Look at the COT data on the chart

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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COT Report Online With Free Charts

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
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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 03/17/2023 after market closure and contains the newest CoT report.
* Click on the futures symbols to draw the chart!
Week to:
03/17/2023
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&P5000.88%1 870 087247 7781 686 883302 251233 3004 998353 119-84 665314 83180 738378 216115 9282 550 98420%183 204-54 473-23%313 698160 71915%
NASDAQ5.20%190 88125 774155 82926 79761 1335 54767 605-40644 17511 19872 75516 128306 46118%35 052-1 023-3%43 337-12 77985%
RUSSELL-2.84%488 528121 707439 097117 36236 908-3 86786 211-5 05543 91919 65144 04725 184581 63432%49 4314 34510%107 88041 37412%
DOW E-MINI-0.65%67 45218 77340 9299 85820 196-6 98840 27638714 5542 05520 9973 595104 23717%26 5238 91551%26 5238 354100%
Bonds
30-YR T-BONDS2.32%961 460-79850 30246 74369 002-3 609218 994-26 804173 0495 345134 215-18 2821 209 123-1%111 158-46 822-30%172 83545 46552%
10-YR T-BONDS2.20%3 351 031-55 1672 773 89544 026434 041-9 963941 407-58 670338 6909 719408 460-40 7674 202 612-2%577 136-99 193-15%728 799296 69265%
Currencies
DOLLAR INDEX-1.05%2 095-22619 0971 14426 446-21912 689-1 4205 354-802 109-24935 180-5%-17 002-1 3709%-15 503-37 01493%
EURO FX0.14%418 829-39 427605 698-55 186222 313-11 56782 357-3 07587 967-9 20141 054-1 934745 403-9%-186 86915 759-8%-52 310-213 81817%
SWISS FRANC-0.60%21 386-6 0658 068-4 5533 594-6 80013 559-78511 7423 48415 095-4 04339 006-17%13 318-1 512-10%28 2764 16738%
BRITISH POUND1.21%128 752-16 943103 050-8 73232 334-16 77749 648-16 86522 5358530 923-8 038193 377-13%25 702-8 211-24%79 11612 65720%
JAPANESE YEN2.31%142 857-20 38956 863-16 78011 048-6 09385 842-6 60223 727-1 80934 927-4 909179 782-15%85 994-3 609-4%118 08217 14568%
CANADIAN DOLLAR0.62%146 38042 334110 01145 43460 738-1 37092 4531 14332 1062 15136 760-3 462244 42120%36 369-3 100-8%39 75389291%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR1.73%86 61416 84433 485-28641 685-12 62281 7762 64516 801-2 95429 839-1 091150 058-5%53 12917 13048%66 31922 74170%
NEW ZEALAND $ 2.12%19 90979014 537-8 37112 185-10 23016 9261382 996563 627-1 15135 374-27%5 3729 161-242%22 517-10 45548%
MEXICAN PESO-2.24%105 425-55 681174 60138 553147 405-30 09881 278-127 4776 989-2 3953 940750260 414-31%-69 176-94 234-376%50 262-74 5634%
Energy
CRUDE OIL-13.48%695 29817 631907 931-4 225302 527-16 612126 30814 07098 41813 42162 0044 5951 767 6601%-212 63321 856-9%-212 633-307 395100%
GASOLINE-5.67%164 11514 700224 3781 22074 190-11 73221 79548124 504-1 06416 636203313 6731%-60 26313 480-18%-44 798-80 41957%
HEATING OIL-3.68%128 859-4 674157 557-1 29135 6302 21621 221-1 64944 5882 29030 2992 772259 9672%-28 698-3 38313%-21 625-51 05976%
NATURAL GAS-3.53%492 9551 638374 80811 021255 731-6 258403 564-14 82475 044-65845 358-1 4751 255 3960%118 147-9 383-7%150 946118 1470%
Metals
GOLD6.46%122 457-2 937277 89733 583230 82315 24990 492-26 60841 795-1 84526 6863 492459 0640%-155 440-36 52031%-62 138-180 55421%
SILVER10.41%48 543-1 75857 7801 86642 227-67643 446-7 23924 068-2 92313 61216121 772-4%-9 237-3 62465%-5 613-45 36791%
PLATINUM1.84%25 445-1 66639 7673 79927 423-1 56516 850-6 9937 007-2973 258-33466 817-4%-14 322-5 46562%-2 525-34 34663%
PALLADIUM3.44%8 194-6141 205-1842 2561708 724-4591 077-2341 598-3511 828-5%6 989-430-6%7 41936494%
COPPER-2.80%94 4963 86187 389-4 15854 088-10 77068 244-4 33419 410-19412 3611 389205 997-2%7 1078 019-879%28 884-26 54261%
Grains
SOYBEANS-2.06%312 06417 949442 5457 069206 814-15 93838 820-3 73343 971-181 484-1 326698 1881%-130 48110 880-8%-30 595-150 14116%
SOYBEAN MEAL-4.28%149 6494 358325 725-15 725178 253-15 82420 5323 44548 55151530 1961 329439 608-2%-176 07620 083-10%-118 422-196 15926%
SOYBEAN OIL1.49%265 44622 025265 9765773 733-6 54672 81914 12630 7981 30831 1822 604465 9924%-53021 968-98%-530-120 768100%
CORN2.67%673 21463 929653 53174316 200-11 958272 42347 537116 1581 911179 6186 2711 336 8665%19 68363 855-145%19 683-286 790100%
WHEAT3.81%139 342-3 31774 2882 712109 7175 737175 031-2 21436 213-2 30035 953-378374 6744%65 054-6 029-8%71 0831 90191%
ROUGH RICE4.41%5 007-2652 954-4861 8021403 9232871 880751 8121498 730-1%2 05322112%2 089-3 72999%
Softs
COTTON-0.45%95 3815 61191 152-4 82650 501-2 75953 2895 96211 496-55012 9371 166188 9702%4 22910 437-168%4 229-49 713100%
COFFEE-0.37%100 5333 152113 53129839 557-2 44927 2473049 143-358 45566199 4781%-12 9982 854-18%24 251-46 66447%
COCOA1.48%145 17417 968181 288-4 926103 347-20 59171 3282 09015 41083211 3151 045352 9332%-36 11422 894-39%5 810-59 81336%
SUGAR-2.32%342 60211 418622 0341 262324 347-5 48693 2044 08099 0231 08450 7341 674932 4520%-279 43210 156-4%-35 860-296 7557%
ORANGE JUICE0.41%2 377-1487 406-4405 472-348849-1092 1801681 77422110 384-3%-5 029292-5%-4 128-7 60074%
LUMBER9.20%1 12058194-51157-71 243-120586-184426381 863-7%92610913%1 203-42983%
Meats
LIVE CATTLE-1.14%86 1991 409174 317-10 442145 485-17 90950 012-4 66336 51397143 868-424345 236-5%-88 11811 851-12%-40 376-99 96920%
FEEDER CATTLE-1.45%12 78990513 5122 74925 0422 44815 5721 0308 344-41517 091-84157 3756%-723-1 844-164%7 905-7230%
LEAN HOGS-8.51%81 2072 29974 5123 65464 22821969 945-1 52623 861-2 18724 839-1 797215 701-3%6 695-1 355-17%8 050-41 56597%
Other
BITCOIN34.07%229-975123410 58447710 6866201 248158863-11613 4725%-283-13186%920-1 22144%
VIX FUTURES9.43%182 991-9 954116 656-13 67857 560-7 923119 065-8 36933 0707 01037 90011 180336 746-6%66 3353 7246%90 84255 59530%
Source from CFTC. Release Schedule of COT report. Download Excel. Download PDF.
* Click on the futures symbols to draw the chart!

