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September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Round numbers and indecision

Eoin Treacy's view -

One would be forgiven for concluding that algorithms have been programed with round numbers in mind. Roundophobia has been a topic of conversation at The Chart Seminar for decades but it is particularly relevant now because so many instruments have paused in the region of big round numbers. I’m greatly looking forward to the next event which will be in London on October 3rd and 4th.



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September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Design Options for an o/n Repo Facility

This note by Zolltan Pozsar for Credit Suisse may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

The Credit Suisse short-term interest rates (STIR) team have been way out in front of the Fed’s dilemma in needing to support the repo market while also being reluctant to expend its balance sheet. The clear risk is the Fed will have to settle for lower quality assets in order to control the size of its balance sheet.



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September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Your Parents' Financial Advice Is (Kind Of) Wrong

This article by Julia Carpenter for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The typical U.S. home now sells for more than four times the median U.S. income, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Between 1980 and 1999, home prices were closer to three times household income.

• Given the savings rates of the millennial generation born between 1981 and 1996, rental-listing company Apartment List estimates that two-thirds of millennial renters would require at least two decades to save enough for a 20% down payment on a median-priced condo in their market. Just 11% would be able to amass a 20% down payment within the next five years.

• The upshot: Millennial households had an average net worth of about $92,000 in 2016, nearly 40% less than Gen X households (people born between 1965 and 1980) had in 2001, adjusted for inflation, and about 20% less than baby boomer households (born from 1946 to 1964) had in 1989, according to data from the Federal Reserve.

So it’s time to kill the idea that student-loan debt is always “good debt,” to admit that buying a house isn’t always the right move, and to refashion these old expectations. It’s time for a new playbook.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Student debt and the promise of progressive candidates to cancel it are potential election winners as the millennial demographic becomes more influential in US elections.



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September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Eoin's personal portfolio precious metal trading position profit taken September 5th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

One of the most commonly asked questions by subscribers is how to find details of my open traders. In an effort to make it easier I will simply repost the latest summary daily until there is a change. I'll change the title to the date of publication of new details so you will know when the information was provided. 



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September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

2019: The 50th year of The Chart Seminar

Eoin Treacy's view -

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is holding a concert in David’s memory on October 5th October at the Royal Festival Hall. There is a reception between 5.30 and 6.45 in the Foyle Pavilion, Level 3, Green Side and subscribers are well to join David’s family there for light refreshments. Following the reception, we will move to the Beecham Bar, Blue Side, Level 5 for a short talk by Tim Walker, Chairman of the LPO. 

If you wish to attend the concert as well, which includes a performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto by the Young Musician of the Year, it begins at 7.30 and you may book tickets (£67) by telephone on 020 7840 4242 quoting the code Fuller Concert.

Since this is the 50th year of The Chart Seminar we will be conducting the event on October 3rd and 4th to coincide with the memorial on the Saturday.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, would like to attend, or have a suggestion for another venue please feel to reach out to Sarah at sarah@fullertreacymoney.com.  

The full rate for The Chart Seminar is £1799 + VAT. (Please note US, Australian and Asian delegates, as non-EU residents are not liable for VAT). Annual subscribers are offered a discounted rate of £850. Anyone booking more than one place can also avail of the £850 rate for the second and subsequent delegates.



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September 19 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 19th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics covered included: Brexit resolution increases chances of UK valuation arbitrage closing. Nikkei eases with Yen strength, Wall Street steady, Australian Dollar eases but market steady, Hong Kong weak, gold stable, 



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September 19 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

EU's Juncker Thinks Brexit Deal Can Be Reached by Oct. 31

This note by Nathan Crooks for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker thinks a Brexit deal can be reached by Oct. 31, Sky News reported, citing an interview to be broadcast on Sunday.

Juncker warned that a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic” for Britain and the EU

“I’m doing everything to have a deal, because I don’t like the idea no deal,” he said, declining to specify if the chance of reaching a deal was above or below 50%

“If the objectives are met, all of them, then we don’t need the backstop”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The only way to get close to what you want in a negotiation is to make your counterparty believe you are willing to walk away. It is still uncertain whether Boris Johnson has achieved that goal but the odds are looking up.



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September 19 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Bank of Japan Hints at Possible Action in October

This article by Megumi Fujikawa for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

“If I am asked if I feel more favorably about additional easing compared with the previous meeting [in July], my answer is yes,” Mr. Kuroda said at a news conference. “There is no sign of recovery in overseas economies.”

He added, “Even if we consider additional easing, I don’t think it’s necessary to change the current framework” of monetary policy, which includes setting a target yield for 10-year government bonds—currently zero—and buying riskier assets such as stocks.

Inflation has been running below 1% recently, short of the BOJ’s 2% target. The BOJ said in its policy statement that it needs to pay closer attention to “the possibility that momentum toward achieving the price stability target will be lost.”

“It is sort of a notice that the bank is going to take additional easing action,” said Hiroshi Ugai, an economist at JPMorgan in Tokyo and a former BOJ official.

Mr. Ugai said the BOJ would likely move next month, but might hold off if markets are calm or if it is having trouble assessing the impact of an Oct. 1 increase in the national sales tax to 10% from 8%.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Yen has been weakening since hitting a new rally high in August but today’s announcement and the subsequent market reaction suggests some disappointment at the tepid response of the Bank of Japan. Investors remain of the opinion that the Japanese economy needs a weaker currency to drive competitiveness and are unlikely to support a short Yen/long equity play until they have clear evidence of how large a central bank assistance program will be.



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September 19 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Examining Inequality: How Geography And Gender Stack The Deck For (Or Against) You

This report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section on India:

There is yet another way that policies designed around the JAM trinity are empowering the poor—by making government more accountable. For example, with the new cooking gas subsidy, government officials in 640 Indian districts receive daily progress reports on PAHAL, including enrollment, cash transfer, and error rates, so they can identify and address problems as soon as they arise.

Various states are also experimenting with ways to proactively solicit citizens’ input whenever they interact with government. In one state, for example, beneficiaries receive an automated call soliciting feedback on the quality of the service: Was the customer treated courteously? Did she receive the benefits she expected? Did she receive them without having to pay a bribe? Negative responses roll over into a human system to generate formal complaints.

On its own, the JAM trinity doesn’t do much. It needs to be paired with smart, pro-poor policies and services built around digital technology. Even then, digitally powered policies and services by themselves won’t end poverty and gender inequality. They need to be accompanied by analog reforms like changing discriminatory laws and policies. When all these pieces come together, though, the status quo can change fast.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Inequality is likely to be the defining debate of the next decade. For one group the discussion is about equality of opportunity and allowing each individual the freedom to pursue their creativity to further human development.

For another group it is about protecting the rights of the downtrodden from the overzealous oppressive protectionism of the elite. For this group the only answer is redistribution of rewards so everyone can start at a similar level.  



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September 18 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 18th 2019

September 18 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Traders Still See Another Quarter-Point Fed Rate Cut by Year-End

This article by Emily Barrett for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Futures traders still see about another quarter-point of easing from the Federal Reserve this year, after the central bank cut rates on Wednesday and said it will “act as appropriate” to sustain the economic expansion.

The rate on the January 2020 fed funds futures contract was about 1.63% after the central bank’s announcement. The dot plot accompanying the statement shows policy makers’ median projections are for interest rates to remain on hold this year and next, but the balance of views has shifted more dovishly.

Judging by this level, traders still expect one more cut in either of the Fed’s two remaining decisions this year -- on Oct. 30 and Dec. 11. This estimate of the market’s pricing assumes that the effective funds rate moves toward the middle of the Fed’s new target range of 1.75% to 2%.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Fed’s balance sheet is belatedly started to expand once more as the liquidity demands of the economy and Treasury market pressure the central bank to provide the funds necessary to ensure an orderly market. That is the most basic requirement for central banks, but the requirement has been exaggerated by the shrinking of investment and commercial bank balance sheets over the last decade. That suggests even without quantitative easing there is a clear need for the Fed to expand its balance sheet.
 



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September 18 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin Lead Alt Season 2.0

This article from dailybitcoinnews.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

But as the saying goes, this time may be different. Altcoins are bouncing from long-term support, and the rallies are showing exceptional strength, and are even continuing to rally while Bitcoin struggles with overhead resistance – something not seen for much of 2019.

Ethereum has been leading the charge, with as much as 20% growth. XRP , one of the worst-performing crypto assets of 2019, has also gained around 20% even as sentiment surrounding the altcoin hits an all-time low.  EOS and Dash are also up by a similar margin.

Litecoin, Cardano, Tron, Tezos and IOTA, and others from the top 20 crypto assets by market cap are also up by about 10% or more. Stellar, which has plummeted further and further throughout the bear market spiked by 40%.

The boom in altcoins is due to extremely oversold conditions, and a breakdown in Bitcoin dominance – a metric that weights the king of crypto against the rest of the market. But depending on the type of formation that BTC dominance is in, it could spike back up, wiping out any gains altcoins have seen during this rally.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Historically, when silver rallied it was a good lead indicator for what one might expect from gold. That did not prove the case on this occasion not least because there was such widespread disillusionment with the precious metals sector. Gold rallied first and silver played catchup. In the cryptocurrency markets bitcoin has tended to be the go-to market. When it rallies impressively, speculation on which alt-coin will play catchup tends to stoke demand for the smaller markets. The opposite appears to be happening on this occasion.



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September 18 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

FedEx Plunges After Slashing Forecast on Trade War, Slowdown

This article by Thomas Black for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“In reality, FedEx’s release is largely the result of many management missteps over the years, including overspending on aircraft despite weaker returns in Express over the long-term, and acquisition debacles,” he said in note to investors.

