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Short Covering


Short covering refers to the buying of securities to close an open short position. This occurs when an investor has sold securities they didn’t own (short selling) and needs to purchase them to fulfill the obligation. The action is aimed at reducing or eliminating the risk of loss from declining securities’ prices.


The phonetics for “Short Covering” is – ʃɔːrt ˈkʌvərɪŋ.

Key Takeaways

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  1. Short covering involves the buying back of securities that have been sold short to close an open short position. It is essentially a buy transaction that offsets a previous short sell transaction.
  2. This process can lead to price increases in the market. If a large number of traders decide to cover their short positions all at once (also known as a short squeeze), it can cause a rapid price increase due to high demand.
  3. Traders may decide to cover their short positions due to actual market events or fear of potential losses. The timing of short covering could be strategic to minimize losses or may be compelled by the broker executing a forced purchase to cover the short position.



Short covering, in business and finance, plays a significant role as it can lead to significant price movements in the market. It refers to the process of buying back shares or securities that were previously sold short in anticipation of a price drop. This action is typically triggered when the price of these securities starts to rise, causing short sellers to close out their positions to minimize losses. The cumulative effect of many traders covering their short positions simultaneously can actually exacerbate the upward trend, creating a phenomenon known as a “short squeeze.” Therefore, understanding the concept of short covering is crucial for investors and traders in predicting potential market movements and making informed investment decisions.


Short covering plays a crucial role in financial markets as a method of limiting losses or generating profits for investors and traders who had previously set up short positions. In effect, it’s a strategy employed when traders predict a potential rise in a security’s price. short positions involve selling borrowed securities in anticipation that their price will fall, enabling the short-seller to buy them back at a lower cost and pocket the difference.However, if the price of these securities appears likely to increase instead of fall, traders might decide to implement short covering. By purchasing the securities at their current price, traders can return the borrowed securities, thereby closing out their short positions. They would use this strategy to avoid the potential of incurring larger losses should the price of the securities continue to rise. Although short covering temporarily increases the demand for the security, causing an additional short-term spike in its price, which is referred to as a short squeeze.


1. Stock Market Example: Let’s say an investor has shorted 100 shares of Company A at $20 each, expecting the price to fall. Instead, the price starts to rise rapidly to $25. To minimize further losses, the investor decides to engage in short covering, buying back the 100 shares at $25 each, thus losing $500, but preventing further losses if the price of the shares continues to skyrocket.2. Currency Market Example: Let’s consider a currency trader who has shorted $1,000,000 USD against the EUR with the expectation that the USD will weaken. However, if the USD starts strengthening against the EUR, the trader would engage in short covering to minimize losses, by buying back the USD at the currently lower rate, effectively stopping additional losses on that trade.3. Commodities Market Example: Suppose a trader has short sold 1000 barrels of crude oil futures at $60 per barrel anticipating the prices to fall. However, due to unforeseen geopolitical events, crude oil prices start rising and has reached $70 per barrel. To prevent further losses, the trader decides to cover his shorts i.e., he buys back the 1000 barrels of crude oil futures at $70 per barrel. By doing so, he becomes neutral in the market and avoids the risk of potentially further price increases. Despite a loss of $10 per barrel, the trader effectively limits his losses by covering his short position.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Short Covering in finance?

Short Covering is a practice where investors buy back assets such as stocks that they had previously sold short when they believe the price of the assets is likely to increase. This is done to prevent potential losses from rising prices.

When does Short Covering usually occur?

Short Covering typically occurs when the price of the asset that has been short-sold starts to rise, indicating a potential loss to the short seller if the price continues to increase.

What effect does Short Covering have on the market?

Short Covering can often result in a rapid increase in the price of a security because short sellers are buying in order to close their positions, adding to the buying pressure.

Does Short Covering involve any risks?

Yes, Short Covering involves risk. If the security’s price doesn’t decrease as anticipated but instead increases, the short seller may have to buy it back at a higher price, resulting in a loss.

Is Short Covering always a sign of positive market movement?

No, Short Covering is not always a positive sign. It could potentially be the result of market manipulation or simply the short seller’s response to a change in market sentiment.

Why would someone engage in Short Covering?

An investor would engage in Short Covering to minimize their potential losses from a short position if they believe that the price of the asset they have shorted is about to rise.

Can Short Covering predict market trends?

Short Covering, when done en masse, can suggest an upward trend. However, it’s not a standalone indicator of a market trend as it is a response to a price change, not a cause.

How is Short Covering different from Going Long?

Going Long refers to buying an asset with the belief its price will rise. Short Covering, on the other hand, is buying an asset one has previously shorted due to the anticipation that its price will rise and cause a loss to the short-seller. In other words, Going Long is an initial investment action, while Short Covering is a reaction to market changes.

Related Finance Terms

  • Short selling
  • Squeeze
  • Borrowing stock
  • Margin call
  • Market buyback

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