Understanding and Trading the COT Report - Learning Markets

Former investment bank FX trader: Risk management part 3/3

Former investment bank FX trader: Risk management part 3/3
Welcome to the third and final part of this chapter.
Thank you all for the 100s of comments and upvotes - maybe this post will take us above 1,000 for this topic!
Keep any feedback or questions coming in the replies below.
Before you read this note, please start with Part I and then Part II so it hangs together and makes sense.
Part III
  • Squeezes and other risks
  • Market positioning
  • Bet correlation
  • Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits

Squeezes and other risks

We are going to cover three common risks that traders face: events; squeezes, asymmetric bets.

Events

Economic releases can cause large short-term volatility. The most famous is Non Farm Payrolls, which is the most widely watched measure of US employment levels and affects the price of many instruments.On an NFP announcement currencies like EURUSD might jump (or drop) 100 pips no problem.
This is fine and there are trading strategies that one may employ around this but the key thing is to be aware of these releases.You can find economic calendars all over the internet - including on this site - and you need only check if there are any major releases each day or week.
For example, if you are trading off some intraday chart and scalping a few pips here and there it would be highly sensible to go into a known data release flat as it is pure coin-toss and not the reason for your trading. It only takes five minutes each day to plan for the day ahead so do not get caught out by this. Many retail traders get stopped out on such events when price volatility is at its peak.

Squeezes

Short squeezes bring a lot of danger and perhaps some opportunity.
The story of VW and Porsche is the best short squeeze ever. Throughout these articles we've used FX examples wherever possible but in this one instance the concept (which is also highly relevant in FX) is best illustrated with an historical lesson from a different asset class.
A short squeeze is when a participant ends up in a short position they are forced to cover. Especially when the rest of the market knows that this participant can be bullied into stopping out at terrible levels, provided the market can briefly drive the price into their pain zone.

There's a reason for the car, don't worry
Hedge funds had been shorting VW stock. However the amount of VW stock available to buy in the open market was actually quite limited. The local government owned a chunk and Porsche itself had bought and locked away around 30%. Neither of these would sell to the hedge-funds so a good amount of the stock was un-buyable at any price.
If you sell or short a stock you must be prepared to buy it back to go flat at some point.
To cut a long story short, Porsche bought a lot of call options on VW stock. These options gave them the right to purchase VW stock from banks at slightly above market price.
Eventually the banks who had sold these options realised there was no VW stock to go out and buy since the German government wouldn’t sell its allocation and Porsche wouldn’t either. If Porsche called in the options the banks were in trouble.
Porsche called in the options which forced the shorts to buy stock - at whatever price they could get it.
The price squeezed higher as those that were short got massively squeezed and stopped out. For one brief moment in 2008, VW was the world’s most valuable company. Shorts were burned hard.

Incredible event
Porsche apparently made $11.5 billion on the trade. The BBC described Porsche as “a hedge fund with a carmaker attached.”
If this all seems exotic then know that the same thing happens in FX all the time. If everyone in the market is talking about a key level in EURUSD being 1.2050 then you can bet the market will try to push through 1.2050 just to take out any short stops at that level. Whether it then rallies higher or fails and trades back lower is a different matter entirely.
This brings us on to the matter of crowded trades. We will look at positioning in more detail in the next section. Crowded trades are dangerous for PNL. If everyone believes EURUSD is going down and has already sold EURUSD then you run the risk of a short squeeze.
For additional selling to take place you need a very good reason for people to add to their position whereas a move in the other direction could force mass buying to cover their shorts.
A trading mentor when I worked at the investment bank once advised me:
Always think about which move would cause the maximum people the maximum pain. That move is precisely what you should be watching out for at all times.

Asymmetric losses

Also known as picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. This risk has caught out many a retail trader. Sometimes it is referred to as a "negative skew" strategy.
Ideally what you are looking for is asymmetric risk trade set-ups: that is where the downside is clearly defined and smaller than the upside. What you want to avoid is the opposite.
A famous example of this going wrong was the Swiss National Bank de-peg in 2012.
The Swiss National Bank had said they would defend the price of EURCHF so that it did not go below 1.2. Many people believed it could never go below 1.2 due to this. Many retail traders therefore opted for a strategy that some describe as ‘picking up pennies in front of a steam-roller’.
They would would buy EURCHF above the peg level and hope for a tiny rally of several pips before selling them back and keep doing this repeatedly. Often they were highly leveraged at 100:1 so that they could amplify the profit of the tiny 5-10 pip rally.
Then this happened.

