Open Interest

Figures published by the NYMEX which indicate the number of outstanding positions in a futures contract. An open interest number of 100,000 means that there are 50,000 long and 50,000 outstanding short positions. Rises or falls in open interest are often key barometers of whether a market is rising/falling thanks to new buying/selling or liquidation by existing participants. A rise in open interest after a market rally is often indicative of new buying, whereas a fall would have been representative of short covering.