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(Adds comment, details, byline, table) By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - U.S. dollar net shortpositioning fell this week to the lowest level sincemid-December, according to calculations by Reuters and CommodityFutures Trading Commission data released on Friday, as investorscontinued to cover massive negative bets on the currency. The value of the net short dollar position fell to $29.09billion in the week ended Feb. 16, from $29.53 billion theprevious week, data showed. U.S. dollar net shorts have fallenfor four straight weeks. Short bets on the greenback hit anearly 10-year high in the week of Jan. 19. U.S. dollar positioning was derived from net contracts ofInternational Monetary Market speculators in the Japanese yen,euro, British pound and Swiss franc, as well as the Canadian andAustralian dollars. In a wider measure of dollar positioning thatincludes net contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso,Brazilian real and Russian ruble, the greenback posted a netshort position of $29,756 this week, from $30.08 billion theweek before. The dollar index has modestly recovered from last year'ssell-off, rising about 0.4% so far this year, from losses of6.7% in 2020. Analysts have attributed part of the gains to short-coveringon the dollar. Other analysts, on the other hand, have pointed to the risein U.S. Treasury yields, which have been priced in increasinginflationary pressures triggered in part by what is expected tobe the Biden administration's massive stimulus package. The benchmark U.S. Treasury 10-year yield hit a one-yearhigh of 1.363% on Friday. Should U.S. inflation pick up at a faster pace thanexpected, analysts said that could prompt the Federal Reserve totighten monetary policy earlier than thought, which shouldstrengthen the dollar. "Holding onto short U.S. dollar positions could be a riskyproposition for what could eventually be a U.S.-led real ratesback-up," said Mazen Issa, senior FX strategist at TD Securitiesin New York. In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin net shorts fell to2,893 contracts in the latest week, compared with net shorts of2,844 the week before. Bitcoin on Friday touched a market capitalization of $1trillion, hitting yet another record high of $56,399.99 amid a slew of institutional demand that is grapplingwith the asset's finite supply. The largest virtual currency has so far gained 70% thismonth and more than 300% in 2021. Japanese Yen (Contracts of 12,500,000 yen) $-4.383 billion 16 Feb 2021 Prior week week Long 66,732 60,719 Short 29,550 26,101 Net 37,182 34,618 EURO (Contracts of 125,000 euros) $-21.183 billion 16 Feb 2021 Prior week week Long 222,895 220,943 Short 82,889 80,721 Net 140,006 140,222 POUND STERLING (Contracts of 62,500 pounds sterling) $-1.926 billion 16 Feb 2021 Prior week week Long 60,269 60,513 Short 38,102 39,395 Net 22,167 21,118 SWISS FRANC (Contracts of 125,000 Swiss francs) $-1.173 billion 16 Feb 2021 Prior week week Long 15,745 18,778 Short 7,374 7,370 Net 8,371 11,408 CANADIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Canadian dollars) $-0.644 billion 16 Feb 2021 Prior week week Long 45,021 44,274 Short 36,857 34,746 Net 8,164 9,528 AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 Aussie dollars) $0.219 billion 16 Feb 2021 Prior week week Long 54,675 55,931 Short 57,496 56,147 Net -2,821 -216 MEXICAN PESO (Contracts of 500,000 pesos) $-0.035 billion 16 Feb 2021 Prior week week Long 57,670 53,203 Short 56,258 51,720 Net 1,412 1,483 NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (Contracts of 100,000 New Zealand dollars) $-0.989 billion 16 Feb 2021 Prior week week Long 30,243 29,133 Short 16,532 17,589 Net 13,711 11,544 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by DavidGregorio)