Something that changed FX markets forever
The SNB suddenly did the unthinkable. They stopped defending the price. CHF jumped and so EURCHF (the number of CHF per 1 EUR) dropped to new lows very fast. Clearly, this trade had horrific risk : reward asymmetry: you risked 30% to make 0.05%.
Other strategies like naively selling options have the same result. You win a small amount of money each day and then spectacularly blow up at some point down the line.

Market positioning

We have talked about short squeezes. But how do you know what the market position is? And should you care?
Let’s start with the first. You should definitely care.
Let’s imagine the entire market is exceptionally long EURUSD and positioning reaches extreme levels. This makes EURUSD very vulnerable.
To keep the price going higher EURUSD needs to attract fresh buy orders. If everyone is already long and has no room to add, what can incentivise people to keep buying? The news flow might be good. They may believe EURUSD goes higher. But they have already bought and have their maximum position on.
On the flip side, if there’s an unexpected event and EURUSD gaps lower you will have the entire market trying to exit the position at the same time. Like a herd of cows running through a single doorway. Messy.
We are going to look at this in more detail in a later chapter, where we discuss ‘carry’ trades. For now this TRYJPY chart might provide some idea of what a rush to the exits of a crowded position looks like.

A carry trade position clear-out in action
Knowing if the market is currently at extreme levels of long or short can therefore be helpful.
The CFTC makes available a weekly report, which details the overall positions of speculative traders “Non Commercial Traders” in some of the major futures products. This includes futures tied to deliverable FX pairs such as EURUSD as well as products such as gold. The report is called “CFTC Commitments of Traders” ("COT").
This is a great benchmark. It is far more representative of the overall market than the proprietary ones offered by retail brokers as it covers a far larger cross-section of the institutional market.
Generally market participants will not pay a lot of attention to commercial hedgers, which are also detailed in the report. This data is worth tracking but these folks are simply hedging real-world transactions rather than speculating so their activity is far less revealing and far more noisy.
You can find the data online for free and download it directly here.

Raw format is kinda hard to work with

However, many websites will chart this for you free of charge and you may find it more convenient to look at it that way. Just google “CFTC positioning charts”.

But you can easily get visualisations
You can visually spot extreme positioning. It is extremely powerful.
Bear in mind the reports come out Friday afternoon US time and the report is a snapshot up to the prior Tuesday. That means it is a lagged report - by the time it is released it is a few days out of date. For longer term trades where you hold positions for weeks this is of course still pretty helpful information.
As well as the absolute level (is the speculative market net long or short) you can also use this to pick up on changes in positioning.
For example if bad news comes out how much does the net short increase? If good news comes out, the market may remain net short but how much did they buy back?
A lot of traders ask themselves “Does the market have this trade on?” The positioning data is a good method for answering this. It provides a good finger on the pulse of the wider market sentiment and activity.
For example you might say: “There was lots of noise about the good employment numbers in the US. However, there wasn’t actually a lot of position change on the back of it. Maybe everyone who wants to buy already has. What would happen now if bad news came out?”
In general traders will be wary of entering a crowded position because it will be hard to attract additional buyers or sellers and there could be an aggressive exit.
If you want to enter a trade that is showing extreme levels of positioning you must think carefully about this dynamic.

Bet correlation

Retail traders often drastically underestimate how correlated their bets are.
Through bitter experience, I have learned that a mistake in position correlation is the root of some of the most serious problems in trading. If you have eight highly correlated positions, then you are really trading one position that is eight times as large.
Bruce Kovner of hedge fund, Caxton Associates
For example, if you are trading a bunch of pairs against the USD you will end up with a simply huge USD exposure. A single USD-trigger can ruin all your bets. Your ideal scenario — and it isn’t always possible — would be to have a highly diversified portfolio of bets that do not move in tandem.
Look at this chart. Inverted USD index (DXY) is green. AUDUSD is orange. EURUSD is blue.

