VIX Speculators Boosted Their Bearish Bets For 7th Time In 8 Weeks

VIX Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large volatility speculators added to their bearish net positions in the VIX futures markets once again this week, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

The non-commercial futures contracts of VIX futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of -171,236 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday, October 22nd. This was a weekly change of -15,256 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of -155,980 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) gaining by 4,813 contracts (to a weekly total of 85,338 contracts) while the gross bearish position (shorts) jumped by a larger amount of 20,069 contracts for the week (to a total of 256,574 contracts).

VIX speculators continued to boost their bearish bets for a second straight week and for the seventh time in the past eight weeks. The bearish sentiment is now at the highest level in twenty-five weeks which is also the highest standing since the record bearish high of -180,359 on April 30th. Overall, VIX positions have been in negative territory for forty-one weeks dating back to January 8th.

VIX Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of 181,661 contracts on the week. This was a weekly gain of 17,171 contracts from the total net of 164,490 contracts reported the previous week.

VIX Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the VIX Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $16.47 which was a shortfall of $-0.40 from the previous close of $16.87, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets.

The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators).

Find CFTC criteria here: (

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Zachary Storella 3 years ago Author's comment

HI Seth, These traders are classified by the CFTC specifically as non-commercial traders (aka speculators). These are large traders or entities (hedge funds,etc) that are in the futures markets in order to profit on market moves as opposed to the commercial trader category, which is made up of traders or entities that use the futures markets usually to hedge business interests or positions. The third category is the small traders which can be a mix of speculators and hedgers but are too small (in position sizing) to be placed in one of the other baskets.

You can read more about it at CFTC site:

Seth Golden 3 years ago Contributor's comment

Thanks for the response, but the definitions aren't aligned with actual market participation. I understand the nomenclature and colloquialisms assigned by the market over time, but the reality is far different. Speculating on VOL Futures moving lower over the course of a typical 30 day cycle is far from speculative, given term structure's history of existing in contango over 85% of the time. In other words, is the greatest probability. Anyway, always interested in how folks view black and white stats. Thanks again.

Beating Buffett 3 years ago Member's comment

Interesting back and forth. Would like to hear more.

Seth Golden 3 years ago Contributor's comment

Welcome to review my works and such. Written extensively on the top of the VIX and market volatility complex as an asset class for several years. I'm not attempting to detract from the articles content and general purpose, but encouraging folks to better align content with the greater trading and investing disciplines that are repeatable within the volatility complex.

Seth Golden 3 years ago Contributor's comment

How do you figure they are "speculators"?