VIX Speculators cut back on bearish bets for 1st time in 4 weeks

June 20, 2020

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VIX Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large volatility speculators decreased their bearish net positions in the VIX futures markets this week, 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 -51,813 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday June 16th. This was a weekly change of 15,640 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of -67,453 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) falling by -1,537 contracts (to a weekly total of 49,032 contracts) while the gross bearish position (shorts) dropped by -17,177 contracts for the week (to a total of 100,845 contracts).

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VIX speculators reduced their bearish bets for the first time in four weeks. Bearish bets had risen for three straight weeks and for five out of the previous six weeks before this week’s turnaround. The current bearish standing remains over the -50,000 net contract level for a third straight week which is the first time this has happened since March.

Despite the largest surge in volatility since the Financial Crisis in 2008, speculator bets for the VIX never went negative in this current Coronavirus Crisis. Speculators have not had a net position of bullish bets on the VIX since January 8th of 2019 (+21,062 contracts) which was in the aftermath of the sudden 20 percent stock market selloff in December of 2018.

VIX Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of 56,599 contracts on the week. This was a weekly shortfall of -14,740 contracts from the total net of 71,339 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 $33.18 which was an increase of $5.63 from the previous close of $27.55, 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: (

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