Chart from TradingView
So the whole thing is just one big USD trade! If you are long AUDUSD, long EURUSD, and short DXY you have three anti USD bets that are all likely to work or fail together.
The more diversified your portfolio of bets are, the more risk you can take on each.
There’s a really good video, explaining the benefits of diversification from Ray Dalio.
A systematic fund with access to an investable universe of 10,000 instruments has more opportunity to make a better risk-adjusted return than a trader who only focuses on three symbols. Diversification really is the closest thing to a free lunch in finance.
But let’s be pragmatic and realistic. Human retail traders don’t have capacity to run even one hundred bets at a time. More realistic would be an average of 2-3 trades on simultaneously. So what can be done?
For example:
  • You might diversify across time horizons by having a mix of short-term and long-term trades.
  • You might diversify across asset classes - trading some FX but also crypto and equities.
  • You might diversify your trade generation approach so you are not relying on the same indicators or drivers on each trade.
  • You might diversify your exposure to the market regime by having some trades that assume a trend will continue (momentum) and some that assume we will be range-bound (carry).
And so on. Basically you want to scan your portfolio of trades and make sure you are not putting all your eggs in one basket. If some trades underperform others will perform - assuming the bets are not correlated - and that way you can ensure your overall portfolio takes less risk per unit of return.
The key thing is to start thinking about a portfolio of bets and what each new trade offers to your existing portfolio of risk. Will it diversify or amplify a current exposure?

Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits

One common mistake is to get bored and restless and put on crap trades. This just means trades in which you have low conviction.
It is perfectly fine not to trade. If you feel like you do not understand the market at a particular point, simply choose not to trade.
Flat is a position.
Do not waste your bullets on rubbish trades. Only enter a trade when you have carefully considered it from all angles and feel good about the risk. This will make it far easier to hold onto the trade if it moves against you at any point. You actually believe in it.
Equally, you need to set monthly limits. A standard limit might be a 10% account balance stop per month. At that point you close all your positions immediately and stop trading till next month.

Be strict with yourself and walk away
Let’s assume you started the year with $100k and made 5% in January so enter Feb with $105k balance. Your stop is therefore 10% of $105k or $10.5k . If your account balance dips to $94.5k ($105k-$10.5k) then you stop yourself out and don’t resume trading till March the first.
Having monthly calendar breaks is nice for another reason. Say you made a load of money in January. You don’t want to start February feeling you are up 5% or it is too tempting to avoid trading all month and protect the existing win. Each month and each year should feel like a clean slate and an independent period.
Everyone has trading slumps. It is perfectly normal. It will definitely happen to you at some stage. The trick is to take a break and refocus. Conserve your capital by not trading a lot whilst you are on a losing streak. This period will be much harder for you emotionally and you’ll end up making suboptimal decisions. An enforced break will help you see the bigger picture.
Put in place a process before you start trading and then it’ll be easy to follow and will feel much less emotional. Remember: the market doesn’t care if you win or lose, it is nothing personal.
When your head has cooled and you feel calm you return the next month and begin the task of building back your account balance.

That's a wrap on risk management

Thanks for taking time to read this three-part chapter on risk management. I hope you enjoyed it. Do comment in the replies if you have any questions or feedback.
Remember: the most important part of trading is not making money. It is not losing money. Always start with that principle. I hope these three notes have provided some food for thought on how you might approach risk management and are of practical use to you when trading. Avoiding mistakes is not a sexy tagline but it is an effective and reliable way to improve results.
Next up I will be writing about an exciting topic I think many traders should look at rather differently: news trading. Please follow on here to receive notifications and the broad outline is below.
News Trading Part I
  • Introduction
  • Why use the economic calendar
  • Reading the economic calendar
  • Knowing what's priced in
  • Surveys
  • Interest rates
  • First order thinking vs second order thinking
News Trading Part II
  • Preparing for quantitative and qualitative releases
  • Data surprise index
  • Using recent events to predict future reactions
  • Buy the rumour, sell the fact
  • The mysterious 'position trim' effect
  • Reversals
  • Some key FX releases
***

Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]

So you wanna be a proffesional trader?

