Tag Archive: commodities

Monthly Market Monitor – July 2020

Most Long-Term Trends Have Not Changed. A lot has changed over the last 4 months since the COVID virus started to impact the global economy. Asia was infected first with China at ground zero. Their economy succumbed first with a large part of the country shut down to a degree that can only be accomplished in an authoritarian regime.

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Monthly Macro Monitor – June 2020

The stock market has recovered most of its losses from the March COVID-19 induced sell-off and the enthusiasm with which stocks are being bought – and sold but mostly bought – could lead one to believe that the crisis is over, that the economy has completely or nearly completely recovered. Unfortunately, other markets do not support that notion nor does the available economic data.

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We Have Reached The Silly Phase of the Bull Market

Have we entered a new bull market? Was the 35% pullback in the S&P 500 in March the fastest bear market in history? Or is this just a continuation of the bull market that started in 2009, interrupted by a rather large correction? Bull markets and bear markets are about behavior, about the human emotions of fear and greed. While we got a brief bout of fear in March, greed has since overwhelmed all sense, common and otherwise.

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COT Black: No Love For Super-Secret Models

As I’ve said, it is a threefold failure of statistical models. The first being those which showed the economy was in good to great shape at the start of this thing. Widely used and even more widely cited, thanks to Jay Powell and his 2019 rate cuts plus “repo” operations the calculations suggested the system was robust.

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Regime Change

Stocks took another beating last week as the scope of the coronavirus shutdown started to sink in. The S&P 500 was down 15% last week with most of that coming on Monday after the Fed’s emergency rate cuts. Our accounts performed much better than that, but were still down on the week as corporate and municipal bonds continued to get marked down.

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Is GFC2 Over?

Is it over? That’s the question everyone is asking about both major crises, the answer is more obvious for only the one. As it pertains to the pandemic, no, it is not. Still the early stages. The other crisis, the global dollar run? Not looking like it, either.

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Is this the Beginning of a Recession?

As I sit here Monday evening with the Dow having closed down 2000 points and the 10-year Treasury yield around 0.5%, the title of this update seems utterly ridiculous. With the new coronavirus still spreading and a collapse in oil prices threatening the entire shale oil industry, recession is now the expected outcome. Most observers seem to question only the potential length and depth of the coming downturn.

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COT Black: German Factories, Oklahoma Tank Farms, And FRBNY

I wrote a few months ago that Germany’s factories have been the perfect example of the eurodollar squeeze. The disinflationary tendency that even central bankers can’t ignore once it shows up in the global economy as obvious headwinds. What made and still makes German industry noteworthy is the way it has unfolded and continues to unfold. The downtrend just won’t stop.

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Monthly Macro Monitor: Market Indicators Review

Is the recession scare over? Can we all come out from under our desks now? The market based economic indicators I follow have improved since my last update two months ago. The 10 year Treasury rate has moved 40 basis points off its low. Real interest rates have moved up as well but not quite as much. The difference is reflected in slightly higher inflation expectations.

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Tidbits Of Further Warnings: Houston, We (Still) Have A (Repo) Problem

Despite the name, the Fed doesn’t actually intervene in the US$ repo market. I know they called them overnight repo operations, but that’s only because they mimic repo transactions not because the central bank is conducting them in that specific place. What really happened was FRBNY allotting bank reserves (in exchange for UST, MBS, and agency collateral) only to the 24 primary dealers.

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Copper Confirmed

Copper prices behave more deliberately than perhaps prices in other commodity markets. Like gold, it is still set by a mix of economic (meaning physical) and financial (meaning collateral and financing). Unlike gold, there doesn’t seem to be any rush to get to wherever the commodity market is going. Over the last several years, it has been more long periods of sideways.

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Big Difference Which Kind of Hedge It Truly Is

It isn’t inflation which is driving gold higher, at least not the current levels of inflation. According to the latest update from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation calculation, the PCE Deflator, continues to significantly undershoot. Monetary policy explicitly calls for that rate to be consistent around 2%, an outcome policymakers keep saying they expect but one that never happens.

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Monthly Macro Monitor: Market Indicators Review

The Treasury market continues to price in lower nominal and real growth. The stress, the urgency, I see in some of these markets is certainly concerning and consistent with what we have seen in the past at the onset of recession. The move in Treasuries is by some measures, as extreme as the fall of 2008 when we were in a full blown panic.

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COT Blue: Distinct Lack of Green But A Lot That’s Gold

Gold, in my worldview, can be a “heads I win, tails you lose” proposition. If it goes up, that’s fear. Nothing good. If it goes down, that’s collateral. In many ways, worse. Either way, it is only bad, right? Not always. There are times when rising gold signals inflation, more properly reflation perceptions. Determining which is which is the real challenge.

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Monthly Macro Monitor: Well Worried

Don’t waste your time worrying about things that are well worried. Well worried. One of the best turns of phrase I’ve ever heard in this business that has more than its fair share of adages and idioms. It is also one of the first – and best – lessons I learned from my original mentor in this business. The things you see in the headlines, the things everyone is already worried about, aren’t usually worth fretting over.

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China’s Big Money Gamble

While oil prices rebounded in January 2019 around the world, outside of crude commodities continued to struggle. According to the World Bank’s Pink Sheet, base metal prices fell another 1.8% on average from December. On an annual basis, these commodities as a group are about 16% below where they were in January 2018.

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Fear Or Reflation Gold?

Gold is on fire, but why is it on fire? When the precious metals’ price falls, Stage 2, we have a pretty good idea what that means (collateral). But when it goes the other way, reflation or fear of deflation? Stage 1 or Stage 3? If it is Stage 1 reflation based on something like the Fed’s turnaround, then we would expect to find US$ markets trading in exactly the same way.

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Monthly Macro Monitor – January 2019

A Return To Normalcy. In the first two years after a newly elected President takes office he enacts a major tax cut that primarily benefits the wealthy and significantly raises tariffs on imports. His foreign policy is erratic but generally pulls the country back from foreign commitments. He also works to reduce immigration and roll back regulations enacted by his predecessor.

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The Strongest Season for Silver Has Only Just Begun

Commodities as an Alternative. Our readers are presumably following commodity prices. Commodities often provide an alternative to investing in stocks – and they have clearly discernible seasonal characteristics. Thus heating oil tends to be cheaper in the summer than during the heating season in winter, and wheat is typically more expensive before the harvest then thereafter.

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2019 Outlook

A discussion of the outlook for 2019 in the markets and the economy by Alhambra CEO Joe Calhoun and the Head of Alhambra Global Investment Research Jeff Snider.

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