Monday, December 16, 2013

"It is time for a fun bubble in commodities"

Aren't we having fun now? Gold is down $465.00 since this time last year, natural gas is exhibiting the most ridiculous anomaly you can imagine, moving up or down depending on the temperature at the NYMEX, Corn collapsed and oil (WTI), although the trade is as slow as bitumen in January, is comfortably down from $104 in early October and is set to head lower.
So, again, aren't we having fun now?

From John Dizard at the Financial Times:
John Dizard wishes for a commodities rally to brighten the frozen wasteland that is the economy 

I have been inspired by recent thoughtful comments from Lawrence Summers and Paul Krugman, the economists, on the permanent liquidity trap, zero lower-bound constraint, global depression and endless expanse of frozen wasteland that stretches before us. It is time for another fun bubble. A commodities boom, one where everybody sells bonds and buys metals, grains and the “energy complex” with or without ever setting eyes on the stuff in warehouses, silos, or storage tanks.

This is not to dismiss the deflation that has set in on southern Europe, which may be a chronic condition for countries with declining working-age populations. Nor do I believe the US budget deal, or the regulators’ eliding of the Volcker rule, or the endless fixes for healthcare finance have solved any of our long-term structural problems. I said “commodities boom”, not “sustainable long-term global expansion” or “world peace”. 

The commodities rally, boom, or whatever you want to call it has probably already started. It is accompanied by noticeably higher inflation risk premia that are being priced into government bond yields. Those do not support the view that the developed world as a whole is now at risk of falling into a deflationary spiral.

It is always possible to have price rises that are linked to supply or transportation disruptions, in particular commodities. The fluctuating spreads between the US West Texas Intermediate oil price and the Brent North Sea price are a good example; many of the weekly swings could be explained by pipeline constraints, Norwegian offshore platform shutdowns and other identifiable events driving the “basis” trades.
The current broader upswing in commodities seems different. For example, US Henry Hub natural gas futures prices are up more than 120 per cent from their 2012 low, despite the much-reported “miracle” of endless low-cost shale gas supplies....MUCH MORE 
He's early, and if you are talking natural gas be aware it marches pretty much to its own drummer.
On the other hand trading from the long side can be just as fun as the short.