Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Update on Today's Commodities Turnaround: What's Going On?

Brief update from prior post.  The apparently pending deal announced today between the IAEA and Iran on nuclear cooperation/inspections and concomitant turnaround intra-day and drop in the price of oil "should" make traders think that more growth is coming.  It's understandable that gold and silver would drop on a diminution of tensions, but "Doctor Copper" and platinum "should" be up, not down hard.  As suggested, palladium has held up the best of the four precious metals I focus on, but this is a surprise in the tape action.  Thus I've gotten out of the trade at a minimal loss because, as stated multiple times, my major thesis is in line with the general trend of ECRI and John Hussman that U.S. growth is truly challenged.  I'm not an economic forecaster, so I don't make or "approve of" (or disagree with) recession calls, but I continue to be perplexed (and more) at the complacency within the U.S. that a recession just won't happen this year.

For some reason, the ag commodities have turned sharply lower intra-day as well.  Their price "should" be boosted if the cost of fuel falls.  But Treasuries haven't traded up.  So when things that should correlate do not, then I don't want to be the guy at the poker table who's the sucker b/c he's the only one who doesn't know who the sucker is. 

Note I'm still positive on palladium, but I also don't want to be distracted from my major investing themes.  The fundamental problem with all these ETFs is that the investor/speculator ends up paying the storage costs that should accrue within the industry.  To that extent the entire industry is skewed toward the industry and against investors.  (What's new?)

More broadly, since I'm a fan of ECRI, my investment posture is to fear more economic weakness than I think the average investor expects in the U.S., which broadly leads to a pro-bond/anti-commodity set of longer-term positions for now.  This is the opposite of what I described was my posture in the summer of 2010 into spring 2011, for those who haven't followed me over the months.  Everything changes.  Anyone interested in that history can look at my post Changing On a Paradigm from early May, last year.  This article also has links back to my pro-inflation hedge articles from about September 2010.

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