Investment Themes - General

Search all article by their themes/tags in the search area
below for example “Energy” or “Technology”.

Search Results

Found 1000 results in General
November 02 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Wall Street Sees 'Devil's Bargain' in Powell's Rate Comments

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

“This is a devil’s bargain,” said Steve Chiavarone, senior portfolio manager at Federated Hermes. “Size of rate hikes will likely fall, but terminal rate is likely higher -- the implication is a greater number of smaller rate hikes. That is not dovish.” 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Jay Powell said in plain English it is better to overtighten, and cut later, than to under tighten and risk allowing inflation to become entrenched. That’s about as hawkish as it gets. The Fed wants a recession and they will keep going until they kill demand.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
November 02 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Central banks haven't bought this much gold since 1967

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

Turkey was the biggest buyer of gold during the quarter, followed by Uzbekistan (26.13 tons) and India (17.46 tons). Not all countries report their gold purchases regularly, so it’s difficult to know how much, for example, China and Russia bought during this same period.

India is also shoring up its gold reserves.

Indian consumers habitually purchase gold jewelry ahead of the festive season every October. But that aside, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) bought 13 tons of gold in July and 4 tons in September, pushing its reserves to 785 tons, according to the WGC.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Any foreign exchange and gold reserves Russia had overseas have been confiscated. That’s a big lesson for every country that is suspicious of NATO’s motives now and in the future. It is therefore reasonable for countries to favour gold over holding foreign currency because at least the gold is a physical entity that can be held internally. Nuclear weapons are now also a must have to defend against invasion for any country that holds opposing views to NATO.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
November 02 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

NASCAR driver stuns racing world with a move learned from Nintendo GameCube

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

To understand the advantage of Chastain's move, a little knowledge of racing physics comes in handy. Typically, when taking a tight turn on a racetrack, drivers brake to counteract forces that push their cars toward the outside of the track. This braking action dramatically slows them down on the turn. This time, instead of slowing down for the turn, Chastain kept his car in fifth gear, hugged the wall, let go of the wheel, and allowed the wall to hold his car in place—no brakes necessary. That's how he passed five cars and set a 75-year lap record.

Eoin Treacy's view -

I have all kinds of admiration for a guy who knew of a winning strategy from a computer game as a child and was willing to test the theory in real life at the potential cost of his own life.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
November 01 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for November 1st 2022

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: unfounded speculation China will ease COVID-zero rules sparks rebound in resources, UK begins to run down the balance sheet, Fed meeting tomorrow which I expect to be hawkish, Amazon breaks lower. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
November 01 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Brazil Markets Rally on Signs of Peaceful Transition of Power

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

Brazil’s stocks and its currency rallied on signs that President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration is preparing for a peaceful transfer of power after losing Sunday’s election to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The president’s communications chief said that Bolsonaro won’t contest the election, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, a press official for Lula’s Worker’s Party said Bolsonaro’s top aide, Ciro Nogueira, offered a meeting place for transition teams from the outgoing and incoming presidents. 

That would be a relief for investors who have been waiting for the incumbent, who had cast doubt on the integrity of the election during campaigning, to concede defeat. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

It is looking increasingly likely that Jair Bolsonaro will move into a vigorous opposition rather than contest the election result. Unruly trucker protests notwithstanding, this is a clear positive for the trajectory of governance, although the bar for what constitutes good governance has been lowered significantly over the last decade.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
November 01 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China's Last Offshore Property Bond Havens Are Crumbling

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

The latest moves have dragged even more junk dollar notes from Chinese property companies into distress, with 94% now trading below 70 cents on the dollar. That market was until just years ago one of the most lucrative bond trades globally. But it all began to unravel after a nationwide clampdown started in 2020 on leverage and real estate speculation, and has snowballed into record defaults by developers including China Evergrande Group. 

The contagion is even reaching property giants that still have investment-grade ratings including China Vanke Co., the nation’s second biggest developer by sales. Its note due 2027, which was trading above 80 cents just a month ago, fell 4 cents Tuesday in the worst two-day drop ever to an all time-low of 40.3 cents.

“Now with some presumably better-off developers getting into trouble, people start to worry about a contagion to non-state developers,” said Raymond Cheng, head of China and Hong Kong research at CGS-CIMB Securities. “It’s not just a confidence issue, and developers’ liquidity conditions are only getting tighter in the future given sales have been slower than expected.”

