Years ago, if you asked traders what one event would destroy financial markets, the answer was always the same: China dumping its $1 trillion US treasury bond hoard.
It looks like Armageddon is finally here.
Once again, the Chinese boycotted this week’s US Treasury bond auction.
With a no-show like this, you could be printing a 2.90% yield in a couple of weeks. It also helps a lot that the charts are outing in a major long term double top.
You may read the president’s punitive duties on Chinese solar panels as yet another attempt to crush California’s burgeoning solar installation industry. I took it for what it really was: a signal to double up my short in the US Treasury bond market.
For it looks like the Chinese finally got the memo. Exploding American deficits have become the number one driver of all asset classes, perhaps for the next decade.
Not only are American bonds about to fall dramatically in value, so is the US dollar (UUP) in which they are denominated. This creates a double negative hockey stick effect on their value for any foreign investor.
In fact, you can draw up an all assets class portfolio based on the assumption that the US government is now the new debt hog:
Stocks – buy inflation plays like Freeport McMoRan (FCX) and US Steel (X) Emerging Markets – Buy asset producers like Chile (ECH) Bonds – run a double short position in the (TLT) Foreign Exchange – buy the Euro (FXE), Yen (FXY), and Aussie (FXA) Commodities – Buy copper (CU) as an inflation hedge Energy – another inflation beneficiary (USO), (OXY) Precious Metals – entering a new bull market for gold (GLD) and silver (SLV)
Yes, all of sudden everything has become so simple, as if the fog has suddenly been lifted.
Focus on the US budget deficit which has soared from $450 billion a year ago to over $1 trillion today on its way to $2 trillion later this year, and every investment decision becomes a piece of cake.
This exponential growth of US government borrowing should take the US National Debt from $22 to $30 trillion over the next decade.
I have been dealing with the Chinese government for 45 years and have come to know them well. They never forget anything. They are still trying to get the West to atone for three Opium Wars that started 180 years ago.
Imagine how long it will take them to forget about washing machine duties?
By the way, if I look uncommonly thin in the photo below it’s because there was a famine raging in China during the Cultural Revolution in which 50 million died. You couldn’t find food to buy in the countryside for all the money in the world. This is when you find out that food has no substitutes. The Chinese government never owned up to it.
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Man-in-China-story-2-image-6.jpg225336Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-02-27 01:07:462019-07-09 04:06:37Why China’s US Treasury Dump Will Crush the Bond Market
(THE NEXT COMMODITY SUPER CYCLE HAS ALREADY STARTED), (COPX), (GLD), (FCX), (BHP), (RIO), (SIL), (PPLT), (PALL), (GOLD), (ECH), (EWZ), (IDX), (WHY THE REAL ESTATE BOOM HAS A DECADE TO RUN), (DHI), (LEN), (PHM), (ITB)
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.png00Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-02-20 01:08:042019-02-19 16:33:08February 20, 2019
When I toured Australia a couple of years ago, I couldn’t help but notice a surprising number of fresh-faced young people driving luxury Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Porsches.
I remarked to my Aussie friend that there must be a lot of indulgent parents in The Lucky Country these days. “It’s not the parents who are buying these cars,” he remarked, “It’s the kids.”
He went on to explain that the mining boom had driven wages for skilled labor to spectacular levels. Workers in their early twenties could earn as much as $200,000 a year with generous benefits.
The big resource companies flew them by private jet a thousand miles to remote locations where they toiled at four-week on, four-week off schedules.
This was creating social problems, as it is tough for parents to manage offspring who make more than they do.
It’s starting to look like we are on the eve of another great commodity boom, the start of a long-term super cycle. China, the world’s largest consumer of commodities, is currently stimulating its economy on multiple fronts, including generous corporate tax breaks and relaxed reserve requirements. Get a trigger like a settlement of its trade war with the US and it will be off to the races once more for the entire sector.
The last bear market in commodities was certainly punishing. From the 2011 peaks, copper (COPX) shed 65%, gold (GLD) gave back 47%, and iron ore was cut by 78%. One research house estimated that some $150 billion in resource projects in Australia were suspended or canceled.
Budgeted capital spending during 2012-2015 was slashed by a blood curdling 30%. Contract negotiations for price breaks demanded by end consumers broke out like a bad case of chicken pox.
