"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


Monday, June 23, 2014

Copper Smiles at China Data; Soybeans Likewise

Today seemed to be a relatively quiet session ( by recent standards of comparison) in many markets. An exception might be noted in the Cattle markets where those moved higher on last Friday's friendly Cattle on Feed report and corn, which moved smartly lower as traders gauge the impact of the heavy rains that have fallen across many area of the Farm Belt.

There is some concern about excessive rainfall across a strip that includes parts of South Dakota, southern Minnesota and northern Iowa but I personally feel those concerns are way overrated. Yes, if one has crops in that area, it has been too wet but when you look at the total corn belt, this moisture is producing some very good stands of corn.

Under normal circumstances, these good rains would have produced selling pressure in the soybean market as well, but for some odd reason, that pit, which has taken on quite a schizophrenic nature for the last few weeks, decided to focus on news out of China that showed HSBC's manufacturing purchasing managers index activity at a seven month high at 50.8. This was up from 49.4 in May and the first time that the index has been above 50 this year. Recall that a reading above 50 is considered to be expansionary.

Traders decided that demand was the proper place to therefore focus on the bean equation believing that this will somehow generate more bean demand from China. I fail to see the connection between any of this and soybean demand but hey, bean traders are not the brightest bulbs on the planet. That being said, I have essentially given up on trying to guess which mood those guys in that pit are going to be in on any given day.

Copper definitely liked the reading however (which makes perfect sense given its use in manufacturing) and responded by moving higher today. There looks like there might have been some of those copper/silver bear spreads unwound on the news. The Red Metal has now gained $0.10 pound over the last seven trading sessions. For now, the metal seems to care less about the double and triple counting mess going on over in China. Yellen sparked a rally in the metal that began last week and the overnight Chinese news has done nothing to discourage those who want to be bullish copper.

I should note here that some flash estimate for June's Euro-Zone purchasing managers index are out. Those have come in at 52.8 but the data is still rather mediocre. The French reading has their PMI declining to 48. Germany also registered a bit of a decline to 54.2, which is positive but went in the wrong direction.

Interestingly enough, Markit's survey of that data showed the largest monthly increase in input costs since November. The biggest contributor however to this has been rising crude oil prices. This crude thing really needs to be watched closely, not only over there in the Euro-zone but globally, because at some point traders/investors are going to begin worrying about high crude oil prices choking off and restraining growth rather than contributing to inflationary pressures. I just do not know at which price level the shift will occur.

Let's shift back over to the grains however as we are getting the Monday afternoon Crop Condition ratings.

Corn is rated at 74% Good/Excellent with 21% Fair and 5% Poor. The Good/Excellent rating last week was 76%. The slight drop was due mainly to wetter than normal conditions mentioned above in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

Illinois and Indiana corn crops got even better looking however offsetting the slight deterioration above. Last week Illinois was rated 75% Good/Excellent; this week it is rated 78%. Indiana, last week, was rated 72% Good/Excellent. This week it improved to 74% Good/Excellent. Looks to me like a toss up - if the heavy rains ever let up in those few problem areas, and we get some sun in there, that moisture will greatly benefit the crop should the conditions turn hot and dry into July for any reason. You have to consider nitrogen leaching in those excessively wet fields but traders should also be looking at the crop as a whole. That is what they did in today's session and that is the reason that the selling was so heavy. There is nothing on the horizon at this point to provide any evidence that the crop is in any kind of serious harm. Growing conditions thus far look good.

Soybeans are rated at 72% Good/Excellent with 23% Fair and 5% Poor. Last week the Bean crop was rated at 73% Good/Excellent. The slight bit of overall deterioration seen is in the same states noted above where the corn declined.

Soybean planting is 95% complete compared to last year's 91% and the five year average of 94%. Beans are 90% emerged, compared to last year's 79% and the five year average of 87%. The crop is certainly ahead.