And

As refinancing costs surge in global debt markets, China’s property sector has at least $292 billion of onshore and offshore borrowings coming due through the end of 2023, raising the specter of even worse payment pressure to come. There’s $53.7 billion borrowings still due the rest of 2022, followed by $72.3 billion of maturities in the first quarter of next year. 

“We have seen no improvement in terms of the funding for private-sector developers,” Bank of America Corp. economist Helen Qiao said on Bloomberg Television Tuesday. “The stimulus was not strong enough to get them out of the current liquidity trap, and therefore how exactly they can really survive raises many questions.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

It is reasonable to expect that most of the property debt issued through Hong Kong in US Dollars will be defaulted on. Any stimulative measures designed to prop up the property market and local developers will be aimed exclusively at domestic investors. Foreign investors are way down the line in terms of priorities for China. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
November 01 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

US Job Openings Post Surprise Increase, Keeping Pressure on Fed

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

The surprise pickup in vacancies highlights unrelenting demand for workers despite mounting economic headwinds. The persistent imbalance between labor supply and demand continues to underpin robust wage growth, adding to widespread price pressures and reinforcing expectations for yet another large rate hike on Wednesday.

The latest increase in openings erased much of August’s slide, which, at the time, had suggested a notable moderation in labor demand.

“After the shock of last month’s report, the September JOLTS data is returning to a familiar story: demand for workers remains robust,” Nick Bunker, head of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab, said in a note. “By all the key metrics in this report, the labor market is resilient.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is no easy way to address a shortage of workers because someone is going to be upset by whatever solution is suggested. Immigration is the most expedient but it comes with significant political pitfalls and will invariably change the culture of wherever migrants congregate most.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
November 01 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on institutional versus retail volume

Eoin - does the source of daily volume in the stock market (buying or selling) influence your opinion of market strength or weakness at any point in time? Are there particular data sources you review which help you determine if institutional buyers/sellers are especially active? Does the trade-off between retail and institutional demand matter?

I always look forward to reviewing your insights on where markets may be heading in the near term...particularly in this ongoing era of excessive central bank intervention and manipulation.

Thank you.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for your kind words and this email which may be of interest to the Collective. I don’t look at specific volume data but part of my mental process is to think about the market from the perspective of as many market participants as possible.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
November 01 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 31 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 31st 2022

October 31 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

GameStop, Getty Images Surge as Meme and De-SPAC Frenzy Returns

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

“The first thing you have to realize with these stocks is there’s no rhyme or reason,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services Inc. “They don’t trade based on the big macro trends normally. They trade on speculation and liquidity.”

A basket of so-called meme stocks tracked by Bloomberg rose 1.4%, while the De-SPAC index is lower by about 0.2%. Both gauges have plunged this year as concerns about a possible US recession diminished investor demand for shares of riskier assets.

The sudden resurgence in interest for the group comes ahead of what is likely to be a bumpy two weeks for the stock market. A Federal Reserve rate decision on Wednesday will kick off a span of seven trading sessions that will feature four major events including a key jobs report, mid-term elections and inflation data for October.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Let’s set rationale aside for the present and think instead about what kind of message this spike in speculative activity says about how much liquidity is still in the market. In nominal terms, consumer spending is way above trend. Adjusted for inflation it is back on trend.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 31 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Wheat Surges as Russia Warns on Ship Safety After Ditching Deal

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

Crop traders have been focused for weeks on the approaching deadline of Nov. 19 for renewing the grain-corridor agreement, particularly as senior Russian officials repeatedly criticized the deal, suggesting that any extension would require difficult negotiations. Exports have also been slowed by a swelling backlog of vessels waiting to be inspected as part of the agreement -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said some ships had been waiting for three weeks. 

Vessel and insurance rates to Ukraine stand to rise, said Michael Magdovitz, a senior commodity analyst at Rabobank. New deals from the country had already been drying up as traders didn’t want to risk getting caught short of the deal’s deadline, said Matt Ammermann, commodity risk manager at StoneX. 

