"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat

Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

EuroZone Inflation Data Hammers the Euro

WOW! The Euro is getting obliterated on the foreign exchange markets this morning as news of an horrendous reading (for the ECB) on the inflation front sent shock waves through the markets. Consumer price inflation came in at 0.3% for the month of September, the slowest rate since October 2009!

That immediately fueled further speculation that the ECB is going to be forced to implement some sort of QE over there in order to try to force a turnaround in the lackluster economy.

With a meeting of the ECB later this week, traders are paying even more close attention to what will come out of it in regards to potential moves by the Central Bank.

The currency has fallen through one level of chart support after another and as of yet still shows no sign of bottoming. Today's session low is right smack dab in the support zone noted. If that does not stem the bleeding, I do not see anything on the chart until below 1.2400.

With the Euro getting steamrolled and falling below support near 1.2650 and even psychological support at round number 1.2600, the US Dollar is soaring higher. As it moves higher, the commodity complex is also getting hammered.

Crude oil in particular is reeling as it is currently down more than $3.00/bbl as I type these comments. The low is near $91 thus far. There is some chart support just below the market near the zone from $90.60-$90.40, which if that fails to hold this market, is the last support zone I see on the crude chart until closer to the $87.50 level.

Silver has completely fallen out of bed as it is down more than 3% at this time and has lost psychological chart support near $17.00. It is trying to stabilize there but copper is threatening the $3.00 level and if it goes, so too will silver.

The Goldman Sachs Commodity Complex is imploding with the index currently down over 2% and notching a brand new, fresh 27 month low. Even cattle are seeing selling pressure today which is something considering the strength in that complex.

The strong dollar simply makes US exports that much more expensive on the global market and that fact tends to undercut buying. The Dollar is working its way steadily towards the next zone of resistance on the chart ( 86.50 - 87.00).

The Brazilian Real is also continuing to fall against the Dollar making US soybeans less competitive with Brazilian-origin beans as well. Again, most grain traders that I have known over the years haven't a clue about currency exchange ranges and tend to be myopically focused on the US domestic market to the exclusion of the impact of currency exchange rates on export business.

With today being the actual end of the quarter and the end of the month, these large moves in the markets may also be partially attributed to book squaring and evening of positions. The start of the new month will be very interesting to see how fund managers intend to position themselves as they put money back to work.

Here is a chart of the GSCI:

The HUI has completely surrendered all of its gains for 2014 and is now trading well below the ending level made on December 2013.

Here is the most recent TIPs spread chart overlaid with the gold price. Notice how the two seem to be moving in perfect harmony. The market is simply not the least bit worried about any inflation at this point.

One last chart for right now... it is the big gold ETF, GLD, which reported holdings that once more dropped. Total holdings are now at 772.25 tons, having now dropped to a level last seen in early December of 2008. All that gold that was bought based on the experiment we now call Quantitative Easing has been sold and the money put to work elsewhere. Simply put, Western-origin gold investment demand stinks to high heaven. Just remember that whenever some huckster out there regales you with wild, baseless and unverifiable claims of "massive gold buying".

Sure someone is buying the gold that is being sold but that is true in any market, even as it falls in price because there must always be a buyer when there is a seller. The point to remember however is that if there are more sellers willing to sell at a lower price than there are buyers willing to buy at a high price, the price is going to go down. Period!

A last written item - in watching the Japanese Yen trade in the midst of this carnage this morning, I am noting some firmness in that currency, as well as in the bond market, telling us that there is some safe haven buying occurring against this backdrop. It does appear that is what is keeping gold supported about the $1200 level for now even as the gold mining shares evaporate in price.

USDA Grain Stocks Report

Well, we got the numbers this morning. With the exception of the beans, they were not pretty. I tend to overlook this report at this time of year however because the industry is now looking at the new crop as harvest is running at full speed ahead and the new crop is coming into the bins and into the distribution pipeline.

The old crop carryover is interesting but it is backward looking and thus, in my view, not all that important as far as the price discovery process goes. It shows us that which has been, not that which shall be, other than the fact that it reveals the demand/supply picture for the previous crop year. That is why, as long as I have been trading grains, I still do not understand the market's obsession with a backward looking number. It is so out of character for the FUTURES market which is supposedly a forward looking market. Judging or estimating demand from one crop year to the next has never made sense to me as it is not how end users operate.

That being said, the market responded rather wildly to the bean number. Old crop carryover was expected to be somewhere in the vicinity of 130 million bushels. Instead it was 92 million! That is a pretty significant miss on the part of traders. It does tell us that demand for beans has been very strong as end users were experiencing some difficulty in securing enough here domestically while they wait for the massive new crop to arrive.

However, new crop is already flowing into the distribution channels. Also, based on the last USDA report, carryover for the 2014 crop is expected to be 4X larger than last year. That should go a long way to dispelling any notion of panic buying by bean users! One crop year can make a huge difference and that is exactly what we are seeing. Bean demand has been strong but it will need to be in order to absorb this year's massive crop and the expected large crop coming out of S. America once more.

On the corn side of the equation, the miss was also very large but in this case it was a miss that underestimated the amount of old crop carryover. Traders were looking for something in the vicinity of 1.181 billion bushels. Instead we got 1.236 billion left over. Throw a huge corn crop coming to market and we are going to have a lot of corn to move over the next year.

Wheat was also underestimated with the average expected carryover near 1.894 billion bushels. Instead we got 1.914 billion.