Trade-War Impact
The U.S.-China trade war has weighed on manufacturers, disrupting a key market for FedEx. A surge in industrial jobs seen in the first two years of Trump’s presidency has reversed in parts of the country, and there’s evidence that some corners of the U.S. economy are sliding toward recession. Companies have slowed business investment and capital expenditures as uncertainty over trade policies has clouded the outlook for future growth.

For FedEx, the weaker outlook underscored the hurdles as the company introduces costly changes to its ground network to handle surging e-commerce deliveries while contending with rising competition from Amazon.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Amazon is now a larger shipper of items than either UPS or Fedex within the US market, from a standing start a couple of year ago. UPS still ships items for Amazon but that business is declining while Fedex is attempting to forge relationships with upstarts in the warehousing sector like Deliverr and Shopify. If the share price is any guide that latter strategy is in its infancy at best. Meanwhile it has been my experience that Fedex is successfully. competing on price for international bulk shipping business to Amazon’s European warehouses.



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September 17 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 17th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discusesd include: Fed had to intervene to provide liquidity in the report market, expansion of the balance sheet is no longer a choice, stock markets steady, oil pulls back, precious metals steady gold shares rally, China weak, Europe steady, UK mid caps break out, Pound firm, Dollar eases. 



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September 17 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Unhinged Money Markets Trigger Fed Action to Alleviate Stress

This article by Liz Capo McCormick and Alexandra Harris Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“There’s been a sea change in markets, and it’s one the Fed needed to respond to,” said Lou Crandall of Wrightson ICAP. “In the current market environment, there is just not enough elasticity in the repo market to handle the big seasonal swings of the banking system. The Fed needed to come in now and alleviate the immediate problem, while it is also working on long-term solutions.”

The Fed has considered introducing a new tool, an overnight repo facility, that could be utilized when needed to reduce pressure on key money market rates, but no decisions have been announced.

The New York Fed declined to comment on the events of this week.

Actions like the Fed took Tuesday were once commonplace, but stopped being so when the central bank expanded its balance sheet and started using a range of rates to implement its policy in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers’ 2008 collapse.

Securities eligible for collateral in the Fed operation include Treasuries, agency debt and mortgage-backed securities. In an overnight system repo, the Fed lends cash to primary dealers against Treasury securities or other collateral.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Bank balance sheets are not what they used to be. One of the primary results of the heavier regulations imposed on the sector since the financial crisis has been to cut the primary investment banks out of risk taking. That is impeding their ability to provide liquidity when the market needs it and is likely to result in the Federal Reserve intervening more often to assist.



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September 17 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Wall Street May Get $40 Billion Reprieve From Trump Regulators

This article by Jesse Hamilton for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The margin demand, implemented in 2015, has tied up $39.4 billion, according to industry estimates. That’s prompted major swap dealers, such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., to make the rule’s elimination a lobbying priority.

It would likely be months before regulators scrap the margin requirement. That’s because once the FDIC and other agencies issue their proposals, the public will have an opportunity to submit comments before a final rule could be put in place.

Republican lawmakers have supported banks on the issue. Some House Democrats have also backed the change, telling regulators in a June letter that they should allow lenders to free up the “large and increasing amount of unusable, locked-up collateral.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

In the aftermath of a crisis, regulations are tightening because of the vindictive wish to punish wrong doing but also to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated. However, the result is less risk taking. That does not have much of an effect in the early stages of a recovery because opportunities are plentiful. However, as an expansion matures it depends on the availability of ever more capital and credit to sustain itself. That leads to quite reasonable requests to relax strictures that are now deemed to be overly onerous. Leverage therefore increases, greater risks are taken and the trend persists for a while longer.



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September 17 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Stocks Fall, Yuan Weakens as Central Bank Holds Loan Rate

This article from Bloomberg news may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

China’s central bank drained funds from the financial system and kept the one-year rate on medium-term loans steady on Tuesday morning, a move analysts said shows it’s sticking with its prudent approach to stimulus. That’s even after data Monday signaled the economy slowed in August, with industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment rising less than anticipated.

“Investors now realize the central bank won’t ease its monetary policy as aggressively,” Zhang Gang, a strategist with Central China Securities Co. “The market was due for a pullback after the Shanghai index climbed above 3,000-point level. Turnover failed to keep up.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

China’s government is more worried about a property bubble than a growth slowdown. it would be tempting to think they have reached the conclusion that massive money printing only helps to inflate asset prices and does not deliver quality growth which is capable of sustaining the economy during tough times. On the other hand perhaps they have an inflationary problem and don't want to exacerbate it. 



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September 16 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 16th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discussed include: fallout from the Saudi Oil refinery attack, Crude oil jumps, oil services and producers rally, defense sector rallies, cyclicals remain on a recovery trajectory, Treasuries stable, Wall Street quiet, Dollar firm, Japan steady, China steady



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September 16 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Aramco Said to Face Weeks Without Majority of Abqaiq Output

This article by Anthony DiPaola, Will Kennedy and Javier Blas for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here it is in full:

Saudi Aramco faces weeks or months before the majority of supply from the giant Abqaiq plant is restored after this weekend’s devastating aerial attack, according to people familiar with matter.

Aramco is still assessing the state of the plant and the scope of repairs, but the state oil company currently believes less than half of the the plant’s capacity can be restored quickly, the people said, asking not to be identified before an official announcement. It’s a more pessimistic outlook than Aramco had immediately after the incident, they said.

All eyes are on how fast the kingdom can recover from the weekend’s devastating strike, which knocked out roughly 5% of global supply and triggered a record surge in oil prices. The loss of Abqaiq, which handles 5.7 million barrels of oil a day, or about half of Saudi production, is the single worst sudden disruption to the oil market.

Aramco, the world’s largest exporter, is currently supplying customers from its stockpiles, but is asking some buyers to accept different grades. President Trump has said he’s ready to release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ensure ample supply.

Saudi Arabia is also starting idle offshore fields to replace some of the lost production.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Let’s lay out the questions. The first is just how much geopolitical risk is present and has that been under appreciated by markets? The second is the Khurais field is about equidistant from the border with Iraq and Yemen so how did these drones penetrate air space without being intercepted. The third is what is likely to do well as a result of these events?



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September 16 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China's Economy Slows Again, Adding Pressure for Policy Action

This article from Bloomberg news may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Industrial output rose 4.4% from a year earlier in August, the lowest for a single month since 2002, while retail sales came in below expectations. Fixed-asset investment slowed to 5.5% in the first eight months, with the private sector lagging state investment for the 6th month.

The data add support to the argument that policy makers’ efforts to brake the slowing economy aren’t sufficient as the nation grapples with structural downward pressure at home, the risk of yet-higher tariffs on exports to the U.S. and now surging oil prices. Nomura International Ltd. said this all raises the likelihood that the People’s Bank of China will cut its medium-term lending rate on Tuesday.

Eoin Treacy's view -

China’s monetary and fiscal policy arms are walking a tight wire between overstimulating the property market, which already has bubbly characteristics, versus trying to support flagging growth in the industrial sector which is hurting from the global slowdown and the trade war. The devaluation of the Renminbi is a partial solution but there is a clear need for more conclusive action to support the economy not least because a weaker currency stokes inflation for such a large commodity importer.



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September 16 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Fast Strike Against GM Breaks Years of UAW Negotiating Tradition

This article by Andrew Wallender for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“I think that they were just very impatient in this round of negotiations,” said Marick Masters, a management professor and the director of Wayne State University’s labor studies program.

But there’s a flurry of complicating factors in ongoing negotiations. Union leadership is under increased scrutiny as federal prosecutors continue to unravel a sprawling culture of corruption among former UAW leaders and negotiators.

There also was a strong sense inside and outside the union that a strike was likely, Masters said. Such an outlook could have contributed to the speed with which the strike was called, according to the professor.

“It’s hard to say how far apart they are,” Masters said of the UAW and GM. “But I get the feeling that they are pretty far apart. So you hope that they come to their senses pretty soon. But it certainly has the makings to go on for a very long time with the caveat that when reality sets in, they’re probably going to want to sit down and see what they can do to bring things back together.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Workers are increasingly agitating for a bigger piece of the pie as stocks close in on all-time new highs and the cost of living increases. That is contributing to the potential for inflationary pressures to reappear despite the widespread fear of deflation that has pervaded sovereign bond markets this year.



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September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Crops Surge as China Moves to Increase U.S. Farm Purchases

This article by Millie Munshi and Michael Hirtzer for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribes. Here is a section:

China is encouraging companies to buy U.S. farm products, and will exclude them from added tariffs. Many crop prices are heading for their best week since at least June on optimism that Beijing and Washington are inching toward a deal. The year-long trade spat has undercut farmer profits and boosted debt levels in the U.S. as Chinese demand fell off.

There was evidence of fresh Chinese buying Friday as the U.S. government reported 204,000 tons of soybeans sold to the Asian nation, the first such announcement in more than two
months.

“We are hopeful that this apparent gesture of goodwill by China leads not only to more sales of U.S. pork, but that it contributes to a resolution of U.S.-China trade restrictions,” said David Herring, a North Carolina hog farmer and president of trade group National Pork Producers Council.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The balance of the trade war hangs in how much domestic damage can be tolerated versus damage inflicted on an adversary. Food price inflation for China may be of a more urgent dilemma than the trade war at present. China is nowhere near being self sufficient in soy and the scourge of African swine flu has destroyed the domestic pig industry. Since pork is the staple protein for a significant proportion of the population that represents an issue not least as prices surge.



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September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Sturdy Sales, Confidence Show U.S. Consumer Holds Up as Pillar

This article by Vince Golle for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Spurred by a resilient labor market and income gains, the consumer remains the chief source of firepower for economic growth that’s slowed amid fragile global demand, uncertainty surrounding trade policy and lackluster factory output. The report suggests another solid quarter of household consumption, which grew in the April-June period at the fastest pace since 2014.