Russia, which leads global wheat exports, stands to offset some of the lost sales. Still, it will be key to watch how shipping costs across the entire Black Sea region are affected by the latest developments, Ammermann said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

At best this is a fresh example of brinksmanship by Russia in seeking to extract maximum benefit from the uncertainty around secure supply of wheat. At worst it is a prelude to intensifying the unconventional war effort by holding the world hostage with food insecurity.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 31 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China's Inward Turn

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

In some ways this represents an important generational change in the way China will interact with the rest of the world. As far as we know, the term “international circulation” originated in 1988 when a government researcher, Wang Jian, made the case that China should adopt an export-led growth strategy, making use of its huge surplus labor to plug the economy into the international manufacturing process. In that sense, the de-emphasis of international circulation is an important historical shift. In a People’s Daily article in November 2020, Vice Premier Liu He set out a number of objectives relating to the DCS including: (1) the priority of upgrading of China’s technological capacity, including an enhancement of China’s supply chain resilience (though referred to in this article as “optimizing the structure of supply”); (2) the need for finance to serve the needs of the real economy; and (3) the promotion of further urbanization. Any mention of external demand comes last

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

China’s stock markets are accelerating lower so that is a trend ending signal. The big question for all investors is at what point will the risk premium be fully priced in? The USA’s more aggressive attitude towards China is about the only bipartisan topic in the current administration. In fact the two parties seem to be competing for the mantle of biggest China hawk. China’s response to more activist counterparty risk is to look inwards and many people fear a repeat of the Cultural Revolution is already in play.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 28 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 28 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on the rationale for China's COVID-zero

Dear Eoin, I am one of your long term subscribers from Singapore from back when David started the service. I have been shared this hypothesis regarding the reason why China is keeping to the zero covid measures and it is less to do with the disease but something else. Firstly with the reason for covid, they have managed to track the movement of all individuals in China with the Green Code, which coupled with their country wide camera surveillance, allow the state to monitor constantly all citizens. This is especially important in the fight against corruption. Secondly and more importantly, China is still trying to deflate their large property bubble which is 30-40% of the countries economy. Besides Evergrande, there are systemic risk to the over investment in real estate which is a huge Ponzi scheme. Fortunately most of the debt are on-shore, and China needs to keep its borders closed. This is because if re-opened, the increased spending from in-bound and outbound tourism will cause inflation, and this will force The Central bank to raise interest rates. China Central Bank wants inflation to still be low so that the economy can be stimulated and the growth in local jobs help keep the confidence for the population to invest in the property market. If inflation rises, then interest rates have to increase and it will delay the clean up of the property market which has so far been very well controlled. China is doing far more in the real estate cleanup then the US did with Sub-Prime Crisis in 2007-2008. Due to the trade offs, the real estate recovery is more important that the risk to public health although China could simply mandate all citizens especially the elderly to be vaccinated which they have not. It cannot be due to the lack of vaccines or preparation for the hospital and ICU beds capacity as China could have allowed Moderna and Pfizer to be registered locally without asking for the IP to be disclosed. Hope to hear from you. Thanks 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this informative email and your long-term patronage of the Service. At a time when many consumers are taking a hard look at expenses, I want to give special thanks to every one of our subscribers.

I have discussed this exact issue in the big picture long-term videos on several occasions, most recently last Friday. Let’s address it from first principals. China’s is a single party state, so they have the luxury of equating the Party with the country. Whatever is good for the Party is therefore considered good for the country.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 28 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Yen Weakens as BOJ Sticks With Ultra-Low Rates Policy Path

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

In September, a sharp slide in the yen following the policy statement and dovish comments by Kuroda prompted Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki to order Japan’s first entry into markets to prop up the currency in 24 years. While the governor moved the market again during Friday’s briefing, his tone was more cautious and his remarks weren’t preceded by falls in the currency like the previous month. 

Kuroda continues to hold firm as the last anchor of low global rates just a day after the European Central Bank went ahead with another jumbo rate hike. But the governor is walking on a tightrope as his stance risks putting further downward pressure on the yen despite billions of dollars spent by the government to support the currency.  

“The likelihood of the BOJ pivoting toward tightening is still small as Japan’s inflation is not broad based at all and is only rising about a third of the pace seen in Europe and US,” said Kyohei Morita, chief Japan economist at Nomura Securities.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The speed of the Yen’s decline since March has alarmed politicians and not least because the price of oil is in the region of the 2008 peak when redenominated into the currency. The Bank of Japan’s challenge is much of the inflation is imported. Domestic demand needs a cultural change and that will not be achieved by transient price pressures.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 28 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Gilead, fueled by latest approval, sees CAR-T sales takes off

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

Shares of Gilead Sciences ticked up Friday morning after the company’s latest earnings report exceeded Wall Street’s expectations.

