What is COT Report

The COT (Commitments of Traders) report generated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) details positions in the futures market. It provides a breakdown of each Tuesday's open interest for markets in which 20 or more traders hold positions equal to or above the reporting levels. The weekly reports for Futures-Only Commitments of traders and for Futures-and-Options-Combined Commitments of traders are released every Friday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The COT report is about the Futures market. However, since the forex spot market is traded over-the-counter (OTC), the COT report is the best reference to see how the big players are trading.

Its Origin

Antecedents of the Commitments of Traders (COT) reports can be traced all the way back to 1924. In that year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Futures Administration (predecessor to the USDA Commodity Exchange Authority, in turn the predecessor to the CFTC), published its first comprehensive annual report of hedging and speculation in regulated futures markets.

Beginning as of June 30, 1962, COT data was published each month. At the time, this report for 13 agricultural commodities was proclaimed as "another step forward in the policy of providing the public with current and basic data on futures market operations." Those original reports then were compiled on an end-of-month basis and published on the 11th or 12th calendar day of the following month. For more details visit CFTC website.

Reading the COT Report

Below is the list of common terms used in the report and what they mean.

  • Commercial: Typically large business who use the forex market to hedge their exposure to any one currency.
  • Long Report: Number of short contracts reported.
  • Open Interest: The total number of futures or options contracts not yet delivered or exercised.
  • Non-commercial: Typically speculator, this refers to individual traders, hedge funds and large institutions, who use futures market for speculative purposes and meet the reportable requirements set forth by the CFTC.
  • Non-reportable Positions: Long and short open-interest positions that don't meet reportable requirements set forth by the CFTC.
  • Number of Traders: The total number of traders who are required to report positions to the CFTC.
  • Reportable Positions: The futures and option positions that are held above specific reporting levels set by CFTC regulations.
  • Short: Number of short contracts reported.
  • Spreading: Measures the extent to which a non-commercial trader holds equal long and short futures positions.

  • What is COT Report?

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