"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, December 30, 2014

Year End Follies Continue

As noted in yesterday's comments, making too much of moves in ANY market at this time of the year is the height of folly. There is simply too much year end book squaring taking place in incredibly thin trading conditions to put any credence in price moves except in those markets with the absolute strongest of fundamentals.

Please be aware that I am limiting comments mainly because it is a waste of time for any trader to attempt to ascertain any future price movements from the action in this last trading week. As goofy as today's moves have been, tomorrow's are liable to be even worse!

There are huge air pockets above and below every market that is trading right now with so many large players out of the markets until next Monday that anyone who has a hankering to try their hand at market manipulation ( pushing prices around merely to run stops ) is going to give it a try to see if they can pull it off.

 Some are trying to make a big deal out of the situation in Greece but frankly that it a tempest in the proverbial tea pot in my view. Greece's problem is Greece's problem. It is not Spain's or Germany's or France's. Sure, any election that puts another left wing group in charge will foul things up for Greece's financing package but that is something that is limited to that country. Any government that might end up being elected is going to soon get a lesson in reality and that there is a huge difference between electioneering slogans and dealing with real world finance issues.

What you are seeing is an exaggeration of price movements due to the lack of liquidity at this time of the year. It is especially tragic that we do get something like the Greece thing this week and not next week. The reaction would likely be much more subdued.

For now, short term technical will dominate the markets. As mentioned yesterday, traders should have lightened up by now or have gotten flat. Watching hustlers run your stops and screw with your positions is never fun so after a while you learn to deprive them of their toys. Personally I have nothing but contempt for the parasites and ticks that make their livings this time of the year by raping the public. Sadly, the exchanges will never do the right thing and just shut down the markets for the last week of the year because they are too greedy trying to collect more trading fees.

As mentioned previously, look at the weekly and monthly charts and those will provide the perspective one needs to keep from being confused and frustrated by the meaningless and random price movements that we are currently seeing.
Early next week the full complement of traders will be returning and then we can put some credence into the moves we get at that time.

For now, this is the time for the worst of the worst in this industry to make themselves manifest.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

USDA Reports - Focus shifts to Global Supply Numbers

USDA issued its December Supply and Demand report today and as usual, it set off some expected reactions across the grain floor.

About the only surprise in the report that I can see at this time came in the corn numbers. The trade was looking for a corn carryover near last month's numbers of 2.008 billion bushels. Instead USDA upped usage reducing the amount of corn leftover to 1.998 billion bushels. However, they also raised the expected GLOBAL stockpiles to 192.2 million metric tons from last month's 191.5 million.
Apparently, corn sweeteners will find the cheap corn prices attractive and as a result use more of the stuff in making HFCS. They came up with an additional 10 million bushels worth of demand from that sector ( note that it includes the feed sector but based on what I can see, USDA had already factored in the livestock and poultry industry numbers last month.

Strangely enough, they also RAISED the US export numbers by 10 million bushels. That makes ZERO sense to me since corn exports thus far this year have been lagging behind expectations in the trade. With the projected increase in global supplies increasing combined with the US Dollar as strong as it has been, (and with the greenback expected to resume its uptrend next year,) I have no idea why USDA would expect US exports to increase given the fact that corn is plentiful and cheap globally. The US is not the only game in town anymore when it comes to corn and currency differentials make a big deal when it comes to sourcing grain by foreign buyers.
On the bean front, everyone and their dog was expecting USDA to lower the projected marketing-year end supplies. They got that. The trade has been looking at the recent spate of huge bean inspections and export numbers ( CHINA, CHINA, and more CHINA) and had guessed that the initial export number estimates from USDA were too low.
I guess USDA did as well since they raised the export numbers by 40 million bushels. That is where the drop in the carryout came from as it was reduced from 450 million bushels to 410 million bushels.
Beans did sell off on the data however as the market has already priced this in due to the huge rally off the lows that we have been seeing which began back in October. However, what USDA did do was to lower the total global carryover from 90.28 million metric tons to 89.9 million. That would be friendly as well on the surface but the trade was expecting a smaller S. American crop as thus a smaller number on that global carryover than USDA gave it.