The results were, in part, tied to growing sales from Gilead’s cell therapy business, which consists of the marketed cancer drugs Yescarta and Tecartus. Together, sales from the two drugs totaled $398 million in the third quarter, a nearly 80% increase from the same three-month period a year prior.

Gilead’s work in cell therapy, catalyzed by the $12 billion acquisition of Kite Pharma in 2017, hasn’t always sat well with investors. Early sales from Yescarta were slower than some had hoped, and Gilead ultimately acknowledged that some assets from the Kite deal were overvalued.

But in recent months, the company’s cell therapy business has ballooned. Third quarter sales of Tecartus were up 72% year over year, reaching $81 million, while those for Yescarta rose 81% to $317 million. Gilead cited the approval of Yescarta as a “second-line” therapy for a type of hard-to-treat lymphoma, which happened in April, as a main reason for the uptick.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Immunoncology involves re-educating the immune system to target cancers which typically avoid detection by the body’s defenses. Related stocks blossomed in 2015 with a huge rally. They had a brief second coming in 2018 but subsequently collapsed as the route to commercialization proved to be anything but easy.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 27 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 27th 2022

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed includes: total addressable market assumptions are proving illusory for cloud, advertising and retail, bonds yields compress, dollar firms, supply inelasticity misrepresents inflation whereas the liquidity-fuelled demand surge explains it better.  



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 27 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Meta Plummets as Capex Plans Spur Downgrades

This note may be of interest to subscribers. Here are some relevant quotes:

Jefferies (buy, PT $200)
There are “no signs of expense discipline,” and this is “going against what investors want”

Vital Knowledge
The expense outlook is “the big negative” of the report; “investors were hoping for mgmt. to aggressively slash costs, but it doesn’t seem like that’s happening”

The results and outlook “weren’t great, but neither was any worse than SNAP or GOOGL”

Truist Securities (buy, PT $240)
The revenue outlook is “still decent all things considered,” but the guidance for total expenses is “materially higher than our estimate”

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is only so much money available to be spent on advertising. Over the last decade, the number of companies seeking to suckle on the ad spend of the corporate sector has grown considerably. The net effect today is many new companies are basing their business models on offering advertising space.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 27 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Tesla, Ford and VW Sound the Death Knell for Driverless Car Hype

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

Tesla is the subject of two defect investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and headed for the first of several potential trials over crashes blamed on Autopilot, its driver-assistance system. California accused the company in August of misleading consumers, and a Golden State resident who sued last month is proposing class-action status for his claims that Musk has been stringing the public along with perpetual promises that the company is on the cusp of perfecting the technology.

Fans of the world’s richest man have gotten accustomed to frequent posts from the soon-to-be Twitter owner about new iterations of FSD beta software beaming to their vehicles. After Musk tweeted recently about a next major release coming this week, one follower replied with relief, writing that he’d been hesitant to use the latest version of FSD after his Tesla veered toward an oncoming car.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Elon Musk very publicly moved his company out of California and built his latest gigafactory in Texas. In all the time Tesla was headquartered in California, there was very little talk of policing the company’s claims to have delivered autonomous driving. The company moved to Texas 11 months ago and the number of lawsuits is growing by the day.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 27 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Shell Hasn't Been Paying UK Windfall Tax as Profits Double

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

doubled to $9.45 billion, because it was making big investments in North Sea fields. 

The fact that Shell wasn’t liable for the levy, which was designed to allow companies to reduce their payments if they invest in new production, nevertheless threatens to amplify the controversy about record oil-company earnings at a time when most people are struggling with soaring energy bills. 

There are growing calls for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who imposed the windfall tax in May when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, to hit the sector with additional levies as he tries to fill a £35 billion hole in the country’s finances. Even Shell’s boss acknowledged the possibility of further government intervention. 