Back to the trenches I guess. Some of you might remember my last post over proffesional approaches to the markets. If not I suggest you take a look on it before reading this.
https://www.reddit.com/Forex/comments/cxymyf/a_peek_into_how_financial_institutions_play_this/
I promised to discuss some stuff about macroeconomic approaches to forex, and well, with some delay here I am. Again, here I introduce the very same disclaimer. This is a professional approach, not coming from retail. Take everything with a grain of salt, and exercise proper due diligence with your approach. Sincerely hope you get something out of this post.
An inconvenient, forex truth
You've been there, struggling and suffering for a while. You have experienced the pain that the markets can unleash on you. You have left positions on the red for longer than your sanity could possible hold. You have opened positions that moved to the green, but you did not take any profits and you let that position slowly die and possibly causing huge loses. Now here you are , in October 2019, possibly as a breakeven trader, still suffering and trying. You have researched hundreds of indicators, if not thousands. You thought you have all sorted out with your RSI , stochastics and TDI. Yet you have switched between strategies more than you have changed your underpants in your whole life. Spent too many hours looking at the screen, wondering what the hell you are still missing.
And the incovenient truth is that you want the glitz and the glamour, and the caviar, but you are not willing to eat the shit. And this is the shit: How are you expecting to make any good money on a field where you dont know virtually anything about it. Nor the substance that you are trading, nor what moves it. How are you actually expecting to beat guys that breath and eat economics?. You know literally nothing about volatility and liquidity, about interbanking flows , about puts and calls, market microestructure and price delivery mechanisms both on OTC markets and CME , what is GDP , how is calculated and why is critical. CPI, NMI, GDP to debt ratios, UST, repo markets, shadow banking, carry diferentials, how and why commodities alter certain currencies. EM vs G10 currencies, pegged vs unpegged. Balances of Payments.... When you hear "greeks" you are thinking about the Iliad or Athens. You know nothing about business and credit cycles. Valuation anchors, return to the mean, standard deviations, fair values. I could go on and on and on. Does this make you uncomfortable? It should.
You have dozens of the best students that the world can produce, coming out of the London School of Economics, or from IT degrees in Harvard and MIT, all moving into freaking huge financial institutions, building complex system, doing incredible research . Funded to an extreme you can not imagine. Working in partnership with the IMF and Central Banks all aroundthe world. PhD's dedicating their lifes to such complex systems and situations....... and yet here you are, insolent and ignorant piece of s***, you that have been trying to make your "RSI" or "stochastic" work for 2 months, trying to beat this multi billion-trillionaire infrastrucure. Do you start to realize where the f*** do you stand? Do you really believe even for a freaking second that you can beat them on their game? Using RSI or Ichimoku? EAT.THIS.SHIT.
And its not that technicals are not necesary. They are. But believe me, I (and most pro's that I've ever engaged with) spent less than 1/5 of the time actually managing trades and looking at price charts. If I'm not scalping , my day starts with me reading around 12 to 15 research papers coming from the main financial institutions, glued to my Reuters terminal reading more reports, looking at polls, updating my macroeconomic models with the latest data, performing calculations related to options...... only then, with a fundamental trading idea, I will move to evaluate technicals to see if the timing is good.
I want to learn, how shall I procede?
You want to build a lasting and enjoyable relationship with the market? EAT THE SHIT, and do all that is under your control to actually be able to open The Financial Times and understand what they are talking about. It will take you years, and for the education, hundreds of dollars. But this is how it goes if you want to get real. This is career, not a hobby. This is simply the way to be consistent. EAT THE SHIT.
I compiled some resources to get you started:
ACATIS Konferenz 2016, Mr. Koo, Surviving in the Intellectually Bankrupt Monetary Policy Environment - A great video coming from Nomura, to understand the actual shitty situation in the Eurozone.
Online Courses - Look for IMF on EDX. Also, a fenomenal course on Banking and Money in Coursera.
Books -
Macroeconomics, Gregory Mankiw - Start here to graps the basic concepts
Financial Times Guide to the Financial Markets
Financial Times Guide to Banking
Applied Financial Macroeconomics and Investment Strategy: A Practitioner’s Guide to Tactical Asset Allocation
The Holy Grail of Macroeconomics: Lessons from Japan's Great Recession
The Escape from Balance Sheet Recession and the QE Trap: A Hazardous Road for the World Economy
The Other Half of Macroeconomics and the Fate of Globalization (English Edition)
The new lombard street - how the fed became the dealer of last resort
Foreign Exchange , Amy Middleton
The Role of Currency in Institutional Portfolios, Momtchil Pojarliev and Richard M. Levich
Currency Overlay: A Practical Guide, Second Edition, Hai Xin
The Handbook of Corporate Financial Risk (2nd edition)
Trade Stocks and Commodities with the Insiders: Secrets of the COT Report (Wiley Trading)
How I Made One Million Dollars Last Year Trading Commodities
Market Liquidity: Theory, Evidence, and Policy (English Edition)
Trading And Exchanges: Market Microstructure For Practitioners
The Microstructure Approach to Exchange Rates
The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve
Big Debt Crises
Payments Systems in the U.S. - Third Edition: A Guide for the Payments Professional
The Volatility Machine: Emerging Economics and the Threat of Financial Collapse (English Edition)
Stabilizing an Unstable Economy
submitted by Cryptochihuahua to Forex [link] [comments]

Experience with COT indicators anyone is using?

