Commitments of Traders
Introduction and Classification Methodology
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission or CFTC) publishes the Commitments of Traders (COT) reports to help the public understand market dynamics. Specifically, the COT reports provide a breakdown of each Tuesday’s open interest for futures and options on futures markets in which 20 or more traders hold positions equal to or above the reporting levels established by the CFTC.
The COT reports are based on position data supplied by reporting firms (FCMs, clearing members, foreign brokers and exchanges). While the position data is supplied by reporting firms, the actual trader category or classification is based on the predominant business purpose self-reported by traders on the CFTC Form 401 and is subject to review by CFTC staff for reasonableness.2 CFTC staff does not know specific reasons for traders’ positions and hence this information does not factor in determining trader classifications. In practice this means, for example, that the position data for a trader classified in the “producer/merchant/processor/user” category for a particular commodity will include all of its positions in that commodity, regardless of whether the position is for hedging or speculation. Note that traders are able to report business purpose by commodity and, therefore, can have different classifications in the COT reports for different commodities. For one of the reports, Traders in Financial Futures, traders are classified in the same category for all commodities.
Due to legal restraints (CEA Section 8 data and confidential business practices), the CFTC does not publish information on how individual traders are classified in the COT reports.
Generally, the data in the COT reports is from Tuesday and released Friday. The CFTC receives the data from the reporting firms on Wednesday morning and then corrects and verifies the data for release by Friday afternoon.
Types of Reports
There are four main reports:
- 1. Legacy
4. Traders in Financial Futures
The Supplemental report includes 13 select agricultural commodity contracts for combined futures and options positions. Supplemental reports break down the reportable open interest positions into three trader classifications: non-commercial, commercial, and index traders.
The Disaggregated reports are broken down by agriculture, petroleum and products, natural gas and products, electricity and metals and other physical contracts. These reports have a futures only report and a combined futures and options report. The Disaggregated reports break down the reportable open interest positions into four classifications:
- 1. Producer/Merchant/Processor/User
2. Swap Dealers
3. Managed Money
4. Other Reportables
The Traders in Financial Futures (TFF) report includes financial contracts, such as currencies, US Treasury securities, Eurodollars, stocks, VIX and Bloomberg commodity index.3 These reports have a futures only report and a combined futures and options report. The TFF report breaks down the reportable open interest positions into four classifications:
- 1. Dealer/Intermediary
2. Asset Manager/Institutional
3. Leveraged Funds
4. Other Reportables
Short and Long Format of Reports
The Legacy and Disaggregated reports are available in both a short and long format. The TFF report is only available in the long format. The Supplemental report is only available in the short format.
The short format shows reportable open interest and week-to-week open interest changes separately by reportable and non-reportable positions. For reportable positions, additional data is provided for commercial and non-commercial holdings, spreading (in certain categories only), changes from the previous report, percent of open interest by category, and numbers of traders.
The long report, in addition to the information in the short report, groups the data by crop year, where appropriate, and shows the concentration of positions held by the largest four and eight traders.
Please see the official Release Schedule for a calendar of release dates.
History of Disaggregated COT data - October 20, 2009
Machine-readable files will be located on the CFTC website, with data dating back to June 13, 2006. One type is a zipped, comma-delimited text file Historical Compressed; while the other type is a zipped Excel file. Historical Compressed In addition, the 3-year history will be available in a “viewable” file on the CFTC website, by commodity group, and, within group, by commodity. Historical Viewables These viewable files will only be available in the “long format.”
Please note: CFTC does not maintain a history of large trader classifications. Therefore, current classifications are used to classify the historical positions of each reportable trader (this approach is commonly referred to as “backcasting;” see the D-COT Explanatory Notes at, Disaggregated Explanatory Notes.)
Reports Dated February 27, 2018 - Current Disaggregated Reports:
|Disaggregated Futures Only
||Disaggregated Futures-and-Options -Combined|
|Petroleum and Products
|Natural Gas and Products
|Metals and Other
- Disaggregated Futures-Only Commitments of Traders Comma Delimited
- Disaggregated Futures and Options Commitments of Traders Comma Delimited
- Disaggregated Explanatory Notes
Current Traders in Financial Futures Reports:
|Traders in Financial Futures; Futures Only
||Traders in Financial Futures; Futures-and-Options -Combined|
- Traders in Financial Futures; Futures-Only Commitments of Traders Comma Delimited
- Traders in Financial Futures; Futures and Options Commitments of Traders Comma Delimited
- Traders in Financial Futures; Explanatory Notes
Current Legacy Reports:
Other Available Formats
These text-only files contain the most recent Futures-only and Futures-and-Options-Combined long form data in a comma delimited format for easy loading into a spreadsheet.
- Futures-Only Commitments of Traders Comma Delimited
- Options and Futures Commitments of Traders Comma Delimited
- Supplement: Commodity Index Report Comma Delimited
Variable Names for Long Commodity Index Trader Supplemental Report
Variable Names for Disaggregated COT Reports
Variable Names for Traders in Financial Futures Reports
In a December 5, 2006 press release, the CFTC announced that, in addition to the existing weekly Commitments of Traders reports, a supplemental report would be published beginning January 5, 2007.
The Commission’s actions in response to its comprehensive review of the Commitments of Traders Reporting program are summarized in Comprehensive Review of the Commitments of Traders Reporting Program published December 5, 2006. An Executive Summary of the December 5, 2006 report is also available.
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1 If a Form 40 is not available for a trader, that trader is classified as Non-Commercial in the Legacy Report and as Other Reportable for the DCOT and TFF reports
2 Commission staff reviews the reasonableness of a trader’s classification for many of the largest traders in the markets based upon Form 40 disclosures and other information available to the Commission. This may involve some exercise of judgement on the part of Commission staff.
3 As noted above, contracts are included that have 20 or more traders that hold positions equal to or above the reporting levels established by the CFTC.