“At a time when recession risk dominates most economic discussions, the strength of the U.S. consumer is among the more compelling examples of an economy that is still firing on all cylinders,” Tim Quinlan, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, said in a report.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The consumer has been largely shielded from the inflationary pressures of the trade war by the lack of duties on imported apparel and some other manufactured goods. That is now changing with new tariffs on these goods being implemented and the wholly domestic factor of rising health insurance costs pushing inflation higher.



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September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

It's A Fish-Eat-Fish World Scientists Want To Change That

This article by Jon Emont for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“If we take any more fish out of the ocean—what we call wild-caught—then literally the ecosystem could collapse,” said Alan Shaw, the chief executive of Calysta, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup that is among the first companies to use bacteria to convert natural gas into protein that can be used as an alternative fish feed. Calysta operates a factory in northeast England where its bacteria feed on methane producing single-cell proteins that are dried and packaged into pellets it calls FeedKind.

The company announced a $30 million investment from BP in June, which gave the British energy giant the right of first refusal to supply natural gas to Calysta’s future factories. It already had a partnership with Thai Union, an Asian seafood giant, which says trial shrimp grown on Calysta’s bacterial protein taste the same as those fed traditional diets that include fish.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Fish farming remains a growth business with leverage to both the growth of the global consumer and the need to substitute global fish stocks with additional supply in order to feed all those people. Additionally, the desire to consume more protein and more “heart healthy” fats is on a growth trajectory.



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September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 12th 2019

September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Draghi Faced Unprecedented ECB Revolt as Core Europe Resisted QE

This article by Jana Randow for Bloomberg may be of interest subscribers. Here is a section:

The unprecedented revolt took place during a fractious meeting where Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau joined more traditional hawks including his Dutch colleague Klaas Knot and Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann in pressing against an immediate resumption of bond purchases, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity, because such discussions are confidential.

Those three governors alone represent roughly half of the euro region as measured by economic output and population. Other dissenters included, but weren’t limited, to their colleagues from Austria and Estonia, as well as members on the ECB’s Executive Board including Sabine Lautenschlaeger and the markets chief, Benoit Coeure, the officials said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The competition to influence the replacement of Mario Draghi as head of the ECB is heating up. Verbal opposition to the policies announced today came from a number of the countries who were contenders in the race for the top job. Proving your verbal commitment to monetary prudence is almost a pre-requisite in some countries, regardless of the reality once in office. 



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September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Trump Advisers Considering Interim China Deal to Delay Tariffs

This article by Jenny Leonard and Shawn Donnan for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The proposal also would be an interim deal, which would freeze the conflict, rather than bring a final resolution to a trade war that has cast a shadow over the global economy. U.S. stocks advanced on the news.

The plan reflects concerns within the White House over the recent escalation in tariffs and their economic impact on the U.S. going into an election year. Polls show the trade war is not popular with many voters and farmers are increasingly angry over depressed commodity prices.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The one thing any politician wants is to win re-election to prove that the first victory was not a mistake and to cement their legacy as a winner. If the USA enters a recession ahead of the election that greatly endangers President Trump’s re-election chances. The market has already reached that conclusion which is one of the primary reasons stocks have remained within striking distance of all-time highs over the summer.



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September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

A new study tracks the surge in Chinese loans to poor countries

This article from the Economist may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:   

Loan talks with Belarus; funding for bridges in Liberia; a possible gas project in Timor-Leste; accusations of exploitation in Tanzania; a corporate dispute in India; pledges to support the Rwandan private sector. And that was just the past few weeks. Such is the frenetic pace of China’s overseas lending that its outstanding loans have risen from almost nothing in 2000 to more than $700bn today. It is the world’s largest official creditor, more than twice as big as the World Bank and IMF combined. Yet tracking the money is hard because of limited transparency in its disclosures.

A new study by Sebastian Horn and Christoph Trebesch of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and Carmen Reinhart of Harvard University offers the most comprehensive picture yet of China’s official credit flows (including state-owned banks). It adds to concern about whether China has sowed the seeds for debt problems abroad. They find that nearly half of China’s lending to developing countries is “hidden”, in that neither the World Bank nor the IMF has data on it.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Ken Griffin is still swooping on trophy properties. investors are bidding up the value of private assets to unimaginable levels but that has been less successful recently following the WeWork haircut and dismal performance of Uber and Lyft.  Classic car auctions were hitting all-time highs earlier this year but the latest total for the Monterey auctions was down 34% on last year.



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September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Jeffrey Gundlach Says U.S. on Pre-Election 'Recession Watch''

This article by Suzy Waite and John Gittelsohn for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here it is in full:

The likelihood of U.S. recession before the 2020 election has grown, based on changes in the Treasury yield curve, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, the billionaire money manager and chief executive officer of DoubleLine Capital.

“We should be on recession watch before the 2020 election,” Gundlach said Thursday in London. “We’re getting closer but we’re not there yet.”

The odds of a U.S. recession before the election are 75%, said Gundlach, whose Los Angeles-based firm oversees more than $140 billion, reiterating a prediction he made in August.

The best signal of a recession is not an inverted yield curve, the money manager said. “It’s the inversion occurring and then going away.”

Yields on 2-year Treasuries exceeded those on 10-years in August, forming an inversion, before flipping back this month.

In other comments, Gundlach said:

* He’s turned “neutral” on gold, one of his previously recommended investments. “It’s had a big run.”

* The U.S. and China are unlikely to reach a long-term trade pact before the presidential election.

* It’s a “terrible time” to bet on U.S. housing and homebuilder stocks because of high inventory and weak demand.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The US yield curve spread inverted in August and is now mildly positive. The peculiarity of the spread is it is a reliable lead indicator for US recessions, but the corresponding spread does not provide a reliable lead indicator for other markets even though the rationale for why it should lead is the same.



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September 11 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 11th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subsccriber's Area. 

Some of the topics covered include: bonds continue to decline from deep overbought conditions,Wall Street firms, led by technology and other cyclicals, gold steadies, oil encounters resistance in the region of the trend mean. Euro weakens and Dollar Index rebounds impressively from intraday lows. ECB rate decision tomorrow.  



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September 11 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

As the Ice Age turns bond yields deeply negative, what happens next?

Thanks to a subscriber for this report by albert Edwards for SocGen which may be of interest. Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report and a section from it are posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

The Federal Reserve in particular has stated it is aware of the risks to the economic expansion and is willing to do what is necessary to ensure it persists. This is quite different from what Alan Greenspan was saying in 1998 when he made his irrational exuberance speech.



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September 11 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Factors or Fundamentals, Quant Tremor Is Field Day for the Geeks

This article by Sarah Ponczek and Vildana Hajric for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

You wouldn’t know it from benchmarks, but beneath a tranquil surface violent swings are lashing traders along obscure fault lines. Companies like real-estate firms that rose the most in 2019 are plunging, and some that have trailed are being pushed out front. It’s been a mild reckoning for hedge funds and others who have bet on the status quo persisting.

Amid all the churn has been a renewed focus on a quantitative concept known as factor investing, which groups companies not by industry but traits such as how fast their prices move or profits rise. A question gaining currency in the past few days is whether these categories are just handy descriptions of twists in the market -- or are at some level guiding them.

“It seems very mechanical right now,” said John Swarr, investment specialist at Penn Mutual Asset Management, which has $27 billion under management. “If you look within some of these stocks that are being hit the hardest, some are in much better shape than others and yet they’re all being affected similarly,” he said. “It does feel like it’s a rules-based rotation.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The total of negative yields bonds was at $17 trillion for a brief time at the end of August and has since contracted to $14.3 trillion. That’s a big more in a little less than two weeks.

The failure of the German government to sell a full allocation of bonds and failed auctions at the US Treasury in August were probably the catalysts for sapping investor demand for bonds globally. The unwinding of leveraged long positions now has the scope for meaningfully move bond yields higher with clear upward dynamics evident across multiple markets.



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September 11 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

On Target September 9th 2019

Thanks to Martin Spring for this edition of his ever- interesting letter. Here is a section:

America Is Losing Mideast Allies
Mainstream media are strangely reluctant to report the major changes in the Mideast that are strengthening Iran’s negotiating position relative to its enemies.

According to Yossef Bodansky of GIS/Defense & Foreign, both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are engulfed in a major crisis in their relations with the US.

Arab leaders urged America to strike Iran hard in retaliation for shooting down the Global Hawk drone. Trump refused to do that. Both the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (“MBS”) and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed (“MBZ”), considered the last-minute cancellation of the retaliatory strike a personal affront and humiliation.

Both have for a long time suspected that the US has been hiding major matters from them. That got confirmed last month when the US ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tuellier, publicly admitted: “We have direct communication channels with Tehran.” Bodansky says “both Riyadh and Doha were stunned and humiliated, because the Trump White House did not bother to inform them of the Baghdad back-channel… while pressuring them to avoid all contacts and negotiations with Iran.”

However the deterioration in relations between the US and its anti-Iran allies goes far beyond the current tiff.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The USA was the biggest consumer and importer of oil so it made sense to have a strong relationship with the countries where it was buying oil. Perhaps more correctly it was important to have solid relationships with the biggest producers, so the global market for oil had some stability because oil price spikes cause recessions. That created both a ready market for US debt instruments but also clear rationale for a globally present military force to protect sea lanes.



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September 10 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 10th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscribers Area. 

Some of the topics covered include: Commoditiies beginning to show evidence of finding support. Gold remains under pressure as the total bonds with negaitve yields contracts. that is also pressuring bond proxies, stock markets steady ahead of the ECB meeting on Thursday, Brexit machinations intensify.