The conditions ratings come as no surprise whatsoever to grain traders who have been noting the heavy rains in that one region for a while now. That being said, outside of that one area, it still looks like we are going to harvest a big crop. Now if we can just get through the July 4th holiday without any major heat scares. Beans have to be concerned about August more so than July, but it stands to reason that a benign July, with decent rainfall, is going to put the beans in good shape to enter August. As usual with the grains at this time of year, all eyes are on the weather forecast maps.

Also - briefly - wholesale beef prices just shot up today to being a wee-bit shy of the record set back in March this year. Wholesale pork prices are also knocking on the door of the record set in April. In other words, do not look for any relief in high meat prices this coming July 4th holiday! As mentioned many times here this year, it is going to be later in the 4th quarter and into Q1 2015 before we consumers see some relief from these sky high meat prices. I am watching for signs of "Fresh Fish" stands on the roadsides! If Forrest Gump and his pal Bubba, still had their shrimp fishing fleet, they would both be doing quite well right now as consumers look for alternatives/substitutes. My July 4th party is going to be definitely smaller this year with fewer friends being invited!

A quick look at the mining shares as evidenced by the HUI - Bulls, powered by Yellen's comments from last week (which feeds Dollar weakness and lower rates)  and continued nervousness over events in Iraq, have pushed the miners further away from that 200 level. There does not seem to be too much in the way of overhead resistance on the chart to this move until one nears 244-245, with heavier resistance coming in near round number 250. The mining shares continue to lead the metal higher, which is exactly what one wants to see when gold prices are moving up. Say what one wants to about those mining shares, they still, lead the gold price, whether it is up or it is down.

It should be pointed out that GDXJ chart, has shown a bit more hesitation than its cousin listed above over the last couple of trading sessions. Both indices registered strong gaps higher last Thursday but the junior's index actually has lagged the larger-cap HUI since then. The juniors are obviously more of an indication of risk sentiments towards the overall sector so bulls will want to see the latter index outrunning the HUI. Let's watch the gaps on BOTH of these charts.

Gold meanwhile continues to flirt with $1320 and while it has not been able to push convincingly past this level, it is also not retreating very much either. Some light profit taking by longs is occurring, as well as some shorting from some bigger players, but buyers are also stepping up as the price sets back. Dip buying is something that one wants to see if sentiment has indeed shifted from one of selling rallies to one of buying dips. We'll see how things go the remainde of this week.

Referring back to that Saturday post I put up detailing the very large spec long side exposure to crude oil, I am keeping a close eye on its price action. It has not yet been able to penetrate resistance near $107.50 but looks like it has stalled out here for the time being. I am not yet picking up any negative divergence signals but given the massive long positions in this market, it may not generate one before undergoing a downside correction in price. So much hinges on geopolitical developments and as we have said many times here, such things are very fickle and quite fluid by nature and as such, markets can react violently to changes, or even perceived changes, with little to no warning whatsoever. Sentiment towards this market is very lopsidedly bullish but the trend is still strong. It could very well be a market that is just resting before kicking off another pop higher. I do not know but am watching it very, very closely.

It is noteworthy that crude has been temporarily halted not far from the Fibonacci retracement level noted on the chart. That came in near $107. Today it fell back below there once again. The market has been able to breach the level but cannot maintain itself ABOVE the level. If you notice, it did pretty much the same thing with the 61.8% level in late May and into early June before it was able to keep its footing above that level. That is what I am watching for right now.

I should note however that the XLE stayed firm today, in spite of the lower crude oil price.

One final note - I again wish to thank every single one of my readers out there for your very helpful and constructive comments and kind words in response to my solicitation for your input in regards to this blog. It was so very encouraging.

I have decided to go with the Donate button as a result. Now, all I need to do is to figure out how to do this! 


  1. Be careful with gdxj. Those miners will be looking to raise cash by issuing more shares

  2. Also to be careful with miners. John hussman expects inflation to drop starting in November. Also, I think dans charts show oil prices growing greater than gold itself.

  3. Gld tons has been flat since late may/early June.

  4. The Euro has been on a 2 year run. Will the USDollar take over soon. Negative for gold. Plus Dan, you have a chart from may 2012 - that shows $CCI could potentially bottom at 245 in 2014/ started at late 2001 low. It is currently above 255. Dan, would you be interested in reviewing that chart?

