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Exchange rate changes and net positions of speculators in the futures market

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  • Thomas Klitgaard
  • Laura Weir

Abstract

Traders, strategists, and other participants in the currency markets continuously seek to understand and interpret short-term exchange rate movements. One data set frequently used in those efforts is a weekly report of net futures market positions held by speculators on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In this article, the authors pursue a transaction-oriented line of research to track short-term exchange rate moves. They examine the data set for six currencies over a ten-year period and document a strong contemporaneous relationship between weekly changes in speculators' net positions and exchange rates. The authors find that knowing what speculators did over a given week gives one a 75 percent probability of correctly guessing an exchange rate's direction over that week. One explanation for this relationship is that these speculators-acting on their interpretation of public and private information-have some success anticipating how underlying demand will move exchange rates from their prevailing levels in the very short term.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Klitgaard & Laura Weir, 2004. "Exchange rate changes and net positions of speculators in the futures market," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 17-28.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednep:y:2004:i:may:p:17-28:n:v.10no.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin D.D. Evans & Richard K. Lyons, 2017. "Order Flow and Exchange Rate Dynamics," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Studies in Foreign Exchange Economics, chapter 6, pages 247-290 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Clarida, Richard H. & Sarno, Lucio & Taylor, Mark P. & Valente, Giorgio, 2003. "The out-of-sample success of term structure models as exchange rate predictors: a step beyond," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 61-83, May.
    3. Changyun Wang, 2003. "The behavior and performance of major types of futures traders," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 1-31, January.
    4. Robert P. Flood & Mark P. Taylor, 1996. "Exchange Rate Economics: What's Wrong with the Conventional Macro Approach?," NBER Chapters,in: The Microstructure of Foreign Exchange Markets, pages 261-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ronald Macdonald & Mark P. Taylor, 1992. "Exchange Rate Economics: A Survey," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(1), pages 1-57, March.
    6. Torben G. Andersen & Tim Bollerslev & Francis X. Diebold & Clara Vega, 2003. "Micro Effects of Macro Announcements: Real-Time Price Discovery in Foreign Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 38-62, March.
    7. Carol L. Osler, 2000. "Support for resistance: technical analysis and intraday exchange rates," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jul, pages 53-68.
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    Keywords

    Foreign exchange rates ; Speculation ; Futures;

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