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Historical Disaggregated COT Data Shines Light on Transparency

Giving energy market participants a more detailed snapshot of the types of market participants and their current positions in an effort to boost market transparency, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) last week rolled out more than three years of history of disaggregated data included in their weekly Commitments of Traders (COT) reports.

The history for the 22 commodity futures markets currently captured by the weekly disaggregated COT reports is available now on the Intelligence Press Inc. website at http://intelligencepress.com/data/cot/history.html.

"Economists have for decades recognized that transparency benefits the marketplace," CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said. "Last month we began disaggregating data included in our weekly reports to give the public a more accurate depiction of the makeup of the commodity futures markets. By releasing three years of history, we will provide regulators, market participants and the public with additional transparency."

On July 7 Gensler directed the Commission's staff to "improve" the COT reports in a number of ways to provide more detailed information on the different categories of market participants and their actions (see NGI, July 13). Beginning with data captured as of Sept. 1, the CFTC published additional COT data for 22 contract markets, including major agriculture, energy and metals markets (see NGI, Sept. 7).

The previous COT report separated traders into two broad categories: commercial and noncommercial. The new report breaks the data into four categories of traders: Producer/Merchant/Processor/User; Swap Dealers; Managed Money; and Other Reportables. The noncommercial category is now represented by the Managed Money and Other Reportables segments while the commercial category now includes Producer/Merchant/Processor/User and Swap Dealers segments.

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