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September 10 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

"The Fed is Clueless"

Thanks to a subscriber for this interview of Bob Rodriguez who has exhibits a thorough understanding of the market environment. It appears in Advisor Perspectives and may be of interest. Here is a section:

Negative yielding debt is a concept that could only be considered rational by an academic. Given 4,000 years of human history, I’ll bet this is as faulty an idea as there ever has been and that it will be proven to be 100% hokum. Negative yields distort the entire capital asset pricing model. They undermine financial company profit models, pension fund liability assumptions, and seriously work to reduce the attractiveness of lending money and financial liquidity by eliminating the ability to do repo finance. But don’t worry, since the central banks will save the day by buying corporate debt. Isn’t that what the Japan’s central bank did, as well as the ECB? And what have these policies achieved in terms of real economic growth? Very little! And now we have members of the Fed actually discussing and agreeing that a negative rate can be effective and appropriate. In other words, penetrating the zero-rate boundary will broaden their policy options. Again, the Fed is clueless and is working with inadequate and ineffectual sets of econometric models.

Negative rate policies distort the economic and financial market systems. The unintended consequences from these policies will be significant and harmful. To deploy capital successfully, the potential list of companies is most likely very limited. At the very minimum, potential target companies should have extremely strong balance sheets to weather the oncoming economic and financial market tsunami. They should also have strong market positions. My guess few companies, with this limited set of criteria, would be attractively priced. Thus, a high level of liquidity is necessary. Finally, escaping to long-term bonds is similar to investing in equites, since their effective durations have volatility characteristics like those of equities.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Stock markets are waiting with baited breath to hear what the ECB has planned on Thursday. The bond markets have priced in a flotilla of policy easing tools such as negative short-term interest rates, deeper negative deposit rates, a tiered deposit rate to aid the banking sector and a fresh round of quantitative easing. The strong momentum push in bonds to a record total of negative yields priced in all of these initiatives.



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September 10 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Why 47,000 grocery workers in California may go on strike

This article from CNN may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

He makes $21 an hour, but his wages have not risen in five years. He hopes a new contract will help him and his co-workers keep pace with California's cost of living increases. Prices in California are rising nearly twice as fast as the rest of the country, according to the Labor Department.

"We're on the front lines. We work in the stores. We're pulling in the money," Escarcega said. "We're not being taken care of so that's why we're here."

Escarcega said that going on a strike would be a "last resort" for employees, but that "everybody wants to speak up and get what we deserve."

Grocery workers often have more leverage in negotiations with employers than other retail workers because groceries are perishable and companies can ill-afford work slowdowns, experts say.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Minimum wages in California were $10 in 2016 and have risen increments over the last few years. They are due to hit $15 an hour in July next year. The predictable result of those increases is to cause people who were previously making above minimum wage to demand more money for the same job. It comes down to basic human psychology. No one wants to think of themselves as a minimum wage worker so when the lowest rate rises everyone wants to sustain their buffer to enhance their own feeling of self-worth. That might be considered the push side of the argument.



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September 10 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Northern Ireland-Only Backstop Mooted as Way to Pass Brexit Deal

This article by Kitty Donaldson for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Johnson, who will meet DUP leaders in London on Tuesday, no longer has a working majority after 21 Tory MPs were expelled over their support for the legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit. He’ll have to rely on Labour votes to get a deal passed, even if he can convince the DUP to come back on board.

“The Tory Party has been entirely in hock to the DUP ever since they lost their majority,” Boles said at the launch of the group on Tuesday, referring to the disastrous 2017 general election. The party “is no longer dependent on the DUP for a majority because it doesn’t have a majority because it fired its majority last week.”

 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Theresa May hamstrung the UK’s negotiating position by being forced to go into coalition with the DUP following her failed grab for power in calling an early election. The clearest answer to the backstop argument is to draw the border down the middle of the Irish Sea instead of between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.



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September 09 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 9th 2019

September 09 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Says Growth Is Fine. Private Data Show a Sharper Slowdown

This article by Mike Bird and Lucy Craymer for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

SpaceKnow tracks about 6,000 industrial locations in China and analyzes data on night-light luminosity and infrared bands—indicators of heat produced by electricity or factories—from about half those sites roughly every two weeks. It produces a proprietary index that has become a leading Chinese PMI indicator used by hedge funds, central banks and policy makers, said CEO Jeremy Fand.

“You can see factories suddenly go quiet, giant subdivisions, huge construction projects just get halted,” said Mr. Fand. In August, SpaceKnow’s index pointed to a slight expansion, coming close to official figures that analysts said reflected a pickup in production before more U.S. tariffs came into effect.

Mr. Fand said the company is also working on a project for a U.S. government agency that is trying to analyze the impact of U.S. tariffs on China’s economy and certain industries.

Last December, U.S. exchange operator Nasdaq Inc. bought an alternative-data business called Quandl Inc. Bill Dague, a data scientist leading alternative research at Quandl, has traveled to China in recent months to hunt for new data sets for clients.

“Because it is so hard to get data out of China, demand has surpassed supply,” he said, adding that escalating U.S.-China tensions have made domestic data vendors less willing to share information with U.S. companies.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Nothing is ever as it seems in China. Investors were willing to look past that fact while the economy was posting world-beating growth. With the expansion slowing investors now have a clear incentive to do whatever is necessary to find accurate data on both the quality and quantity of the economic expansion.



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September 09 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

A Wide Range of Testing Results on an Excellent Lithium-Ion Cell Chemistry to be used as Benchmarks for New Battery Technologies

Thanks to a subscriber for this report which may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section from the introduction:

We present a wide range of testing results on an excellent moderate-energy-density lithium-ion pouch cell chemistry to serve as benchmarks for academics and companies developing advanced lithium-ion and other “beyond lithium-ion” cell chemistries to (hopefully)exceed. These results are far superior to those that have been used by researchers modelling cell failure mechanisms and as such, these results are more representative of modern Li-ion cells and should be adopted by modellers. Up to three years of testing has been completed for some of the tests. Tests include long-term charge-discharge cycling at 20,40 and 55°C, long-term storage at 20,40 and 55°C, and high precision coulometry at 40°C.Several different electrolytes are considered in this LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2/graphite chemistry, including those that can promote fast charging. The reasons for cell performance degradation and impedance growth are examined using several methods. We conclude that cells of this type should be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) and last at least two decades in grid energy storage. The authors acknowledge that other cell format-dependent loss, if any, (e.g. cylindrical vs. pouch) may not be captured in these experiments.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The potential electric vehicles with modern battery chemistries to run for upwards of 1,000,000 miles range is a serious gamechanger. That is particularly true for the haulage sector where diesel’s longevity and fuel efficiency have been unchallenged for decades.  



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September 09 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

ECB Needs a Bazooka to Validate Richness of Bund Valuations

This note by Tanvir Sandhu for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers.

Concerns about ECB underdelivering keeps the pressure on bunds. A wide range of possible outcomes from Thursday’s meeting slants towards near-term profit taking of very rich valuations.

ECB speakers have been trying to dial back the extreme easing expectations priced by markets to give Draghi some room to surprise, but the hurdle still remains high

Policy makers will need to be aggressive on rates and keep the future path suppressed otherwise a modest depo rate cut risks seeing EUR rates continue to sell off in the near-term given the impact of the lower bound on the curve

From a macro valuation perspective there is room to sell off (with fair value of -0.43%)

Setting the path to go deeply negative on rates and lifting the buying limits on any QE announcement to make it scalable is key to seeing bunds extend the rally in the short term; however, positioning for a disappointment via options is still worth looking at given the difficulty for Draghi to engineer a dovish surprise

Eoin Treacy's view -

The ECB has quite a dilemma in front of it. The short end of the yield curve is sporting negative yields for just about all sovereigns. However, when we look at the shape of the yield curve for individual countries, compared to the Eurozone as a whole, we get two very different pictures.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

U.S. Stocks Rise After Jobs Report, Before Powell: Markets Wrap

This article by Randall Jensen and Vildana Hajric for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

U.S. stocks edged higher, and Treasuries inched lower after a mixed jobs report fueled bets the Federal Reserve will cut rates in two weeks. The dollar declined.

The S&P 500 headed for its second weekly gain as investors keyed on underlying strength in the report that signaled a solid labor market that isn’t too strong to deter further central bank easing. Megacap technology stocks weighed on benchmarks after New York opened an antitrust probe into Facebook Inc.

The 10-year Treasury yield erased most of its earlier gains, while the dollar headed for its fourth straight fall following the payroll numbers. Chairman Jerome Powell is set to make public remarks Friday. Crude sank toward $55 a barrel in New York.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The bond market has already priced in at least a 25-basis point cut so the soft jobs report confirms the need for additional easier policy. China also cut its bank reserve requirements today in an effort to extend credit. The ECB is expected to announce some form of easing when it meets next week and the region’s bond markets have been busy pricing in a negative short-term interest rate. All of these measures contribute to stimulative measures.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Diversity of real Assets: Portfolio construction for Institutional Investors

Thanks to a subscriber for this report from PGIM which may be of interest. Here is a section on gold:

We treat gold as a separate real asset type due to its well-accepted role as a store of value. Gold enjoyed more than a 10-fold price increase from the 1970s through its peak reflecting a period of rapid inflation. During periods of inflation uncertainty, investors seek gold as an inflation hedge.41 Similarly, gold may be a good recession hedge. In 2007-2008, while the S&P 500 was down -18.5% gold was up 16.6%, and in 2001-2002, while the S&P 500 was down -17.2% gold was up 12.1%. Investors can invest in physical gold but that incurs storage and insurance costs. Investors can also invest in COMEX gold futures (which trades the gold equivalent of 27m ounces per day). The roll yield on gold futures has been only slightly negative (-0.2% from 1996 to 2017). Investors may also invest in gold mining stocks and can enter into gold royalty agreements. Although gold is an under-owned institutional asset, some institutional investors such as government pension funds have target allocations to gold-related assets (including derivatives).

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report is posted in the Subcsriber's Area.