  5. Dan - search google for 'put a paypal donate button on my site"

  6. Even Armstrong sounded less than sure about gold today. He was not frothing at the mouth about perma bulls in gold. l Just said gold had to close over 1352 for the month. Whether it be the vehement anti-golders or the pie in the sky perma gold bulls nobody seems to know where gold or commodities are going right now. That is a positive for the gold bulls. Not saying lows aren't coming just that inflation is on the table.

    1. Im not sure if its posive for the gold bulls. Maybe its just the way it is that noone can predict the future. When it gies up it goes up. When it goes down it goes down. When it doesnt it doesnt. One can nor predict reasons it will stop dllwhat it dies one can anticipate potential reasons for the end to the status quo. When gold is done with these levels it may go up or down. Short term (months or years) the odds remain it will go down. Long term (years or decades) the odds are it will go up.

  7. Concord; Did not Spellcheck Armstrong get caught selling gold in the hole under 1250? I do not know, but what I do know is that he and the crew over at KWN all seem to think they know everything about not only silver and gold, but worldwide stock, bond, and energy mkts. Wow, I wish I had such confidence. sparks, of course

    1. Steve,
      Sinclair and Armstrong have one big thing in common, egos that border on messianic. They had to disagree on gold their egos would not allow it. I do not know if Armstrong figuring the world out in cycles of 8.6 years is the answer as you say jokingly to all markets, political changes, and wars. But he seems a very ungracious and sleazy. Doesn't mean he can't be right. Yet his anger and attempts to discredit anyone who disagrees with him is just like the pugnacious Sinclair who when he was right about gold for years in row loved a good fight and trip to mattresses.

    2. Concord; I do not understand your last sentence. Were you into your cups? Thanks.

    3. Going to the mattresses was an expression in the "Godfather." It meant that there was a war between rival families and they would have safe places "the mattresses to go sleep while at war." I thought when I wrote it, it might not be remembered.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. DarkPurpleHazeJune 23, 2014 at 7:07 PM
      Another great well-rounded post today Dan, thanks.

      Check out this first PayPal link below. It has info on setting up a "donate" button. There's a difference supposedly between a true donation button (non-profit org.) and payment option button from what I read on PayPal.
      I'm not sure what would suit your needs best.
      Good luck!


      Here's the link describing what they consider a donation...


  9. Copper futures held near the previous session’s two-week high on Thursday, amid mounting optimism over the outlook for growth in the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest consumers of the industrial metal.
    BullionPremium Tips

  10. As expected, the Fed heads start to chime in one at a time after Yellen's remarks last week.

    "Plosser: Hike rates next quarter"

    At some point soon, despite the continued denial of some pundits, rates will go up and not stay lower forever. What will they say then when the taper is actually over with? (That the taper is fake and that QE is secretly continuing no matter what the Fed says?)

    QE will end. Rates will go up in very small increments.
    The interest alone (or leveraged derivatives resulting from) generated from all the newly created Fed capital (trillions upon trillions) that was distributed during the Feds MBS and asset/bond purchases will cause a legacy effect from all the QE that is now being slowly tapered.

    The interest from the QE programs (plus all the massive QE liquidity already injected) will allow the proverbial can to be kicked much, much longer then some might want to think possible.
    I could be wrong, but that's what I see....a legacy of QE interest (not to mention a boatload of short and long dated US Treasuries that were bought up) that extends into the future for at least a decade or longer.
    And if that doesn't workout for them as planned they'll simply do something else drastic at that point in time (mandatory weighting of UST's in fed/state/local govt workers pension programs) like they always seem to do.

  11. 1) "My July 4th party is going to be definitely ..." be an Independence Day party. Others may choose to celebrate the number 4 on the calendar.

    2) An ad between posts is okay. Even good for those who aren't going to donate but will click an ad occasionally.

    3) Your analysis and posts are much appreciated.


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