The shellacking was reflected in the major producer shares, like BHP Billiton (BHP), Freeport McMoRan (FCX), and Rio Tinto (RIO), with prices down by half or more. Write-downs of asset values became epidemic at many of these firms.
The selloff was especially punishing for the gold miners, with lead firm Barrack Gold (GOLD) seeing its stock down by nearly 80% at one point, lower than the darkest days of the 2008-9 stock market crash.
With both prices and volumes in a race to the bottom, the effect on profits was especially traumatic. Highly leveraged, smaller, undercapitalized firms have filed for bankruptcy in droves, such as the Western Australia-based Allmine Group (see http://www.allminegroup.com), a service provider.
You also saw the bloodshed in the currencies of commodity-producing countries. The Australian dollar led the retreat, falling 30%. The South African Rand has also taken it on the nose, off 30%. In Canada, the Loonie got cooked.
The impact of China cannot be underestimated. In 2012, it consumed 11.7% of the planet’s oil, 40% of its copper, 46% of its iron ore, 46% of its aluminum, and 50% of its coal. It is much smaller than that today, with its annual growth rate dropping by more than half, from 13.7% to 6.6%.
The rise of emerging market standard of living will also provide a boost to hard asset prices. But as China goes, so does its satellite trading partners, who rely on the Middle Kingdom as their largest customer. Many major commodity exporters themselves, like Chile (ECH), Brazil (EWZ), and Indonesia (IDX), are looking to come back big time.
As a result, western hedge funds are currently moving money out of paper assets, like stocks and bonds, into hard ones, such as gold, silver (SIL), palladium (PALL), platinum (PPLT), and copper. A massive US stock market rally has sent managers in search of any investment that can’t be created with a printing press. Look at the best performing sectors this year and they are dominated by the commodity space.
The bulls may be right for as long as a decade, thanks to the cruel arithmetic of the commodities cycle. These are your classic textbook inelastic markets. Mines often take 10-15 years to progress from conception to production. Deposits need to be mapped, plans drafted, permits obtained, infrastructure built, capital raised, and bribes paid. By the time they come on line, prices have peaked, drowning investors in red ink.
So a 1% rise in demand can trigger a price rise of 50% or more. There are not a lot of substitutes for iron ore. Hedge funds then throw gasoline on the fire with excess leverage and high-frequency trading. That gives us higher highs to be followed by lower lows.
I am old enough to have lived through a couple of these cycles now, so it is all old news for me. The previous bull legs of super cycles ran from 1870-1913 and 1945-1973. The current one started for the whole range of commodities in 2016. Before that, it was down from seven years.
While the present one is short in terms of years, no one can deny how business cycles have been greatly accelerated by globalization and the Internet.
Some new factors are weighing on miners that didn’t plague them in the past. Reregulation of the US banking system is forcing several large players, like JP Morgan (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) to pull out of the industry. That impairs trading liquidity and widens spreads— developments that can only accelerate upside price moves.
The prospect of flat US interest rates is also attracting capital. That reduces the opportunity cost of staying in raw metals, which pay neither interest nor dividends.
The future is bright for the resource industry. While the gains in Chinese demand are smaller than they have been in the past, they are off of a much larger base. In 20 years, Chinese GDP has soared from $1 trillion to $10 trillion.
Some 20 million people a year are still moving from the countryside to the coastal cities in search of a better standard of living and improved prospects for their children.
That is the good news. The bad news is that it looks like the headaches of Australian parents of juvenile high earners may persist for a lot longer than they wish.
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/copper-mining.png412550Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-02-20 01:07:492019-07-09 04:07:20The Next Commodity Supercycle Has Already Started
Due to technical problems, I was unable to read your questions. However, I was able to get a print out after the fact.
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader January 9 Global Strategy Webinar with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader.
Q: Is the bottom in for stocks?
A: It is for six months to a year. A price earnings multiple at 14X seems to be the line in the sand. The Christmas Eve massacre, which took us down to a (SPY) of $230, was the final capitulation bottom of the entire down move. We may try a few more retests of the lows on bad tweets or data points. But from here on, you’re trying to buy the dip. That’s why I cut my vacation short a week and issued eight emergency trade alerts, five for Global Trading Dispatch and three for the tech letter. By the way, I hope you appreciate those trade alerts because I had to call back staff from vacations in four different countries to get them done. But it was worth it. We’ve had the strongest start to a New Year in a decade, up 5.75%. We made back all our Q4 losses in two days!