Gold is a hedge against uncertainty but perhaps most importantly against the worst inclinations of governments to debase their currencies. While there is a clear trend towards that latter point moving into overdrive all over the world, the gold market is notoriously volatile and we still do have a clear idea of what the consistency characteristics of the evolving medium-term trend are going to be.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Samsung's take on the world of 2069

This article from NewAtlas may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Despite this, such exercises can be both entertaining and useful for looking at how to meet the challenges of tomorrow, so they're anything but a waste of time. For the Samsung KX50 report, which was released to coincide with the opening of the new Samsung KX exhibition at Coal Drops Yard, London, the company called on President of techUK, Jacqueline de Rojas; Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, Rhys Morgan; food futurologist, Morgaine Gale; digital health futurist, Maneesh Juneja; Specialist Advisor to Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art, Dale Russel; and leading futurist, Matthew Griffin to pen essays on their take on the world 50 years from today.

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is a good chance that by 2069 we will familiar with fusion technology, artificial intelligence predicting out every move and catering to our needs and a global population that is well past its peak expansion.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Killer Superbugs Show No Mercy for Cancer Victims

This article by Jason Gale for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Doctors in India are sounding the alarm over a threat to cancer patients that’s proving deadlier than tumors: untreatable infections from superbugs impervious to existing medications.

Patients undergoing chemotherapy in the country are at the front line of the worldwide spread of bacteria that the most potent antibiotics can’t fight. Bloodstream infections caused by these superbugs have become the leading cause of illness and death in leukemia patients, doctors from India’s top-ranked medical college reported last year.

That frightening reality has forced patients to weigh fighting their deadly malignancies with treatments against the probability of dying sooner from an incurable infection. In India, some 1.7 million receive a cancer diagnosis every year, often leading to chemotherapy that makes them especially vulnerable. Worldwide, at least 700,000 people die annually from drug-resistant infections. That number will balloon to 10 million a year by 2050 and will cost more than $100 trillion in lost economic output without corrective actions, according to a U.K. government study, which estimates that by midcentury more people will die from superbug infections than from cancer and diabetes combined.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a growing relentlessly which makes the drive to come up with effective treatments all the more urgent. Strides are being made in understanding how to combat the threat but everyone knows of someone who has contracted an infection in hospital at this stage. The problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 05 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 05 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

WeWork Is Said to Target IPO Valuation Far Below Last Round

This article by Michelle F. Davis, Giles Turner and Gillian Tan for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The outlook for the public debut of WeWork, which has racked up billions of dollars in losses in recent years as the company funds grand ambitions, is cooling after the disappointments of other major IPOs this year such as Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. That could put pressure on WeWork, which has a mammoth credit line tied to the success of the IPO, as well as SoftBank Group Corp., which invested at a $47 billion valuation earlier this year.

“They would probably price this thing at the more conservative end, maybe in the $20 billion range, given that the company is trying to raise more money,” said Phil Haslett, co-founder of EquityZen, a marketplace for private stock sales.

Potential terms for the share sale are still being discussed, and the eventual valuation could change depending on investor demand, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. A representative for WeWork, whose parent is The We Co., declined to comment.

Eoin Treacy's view -

One of the most memorable moments from a Marcus Evans conference I attended earlier this year was the conversation I had with one of the other delegates at dinner. He was a long/short equity manager at Pimco, but had been recruited by one of his clients to run a venture fund which would be seeded with about $200 million. He was at the conference to make contacts because he hadn’t the foggiest idea how to invest in private companies. His client was being attracted by stories of instant wealth and almost risk-free returns in what has the “no brainer” investment of the last decade.



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September 05 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Apple Leads Corporate Bond Bonanza

This article by Matt Wirz and Nina Trentmann for the Wall Street Journal many of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Apple Inc. on Wednesday joined U.S. companies including Deere & Co. and Walt Disney Co. in a recent sprint to issue new bonds, taking advantage of the steep decline in benchmark interest rates and a surge in investor demand.

Apple launched its first bond deal since 2017, selling $7 billion of debt. All three companies issued 30-year bonds with yields below 3%, a first for the corporate debt market.

Twenty-one companies with investment-grade credit ratings issued bonds totaling about $27 billion on Tuesday, said Andrew Karp, head of investment-grade capital markets at Bank of America Corp. “That’s equivalent to a busy week for us—in one day,” he said. About 20 more companies were expected to issue investment-grade bonds Wednesday.

The issuance boom is one consequence of a rally in debt that has driven down Treasury yields, which fall as bond prices rise, to near-record lows. Spurred by concerns that slowing growth and a mounting trade conflict will end the decadelong global economic expansion, investors have swept up government bonds around the world, pulling yields in many countries into negative territory. Bonds issued by name-brand corporations give investors a relatively safe alternative that still pays more than government bonds.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Anyone with any sense is either refinancing or issuing debt at these levels. There is a cacophony of people talking about the US following Europe and Japan into negative rates. That is a possibility but the bigger question is when? It does not look likely before the end of the year and in the meantime, there is a wave of corporate and sovereign bond issuance for the market to digest.



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September 05 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Unlikely Chinese Cities Where House Prices Rival London

This article from Bloomberg News may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

 

London, Seattle, Manchester and, um, Xiamen. Some of the world’s priciest housing markets aren’t where you might think. A four-year property boom in China has elevated a collection of little-known cities and turned them into real estate gold.

While that’s been great news for speculators, it’s raising concern about whether China’s educated middle-class is quickly being priced out of these so-called second-tier cities, undermining Beijing’s goal of making them home to the millions moving from rural areas. Another risk is increasingly stretched family budgets: The average household debt-to-income ratio in China soared to a record 92% last year from just 30% a decade ago.

“A property bubble is foaming up in many places in China,” said Chen Gong, the chief researcher at independent strategic think tank Anbound Consulting. “Prices are starting to look
abnormal when compared to residents’ income.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

When something sounds crazy, that’s usually because it is. Xiamen is a smallish city, by Chinese standards, in Fujian. It’s a long way from any of the other coastal metropolis’ stature so its rise as one of the most expensive places in the world to buy property is further evidence of another bubble inflating in financial assets, this time in China.



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September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 4th 2019

September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Stocks Advance as Risks Recede; Greenback Slides

This article by Randall Jensen and Vildana Hajric for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Stocks in Hong Kong leaped the most since 2018 after embattled leader Carrie Lam said she formally withdrew legislation to allow extraditions to China, the detonator for three months of often-violent protests. In the U.K., the pound surged after Parliament took a crucial first step to block a no-deal Brexit. The euro advanced after purchasing managers indexes for the region beat expectations, while the onshore Chinese yuan gained following another stronger-than-forecast currency fixing.

“The main news is geopolitical, with less risk in Hong Kong, and Italy and the U.K. Investors are reacting positively to the lower geopolitical risks even though there’s still concerns over trade tensions as well as slower economic growth,” said Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones. “Overall, it’s a positive day. It’s about offsetting the worries of yesterday which really focused, I think, on geopolitical risks.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Italy has a new government, at least for a while, the Hong Kong protestors got what they originally asked for but their demands have swollen considerably since then, the UK may be heading for an election, but could still end up with a hung parliament and factory figures are not quite as disastrous as many people were worried about. I think it is safe to say that these are modest improvements. Perhaps it would be better to look elsewhere for the reason behind the bounce in equities today.



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September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Why Peak gold is Fake News

This article by Mickey Fulp for Kitco.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

However, the following chart illustrates the severe decline in production, i.e., peak gold, by the six largest gold miners. This particular group of companies has gone steadily downhill from an all-time high of 955 tonnes, or over 40% of world production in 2006, to a multi-decade low of 705 tonnes, or 22.5% of world production in 2017.

So not only are majors declining in the numbers of ounces (-26% over 12 years), they have also lost a significant share of the world gold mining market (-18%):

We have shown that the current narrative promulgated for peak gold applies to the major gold miners only and not for the gold mining industry as a whole. That said, the data presented above cover a relatively short time frame of 19 years: the end of a bear market for gold (2000-2002); a long bull market cycle (2003-2012); a relatively short but deep bear market (2013-2015); and a lower, range-bound gold price over the past three years (2016-2018).

To fully assess the idea of peak gold, I submit we must take a much longer-term view and determine what factors drive mining of the yellow metal.

According to the USGS, world gold production increased from 386 tonnes in 1900 to 3150 tonnes in 2017. That is an eight times increase and an average gain of 1.8% per year:

Eoin Treacy's view -

Mines are wasting assets by definition and the only way to continue to increase production is to spend more money on digging deeper. If that cost can be contained by technological advances then the mine can make a profit, otherwise they are wholly dependent on the price of the commodity rising to justify the expenditure. Therefore, secular bull markets in commodities are defined by a rise in marginal cost of production to a sufficiently high level which encourages new supply into the market.



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September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The great deficit gamble

This article by Robert J. Samuelson for the Washington Post may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The irony is that both Republicans and Democrats are partially right. Presidents and Congresses of both parties have delayed for so long in addressing these problems that there is no gentle way to push the budget back toward balance without inflicting real pain: deep spending cuts and higher taxes. In the 1990s and early 2000s, a less disruptive approach might have been possible. There were many warnings and almost no action.

The best we could have expected is that the president and Congress wouldn’t make the problems worse. But they are. The implicit hope of present policy is that the world’s demand for “safe assets” — mainly U.S. Treasury securities — means that we can spend more than we tax, with the shortfall being made up by perpetual borrowing.

This is a high-stakes gamble. The possible ways in which a world sated with dollar securities could trigger a financial or economic crisis are many. The consequences of a run on the dollar — the currency most held by multinational firms, international banks, investors and traders — would clearly destabilize the world economy. A prudent society would recognize this and take preventive steps.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Fed’s balance sheet run-off which began in earnest at the beginning of 2018 is still underway with the total hitting a new reaction low last week despite Fed claims to the contrary. Maturing mortgages and early prepayments, in part driven by low interest rates are the most likely reason, with a disparity between redemptions and the quantity reinvested in Treasuries. That suggests a shortage of Dollars internationally.