“They will be looking at companies like us, who benefit of course from the volatility and the prices that we see, to fund the programs that they are rolling out,” Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said on a call with reporters Thursday morning. “We have to accept it and we have to embrace that.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

One of the first measures Rishi Sunak took when he became prime minister was to reimpose the ban on fracking. That’s putting more focus on boosting oil and gas supply from the North Sea. Shell expects to spend £23-27 billion on capital expenditure this year which is at least 20% more than last year and on par with years like 2018 and 2019.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 27 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 26 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 26th 2022

October 26 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Fed's Yield-Curve Barometer Starts Flashing Recession Risk

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

Inversions of this segment of the Treasury curve typically occur late in Fed tightening cycles as three-month bills track the policy rate while longer-term borrowing costs reflect expectations for economic growth and inflation. While other widely-watched yield curve segments such as the two- to 10-year and five- to 30-year have been deeply inverted for much of this year, the Fed follows this one more closely.

“We are certainly in territory with the Fed’s official barometer of the yield curve that will raise concerns,” said Gregory Faranello, head of US rates trading and strategy at AmeriVet Securities. “The Fed will definitely watch this, and there is a sense in the bond market that they will soon throttle back the pace of rate hikes and take a step back.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The 10-year – 3-month spread spent part of today inverted following an 11.65 basis-point contraction. The spread was at 223 basis points in May so this tightening has been the fastest in decades. The fact there was such a wide divergence between the 10-year – 2-year and the 10-year – 3-month was regarded as an oddity but reflected the stresses in the bond market.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 26 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Tech's Big Day Tarnished as Microsoft, Google, TI Disappoint

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

The demand outlook was particularly dire in the semiconductor industry, which had been one of the hottest sectors during the pandemic. Texas Instruments, whose chips go into everything from home appliances to missiles, saw shares tumble after its weak forecast signaled that the chip slump is spreading beyond computing and phones into other businesses. The stock lost 5%, while Analog Devices Inc., ON Semiconductor Corp., and Marvell Technology Inc. also dipped.

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc. reported a 60% decline in profit and said it would cut capital expenditures by more than half. It warned of “an unprecedented deterioration in market conditions.” Hynix is joining fellow memory makers Micron Technology Inc. and Kioxia Holdings Corp. in slashing production plans as chip prices tumble. 

The silver lining for investors is that the eventual pullback in supply may ultimately prove beneficial for profits -- and stock prices. Hynix shares, which have lost 28% this year, were up as much as 2.1%. Samsung Electronics Co. climbed 3%, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. added 1.4%.

“Inventory will decrease accordingly and demand will rise again,” said Greg Roh, head of technology research at HMC Investment & Securities.

Eoin Treacy's view -

At the NAAIM conference yesterday the manager of a commodity ETF quoted the statistic that there have been more backwardations in commodities this year than ever before. The point I think most people are missing is the monetary and fiscal response boosted demand for everything. New homes, stocks, bonds, commodities, semiconductors, toilet paper and a host of other products saw demand balloon between April 2020 and early 2022.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 26 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Copper Buyers Want Longer-Term Deals on Supply Concerns, Codelco Says

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

Copper buyers are so worried about future availability of the metal that they’re seeking to secure longer-term deals than normal, according to top miner Codelco. 

The Chilean state-owned company recently signed some contracts for three to five years with customers in Europe, in contrast to the more standard annual deals, Chairman Maximo Pacheco said in an interview. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

With battery metal prices like lithium still making new highs, the question of where to source affordable component materials is a pressing concern for many companies. Signing long-term offtake agreements is desirable from that perspective but it also represents hedging on behalf of the miners. That’s not a bad idea at this stage since prices are falling and the global economic outlook is uncertain, particularly with China slowing down.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 26 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 25 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 25th 2022

October 25 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

How We Think About Recession Risk

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

The US economy does not appear to be on the brink of recession at the moment. In thinking about the odds of a recession next year, we break the risks into three categories: (1) the risk that a recession will prove necessary to bring inflation down, (2) the risk that the Fed will cause a recession that is not necessary, and (3) the risk that something else will cause a recession.

The odds that a recession will prove necessary have fallen a little because the first two steps of the required adjustment—slowing GDP growth to a below-potential pace and rebalancing supply and demand in the labor market— have gone remarkably well so far. But it would be premature to say that this risk has fallen too much until we see consistent evidence that labor market rebalancing is slowing wage growth and breaking the wage-price feedback loop.

