The interaction among the 10-Year Treasury Note’s market participants provides a great example of how the commercial traders’ actions, as categorized in the weekly Commitments of Traders report, can be predictive of future market movement. More importantly, this information can provide keen insight ahead of major market news events like the September FOMC meeting.
As many of you know, our our primary focus is the analysis of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) weekly Commitments of Traders (COT) report. More specifically, our analysis lies in finding and quantifying unsustainable position imbalances among the trader groups. In the past, we’ve measured this against both historical levels and recent changes in actions in order to quantify both market sentiment and market capacity among the different trading groups. Today, we’ll provide Equites.com’s readers with a first look into our new method of calculation. Why we changed and what it’s current telling us about the Chicago wheat market.
Good, D. “Weekly Outlook: What Corn and Soybean Yield is the Market Trading?” farmdoc daily (6):149, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 8, 2016.
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois
There’s a thing about records. They continue until, they don’t. A string of record weather continues until it changes. Similarly, markets can be continually propelled until they aren’t. Such is the case with the current silver market. Speculators in the silver futures market have set net long and total position records in each of the last three weeks. This has led to a significantly overbought market that is due for a correction. Once a catalyst is provided, whether it be an FOMC announcement or some other data point, the speculative washout should be substantial.
There are two deeply conflicting sides of the natural gas trade heading into late summer. On one hand, we’re coming off a record setting El Nino that is translating into a La Nina late summer/fall weather pattern. The post El Nino, La Nina weather pattern is already bringing the expected heat that comes with it but speculators want more. They want more heat and they want the hurricane season to be an active one. These are the two bullish components of a fundamentally weak natural gas market. Natural gas producers are selling forward production at their fastest rate since the fall of 2013. The question here becomes a bit more ambiguous as producer selling can have as much to do with selling forward supplies to raise cash as it can the their expectation of current market prices versus forward prices. We’ll look at weather patterns, seasonality and the commercial trader vs speculator balance in the market to determine a proper course of action heading into this market’s critical seasonal period.
A common question here would be, “What do gold and soybeans have to do with each other?” The short answer is that they are both the most speculatively overbought commodities we trade. The deeper answer is that both of these products come from the ground and the producers of these commodities have used this rally to lock in bonus money as there is no way they collectively subscribe to the inflation thesis suggesting structurally higher commodity prices in a near zero percent interest rate environment. Our experience has shown that the huge imbalance in positions between the commercial producers selling forward production and the speculators’ buying of anticipation typically resolves itself in the fundamental direction of the commercial traders’ collective prediction. The gold and soybeans rallies are about to find themselves lout of gas.
Cattle prices have been on a downward trend since the 2014 highs. August feeder cattle, as we’ll discuss specifically, are trading at $143 per hundred weight(cwt), last year they were at $194 and at $182 the year before that. Over the last ten years there have only been two significant periods under our current prices. We’ll examine the placement and marketing numbers as well as the choice vs select spread as it relates to the domestic demand we believe will drive prices seasonally higher through the end of the summer.
Our trading is focused on the thesis; “No one knows the value of his markets like those who pull it from the ground.” While individual companies or operations may be prone to mismanagement or other bad decisions, the collective actions of the companies within a given sector are rarely wrong. The tug of war between those who pull it from the ground versus those who process it determines true price discovery within the commodity markets. These are the elephants bulldozing the macro moves while the speculators compete for the remnants with the dung beetles. Recently, large speculators have been stocking up on gold futures at a record pace and the gold miners are selling all the forward production they can lock in above $1,220 an ounce. This could lead to quite the washout as speculators are forced to take losses under $1,280.
The Australian Dollar has slid nearly 9% in just the last month. We were exceptionally suspect of the rally that took place between February and April, as we didn’t see commercial trader confirmation of commodity demand, Australia’s primary industry, supporting higher commodity prices going forward. In fact, our data sources made us suspect of the entire metals and energy rallies we’re currently seeing come to an end. This is one of the primary values of tracking the Commitment of Traders (COT) report. It provides a tally sheet for fundamental supply and demand. Recently, we’ve seen some commercial traders nibbling at the long end of the Aussie Dollar and, given its recent decline, we feel it is due for a tradable, short-term pop.