29 Mar 2022

Optimism in the futures market?

This Monday, CME’s premiums pushed towards new yearly highs, suggesting growing optimism among institutional traders.
Optimism in the futures market.svg
The uptrend in the futures basis remains, as the basis both offshore and on CME has trended up beyond 5% in the last seven days. FTX traders seem more bullish than traders on Binance, as we see a 1% difference in the annualized basis between the two largest offshore derivatives platforms. Meanwhile, CME’s strong uptrend in the futures premiums shows stickiness. Premiums have surged since mid-March. Last week, the futures-based ETFs rolled, and BITO went through its first-ever rolling period of net positive inflows, suggesting a strong demand to add bitcoin exposure through traditional investment vehicles at the moment.
But perp traders are not convinced by the breakout
While we see further growth in futures premiums, the perp basis remains at or below neutral funding rates for the 115th consecutive day.
Bitcoin perps - Funding week 12.png
Source: Skew
The neutral funding rate suggests that perp traders have not been convinced by the current breakout. We also see that the open interest in perps has declined from 256k BTC to 245k BTC since last Thursday. This could indicate that some shorts have been closed amid the bitcoin strength, while the low funding rate also suggests that traders with long positions have closed positions leading perp prices to align or trail slightly behind spot. The largest perp instrument, the USDT collateralized BTC perp on Binance, saw its open interest surge to new all-time highs on Sunday. This surge was accompanied by neutral funding and long-short ratios below 1, suggesting a possible crowding towards the short-side. This suggests that the leverage in the market is relatively lofty at the moment, with a slightly negative sentiment which could be a potent setup for a short squeeze if the strong momentum holds.
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