VIX Speculators increased their bearish bets for 2nd straight week

March 21, 2020

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VIX Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large volatility speculators raised their bearish net positions in the VIX futures markets this week despite the coronavirus turmoil in the markets, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

The non-commercial futures contracts of VIX futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of -79,487 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday March 17th. This was a weekly change of -16,165 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of -63,322 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) dropping by -21,929 contracts (to a weekly total of 121,542 contracts) while the gross bearish position (shorts) fell by a lesser amount of -5,764 contracts for the week (to a total of 201,029 contracts).


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VIX speculators continued to be short the VIX this week and actually added to their bearish positions for a second straight week. The previous three weeks had seen bearish bets drop sharply from a total of -130,229 contracts on February 18th to a total of -57,486 contracts on March 3rd before turning bearish again in the past two weeks.

VIX Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of 82,044 contracts on the week. This was a weekly increase of 16,078 contracts from the total net of 65,966 contracts reported the previous week.

VIX Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the VIX Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $61.42 which was a rise of $26.65 from the previous close of $34.77, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets.

The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators).

Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

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