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September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Eoin's personal portfolio: crypto long increased July 15th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

One of the most commonly asked questions by subscribers is how to find details of my open traders. In an effort to make it easier I will simply repost the latest summary daily until there is a change. I'll change the title to the date of publication of new details so you will know when the information was provided. 



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 3rd 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discusseded include: Xi Jinping's speech and support for the stock market, gold and silver resurgent, bonds look overstretched, Euro and Pound steady from their lows, Japan steady, Wall Street closes off its lows. 



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Is an inflation resurgence credible?

Eoin Treacy's view -

At the end of last year, a return of inflation was assumed to be inevitable with the 10-year Treasury yield trading comfortably above 3%, commodity prices recovering, wages marching higher, full employment and high capacity utilisation. The perspective could not be more different today.

Interminable deflation has been priced in to Treasury yields as they test the lows of the last eight years. Commodity prices are under pressure, the trade war has resulted in a number of export dependent nations flirting with recessions, purchasing managers indices suggest contracting manufacturing activity and an inverted yield curve has started the clock on the next recession. Meanwhile gold has exploded on the upside to complete a six-year base formation.



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

What Is a Tech Company?

I found this a thoughtful article from the Stratechery blog discussing what should qualify as a technology company. Here is a section on Netflix:

The question of whether companies are tech companies, then, depends on how much of their business is governed by software’s unique characteristics, and how much is limited by real world factors. Consider Netflix, a company that both competes with traditional television and movie companies yet is also considered a tech company:

There is no real software-created ecosystem.
Netflix shows are delivered at zero marginal costs without the need to pay distributors (although bandwidth bills are significant).
Netflix’s product improves over time.
Netflix is able to serve the entire world because of software, giving them far more leverage than much of their competition.
Netflix can transact with anyone with a self-serve model.

Netflix checks four of the five boxes.

Eoin Treacy's view -

TV shows and movies are delivered at no additional marginal cost once produced. That is true but they do not have the same residual value as software because unless the show is particularly good the vast majority of people will never watch it again.



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

India May Have Entered 'Quasi-Recession' as Growth Plummets

This article by Ronojoy Mazumdar for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Official data on Friday showed that gross domestic product in Asia’s No. 3 economy grew 5% in April-June from a year earlier, below the weakest estimate of 39 economists polled by Bloomberg and the slowest pace in six years. The five straight quarters of slowing growth mark the longest slump since 2012.
 
Under the hood, the numbers offer more cause for concern on whether output – once adjusted for inflation -- will increase fast enough to ensure borrowers cover their interest payments. A Bloomberg gauge of high-frequency indicators suggests that economic activity continued to weaken in July, with investment and consumption both falling. Economists at Nirmal Bang expect GDP growth to bottom out in the quarter ending September but believe that “a counter-cyclical government spending boost is required.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The consolidation of the state-owned banking sector announced last week is a positive. India is a fast-growing economy with strong potential to become a future manufacturing powerhouse not least because factories are seeking a new home as they exit China.



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on podcasts and videos

I this a new feature?  I hope so. Never noticed it before, it's fab. All really interesting, please make it permanent! Hope you're well.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for the feedback. I believe Fullermoney was among the first services anywhere to offer the kind of audio commentaries which are now referred to as podcasts. The first was on March 2nd 2004 and they have been a daily feature of the service for over 15 years. The first video version of the Subscriber’s Audio I recorded was on October 4th 2016. In the past three years many more services, particularly asset managers, have chosen to use both audio and video media to convey their messages because of the popularity of the medium. I’m increasingly coming into contact with these reports and I will post those I believe are of interest to the Collective on Fridays.



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September 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

U.K. Election Threat Looms as Johnson Fights Tory Brexit Rebels

This article by Tim Ross, Kitty Donaldson and Alex Morales for Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section:

Talk of an early election highlights the make-or-break nature of this week for Johnson’s leadership and for the country as a whole. Since he became prime minister in July, Johnson has made it his mission to prepare the U.K. to leave the EU by the Oct. 31 deadline even if that means tumbling out of the 28-country bloc with no deal to cushion the blow to trade.

Many politicians inside his own Conservative Party are unwilling to go along with this plan, believing it will hit the economy, sparking a recession and a crash in the currency and house prices. They have been trying to work out a way to stop the premier forcing through a no-deal Brexit that would damage the economy and leave businesses and citizens facing legal chaos.

 

Eoin Treacy's view -

I will repeat my view that the only way for the UK to get what it wants from negotiations is to present a credible case for leaving without a deal. You have to be willing to walk away unless you get what you want. Even if it is a bluff, it needs to be even more credible. The problem is in a parliament riven by indecision, competing allegiances and electrical arithmetic there is no consensus even on what the best negotiation tactic is.



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September 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Sydney and Melbourne house values rocket on lower rates

This article by Shane Wright and Eryk Bagshaw for the Sydney Morning Herald may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

While stronger over the past quarter, values in the two cities are still down over the year. House values in Sydney are off by 7.7 per cent since August last year while in Melbourne they are down by 8.7 per cent.

There was a solid lift of 1.1 per cent in Canberra house values over the month while in Hobart they increased by 0.8 per cent.

But elsewhere values were down. They dropped another 1.6 per cent in Darwin with total house values down by 11.1 per cent over the past year. They dropped by 0.6 per cent in Perth, by 0.3 per cent in Adelaide while they were flat in Brisbane.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Perhaps the most important point about the Australian financial sector is the Royal Commission has concluded without a knock-out blow for the banks.
 



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September 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Indonesia Set to Halt Nickel Ore Exports From End December

This article by Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja  for the Straits Times may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said on Friday that the nickel export curbs are "in line with President Joko Widodo's directives".

Indonesia's current account deficit reached US$31.1 billion (S$43.2 billion) in 2018. The widening deficits were an issue Mr Joko's political opponents frequently played up during his presidential campaign ahead of the April election. Mr Joko will be sworn in on Oct 20 to begin his second and final five-year term.

A senior government official had earlier argued that Indonesia could have recorded even higher deficits had the country not boosted efforts to climb up the value chain in the iron and steel sector, encouraging investors to build plants at home to process raw nickel into intermediate products such as stainless steel slabs.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Indonesia has long sought to gain more economic benefit from its commodity exports. That was particularly true of the tin market when exports were limited to refined products in 2013. The aim was to try and build up the domestic refining business but the collapse in prices in 2014 and 2015 killed off that idea. It now appears Indonesia is attempting to do something similar with nickel exports.



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August 30 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

August 30 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on how to trade a bubble and its impact on gold

What is likely to happen to the price of precious metals if a bubble in equities arises for all the reasons that you have stated. Precious metals appear to fall each day that equities perform well. Which sectors/countries are the likely leaders If there is an equities bubble or will we need to wait for the charts to tell us?

Eoin Treacy's view -

Gold has rallied impressively to complete a six-year base. The catalyst for that move was the perception the ECB is about to move interest rates below zero. That spurred a massive move in bonds that has created a situation where $17 trillion in nominal bonds are trading with negative yields in Europe and Japan.



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August 30 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Modi Creates Big Banks to Buoy Worse-Than-Expected India Growth

This article by Suvashree Ghosh, Siddhartha Singh and Shruti Srivastava for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“Just increasing the size of balance sheets and combining operations of banks will only reduce the number of state-owned lenders but asset quality stress is unlikely to be taken care of,” said Avinash Gorakshakar, head of research at Joindre Capital Services Ltd. in Mumbai. “The bigger issue still remains as how risk profiling would improve banks’ bad-loan ratio ahead.”

After returning to power with a stronger mandate, Modi has been grappling with an economy still hurting from the fallout of his cash ban in 2016 and the botched rollout of a nationwide sales tax. A bad-loan clean up in the banking sector has contained credit to companies and a crisis among shadow lenders is denying consumers loans to buy goods like cars and refrigerators. Meanwhile unemployment is at a 45-year high as companies refrain from new investments.

Data on Friday showed gross domestic product growth slowed for a fifth straight quarter to 5% in the three months ended June. That’s slower than the 5.7% expansion predicted in a Bloomberg survey. The rupee pared gains in the offshore market.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Crude oil’s weakness and the compression of India’s sovereign bond yields represent important tailwinds for the Indian economy which should help to stabilise growth not least because they should offer the RBI space to cut rates even further.



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August 30 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

RBA Says Household Debt Could Complicate Future Rate Decisions

This article by Chris Bourke for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Reserve Bank of Australia comments in 2019/20 corporate plan released on website Friday.

“Over 2019/20 to 2022/23, the structure of the Australian economy will continue to evolve and economic shocks -- which, by definition, are not forecastable -- will occur. Movements in asset values and leverage may be more important for economic developments than in the past given the already high levels of debt on household balance sheets”

“Especially in the context of weak growth in household income, high debt levels could complicate future monetary policy decisions by making the economy less resilient to shocks”

“The flexible medium-term inflation target is the centerpiece of the monetary policy framework in Australia and has been well established for more than two decades. Since the early 1990s, it has provided the foundation for the bank to achieve its monetary policy objectives by providing an anchor for inflation expectations. The bank will remain alert to new developments that may have a bearing on the framework for monetary policy”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Australian Dollar remains in a medium-term downtrend, moving to a new closing low today. With energy and iron-ore prices declining and the domestic housing market in a parlous condition the RBA may be required to embark on the same counter deflationary measures other developed markets have endured over the last decade.



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August 30 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

August 29 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for August 29th 2019

August 29 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Stock dividends are yielding more than the 30-year Treasury bond for the first time in a decade

This article from CNBC may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

For the first time since 2009, S&P 500′s dividend is yielding more than 30-year Treasury bonds.

