Comm: Precious

(New York)

Sometimes looking at raw materials is a great way to get a signal on the economy, especially as they are frequently leading indicators for what is coming. Well, one metal is screaming of bad times to come—silver. Gold is priced at 82x silver, the highest level in two years, which is a seen as a poor indicator. “Money managers tend to favor gold when they think markets might turn rocky and discard silver when they are worried about slower global growth crimping consumption”, says the Wall Street Journal. 55% of demand for silver is for industrial purposes, which links it more with fundamental metals like copper.

FINSUM: So this is an interesting insight, but because silver is not a pure industrial commodity (it is also somewhat of a value store), this comparison does not seem quite as pertinent. Gold to copper would be more interesting.

(New York)

Until the market downturn over the last couple of weeks, the oil price had been rising strongly for a period of several months. OPEC’s strategy to cut supply to the market seemed to have balanced supply and demand, which boosted prices. However, one big beneficiary of the cuts was the US shale industry, which has been boosting output to the highest levels ever. This big surge might be the ultimate unwinding of the price rise, however, as US output is surging to levels not seen since oil was at $100 per barrel. This is likely to once again flood the market with supply, sending prices back downward.

FINSUM: We think this oil output growth is unsustainable, both because it will lead to oversupply, but also because it will eventually crack OPEC’s resolve to contain their own output (as the benefits are disproportionately flowing to the US).


MLPs can perform well during periods of rising rates, such as in the last tightening cycle. While they are broadly more risky than bonds, they can provide good returns. Many MLPs collect inflation hedged payments, so they should perform better than bonds in a tightening environment. As an asset class, MLPs have been holding back on payouts, but these should accelerate in 2019 and 2020. Three names to look at are Enterprise Product Partners, yielding 6.1%, Magellan Midstream Partners, yielding 5.2%, and Antero Midstream Partners, yielding 4.8%.

FINSUM: Those yields look really juicy don’t they? And they are moderately inflation hedged, which is also quite promising. Worth a look.

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