How does a short squeeze happen?
A short squeeze happens when there is a sudden increase in buying pressure. However, what makes a short squeeze a particularly volatile event is the sudden rush to quickly cover short positions (via buy orders). This includes many stop-loss orders triggering at a significant price level, and many short sellers manually closing their positions at the same time.
A short squeeze can happen in essentially any financial market where a short position can be taken. At the same time, the lack of options to short a market can also lead to large price bubbles. After all, if there’s no good way to bet against an asset, it may keep going up for an extended period.
A prerequisite of a short squeeze can be a majority of short positions over long positions. Naturally, if there are significantly more short positions than long positions, there’s more liquidity available to fuel the fire. This is why the long/short ratio can be a useful tool for traders who want to keep an eye on market sentiment.
Some advanced traders will look for potential short squeeze opportunities to go long and profit off the quick spike in price. This strategy will include accumulating a position before the squeeze happens and using the quick spike to sell at a higher price.
Short squeeze examples
Short squeezes are very common in the stock market. This usually entails low sentiment around a company, a perceived high stock price, and a large number of short positions. If, say, some unexpected positive news comes out, all those short positions are forced to buy, leading to an increase in the price of the stock. Even so, a short squeeze is more of a technical pattern rather than a fundamental event.
Short squeezes are also quite common in the cryptocurrency markets, most notably in the Bitcoin markets. The Bitcoin derivatives market uses high-leverage positions, and these can be trapped or liquidated with relatively small price moves. As such, short and long squeezes happen frequently in the Bitcoin markets. If you’d like to avoid getting liquidated or trapped in such moves, carefully consider the amount of leverage you’re using. You should also adopt a proper risk management strategy.