At the request of my PhD supervisor, I’ve been working on a document that will no doubt be part of my overall dissertation. It’s meant to explain retail spot forex in an academic manner (meaning multisyllabic words and copious formulas), with an eye toward setting the stage for my research into individual trader performance from a Behavioral Finance perspective.
In developing the area of the document which discusses market participants I came across a telling graph. Below is a 1-year look-back at the positioning of OANDA customers in EUR/USD, which I pulled from the broker’s website.
The black line is the EUR/USD exchange rate, while the histogram shows the overall net position of all OANDA customers (blue being net long, yellow net short). In many ways this is comparable to the Commitment of Traders (COT) report, which I’ve written about in this blog on several previous occasions (see Commitment of Traders – A Weekly Report Worth Viewing as a starting point).
What I want you to make particular notice of is how often in the chart above the market is rising when traders are positioned short and falling when they are long. This supports the often-expressed view that retail traders are usually on the wrong side of the market, and suggests in general terms that they trade in a counter-trend fashion.