The Commitments of Traders (COT Report) has several key terms you need to understand before you can read the report. The key terms are, Open Interest, Reportable Positions, Commercial and Non-commercial Traders, Non-reportable Positions, Spreading, Changes in Commitments from Previous Reports, Percent of Open Interest, Number of Traders, Old and Other Futures, Concentration Ratios, and Supplemental Report.
Old and Other Futures (long form only) – For selected commodities where there is a well-defined marketing season or crop year, the COT data will be broken down by “old” and “other” crop years.
Table 1 (shown below) lists those commodities and the first and last futures of the marketing season or crop year.
In order not to disclose positions in a single future near its expiration, on the first business day of the month of the last future in an “old” crop year, the data for that last future are combined with the data for the next crop year and are shown as “old” crop futures.
For example, in CBOT wheat, where the first month of the crop year is July and the last month of the prior crop year is May.
And on May 3, 2004, positions in the May 2004 futures month were aggregated with positions in the July 2004 through May 2005 futures months and shown as “old” crop futures.
Where as, positions in all subsequent wheat futures months were shown as “other.”
For the “old” and “other” figures, spreading is calculated for equal long and short positions within a crop year.
If, in the event, a non-commercial trader holds a long position in an “old” crop-year future and an equal short position in an “other” crop-year future, the long position will be classified as “long-only” in the “old” crop year and the short position will be classified as “short-only” in the “other” crop year.
In this particular example, the “all” category, which considers each trader’s positions without regard to crop year, the trader’s positions will be classified as “spreading.”
For this reason, summing the “old” and “other” figures for long-only, for short-only, or for spreading will not necessarily equal the corresponding figure shown for “all” futures.
Any differences result from traders that spread from an “old” crop-year future to an “other” crop-year future.
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