"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


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Weak Chinese Demand news undercuts Gold

The Chinese trade group, China Gold Association, issued a report noting that total Chinese gold demand for the first half of 2014 fell by 136.91 tons to 569.45 metric tons. That is down 19% from the previous year same period.

It seems a dueling bit of data in the sense that while gold bar and gold coin demand fell off ( down 62% for the bars and 44% for the coins), gold jewelry and gold industrial demand picked up ( 11% increase in both of these categories).

The drop off was rather precipitous to the point that it had some questioning whether China would be able to remain in first place behind India in terms of total gold demand. We'll have to see about that however especially as concerns grow that India is not going to lift that import tariff on gold.

Either way, it was not good news for the friends of gold who need both China and India to remain very strong buyers in the face of what has been rather moribund Western-oriented investment demand. While the recent data from the giant gold ETF, GLD, has been positive, ( as it has shown increasing reported tonnage ), the fact remains that the total amount of gold in this particular ETF is up a mere 7 tons since the beginning of this year - not exactly a barn burning rate of increase especially given all the geopolitical tensions that have arisen thus far this year.

The news dropped gold back under psychological round number support at $1300. It also lost moving average support for the moment however the session is not over yet.

The ADX is falling indicating the lack of a clear trend although short term indicators are now pointing lower. We'll have to see how the metal handles the support zone near its old friend, the $1280 region, should prices dip that low. Gold bulls will not want to see it breach that level. Given the remaining geopolitical tensions, one would expect that level to hold it. If it did not, I am not sure what the bulls are going to be able to seize upon next to support their claim that higher prices are inevitable. The more talk of rising interest rates takes hold, the more headwinds gold will encounter.

It is going to take a severe undercutting of the US Dollar, a sharp rise in the commodity indices which have fallen rather sharply over the last three weeks and/or renewed geopolitical events to undergird this market and propel it sharply higher as some are hoping.  

by the way, as a side note - this is why I am personally disgusted whenever I read that claptrap that poses for analysis which is centered around permanently spinning ( read that as conjecture based on nothing of substance ) the COT reports for Gold to be perennially bullish no matter what the damned thing shows us. The COT is NOT THE HOLY GRAIL of trading and those who peddle subscriptions and newsletters claiming that they have some sort of esoteric insight into it which gives them a unique ability to predict future price action based upon their mystical interpretations of it are frauds. How is that for clarity?

As noted yesterday, sentiment can change so swiftly and so rapidly in today's markets that one had best be careful about being dogmatic about much of anything these days. Again, if trading were easy, if investing were simple, everyone who attempted it would be richer than Croesus. The truth is trading is an extremely trying profession which keeps those who are successful at it doing large amounts of research and spending long hours studying the actions of various markets in an attempt to understand what drives them. Wouldn't it be just peachy-keen if all one had to do was pull up a COT report and start loading up on positions in the market while they waited for their ship to come in!

Copper was marked up last evening on Chinese manufacturing data that showed greater than expected strength. It not only held that strength heading into New York, it added some. It looks as if the Chinese data outweighed the US new homes sales data. Copper looks as if it is headed for a test of strong overhead chart resistance beginning near $3.29 and extending to $3.31.

New Home sales data was out from the Commerce Department this AM noting a fall in June sales and a sharp downward revision to the May data. The June number was 406,000, down considerably from expectations of a 475,000 number. The big deal to the market was the downward May revision however. The previous number was 504,000. The new number was 442,000. That is significant to say the least!

Here's another tidbit from the data - the supply of new homes rose to 5.8 months at the end of last month. That was up from a 5.2 month supply at the end of April.

It is also interesting to note that the pace of sales varies considerably among the various states. Texas was big as it is having remarkably strong job growth while some other states are lagging.

Once again the data suggests an economic recovery that continues to be very slow.

I hope some of you hog producers out there took advantage of the rally to get some Q4 and Q1 2015 hedge coverage. If not, you missed a very good chance to lock in some of the best profits in a lifetime. You cattle guys might want to start thinking about doing the same on some expected production. Prices are high but they are not going to stay this high forever and the market will give little warning when it decides to turn. Prudence dictates taking some risk off of your table and locking in a portion of those profits for your ranch/operation.

I am noting that the S&P 500 notched yet another new all-time high. Simply amazing... Traders will tell you that nothing goes up forever but I am starting to wonder if the world has found an exception to that axiomatic truth.

More later... as time permits...