The only other similar inversion in the past four decades came in March 2009 — a low point of the financial crisis, according to data from Bespoke Investment Group. But it might bode well for stocks as investors have few other options to find yields.

“For an investor looking to hold something for the long term, it makes equities relatively attractive,” says Bespoke’s Paul Hickey. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

The contraction in government bond yields, globally, have driven demand for higher yielding assets. It has been one of the primary factors in containing risk in the high yield sector and it is also likely to continue to represent a major factor in the ability of the primary indices to continue to hold in the region of their peaks.



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August 29 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Three Big Issues and the 1930s Analogue

This article by Ray Dalio may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Since then, we have had a mirror-like symmetrical reversal (a dis/deflationary blow-off). Look at the current inflation rates at the current cyclical peaks (i.e. not much inflation despite the world economy and financial markets being near a peak and despite all the central banks’ money printing) and imagine what they will be at the next cyclical lows. That is because there are strong deflationary forces at work as productive capacity has increased greatly. These forces are creating the need for extremely loose monetary policies that are forcing central banks to drive interest rates to such low levels and will lead to enormous deficits that are monetized, which is creating the blow-off in bonds that is the reciprocal of the 1980-82 blow-off in gold. The charts below show the 30-year T-bond returns from that 1980-82 period until now, which highlight the blow-off in bonds.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Today’s 7-year auction of Treasuries came in well below expectations suggesting at least some reticence to participate at decade-low yields. The effect on yields was minimal but we did see a pause in the run-up in gold.



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August 29 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

U.S. Glut in Natural-Gas Supply Goes Global

This article by Ryan Dezember for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Earlier this month Freeport LNG Development LP’s export terminal in a beach town south of Houston began buying and liquefying gas with the expectation of sending out its maiden cargo in September. The Freeport facility, the fifth to begin operating in the lower 48 states since the first opened in early 2016, should help push gas consumption from LNG exporters to a new high. Last week, a record nine LNG vessels left the U.S. carrying cargoes, according to Jefferies Financial Group Inc.

In July, LNG exporters consumed an average of about 6 billion cubic feet of gas per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That is the most yet and is equal to roughly 7% of total U.S. gas production. Analysts expect demand from LNG facilities to absorb about 12% of total production by next summer as additional facilities start up and existing terminals boost their capacity.

But if those projects are delayed because of low prices overseas or if existing LNG plants slow down or take advantage of the lull to perform extended maintenance, then the domestic gas market could be swamped, sending prices even lower.

“If that demand goes away even for a couple months, it becomes a real problem for the balance of the market,” said Welles Fitzpatrick, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Natural gas is a commodity widely associated with the rise of the global middle class. As living standards improve, and infrastructure is laid down, demand for cleaner burning fuels trends higher. The big change in the market over the last few years has been the creation of the global market for natural gas. Prior to this it was primarily a regional market because of a lack of transportation options. Significant investment in LNG terminals all over the world is turning the USA, Australia and potentially Canada into natural gas exporting giants to compete with Russia and Qatar. That represents a significant change to the status quo.



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August 29 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Chinese Military Vehicles Just Entered Hong Kong. Beijing Says There's Nothing to Worry About.

This article from vice.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that this was the 22nd rotation of the People’s Liberation Army’s garrison in Hong Kong. The previous one was in August 2018.

However, after each of the last two years’ rotations, the PLA stated that the number of troops would remain the same. There was no such statement this year, sparking speculation that China may be planning to increase its military presence on Hong Kong.

Xinhua also reported that the new troops had undergone training “to master military skills and knowledge about the general situation in Hong Kong and relevant laws.”

Experts said the unusually early report from the Xinhua News Agency, which was published at 4 a.m. local time, was designed to allay fears of Chinese military intervention and prevent any further instability in Hong Kong.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The timeliness of the Xinhua article served the dual purpose of avoiding panic but also sending a none too subtle message that China has resources that can be brought to bear on the civil unrest if it so wishes.



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August 28 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

August 28 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Longest Parliament Suspension in Decades Tests U.K. Constitution

This article by Thomas Penny for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

With just over two months until Johnson’s self-imposed deadline to leave the European Union with or without a deal on Oct. 31, every day is going to count. And since Johnson wants a new Queen’s Speech to set out his government’s legislative agenda, which is usually followed by five days of debate, it will be more like two weeks of parliamentary time lost.

While suspensions of as much as two months were common in the 19th century, most prorogations of Parliament in recent decades have lasted for less than a week. Johnson’s suspension for 35 days will be the longest since the 1970s, according to the House of Commons library.

The U.K. doesn’t have a written constitution and, within reason, governments can do whatever they like as long as they have a parliamentary majority. But given that a number of ex-ministers -- including former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Theresa May’s Justice Secretary David Gauke, have already attacked his move, that is far from guaranteed.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Exiting the EU and retaking the ability to set its own rules and regulations is a once in a generation opportunity to recast the UK’s economy as a pro-growth engine for innovation and trade. Grasping that opportunity is the only way the UK will make a success of Brexit, so it is imperative that the raft of measures proposed in September is not simply a commitment to double down on spending without a plan to grow.



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August 28 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Homeowners are sitting on a record amount of cash, but they're not really tapping it

This article by Dina Olick for CNBC may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

So-called tappable equity grew by more than $335 billion during the quarter. The total is 26% more than the mid-2006 peak of $5 trillion. Roughly 45 million mortgage holders have excess equity, and half of them have mortgage rates higher than 4.25%, making a refinance not only possible but attractive. The average rate on the 30-year fixed is now around 3.6%. The majority of these borrowers also have top credit scores.

Falling mortgage rates over the past several months have caused a surge in overall refinance activity, but despite the record housing wealth, homeowners have been highly conservative about taking cash out. In 2006, 89% of refinances were cash-out, according to Freddie Mac. In 2012, when home prices crashed, that share dropped to 12%. But even now, with prices back above their previous peak and mortgage rates much lower, cash-out refinances are just 61% of the total pool of refinances.

“I think you’re seeing a little bit of reluctance both on the side of lenders and on the side of borrowers,” said Andy Walden, director of market research at Black Knight. “If you look at lending, guidelines are a little bit tighter than they were back in 2006, but even given those lending restrictions, I think you’re seeing more conservative behavior on behalf of homeowners as well, as folks have the remembrance of the financial crisis in the rearview mirror.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

I was at an end-of-summer party on Saturday night and conversation turned to mortgage refinancing. About half of the people I was talking with had used low rates over the last 18 months to refinance at about 3.5% while the rest had not done so yet. Mortgage rates have done a round trip from 3.5% to 5% and back again over the last year and there is still scope for the rate to move lower. That is going to put additional cash in the pockets of the people most likely to invest in the stock market.



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August 28 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Precious metals' ratios

Eoin Treacy's view -

We’ve seen some important moves in gold and the precious metals over the last couple of months with the yellow metal emphatically breaking out of a six-year range base formation. The total of debt with negative yields is an important support for prices but the broader conclusion that competitive currency devaluation is now a reality is a more important bullish medium-term catalyst.



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August 27 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

August 27 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Plenty to Worry About, but Not Much to Do

Thanks to a subscriber for this note by Byron Wein which may be of interest. Here is a section: 

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to this note is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

One of the most important considerations is that there is a great deal of cash sitting on the side lines. If I think about the investment committees I sit on, most have a lot of cash, and most participants on calls are very cautious. On the other hand, the funds I have more control over are still fully invested. The fear being voiced is a symptom of the fact the stock market has been ranging for more than 18 months amid some acute bouts of volatility.



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August 27 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Gold Climbs To A More Than 6-year High; Silver At Highest In Over 2 Years

This note from MarketWatch may be of interest.

Gold and silver futures rose on Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-higher-but-silver-sets-the-pace-2019-08- 7), with gold settling at a level not seen since 2013, and silver scoring its highest finish in more than two years. Prices for the precious metals got a boost from losses in the U.S. stock market, a drop in Treasury bond yields and a weaker dollar--all of which helped lift the metals' investment appeal. December gold climbed by $14.60, or 1%, to settle at $1,551.80 on Comex. That was the highest most-active contract settlement since April 2013, according to FactSet data. September silver added 51.2 cents, or 2.9%, to end at $18.153 an ounce, the highest since April 2017

Eoin Treacy's view -

The continued compression of government bond yields is creating significant demand for gold as a hedge against competitive currency devaluation. That is now starting to be manifested in other precious metals with silver playing catch up and platinum beginning to garner attention.



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August 27 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

OPEC+ Expects to Drain Oil Stocks as It Makes Supersized Cut

This article by Grant Smith for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

In response, the Saudis have reduced output by far more than pledged under the terms of the deal, and the coalition’s overall implementation rate last month was 59% above target, according to a statement posted on its website on Tuesday. That means the alliance cut supplies by about 1.9 million barrels a day.

OPEC signaled that the deeper-than-anticipated cutbacks had been necessary because of the extreme upheaval in the global economy.

“This high level of overall conformity has offset uncertainty in the market due to ongoing economic-growth worries,” according to the statement from the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, a body set up by OPEC and its allies to oversee implementation of their strategy.

“Along with healthy oil demand,” the supply restraints have “arrested global oil-inventories growth and should lead to significant draws in the second half of the year,” the committee said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Brent Crude is flirting with $60 and WTI is testing the $55 area. OPEC and Russia need a higher price to meet their domestic obligations. Meanwhile shale producers need a higher price to justify continued drilling and to help meet their debt obligations. That suggests the $50 area for WTI is a big level for the US domestic onshore sector because they cannot justify supply growth below that level. Despite this competition between OPEC and the Permian oil is trading in backwardation out to two-year maturities.



