We began this week with a big picture look at the natural gas market for TraderPlanet. Combining fundamental, technical and seasonal analysis, we suggest that this market will stay soft in, “Natural Gas: $2.50 Here We Come.”
Tuesday, we moved to the soybean market in our piece for Equities.com. We looked at the considerable commercial buying as this market has declined and noted that, as this decline has stalled, a good case could be made for a, “Soybean Short Trap.” July soybeans are $.20 higher since publication.
Finally, our primary focus was an update on last week’s inflation topic. This week, we examine entry level wage inflation and the competition between government subsidy programs and employers in, “What Inflation? – Addendum.” For what it’s worth, this piece is also traveling around the internet under the title of simply, “Entry Level Wage Inflation.”
The soybean forecasts this year should set another global production record. This comes on the heels of last year’s record harvest which has left many of the domestic bins full. Obviously, supplies have pushed this market justifiably lower since last year’s domestic harvest numbers were confirmed. This leaves soybeans in the same condition as many of physical commodity markets; facing a supply overhang in a world of declining demand. However, those of you looking for a contrarian point of view may want to look at the substantial actions being taken by the commercial traders who are rapidly approaching their record net long position from last fall.
This week, we took a step back and looked at the markets in groups. We focused on the metal and meat markets in general while only discussing specifically, a soybean meal trade.
Re-Shuffling the Metal Markets which we wrote for TraderPlanet focused on the growing commercial trader position in the precious metals. There’s no question they’ve been big buyers on the recent decline and their total positions are controlling a larger percentage of open interest with each additional contract they buy.
We ended the week with a broad outline of the interaction between commercial traders and seasonal analysis in hogs and cattle. We featured the current seasonal charts by Moore Research and combined them with our own Commitment of Traders charts to demonstrate effectiveness of these tools when combined.
The grain markets may finally be perking up in spite of declining energy costs and record harvests. We’ve previously mentioned the oat futures as the first of the grain markets to budge in, “Combining Buy Signals in the Oat Futures.” Today, we’re looking at soybean meal and the set of indicators we use to drown out the voices of hyperbole both in print and on TV. Quantitatively speaking, the soybean meal futures have triggered a COT Buy Signal. More importantly, you can see the consistency and magnitude of these plays on the chart below.
There are two issues to look at this week in the soybean futures market. First, I’d like to discuss the seasonal pre-planting characteristics of the soybean market, how they’ve changed over the last ten years and what the current situation looks like. Secondly, I’d like to use this setup to explain the difference between market forecasting and trading program design with a special focus on soybeans and the market’s natural fear based reactions.
This is a critical point in the soybean futures’ seasonality due to the approach of the Brazilian harvest and the spring planting intentions here in the U.S. Brazilian soybean production has been expanding at unprecedented levels, setting new production records in ten out of the last twelve years. A final harvest number near projections would also keep that streak rolling. The Brazilian harvest has just begun but recent rains have already dampened the early harvest projections above 95 million metric tons(mmt) and are currently suggesting a number closer to 91mmt.
Monday began with an official COT Sell signal in the U.S. Dollar Index that we published in TraderPlanet. This trade was actually a follow up to the previous week’s piece also published in TraderPlanet.
The entire soybean complex had been holding its collective breath ahead of yesterday’s USDA reports. As is typically the case, it quickly became a case of, “Buy the rumor. Sell the fact.” That said, yesterday’s post report action created a strong enough reversal downwards and away from the building overhead resistance to generate a COT Sell Signal. Normally, our chart would include a fourth pane labeled, “Short-Term Market Momentum.” However, for clarity’s sake, we left that pane out of the chart to focus instead on the commercial trader action illustrating their sensitivity to price.
This week’s theme was the same as last week, expecting that some of these markets had gone too far, too fast and were ripe for a turnaround. Like last week, our strategies have continued to be on the wrong side of the markets.
Commercial soybean growers who hadn’t hedged their crop early in the year have taken a pounding on prices all summer long. As is seasonally predictable, the market did get somewhat of a harvest rally moving from a low of $9.04 in the November soybean futures contract up to current levels around $10.25. Negative price action has accompanied this rally as growers have sought to unload whatever they could ahead of the USDA’s November World Agriculture Supply and Demand report. The primary takeaway in the soybean market is the nearly 8% increase in this year’s crop estimate, now at 3.958 billion bushels versus their previous estimate of 3.927 b/bu. The only kind note in the report was the trade’s general expectation of 3.967 b/bu.
More interesting than the fundamental action is the increasingly negative technical picture taking shape as you can see on the chart below.
Our published pieces this week for Equities.com and TraderPlanet focused on lean hog futures and soybeans respectively. The hog market fell through the support we were leaning on and stopped us out with a loss. The Commitment of Traders Report continues to suggest that long hedger buying will continue to support this market as packers ensure their future supplies at these prices.
Meanwhile, the soybean market appears to have peaked. Commercial selling has been consistent through the October rally. This is exactly what we expected to happen as we near the expiration of the November soybean futures contract.
Our primary article this week focused on trading system development and the possibility that the new meat market hours will return a technologically outdated trading program back to its former glory in the lean hog futures market.
Finally, one piece of information about today’s markets. The Japanese government elected to inject further economic stimulus into their domestic markets in an attempt to reach their 2% inflation target and stave off 25 years of deflation in their economy.
This announcement pushed the Nikkei 225 up more than 5% for today’s trading. The S&P500 is currently higher by 1%. The overnight rally in the S&P500 pushes the rally from the October 15th lows to our current price, more than 11% higher in 11 sessions. This has only happened 3 times since 9/11. Twice in 2009 and once in November of 2011.