Also today, and I think it is significant, the Brazilian equivalent of our USDA released some data which has somehow managed to get completely lost in all the hoopla surrounding the USDA numbers. They raised the current year crop in Brazil to an expected 95.8 million metric tons. That is a WHOPPER. The agency cited improved weather conditions and a larger acreage number. Last month, that same agency, had expected a crop in the range between 89.3 - 91.7 million metric tons. Depending on which end of that range one wants to start from, that is an increase of either 6.5 million metric tons - 4.1 million metric tons! WOW!
Here is the thing - USDA also plugged some numbers into today's global supply report for Brazil but they used a 94 million metric ton number. CONAB came in nearly 2 million metric tons higher.
If the trade really comes to grips with this ( and it needs to be kept in mind that it is still very early in the growing season down there and we have to deal with weather for a while longer ), this CONAB number implies a greater global carryover than today's USDA report suggests.

Also, the soybean/corn ratio remains too high in my view and that is going to encourage more US farmers making the move to beans next year for their planting intentions unless the ratio corrects significantly from current levels. Translation - bean prices are too high in relation to corn and the market needs to do something to either lower the price of beans or raise the price of corn for next year to encourage more acreage going to corn. If not, we will be awash in beans at the expense of corn.
More on this later... I have to get back to some other markets... The Yen carry trade unwind is on full display today with the Forex markets now being thrown into convulsions as the price of crude oil falls, alongside of equities.

it never ends....

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Draghi and Company Disappoint Euro Bears

Expectations were high heading into today's ECB meeting that the Central Bank would issue some news detailing the start of another round of stimulus for the lagging Eurozone economy.

'Twas not to be.

Draghi TALKED doing more stimulus at some point as he went through the same litany of things that he has been saying seemingly forever at this point:
"Economic risks remain to the downside"
"our projections suggest lower inflation"
"we now see GDP growth at 1.0% versus 1.6% in September"

BLAH, BLAH, and more BLAH. The problem is, as far as the market is concerned, they did NOTHING! Just talk.

That is NOT what the market wanted to hear so guess what? Time to cover all those short Euro positions were loaded in this week in anticipation that they would do SOMETHING. Up went the Euro, now over 100 points and once again, the currency markets are roiled by another yapping Central Banker.

Ah yes, another moment in the "CALMING" affect of Central Bankers on the financial markets. Thank heaven for these people - without them, chaos, instability and turmoil would be the norm in our lives!

Note the words dripping with sarcasm.

This is an example of how these monetary lords mislead markets. Draghi has been sounding like the uber dove for quite some time now and hinting about further measures, then - This - a big, fat egg.
It was amusing to see his excuse for the ECB's inaction - OIL PRICE CHANGES!  Personally I think the ECB is scared to death to follow in the footsteps of the US Fed and the Bank of Japan/ Abe government and get aggressive on the QE type front. I wonder what the Eurozone exporting related industries are going to think of their latest "plan" seeing that the Euro is going the other way than from what they were hoping?

Perhaps, some time during his current press conference, Mr. Draghi will look at this cell phone to check and see how the Euro is responding to all this, and then make some statement promising more definitive action next time around. Who knows?

I wonder what it must be like to have financial markets responding to every syllable that proceeds forth from one's mouth?

By the way, while this circus show was going on, Saudi Arabia cut all January oil prices to the US and to Asia! Crude oil went "thump" as a result.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Moody's Cuts Japan's Credit Rating

Moody's Investors Service, a credit ratings firm, cut the credit rating of Japan one notch this morning to A1, down from Aa3.
This has further spooked gold bears and we are seeing a rash of short covering in the gold market as a result.
Let's see how long the impact from the Moody's decision will last and whether or not it can attract any concentrated NEW buying.