I have traded the futures markets (plus stocks and ETFs in recent years) since the 1970s. Has the trading environment changed? Wow, has it! Is it tougher for an individual trader to earn a living in the markets today than it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
"As of December, five firms accounted for 96 percent of the total U.S. banking industry’s notional holdings in derivatives and 86 percent of the industry’s net current credit exposure in derivatives, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency."
GS: - EUR net shorts rose yet again to -$25.7 bn from -$25.4 bn last week and our positioning score moved from -9.1 last week to -9.2 this week, indicating slightly larger EUR net shorts once adjusting for open interest and the rate differential.
The Goldman's positioning score is an indicator of how "crowded" this trade is.
Oil prices have rapidly dropped in recent months, and some analysts predict a further (steep) decline. This might seem like good news to consumer states, but there is a catch. Whereas producer states could balance their budgets at $30 a barrel less than ten years ago, they now need $100 a barrel to make ends meet. If oil prices continue to correct, expect instability to hit producer states across the board. That might (ironically) help to set a price floor and push prices up again, but it's not a development that consumer countries should be happy about. Keeping oil prices at $100/b remains a better plan than seeing producer states collapse.