Q: Is the strong dollar play (UUP) over? Is it time to start buying Euro (FXE) and Yen (FXE)?
A: Yes, it is. The Fed flipping from hawk to dove sounds the death knell for the dollar. With the expansion of the yield spread between the buck and other currencies stopped dead in its tracks, a massive short covering rally will drive the currencies higher. That’s why I bought the Euro on Monday for the first time in more than a year (FXE). The Japanese yen where the biggest shorts has already moved too far, up 8%. That’s where hedge fund typically finance positions because yen yields have been at zero forever.
Q: How about the Aussie (FXA)? Do we have a shot now?
A: I think so. But the bigger driver with Aussie is the trade war with China. That said, I believe that will get resolved soon too unless Trump wants to run for reelection during a recession. The Aussie also has relatively high-interest rates so it should soar.
Q: Is the government shutdown starting to hurt the economy?
A: Yes, it is. Estimates on the damage the shutdown is doing range from 0.5% to 1% a week. That means at a minimum of 20-week shut down cuts 2019 GDP growth by 1%. If your assumption for growth this year is only 2%, that brings us perilously close to a recession. However, with the big stock market rally of the past week investors clearly believe the shutdown will be over in a week. Buy “Wall” stocks.
Q: What’s the biggest risk to the market now?
A: Companies announced great earnings in October and the stocks promptly collapsed. Q4 earnings start in a few weeks, except this time, the earnings will be smaller. The big one, Apple (AAPL) is reporting on January 29 and will be especially exciting since they already announced a major disappointment. If we get a repeat, you could get another meltdown in February just like we saw last year.
Q: Do you still like gold (GLD)?
A: I did in Q4 as a hedge for a collapsing stock market. Now that stocks are on fire again, I think gold and silver (SLV) will take a rest. You’re not going to get a serious move in gold until we see higher inflation and that is a while off.
Q: Is the bear market in commodities over?
A: I think so, with a flattening interest rate picture and a weakening dollar, the entire commodity complex is looking better. That includes copper (FCX), energy (USO), and the ags (SOYB). What do you buy in an expensive market? Cheap stuff, and all of these are at seven-year lows. I think people are ready to give paper assets a rest. All we need now for these to work is inflation. My cleaning lady just asked for a raise so there’s hope.
Q: The semiconductors have just had a good move. Is it time to get in?
A: You want to buy the semis, like Micron Technology (MU), NVIDIA (NVDA), and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) when they’ve just had a BAD move. Market conditions have improved, but not to the extent you want to buy the most volatile stocks in the market. That said, if we get another crushing move in February you might dip your toe in with some semis on capitulation day. If you want to buy semis in this environment, you might have a gambling addiction.
Q: If the Fed has stopped raising rates, are you still bearish on the (TLT) and bullish on the (TBT)?
A: I think what governor Jay Powell’s dovish comments will do is put bonds in a six-month range, say 2.45%-3.0% in yield. All of my future bond alerts will trade around those levels. In the option world, we will be setting up a short strangle, betting that interest rates don’t move out of this range for a while. In that case, our two bond positions will be OK, with the nearest money one expiring in only seven trading days.
Q: Is it too late to get into biotech (BIIB)?
A: No, along with technology, biotech will be one of the two leading sectors in the entire market for the next ten years. However, me being an eternal cheapskate, I want to get in again on a decent dip. This is the industry that will cure cancer over the next decade and that will be worth a trillion dollars in profits.
Q: You’ve kept us out of Tesla (TSLA) for a couple of years. Is it time to go back in?
A: I think I would. If production can ramp up from 7,000 to 10,000 a week, the stock should do the same. The ten-year view for this stock is that it goes from today’s $330 to $2,500. That said, this is a notorious trading stock so it is very important to buy it on a dip. Wait for the next tweet from Elon Musk.
Q: If we enter a bear market in May 2019, what would be the appropriate long-term investments at that time?
A: Nothing beats cash, especially now that you are actually getting paid something decent. You can find cash equivalents now yielding all the way up to 4%. In a bear market, stocks either go down a lot, or a whole lot, so there is nothing worth keeping. The only reason to stay in is to avoid a monster tax bill (my cost on Apple is 25 cents) or you still work for the company.
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/John-Thomas-bear.png402291Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-01-10 01:07:202019-07-09 04:42:55January 9 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A
Global Market Comments September 24, 2018 Fiat Lux
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