"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat

Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput


Monday, April 21, 2014

Gold Holds $1280 support; Remains Rangebound

Not much going on in gold today - it ran down to test the bottom of its trading range near $1280 and bounced off of that. Strength in the Dollar and a general sea of red across much of the commodity complex, undercut any reason to get aggressive buying it but enough interest was stirred down near that critical support level to prevent a sharper drop.

Gold shares were of no help for most of the day with the HUI exhibiting general weakness but towards the end of the session many of the share components of that index managed off their worst levels of the session. Gold over at the Comex seemed to come up alongside some of those shares.

I noticed that GG moved higher, gaining over 2% as I type these comments as management has effectively given up on their efforts to acquire Osisko. The market liked that in regards to GG but understood the implications for Osisko with that stock dropping 5.8% as I type this. That effectively clears the way for Yamana and Agnico-Eagle to pick it up. Both of those stocks were hammered lower. Obviously the market thinks they are going to end up paying too much for it given the weak gold price and its rather dubious prospects at this stage.

It will be up to the Asians to prop this thing up tonight here in the West ( in the morning over there in the East ). If they pull back for any reason, gold is in trouble. We'll watch the overnight trade and hopefully be able to see some clues as to their intentions.

The late comeback enabled the HUI to dodge the proverbial bullet today as it was flirting with a key technical chart support level near its session low. The bottom is holding as a result; however, any further strength in the US Dollar will probably see that fail. The currency markets, along with the US interest rate market, are the key drivers for gold right now.

Corn moved lower today, along with wheat which was derailed by talk of rainfall in the parched regions where it is badly needed. Beans were also pressured today although the bulls did their usual ramp job on the close as they came in and bought a bunch of them back. There was also a round of short covering as frustrated bears waiting for the funds to finally get out of these things got impatient and said, "the hell with it" and closed out some trades. Some large specs are convinced that the US is going to run out of beans before we get any of the early harvest from this year's crop coming in and that is why they keep coming back and buying the beans. When this theory/sentiment shifts, we will know it.

This afternoon we got the plantings progress number from the pencil pushers. Corn came in at 6% planted compared to last year's 4% at this time and the 5 year average of 14%. I would remind you that these numbers are not nearly as important as they once were given the significant advancements in the speed at which US farmers can get those seeds in the ground nowadays but old habits seem to die hard in the grain markets and there are some who still view these numbers as if they mean anything this time of the year. They still have enough clout as far as their buying and selling goes that one has to react to this goofiness but it is what it is and traders have to understand that and position accordingly. Both corn and soybeans have built up a nice demand base as prices retreated from all time highs last season. The question is, especially for beans, will that demand base remain intact given the potential for a large bean crop up here in the Northern Hemisphere this growing season. Along that line, any more credit related issues concerning the Chinese and soybean purchases is going to be ONE VERY BIG DEAL.

Cold Storage will be coming out this week so we livestock traders will be watching for that. I enjoy getting the emails and comments from some concerning the sky-high prices that they are seeing for both pork and beef in their local grocery stores. The drama is playing out as expected. What I can tell you is that I am very confident that we will see prices move lower this fall for both but this spring/summer is going to be one which is not going to be a lot of fun for those of us that enjoy bar-b-q. Sadly, this is what happens when we get back to back drought years  in cattle country ( 2011 + 2012) along with record high prices for corn and meal ( some blame goes to that pestilential ethanol crap). One simply cannot do a single thing to change the breeding cycle of bovine bovinus ( that is my pitiful attempt to throw some fancy Latin phrases around to impress the reader ) as it takes time to rebuild a cattle herd.

I hope the readers had an enjoyable Easter weekend. It is back to the sawmill now.