The Federal Reserve Bank of New York works to promote sound and well-functioning financial systems and markets through its provision of industry and payment services, advancement of infrastructure reform in key markets and training and educational support to international institutions.
The Outreach and Education function engages, empowers and educates the Second District communities that the Bank serves, especially civic leaders, students, educators, small business owners, policymakers and the general public. It furthers the Bank's commitment to the region by listening to the communities we serve and leveraging our unique attributes to positively impact school and university programs, as well as analysis and research.
Traders, strategists, and other participants in the currency markets continuously seek to understand and interpret short-term exchange rate movements. One data set frequently used in those efforts is a weekly report of net futures market positions held by speculators on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In this article, the authors pursue a transaction-oriented line of research to track short-term exchange rate moves. They examine the data set for six currencies over a ten-year period and document a strong contemporaneous relationship between weekly changes in speculators' net positions and exchange rates. The authors find that knowing what speculators did over a given week gives one a 75 percent probability of correctly guessing an exchange rate's direction over that week. One explanation for this relationship is that these speculators-acting on their interpretation of public and private information-have some success anticipating how underlying demand will move exchange rates from their prevailing levels in the very short term.