I was introduced to the Commitments of Trader's report recently, and I read a little on how to use it for trading. For long-term, this looks like a wonderful approach to smart trading.
I have been looking around for COT indicators, but some of the links I found were dead. I tried downloading a suite of indicators from another source, but it doesn't work on my Wine (running on Ubuntu). There are some other indicators available, from free ones that require some setup, to the paid ones with a few days trial.
Anyone have a COT indicators, or info on where to download one? I am still not adept with programming indicators. It would be nice to test out this approach, for long-term investment.
submitted by digitalfakir to Forex [link] [comments]

How To Trade With The COT Report? - YouTube How To Use The Commitment of Traders - COT Report Forex (2020) How To Read The COMMITMENT OF TRADERS - COT Report - YouTube Learn to read and use the COT Report by the Commodity ... How to read & use COT report in Forex trading. 13th Aug ... How I Use/View COT Data Forex cot report analysis  How to use & Trade with COT ...

The Commitments of Traders (COT) is a report provided by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). COT reports provide 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 established by the CFTC. COT reports are used by many speculative traders to help making decisions on whether to take a long or ... The COT report can provide a window into what large institutional traders are doing. This is a great way to identify the trend. Commodity traders have access to a special market report each week that provides a snapshot of the positions of large institutional traders and small speculators in each commodity futures category. This information is called the commitment of traders report or “COT ... How to Read the COT Report of USD dollar in this example? So we see that Commercial Hedgers (speculators) are 100% and Dealers at 0%. Huge spread. And we see market reversal after that. Forex profits with COT report. The most important thing is to understand that there are no easy forex profits with the COT report. COT report we can use for only long term prediction and trader can not use this ... Professional traders have instead used the Commitment of Traders Report (COT) as a substitute for estimating forex trade positioning and price trends. In this article you can learn how to analyze the COT data, a weekly released report with a breakdown of aggregate positions held by three different types of Forex traders. COT is a weekly report released every Friday at 3:30 am EST by the CFTC ... The Commitment of Traders (COT) reports show futures traders’ positions at the close of (usually) Tuesday’s trading session. The report is prepared by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). It is an excellent trading tool and can be used as an indicator for analyzing market sentiment. Markets are only included if 20 or more ... Since the COT report comes out weekly, its usefulness as a market sentiment indicator would be more suitable for longer-term trades. The question you may be asking now is this: How the heck do you turn all that “big giant gobbled-up block of text” into a sentiment-based indicator that will help you grab some pips?! The CoT report is one such report that aims to bring about some transparency. Because the markets are made up of large institutional players, the CoT report aims to make it a bit of a level playing field. Thus, the widely available free information is used in the retail markets. It provides traders with some key information that is otherwise not possible to have. In the previous article we ... The COT report is a weekly sentiment report that can provide forex traders with important information on the positioning of currency pairs.Issued by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission ... The Commitment of Traders (COT) report is an extremely valuable volume indicator for forex traders. Read on to understand how this useful report. The Commitment of Traders Report, or COT report for short, is made by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and released every Friday at 15:30 east coast time. Its significance lies in the fact that it gives a unique look into what are traders doing all across the market. And, knowing where most Forex players are standing when ...

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How To Trade With The COT Report? - YouTube

{ To get this system and learn how to use it, go to my website. https://myforexmagicwave.com/ and subscribe.} -----... Price action and COT in Forex - Duration: 38:31. Oraib UK 21,099 views. 38:31. Learn to read and use the COT Report by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission - Duration: 40:17. ... How To Read The COMMITMENT OF TRADERS the professional way. The COT Report forex is an important report released by the CFTC every week. Therefore, every week we can conduct COT report analysis ... Never trade off CoT information alone. Always factor in the baseline fundamental bias for each currency. CoT data helps you understand how priced in a partic... Forex cot report analysis How to use & Trade with COT The Commitments of Traders (COT) is a report issued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC... Analyze the commodity markets with the CFTC's Commitments of Traders Report. Find out how to determine if a commodity futures market is overbought, or overso... In this video you will learn how to read Order flow, specifically the COT report which is the commitment of Traders, to find the best forex trading and swing...

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