Commodities: Time For A Strategy Shift

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor


Commodity prices are facing a shift. As inflation heats up and growth stabilizes, the commodity arena is gradually tilting in favor of growth-oriented commodities such as Oil and Copper Meanwhile, commodities associated with inflation protection, e.g., Gold and Silver, are not only losing their allure but face growing sell pressure.

The thought of selling precious metals just as inflation is showing signs of coming back may sound counter-intuitive. After all, precious metals are one of the more well-known methods of hedging against inflation. So, why are precious metals tanking just as inflation is coming back?

Because the capacity of precious metals as an inflation protection method emerges when investors believe that inflation is understated in the official numbers. When inflation becomes fact, we begin to see the classic, "buy on rumor, sell on fact" response; i.e., investors start selling precious metals. Since Gold and Silver do not pay interest, their investment appeal decreases when rates rise. But, when inflation is under-reported, effective rates are lower and the value of the currency, in our case the Dollar, is eroded. And, in this case, precious metals gain appeal for preserving value and as an alternative investment. That would explain Gold’s price surge from July $1,210 an ounce in July to $1,350 in September, when US headline inflation numbers caught the market off guard with a fall to from 2.7% in February to 1.6% in June, meaning inflation was understated.

This dynamic also explains the fire sale that hit precious metals in the aftermath of the Fed's September rate decision. The Fed signaled a rate hike as soon as December and another three in 2018. Gold responded by shedding 3.6% in two weeks.

Gold
Chart courtesy of MarketClub.com

All the while, the rest of the commodities space was holding rather well in the face of higher rates. In fact, in aggregate, excluding precious metals, commodities prices were gaining. One good example is the iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust ETF (GSG), which embodies exposure to the broad commodities market from energy and agriculture to precious metals and gained 0.54% during Gold's selloff. Continue reading "Commodities: Time For A Strategy Shift"

A Tumbling Copper Could Hit The Floor

Aibek Burabayev - INO.com Contributor - Metals


Greed is one of the strongest human motivators. It is easy to get greedy, but it is hard to push it down after it gets extreme. The main point of my previous update in August was to focus your attention on the price action in the $3 area as the price could hit this psychological level and then retreat. My advice was to book profits and wait to see what would happen next.

I hope that you heeded my advice and didn’t get greedy as copper was pushed down below the $3 level very quickly.

In the same post, I thought that this upside move in the metal that had started last year could just be a consolidation before another drop down. In the chart below I go into more details about it.

Chart 1. Copper Monthly

Monthly Chart Copper
Chart courtesy of tradingview.com
Continue reading "A Tumbling Copper Could Hit The Floor"

Copper Eyes $3 Amid Upbeat Chinese Data

Aibek Burabayev - INO.com Contributor - Metals


Back in May, I posted an update for copper where I shared my concerns about the possible negative impacts of the cooling Chinese economy. At the same time the technical chart didn’t confirm those concerns and on the contrary, showed a possible upside move for the metal.

In this post, I would like to share some macro economic charts and an update of the technical chart.

Chart 1. Copper Vs China Industrial Production (Monthly)

China Industrial Production vs. Copper
Chart courtesy of tradingeconomics.com

I chose the period of the chart above from the start of 2016 intentionally to highlight the time when the metal began to consolidate after a huge drop down. Continue reading "Copper Eyes $3 Amid Upbeat Chinese Data"

Copper Could Face Strong Headwinds From China and Australia

Aibek Burabayev - INO.com Contributor - Metals


Copper topped the ranks at the end of last year and moved north to the middle of February without breaking any serious resistance peaking at $2.8230. Then the price drifted lower, closer to the area of the December 2016 low at $2.4480 as projected in my previous update. Copper has now bounced higher and I would like to share with you some new data, which could change my outlook for the metal.

I would like to start from Chinese data as they are the top importer of the metal in the world. China’s copper import dropped almost 20% in 1Q of 2017 according to the Chinese customs statistics and this is not supporting the pricing information. Below are two charts to show you more headwinds from China.

Chart 1. Copper Vs Chinese GDP Growth Rate (Quarterly)

Chinese GDP vs. Copper
Chart courtesy of tradingeconomics.com

The Chinese economy (left scale, blue) advanced only 1.3 percent in the 1Q of 2017, following a 1.7 percent growth in the previous three months and missing market estimates of a 1.6 percent growth. It has been the weakest expansion since the 1st quarter of 2016. GDP Growth Rate in China averaged 1.84 percent from 2010 until 2017. Continue reading "Copper Could Face Strong Headwinds From China and Australia"

Freeport-McMoRan's Consolidation Reached Trend Support

Aibek Burabayev - INO.com Contributor - Metals


Last month in my post I warned you that the market for copper and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) entered the consolidation period, which meant that it was good to let the market drift lower and wait for better price opportunities. As you could see in the chart below patience indeed is a key to everything.

Chart 1. Freeport-McMoRan Weekly: Trendline Support

FCX
Chart courtesy of tradingview.com

The price lost almost a quarter for the past six weeks and touched the black trendline support, which stopped the drop and keeps the price above it for the third week already. The stock price already retraced to common the Fibonacci 61.8% level, which adds power to the black trendline support. Continue reading "Freeport-McMoRan's Consolidation Reached Trend Support"