From the Telegraph:
The extent of the panic that gripped financial markets last week has been laid bare by figures that showed speculators slashed their bets in US commodity markets by record margins.
Positions were cut by $21bn $21bn (£13bn) during the week to August 9, the biggest seven day sell-off in at least a year and a half. The calculations were made by Reuters, based on the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly Commitment of Traders report.
Excluding some $6bn of profit-taking in US gold futures and options, managed-money funds – such as hedge funds and proprietary traders – cut their overall net long holdings in 21 other commodities by around $15bn. The total value of long positions came to $93bn, the lowest level in five weeks.
Although an imperfect gauge, the data – based on futures and options positions – captures most of the recent rout in global risk assets, as gloomy economic indicators and a downgrade of the US debt rating triggered a crisis of confidence.
Despite risk aversion gripping the financial community, big funds were more sellers than buyers of gold – traditionally perceived as a safe haven – as prices fluctuated....MORE