Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Commodities: "Is China preparing for a vampire attack?"

How the heck did I miss this trade?
[maybe you were preoccupied with all the babbling about the grease/tallow/lard complex? -ed]
From FT Alphaville:

We’ll get right to the point: garlic has outperformed gold and stocks in China becoming the country’s best performing asset this year, according to a Reuters report.

And no, the trigger has not been a sudden fear of vampire squids in China, but the idea the bulb could be used to ward off H1N1 flu, according to Morgan Stanley economists cited by the news wire.

Bear with us because the story does get weirder. As Reuters reported:

That chimes with some anecdotal evidence. The China Daily reported last week that a high school in Hangzhou, a prosperous city in eastern China, had bought 200 kg of garlic and forced students to eat it every day for lunch to stay healthy. “I don’t know about H1N1, but it can prevent ordinary colds,” Zhang Ping, 74, told Reuters at a vegetable market in Beijing. “Take me. I’ve not had cold for many years and every year I buy several dozen pounds of garlic.”

Others have been looking for darker forces behind the surge. China Business News said coal mine bosses — who are often depicted as being both extremely rich and nefarious speculators — had been playing the garlic market, hoarding bulbs and hauling them between storehouses.

Dark forces in the form of rich and nefarious coal-mining speculators? (Sounds like - ahem - vampires to us.)

Nevertheless, there is a serious note to all this garlic madness....MORE