Is it possible that Ben Bernanke and now, Janet Yellen along with the rest of the Federal Reserve Board got it right? Have they captained us out of the depths of global financial collapse and into a new golden era of stock market gains and low interest rates? Quantitative Easing one, two and three along with Operation Twist were all specifically designed to keep interest rates artificially low by flooding the financial markets with cash. That cash found its way into the stock market, the commodity markets and the housing markets because the artificially low interest rates it created pushed money away from interest rate investments. Currently, the process has come full circle and now that the stock market is at all-time highs, it appears that the hot potato balancing act between stimulus and inflation is being handed off to Germany. This is probably not a good sign.
The gold market has simply been stagnant for more than a year now. Prices may be higher year to date but virtually any gold traded at $1,300 per ounce over the last year has seen both sides of the ledger. The trading pattern that’s developing continues to consolidate. The tighter this consolidation becomes, the more explosive its breakout should be. This week’s piece will be short because this is one of those instances when a picture really is worth a thousand words.
The commodity markets have been unkind to long only funds and indexes in 2014. Most of the commodity markets have been sideways to lower with a couple of exceptions like cocoa and cattle. This week, we’re focusing on the broader commodity landscape due to an article published on Bloomberg by Debarati Roy in which she stated that open interest in gold had slumped to a five year low. We’ve expanded on this topic to include 27 general commodity markets and compared their current open interest to where they stood both one month and one year ago respectively. The purpose is to determine whether smart money is headed into or, out of the commodity markets in general as well as what affect this may have on the markets going forward.
The cocoa futures market is undergoing a dramatic transformation that is rapidly increasing production stability and supply yet, the market is at its highest prices since July of 2011. The market is currently caught between the pressures of efficiency driving the market lower over the long-term and short-term demand doing its best to buck this trend. These are exactly the types of scenarios that create trading opportunities for the commercial traders we follow. Their outlooks and bank accounts are skewed toward long-term corporate growth which allows them to focus on value principles that will remain intact for prolonged periods rather than tuning their operations strictly to the whims and trends of personal sense gratification.