The Current Message From the Most Useful Sentiment Indicator

By Steve Saville

As I’ve noted in the past, the Commitments of Traders (COT) information is nothing other than a sentiment indicator. Moreover, for some markets, including gold, silver, copper, the major currencies and Treasury bonds, the COT reports are by far the best indicators of sentiment. This is because they reflect how the broad category known as speculators is betting. Sentiment surveys, on the other hand, focus on a relatively small sample and are, by definition, based on what people say rather than what they are doing. That’s why for some markets, including the ones mentioned above, I put far more emphasis on the COT data than on sentiment surveys.

In this post I’ll summarise the COT situations for five markets with the help of charts from “Gold Charts ‘R’ Us“. I’ll be focusing on the net positioning of speculators in the futures markets, although useful information can also be gleaned from gross positioning and open interest.

Note that what I refer to as the total speculative net position takes into account the net positions of large speculators (non-commercials) and small traders (the ‘non-reportables’) and is the inverse of the commercial net position. The blue bars in the middle sections of the charts that follow indicate the commercial net position, so the inverse of each of these bars is considered to be the total speculative net position.

I’ll start with gold.

Continue reading The Current Message From the Most Useful Sentiment Indicator

Incomplete Silver CoT Analysis, Revisited

By Steve Saville

In a blog post a week ago I discussed why silver’s Commitments of Traders (COT) situation was nowhere near as bullish as it had been portrayed in numerous articles over the preceding two months. This prompted some criticism that involves a misunderstanding of how I use the COT data. Before I address the criticism, a brief recap is in order.

As stated in last week’s post, the enthusiastically-bullish interpretation of silver’s COT situation fixated on the positioning of large speculators (“NonCommercials”) in Comex silver futures. It was based on the fact that over the past two months the large specs had reduced their collective net-long silver exposure to its lowest level in a very long time, indicating that these traders had become more pessimistic about silver’s prospects than they had been in a very long time. This was clearly a bullish development given the contrary nature of speculative sentiment.

I then explained that two components of silver’s overall COT situation cast doubt on the validity of the bullish interpretation.

The first was that near important bottoms in the silver price the open interest (OI) in silver futures tends to be low, but in early-April of this year the OI hit an all-time high.

Continue reading Incomplete Silver CoT Analysis, Revisited