The key to profitable trading - the right combination of fundamental and technical analysis

COT Report provides a unique opportunity to track the trades of commercial players in the market. By commercial players we mean producers and consumers. As an example, in the case of commodity futures, the producer could be a farmer growing sugar and the consumer could be Coca-Cola, which needs sugar to produce goods.

However, blindly following them can have a negative impact on the profitability of your portfolio.

And here's why.

In trading by the COT Report, the report must be clearly aligned with the period when it begins to work. For example, a freshly released COT report can reflect on the trend in a particular market as a week or a month later. It is important to mention that trading on the COT report is not suitable for day traders.

How then to select profitable deals and keep the portfolio in the green zone?

There are a number of tools that professional traders use on a daily basis to identify potentially profitable deals and exit them at the right time. When trading commodity futures in our StartUp and COT-1 accounts, we first conduct the fundamental analysis of COT data, then we are trying to determine when a major trend will reverse, next we analyze seasonality data, consider the weather and news fund, and finally we conduct technical analysis to determine the best entry point. Even though we have a whole team and many processes are automated, it still takes a lot of time every day.

Then how do individual investors cope with so much analysis on their own?

It is important to learn how to optimize your trading strategy and watch how professionals trade.

We've been trading in the futures market for 11 years, and we've kept public statistics on our accounts for the past 9 years. Not a single year of those 9 years has been unprofitable. We are concerned about transparency and integrity of our company, that's why we regularly post our deal reports on our website.

InsiderWeek's equity by week, USD

What ways can InsiderWeek optimize your trading?

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In our new Pro Trader subscription you experience pure practice. We show you transparently how we trade on our StartUp and COT-1 accounts, based on the COT Report.

The trades made on the StartUp account are more suitable for traders with smaller account (~$30,000), who have completed our Futures Trading Course. While the COT-1 account is more reflective of professional traders with larger accounts.

All entries and exits on this trading accounts are announced and implemented in advance. At the end of the trading week, all implemented trades are evaluated and documented in a public trading statistic. This ensures 100% transparency.

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The Pro Trader subscription allows you to follow how we trade on our COT-1 and StartUp accounts. The accounts differ in the capital used. Therefore, the Pro Trader subscription makes you very flexible.

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We wish you profitable trades and the development of your trading strategy!

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