial index as a formula

Fig. 2: COT Commercial index as a formula

With the help of this calculation, we now have some informative value of the current net position, which serves as the basis for our trading.

Why do we pay so much attention to the commercials?

Commercials produce commodities and supply the world market with them. Or they need the commodities in large quantities for their business. The existence of these people depends on the commodities, and of course on the commodity prices. Because of their direct link to commodities, the commercials will predict future price developments much earlier than other participants in the market – and hedge against them.

Commercials usually trade counter cyclically. Their positions allow an inference to be drawn about the expected market movement. This data does not serve as a timing instrument, however!

In other words: Just because the commercials are now moving extremely short does NOT mean that we’re going to go short tomorrow. But it is an indication of a market situation that tends to change. It is now advisable to analyze this market and watch it closely, because there may be movement here soon, which we can then use to our advantage.

Soybeans, Pricechart und COT-Daten

Fig. 2: COT Commercial index as a formula

A specific example: Soybeans 12/2018 – 11/2019

You can see the price on the soybeans market and the net positions of the three groups of participants (weekly chart). Look at the net positions of the commercials (red line) and the soya beans price at points A and B and the subsequent price development.

COT report: the basis for further analysis

The COT report is not a timing instrument. It shows us markets in which the trend remains stable OR where there could be a change in trend. But it does not give us clear information as to *WHEN* an entry into the market should take place.

We can find this information by analyzing the market in which a COT signal has arisen over a different time period. We can now switch to the daily chart and examine the trend with the help of various indicators in order to determine a concrete entry point.

How do we analyze the daily chart? And how do we determine the right time to enter the market?

Find the answers here:

How to trade using COT report

The current COT report

The information below is updated after the market close and includes the latest COT Report, which is published online every Friday.

