(Kitco News) - Speculators exited bullish positions in precious and base metals futures and options across the board, according to U.S. government data released late Friday.
The weekly report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed speculative traders cut bullish exposure in all metals markets in both its legacy and disaggregated commitment of traders reports, futures and options combined. The report data is as of Sept. 13.
December Comex gold futures settled at $1,830.10 an ounce on Sept. 13, a drop of $43.20, and December silver futures settled at $40.217 an ounce, falling $1.651. Nymex December palladium slid $21.05 an ounce to $749.55. October platinum fell $44.70 an ounce to $1,858.20. Comex December copper dropped 8.6 cents a pound to $3.97.
Managed-money accounts in gold decreased their net-long position to 185,767 contracts, with a 10,744 decrease in gross longs and a 1,333 increase in gross shorts. The producer category saw longs and shorts cut, narrowing the net-short position. Swap dealers added to gross longs and cut gross shorts, lowering the net-short position.
The non-commercial, or funds, in the legacy report saw their net-long position trimmed to 224,728 contracts as they removed gross longs and added gross shorts. Commercials significantly decreased their net-short position through a hike in the gross longs and a sharp drop in shorts.
TD Securities attributes the drop in net-long positions by speculators in gold to a desire for liquidity by financial institutions and asset managers as the Greek debt concerns cast a pall over all markets.
In silver, managed-money accounts saw their net-long position decrease slightly, as funds cut 1,704 gross longs and added 242 gross shorts. They are now net-long 26,310. Producers cut exposure on both sides, but trimmed more shorts, leaving them with a reduced net-short position. Swap dealers increased both gross long and gross short positions, lifting the net-short position.
For the legacy report, silver non-commercial positions saw a drop in the net-long position to 33,203 contracts as gross longs were lowered and shorts added. Commercial increased gross longs and decreased shorts, meaning that their net-short position fell.
TDS said deteriorating expectations for industrial silver demand and general de-risking prompted the shedding of longs in silver.
In the platinum metals group, managed money accounts trimmed bullish exposure here, too. For platinum, net-longs for managed-money accounts decreased to 20,878 contracts, as they cut more longs than shorts. In palladium, the net-long position for managed-money accounts fell as gross longs were cut and gross shorts added. The net-long position is 9,237.
In the legacy report, non-commercials in platinum saw their net-long position decrease to 27,211 contracts as they reduced more longs and shorts. The net-long position for funds in palladium decreased also, slipping to 10,586 contracts as gross longs were cut and gross shorts added.
As in silver, concerns about global growth pushed investors out of the platinum metals group, TDS said.
Barclays is concerned about the net long position by non-commercial entities in Nymex platinum, noting it remains elevated and close to record levels. "Non-commercial positions (consist) of 65% of open interest, making prices vulnerable to the downside should positions be closed out," they said.
In copper, managed-money accounts are net-long a slim 300 contracts, a sharp drop from the previous period, as these accounts cut longs and added shorts. In the legacy report, copper fund net-long position slid as the non-commercial gross short position rose more than the gross short position, bringing the net-long position to 1,829 contracts.
Barclays said the CFTC said the drop in the non-commercial net long positions may also reflect the recent moves in positioning on the London Metal Exchange.
For more detailed information, please visit the CFTC website: http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/index.html
By Debbie Carlson of Kitco News firstname.lastname@example.org