Archive for the ‘Commodities’ Category

Notes From Underground: Putting This Week In Perspective

August 10, 2017

Just when the volatility sellers were heading to the beaches to bask in the glow of easy money comes the tweeter-in-chief to crush the complacency. The airwaves were full opiners who warned of a market that is fully valued.Gundlach and Dalio added their two cents for measure, espousing the need to hold GOLD as a hedge against geopolitical uncertainties. Again, it is not political uncertainty but the malfeasance of central banks that should be the concern of global investors. Deflation is the ingredient for central bank panic. As Peter Boockvar reminded his readers today: Gold is a monetary haven.

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Notes From Underground: Shelter From the Storm

August 9, 2017

Not a word was spoke between us,there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point ,had been left unresolved
Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm
Come in, she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm

When Bob Dylan released this song 42 years ago it was on the album Blood on the Tracks. When the FED embarked on its QE1, QE2 and QE3 it was to respond to the blood coursing through the streets of the U.S. financial system. The U.S. banking system was threatened with insolvency and the FED‘s monetary injections sheltered the banking system from a storm of forced systemic liquidation of assets. QE1 coupled with a questionable TARP program did prevent a systemic liquidation but QE2 and QE3 I always believed were superfluous but in the land of counterfactuals it is an impossible point to prove.

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Notes From Underground: Trump Delivers on Using the Dollar as a Policy Tool

April 12, 2017

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the tweeter-in-chief was reported to have said, “The DOLLAR IS GETTING TOO STRONG.” As some pundits discussed, instead of Trump calling China a currency manipulator it seems he wants to use the dollar as a cudgel to pressure others into not embarking on policies to weaken their currencies. As I wrote on April 2:

“The Trump Administration’s efforts to curb the U.S. trade deficit may see the executive branch try to depreciate the U.S. dollar if Secretary Mnuchin and Secretary Ross fail to persuade certain global actors to embark upon policies to adjust their current account and trade surpluses. The Fed’s recent tightening has not rallied the dollar–it actually closed lower on the quarter–so if the political status quo is sustained in Europe and no new political crisis emerges, the DOLLAR will become a barometer of Trump’s policies on trade.”

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Notes From Underground: The Unemployment Report Revealed Little

April 9, 2017

The headline nonfarm payroll number was much weaker than expected and confused traders because it was so wide of the April 5 ADP release of 263,000, but the rest of the data was tepid though not weak enough to dissuade the FOMC from further efforts to raise rates. The important average hourly earnings was up 0.2%, in line with expectations, but the weekly hours worked slipped 0.1, which may have been in response to the early March storms. The unemployment rate dropped to a recovery low of 4.5% but that may be because of the amount of workers having left the labor force. The markets’ initial reaction to the headline NFP was the bonds rallied, the dollar weakened and the precious metals rose. By day’s end all the moves reversed from early rallies inspired by the U.S. missiles fired at Syria. The market had deemed the cruise missiles fired at the air force base in Syria as a market destabilizing event, spurring a purchase of what are deemed safe haven assets: GOLD, YEN, BONDS. But the end of day reversal nullified Syria as a one-off event. So the market is confused as to the genuine impact of the unemployment report and we will have to wait for more economic data to weigh all the “communication” coming from FED speakers. Chair Yellen will be speaking with a Q&A session on Monday afternoon so late market action should not be discounted.

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Notes From Underground: We Are All Part of the Same Hypocrisy, Senator

November 29, 2016

The world is all abuzz with the good feelings radiating from the aftermath of the Trump victory. However, no matter how long the U.S. equity market rallies, be certain that Trump is not draining the swamp of Washington, D.C. He is proving to be a caretaker. Today’s pick of Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary is just more of the same. Ms. Chao is certainly qualified. After all, she has an MBA from Harvard, but being a past member of the Bush Cabinet means we are using old, worn-out tires. The Transportation Secretary will be overseer of many of the INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS the Donald has promised to deliver. The pork barrel these projects will be dipped in will be beyond lucrative and the wife of Mitch McConnell ought not to have been given this role.

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Notes From Underground: For What It’s Worth

November 21, 2016

Everybody has opinions on the recent election outcome but as usual most of the opinions are from the echo chamber and not factual in any way. This blog is dedicated to seeking profitable investment and trading opportunities as I sort through the noise of the financial media. As with Brexit, the punditry found itself trapped in its own rhetoric and every prediction but the weakness of the pound proved to be WRONG, at least in the short to medium-term. British Gilts (10-year notes) rallied substantially in the post-Brexit confusion and most importantly the Footise stock index rallied 15% off its election night bottom. The POUND did weaken substantially against the U.S. dollar and the euro currency but I have argued for a few years that the British current account made the relative strength of the POUND to its key trading partners unsustainable.

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Notes From Underground: Old Friends

November 20, 2016

Time it was

and what a time it was, it was

a time of innocence

a time of confidences

long ago it must be

i have a photograph

preserve your memories

they’re all that’s left you [Simon & Garfunkel]

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Notes From Underground: Gee, What’s the G-20 Thinking About?

April 17, 2016

The Japanese leave Washington with no support for alleviating one-sided currency moves. For China it is all about respect for growth, wherever it may be. The Chinese GDP was released on Thursday and it came out exactly as forecast at 6.7% (shocking, I know). There was virtually no criticism of the Chinese as the nations are watching closely while China commences its transition from an export-dominated economy to a more balanced growth model, where domestic consumption takes on increased importance. In contrast to the G-20 view on Japanese currency intervention, SNB President Thomas Jordan announced that the Swiss would increase its balance sheet through currency intervention “… to prevent an already ‘significantly overvalued’ franc from strengthening.”

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Notes From Underground: Where Are We?

March 28, 2016

First quarter is winding down and after a great deal of volatility it is time to reflect on the markets. The SPOOS are virtually unchanged  while the Nasdaq 100 is down 5%, the Nikkei is down 10% and the German Dax is down 8%. The global equity markets have been riding a wave of liquidity for a long while but with the aggressive QE programs from the ECB and BOJ the first quarter one would expect the German and Japanese stock markets to have been the star performers. Maybe more QE is losing its power to impact the markets? The DOLLAR INDEX is lower by 3.2%, which is also in contravention of conventional wisdom as QE is done to weaken one’s currency in an effort to aid the domestic economy. In examining the individual currencies the euro is +3%, Swiss franc +3%, yen +8%, Canadian dollar +5% and Aussie dollar +3%. Yes, the easing banks have seen their currencies strengthen against the DOLLAR.

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Notes From Underground: When I Have Something to Say Sir, I’M GOING TO SAY IT NOW (Phil Ochs)

February 3, 2016

The markets are in turmoil and it gets the mind to thinking: What could possibly have caused today’s reversal in the stock market and the long end of the BOND MARKET? The market seemed like it was on the edge of a complete risk capitulation. The dollar was dropping, bonds all over the world were in rally mode and the precious metals were finally finding some technical strength as the GOLD (in pure dollar terms) had finally rallied through its 200-day moving average. Even the SILVER was able to synchronize with the GOLD and break out of three months of resistance. (The silver 200-day is at 15.13, still a bit above its closing price.) The global stock markets were cascading lower as the Nikkei and German DAX took out their lows made the night of the BOJ’s surprise move to a three-tiered negative interest rate policy.

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