How it works

1

Select market from the table

2

Analyze COT data

3

Understand the market and recognize trends

COT report online with free charts

How To Trade Using COT Report see more
Last Trades: COCOA +$165 SUGAR +$5,376 see more
The COT report is published by the CFTC on Friday about 15:30 CET. The data shows positions as of Tuesday’s close. Info below has been updated 07/01/2022 after market closure and contains the newest CoT report.
* Click on the futures symbols to draw the chart!
Week to:
07/01/2022
Price change, % Trend Commercial Large Speculators Small Traders Open Interest Net Positions - Commercials 26-weeks Position Extremes Commercial COT Index
Long Change Short Change Long Change Short Change Long Change Short Change Value Change,% Net Change Change,% High Low
Indices
S&P500-2.28%1 726 19013 1371 557 785-11 071248 313-25 316387 539-409223 854-995253 033-1 6942 248 771-1%168 40524 20817%168 405-289 134100%
NASDAQ-4.30%128 76917 856148 69910 20078 987-3 90154 7972 71535 528-3 04939 788-2 009248 0455%-19 9307 656-28%34 036-35 05122%
RUSSELL-2.04%503 528716393 546-1 37641 196814145 816-16218 674-33024 0362 738570 4970%109 9822 0922%109 982-5 361100%
DOW E-MINI-1.38%47 089-1 07717 414-1 8159 011-1 29934 084-1 6999 948-47014 55066866 759-3%29 6757383%29 756-9 171100%
Bonds
30-YR T-BONDS2.60%931 82223 859894 79924 75780 552-18 730118 805201164 5569 618163 326-10 2111 182 8400%37 023-898-2%74 281-29 75264%
10-YR T-BONDS1.88%2 724 138-36 6182 394 73438 732274 8585 173456 538-41 331312 55824 904460 282-3 9423 403 344-1%329 404-75 350-19%657 549268 37616%
Currencies
DOLLAR INDEX0.94%2 34066448 89847654 6463 04011 4174 8215 3718492 042-74463 1438%-46 5581880%-31 969-47 7367%
EURO FX-1.23%380 0846 389399 8968 019189 414-6 140200 010-11 14983 853-1 35553 4452 024671 4720%-19 812-1 6309%-18 182-98 05098%
SWISS FRANC-0.07%25 9941 0678 132-1 8374 5231 45513 1142 8899 588-8518 8591 38540 1237%17 8622 90419%31 69413 47924%
BRITISH POUND-1.45%170 967-6 203100 7371 46935 1846 71488 302-3 41518 05532035 1672 777228 7360%70 230-7 672-10%97 0422 84872%
JAPANESE YEN-0.06%152 071-4 17784 1762 27736 46259889 032-5 28622 379-72037 704-1 290213 767-2%67 895-6 454-9%131 90267 8950%
CANADIAN DOLLAR0.13%65 407-1 67777 6543 99245 8933 63336 796-1 35929 53752626 387-151142 5842%-12 247-5 66986%12 591-39 33852%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR-1.80%86 3473 83339 1841 27828 887-2 85871 867-48419 7911 03523 9741 216139 8912%47 1632 5556%103 60917 87634%
NEW ZEALAND $ -1.63%26 16711117 61631611 720-2 93217 031-3 0442 2561115 4961840 337-6%8 551-205-2%22 703-2 06943%
MEXICAN PESO-1.74%79 060-8 54969 9535 321107 03110 884121 011-2 0067 0597422 186-238193 5361%9 107-13 870-60%23 148-55 19482%
Energy
CRUDE OIL1.31%599 9575 097927 8959 120396 0467 55096 354-2 64080 880-5 78852 6343791 651 5660%-327 938-4 0231%-323 915-427 05296%
GASOLINE-2.69%154 967-7 849197 421-7 47576 65782244 55813023 177-31412 8224288 532-4%-42 454-3741%-41 866-76 58498%
HEATING OIL-6.56%141 5154 349167 2581 88844 423-1 53236 91552440 222-4 67221 987-4 267269 1680%-25 7432 461-9%-4 119-43 13745%
NATURAL GAS-10.34%402 705-7 752311 865-12 615203 204-10 283332 623-11 73362 574-9 74123 995-3 428987 740-4%90 8404 8636%110 12259 67962%
Metals
GOLD-0.83%117 038-3 007299 045-7 929268 712593111 0196 18744 82344320 509-229497 005-1%-182 0074 922-3%-178 569-306 94697%
SILVER-6.03%55 40657873 891-8 18752 932-1 51942 0416 00922 724-2 29415 130-1 057135 775-7%-18 4858 765-32%-18 485-69 609100%
PLATINUM-2.94%28 413-7431 794-3 09028 4512 77529 7575 5728 503903 81630968 2325%-3 3813 016-47%-3 381-32 358100%
PALLADIUM4.31%5 674191 233891 1461374 971-84893-671 509847 7652%4 441-70-2%4 511-56399%
COPPER-3.37%103 666-12372 469-12 39247 782-2 44878 4787 31014 516-2 39315 017118182 352-3%31 19712 26965%31 197-43 039100%
Grains
SOYBEANS-2.07%343 227-32 928449 932-79 191191 380-34 81154 1876 37538 323-10 89268 811-5 815653 337-12%-106 70546 263-30%-91 893-196 75586%
SOYBEAN MEAL-0.36%170 250-2 573285 119-7 503106 995-3 93913 070-2 49344 567-2 96623 623518391 532-3%-114 8694 930-4%-100 729-159 48876%
SOYBEAN OIL-4.07%202 343-2 664255 568-27 30882 491-14 37037 5738 24230 416-2 14822 109-116363 276-6%-53 22524 644-32%-53 225-127 399100%
CORN-9.87%597 265-78 315871 375-130 679433 710-70 464105 608-18 397125 886-15 026179 878-14 7291 338 054-12%-274 11052 364-16%-274 110-470 715100%
ROUGH RICE-0.15%4 0831926 332-3252 214-3961 530152 441-253876-1478 790-5%-2 249517-19%-1 340-3 83364%
0%0-125 3990-140 8060-102 9240-83 8570-33 1670-36 8270-100%015 407-100%12 111-26 02068%
Softs
COTTON-0.58%70 585-5 666132 441-16 49172 622-8 78816 23286713 385-2 4457 919-1 275175 241-9%-61 85610 825-15%-61 856-111 100100%
COFFEE0.29%96 2324 443143 379-75855 545-2 89710 3451 2748 006-4196 059611194 8961%-47 1475 201-10%-33 559-75 23067%
COCOA-6.10%134 441-1 517143 1492 33591 654-1 95285 315-4 98613 61063311 241-185303 711-2%-8 708-3 85279%-126-53 82384%
SUGAR-1.31%361 005-22 641493 882-71 044210 575-16 56787 86623 83566 813-3 42756 6454 574734 324-6%-132 87748 403-27%-90 388-301 62880%
ORANGE JUICE3.96%4 39836010 375-5495 318-542775-2552 111-48867713411 885-6%-5 977909-13%-3 304-6 92026%
LUMBER9.20%1 1423390594422178846770-64661-652 4201%2372411%237-633100%
Meats
LIVE CATTLE0.96%110 513952137 593-10 60998 030-4 52770 1957 76031 369-22032 124-946280 1591%-27 08011 561-30%-18 566-69 67583%
FEEDER CATTLE0.94%12 663-655 638-1 05713 297-2 16516 034-8147 70221211 990-14742 175-4%7 02599216%9 0391 51873%
LEAN HOGS-3.67%77 472-3 48384 81181561 3782 34745 091-1 88118 100-88127 048-951186 3360%-7 339-4 298141%202-56 16787%
Other
BITCOIN-8.31%115371 062-1111 13764210 052603890-1581 028-7113 7071%-94748-5%-22-9955%
VIX FUTURES-1.94%140 0391 29383 25023444 726-2 25694 295-2 61022 12340529 3431 818257 1230%56 7891 0592%89 53433 89141%
Source from CFTC. Release Schedule of COT report. Download Excel. Download PDF.
* Click on the futures symbols to draw the chart!

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