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August 26 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

August 26 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Trump Says China Talks Back on as Beijing Downplays Breakthrough

This article from Bloomberg News highlights the ebb and flow of commentary on the trade war. Here is a section:

“You can say we’re having very meaningful talks, much more meaningful than I would say at any time frankly,” Trump said while meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday. “Maybe I’m wrong but we’re in a stronger position now to do a deal, a fair deal for everyone,” he added.

Still, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry wasn’t able to immediately confirm the details of the phone calls on Monday. Later, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times newspaper, said in a tweet that top trade negotiators hadn’t spoken by phone in recent days and that Trump was exaggerating the significance of the trade contacts.

Trump later, at a separate bilateral meeting, insisted that calls were had at the highest level and was not aware that China was disputing them. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, also in Biarritz, said "there were discussions that went back and forth and let’s just leave it at that.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Let’s look past the rhetoric and repeated announcements of progress and focus instead on the purpose of the trade war. The USA is the current global superpower and China has clearly stated they wish to overtake the USA economically, technologically and militarily. That suggests there is little prospect of relation returning to the status quo of the last 30 years. The question is primarily about the degree of separation which can be achieved without sparking a broader conflict.



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August 26 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Global Money Notes #24 Sagittarius A*

This note from Credit Suisse may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Inflows into the foreign RRP facility are a case in point. Just as an inversion is forcing foreign central banks to latch on to the Fed for collateral, an inversion would force primary dealers and banks to latch on to the Fed for reserves, as weak demand for Treasuries from ultimate investors drives growing dealer inventories. The optics of what we just described are odd…

…as they imply the conflicted existence of two uncapped facilities: a foreign RRP facility that sterilizes reserves and adds to collateral supply and a standing repo facility or an asset purchase facility built to add reserves and absorb collateral. That makes no sense…

…it has to be one or the other. If the standing o/n repo facility or an asset purchase facility (or “mini-QEs”) are the future, an uncapped foreign RRP facility must be the past. Whether the Fed provides a technical fix with or without an uncapped foreign RRP facility, we don’t think a technical fix is the right solution for the problems caused by the inversion. All this brings us back to the rationale for more rate cuts – a series of rate cuts (see here).

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full note is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

The US Treasury has a substantial funding requirement this year with upwards of $600 billion in bonds maturing. Coupled with the increased demand for collateral from the reverse repo facility and the increased deficits agreed to as a way of avoiding a government shutdown that suggests significant bond issuance. Ensuring that issuance comes at as a low of yield as possible and with as long a maturity as possible is likely behind speculation on 50-year and 100-year bond issuance.



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August 26 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

New CRISPR Method Advances the Clock for Genetic Editing

This article by Adam Dachis for Extreme Tech may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

If genetic editing wasn’t crazy enough for your reality, a recent breakthrough in CRISPRtechnology has paved the way for editing entire gene networks in a single step.  While this discovery will likely shorten the timeframes required for finding cures for deadly illnesses, it can also bring us closer to threats of bioterrorism.

Scientists at ETH Zurich recently published a new CRISPR technique in Nature Methodsthat removes one of the most significant limitations of the technology.  Prior to this discovery, the process could only target a single gene for editing.  The ETH scientists now managed to target 25 at once and believe that, theoretically, this method could target hundreds.  Here’s how they describe the process:

Eoin Treacy's view -

An improvement of 25 times in one iteration is a further example of the exponential growth in the biotechnology sector. The pace with which genetic sequencing prices have collapsed far outpaced that of Moore’s Law and it is looking increasingly likely that genetic editing is following a similar trajectory.



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August 23 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

August 23 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Powell Says Economy in Favorable Place, Faces Significant Risks

This article by Craig Torres and Rich Miller for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“Trade policy uncertainty seems to be playing a role in the global slowdown and in weak manufacturing and capital spending in the United States,” Powell said in the text of his remarks Friday to central bankers gathered at the Kansas City Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “We will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2% objective.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

It is looking like the learning curve for a newly installed Fed chair is about 18 months. Today’s measured statement from Jerome Powell did an excellent job of placating investor fears while leaving open the optionality of how much to cut by. The Fed has made clear they will cut rates if they need to but will not hurry. However, the simultaneous announcement by China that they are increasing tariffs on $75 billion of US goods is likely to be prove the catalyst for deeper cuts.



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August 23 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

NYU professor calls WeWork 'WeWTF,' says any Wall Street analyst who believes it's worth over $10 billion is 'lying, stupid, or both'

This article by Scott Galloway for Business Insider may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Adam Neumann has sold $700 million in stock. As a founder, I've sold shares into a secondary offering to get some liquidity and diversify holdings. Ok, I get it. But 3/4 of a billion dollars? This is 700 million red flags that spell words on the field of a football field at halftime: "Get me the hell out of this stock, but YOU should buy some."

— Gross margins are a pretty decent proxy for how good or bad a business is. And this is a sh**ty business:

— Adam has several family members working in the business who make "less than $200,000."

— The ownership structure chart is similar to a hieroglyphic on a cave wall about the survival of the species: Harvest the crops when the sun is high in the horizon, do not venture over the hills, hostile tribes live there, and … don't buy this stock. The corporate governance structure of WeWTF makes Chinese firms look American, pre-big tech.

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is a growing risk the “liar loans” of this cycle are in the private equity space.



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August 23 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Panic Stations

This report by Charles Gave for GaveKal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

The massive move we have seen in European sovereign bonds is definitely representative of a buyer’s panic but the broader question is who is panicking? Pension funds and insurance companies spring to mind. What are they panicking about? There is a real prospect we are going to see the ECB announce negative short-term rates as well as a raft of additional measures which are clearly designed to boost liquidity but will come at the expense of savers. That suggests what we are seeing is potentially a buy the rumour and sell the news phenomenon.



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August 22 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for August 22nd 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discussed include: Baltic Dry Index rallying, Transportation Index weighed down by energy, banks steady, Renminbi hits new low, the markets continue to signal a requirement for additional stimulus, gold steady, oil eases.
 



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August 22 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Cass Freight Index Report July 2019

Thanks to a subscriber for this report which may be of interest. Here is a section:

We acknowledge that: all of these negative percentages are against extremely tough comparisons; and the Cass Shipments Index has gone negative before without being followed by a negative GDP. However, weakness in demand is now being seen across many modes of transportation, both domestically and internationally.

Although the initial Q2 ’19 GDP was positive, it was not as positive upon dissection, and we see a growing risk that GDP will go negative by year’s end.

The weakness in spot market pricing for many transportation services, especially trucking, is consistent with the negative Cass Shipments Index and, along with airfreight and railroad volume data, strengthens our concerns about the economy and the risk of ongoing trade policy disputes. Weakness in commodity prices, and the decline in interest rates, have joined the chorus of signals calling for an economic contraction.

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report is posted in the Subscriber's Area.

When retailers like Wal-Mart, Nordstrom and Target are announcing surprisingly good earnings and Amazon’s Prime Day continues to grow in turnover it is hard to square underperformance of transportation figures. Macy’s remains in a clear, potentially terminal, downtrend and there is still pressure on other brick and mortar chains but I suspect the underperformance of the lower volumes on the transportation index are down to other factors.



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August 22 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Hong Kong Retail Sales Plunge in August, Shop Association Says

This article by Cathy Chan for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Most Hong Kong retailers have seen sales drop more than 50% in August, according to the city’s Retail Management Association, as the ongoing political protests take a toll on business and the economy.

The association has urged landlords in the city to halve rents for six months to help tenants overcome difficult times, and has called on the government to provide relief measures to retailers, according to a press release. Retailers are facing large cash flow pressures and a few of them will cut jobs or even shut down if the situation continues to worsen, it said.

The release didn’t explain what period it was comparing August’s sales with. Hong Kong’s government expects the city’s businesses to continue to suffer this year. The value of retail sales dropped 6.7% in June from a year earlier, the fifth straight month of declines, while the overall economy contracted in the three months through June from the first quarter. Embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam said earlier this month that she saw “no room for optimism” for the economy this year.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Several hundred thousand people chanting slogans outside your store unsurprisingly puts a dent in sales. Vital tourist traffic has slowed to a trickle as the street protests have persisted for months. Importantly, mainland travellers are staying away and that is a problem for the Hong Kong economy.



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August 22 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on gold miners versus royalty streamers:

Gold: What's the difference between ROYALTY COS., and GOLD MINERS? Please explain.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this question which may be of interest to subscribers. Royalty companies typically provide seed capital or bridge financing for miners to reach full commercial production. In return for providing risk capital, they gain a percentage of production from the project at favourable rates in perpetuity. The best companies tend to invest in capital constrained environments like commodity bear markets and prosper in bull markets.



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August 21 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

August 21 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

World's First 30-Year Bond With Zero Coupon Flops in Germany

This article by John Ainger for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“This shows that there is less demand for 30-year bonds at negative yields,” said Marco Meijer, a senior fixed-income strategist at BNP Paribas SA. Still, Meijer doesn’t “see yields rising a lot in Europe.”

The whole of Germany’s yield curve is now below zero -- the first major market exhibiting such a trait -- meaning the government is effectively being paid to borrow out to 30 years. That’s a reflection of dwindling expectations for inflation and growth over the coming years, while the European Central Bank is widely forecast to introduce a new wave of monetary stimulus next month.

The sale comes as Germany is priming the pumps for extra spending should an economic crisis hit. While the nation is confined to strict laws on running a fiscal deficit, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz suggested Germany could muster 50 billion euros ($55 billion) should a recession hit. The economy contracted in the second quarter.

 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Bond market investors are not quite yet willing to be the Turkeys that vote for Christmas. Even the most bullish of momentum traders can see that locking in a zero return, at best, for maturities out to 2049 does not make for sense for long-term investors. However, it is also worth remembering that this situation is occurring in a global slowdown where growth is still positive. It portends even lower yields during a contraction.



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