Commitments of Traders (COT)
For the public to better understand market dynamics, the CFTC publishes Commitments of Traders reports. They describe open interest in futures and options markets where 20 or more traders hold holdings that are equal to or higher than the CFTC reporting requirements.
COT reports are produced utilizing reporting businesses' data (FCMs, clearing members, foreign brokers and exchanges). A trader's category is defined by their self-reported main business objective on the CFTC Form 401. 2 The CFTC does not utilize this information to categorize traders since it is not known why traders maintain positions. Actually, a trader who is a "producer/merchant/processor/user" of a commodity will include all of its holdings in that commodity, whether they are for hedging or speculation. The COT categories for different commodities may vary because dealers define their business objectives differently. It is one of the reports that categorizes traders across all commodities.