Displaying items by tag: Commodities
Many investors are simply unfazed by the current trade war erupting between the US and China (just look at share prices for evidence). However, even those who may be bullish on equities need to be worried for oil. While the increasing sanctions on Iran are supportive of prices, a trade war would likely be very bad. The reason why is that increasing tariffs would likely cause an economic downturn in emerging markets, which would then heavily sap oil demand, leading prices lower.
FINSUM: The oil and other commodity markets are demand-driven (and realistic) in a way that stocks aren’t. Watch them for where the economy is actually headed.
For those paying attention, the metals market is sending some very worrying signs. Copper and other metals have been going through a rough patch, but yesterday seemed to really spell doom. Copper plunged into a bear market, zinc plummeted, and even gold took a big hit despite the panic across markets. Industrial commodities are a good bellwether for economic activity, and while the markets are partly plunging on worries over the Chinese economy, the big drops signal that the whole world could be in for a recession.
FINSUM: We are growing increasingly concerned about the message that metals markets are sending. The big drop across the board in industrial commodities is quite worrying. Hopefully it is a short-term overreaction to the trouble in emerging markets.
Some of the best forward looking recession indicators are in the commodities markets. Because they are generally a gauge for demand in the economy, they indicate where things are headed. Well, one of the best—copper—which is utterly ubiquitous across the global economy, is flashing some very worrying signs. Copper has had a very rough summer, but it has been worsening lately despite better share prices. The commodity just hit its lowest price in over a year. China accounts for around 40% of global copper demand. One analyst summarized the situation, saying “Copper is widely considered to be a bellwether for the global economy and so a weak price is cause for concern”.
FINSUM: Copper is partly at the mercy of the big fears in emerging markets, but that does not seem to account for the extremity of the selloff. This does worry us.
If you are a gold bull, this has been a really rough period. While gold has been weakening for years (relative to the market), the last several weeks has been particularly concerning. Despite all the turmoil in global markets that has come alongside Turkey’s financial crisis, gold just hit its weakest level since March 2017. Further, despite many panics in markets this year, gold has fallen 9% and has not gained from its reputation as a safe haven. The rising strength of the US Dollar has not helped gold’s prospects.
FINSUM: Gold is down to around $1,200 an ounce despite all that has happened this year. If the bear market had not been going on so long, it would almost seem like a buying opportunity, but rising rates and a rising Dollar are strong headwinds even if fundamentals changed.
There are a lot of bear market and recession indicators to make an investor nervous right now. There are also a wealth pf positive points. However, one area that really caught our eye was an industrial commodity that says a lot about the direction of the economy. Copper is in the middle of a big fall, and according to the Financial Times, the metal “is telling us not to worry a bit: the metal is telling us to panic”. Copper is down about 18% this year, and most of that fall is since May. Copper is used in a wide range of industrial applications across all regions in the world, it is utterly ubiquitous, so demand for it is a good leading indicator of economic performance.
FINSUM: This seems like a worrying sign, but we must say that some of the loss could be because of the trade war with China. That said, the sharp drop in prices is a very worrying sign.