The odds that the Fed will cause a recession that is not necessary have likely risen somewhat. It is increasingly clear that shelter and health care inflation— and by extension commonly used measures of the underlying inflation trend such as trimmed-mean inflation—are likely to remain uncomfortably high throughout 2023 and would even if the labor market rebalanced tomorrow. While it is not our base case, we see some risk that too great a focus on lagging indicators, too little patience, or tightening too quickly to gauge the impact on the economy could result in a recession that is not necessary.

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

I used this slide in my IFTA conference slide deck a year ago. At the time, worry about inflation was not urgent even through the 5-year has broken highs and had first step above the base characteristics.

As I thought about what to talk about at the NAAIM conference today, I thought it would be time to update my chart. In the last year, yields have surged and instead of the illusory dragon, today Jay Powell is being tasked with slaying the inflation dragon.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 25 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Mexico's Economy Surprises With Fastest Expansion in Over a Year

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

The result was “solid” and leaves Mexico’s economic growth at a pace of 2.2% for the year, according to Alberto Ramos, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s chief Latin America economist. 

“The economy still has room to grow, and we expect it to expand in coming quarters supported by firm terms of trade and further normalization of activity among a number of still lagging sectors, particularly services,” he wrote in a research note Friday. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Not only is China slowing down, but its relationship with the biggest buyers of its exports is deteriorating. Large global companies are not making decisions about how much manufacturing they want to do in China. Within the next decade, manufacturing in China by foreigner will focus on the domestic market while exports are likely to face greater competition from other economies.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 25 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

GM Rides Full-Size Pickups, Luxury SUVs to Big Earnings Beat

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

“We’re delivering on our commitments and affirming our full-year guidance despite a challenging environment because demand continues to be strong for GM products and we are actively managing the headwinds we face,” GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said in a letter to shareholders.

Shares of the carmaker rose 2% to $36.45 as of 9:35 a.m. in New York. The stock is down about 38% this year. 

GM reported adjusted profit of $2.25 a share on Tuesday, surpassing analysts’ projection for $1.89 a share. It also maintained guidance for full-year adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of $13 billion to $15 billion, or $6.50 to $7.50 a share. 

“GM yet again affirmed the strong and until now mostly disbelieved full-year total company EBIT outlook it has maintained since introduction in February,” J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman said in a research note. “GM is now well on the path to achieving its full year goals, despite the tougher consumer and cost backdrop.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Auto manufacturers talk a good game of expanding EV production with stated expectations of massive increases in the number of electric vehicles manufactured. However, they continue to sell SUVs and pickup trucks. Companies like GM and Ford don’t sell large numbers of sedans so the commitment to selling EVs is moot.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 24 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 24 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

BOE Says Markets 'Remain Febrile' But UK Regaining Credibility

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

“Credibility is hard won and easily lost,” Ramsden said. “That credibility is being recovered. That has to be followed through. A return to the kind of stability around policy making and around the framing of fiscal events will be really important.”

He said the issue with the Sept. 23 statement was that “it had one side of the fiscal arithmetic in it” and that the decision to include forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility will help underpin the confidence investors have in assessing the UK budget due out next week.

“What we are going to get on Oct. 31 will be very important,” Ramsden said. “My sense is that will take account of all the statements on both the revenue and on the spending side.”

 

Eoin Treacy's view -

The bond market has become relevant in politics again for the first time in decades. Liz Truss was unfortunate to find that out in real time. Donald Trump demonstrated that you could engage in procyclical policies and manufacture a swifter expansion. Now most politicians think they can do the same thing. The problem is he did that before inflation took off. Now, the quantity of debt has multiplied, inflation is problematic and fiscal austerity is back on the menu.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 24 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China's Plunging Market Has Become a High-Risk Bet on Xi Jinping

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

Chinese stocks tumbled by the most since 2008 in Hong Kong and the yuan hit a 14-year-low after Sunday’s confirmation that Xi’s policies of stronger state control over the economy and markets will continue unchallenged for years.

Unlike in places like the US or UK -- where dramatic market reactions can force policy pivots or even overthrow entire governments -- it’s becoming apparent that investors are only an afterthought for Xi. That narrative was reinforced by Beijing’s move to delay the release of a raft of economic data without explanation, and risks further alienating money managers who are already leery of Chinese assets.

Investors have to decide if Xi’s policy objectives -- such as common prosperity and dual circulation -- are palatable, according to Hao Hong, chief economist at Grow Investment Group. “One has to examine whether these new sets of values align with your own” investment goals in the years ahead, he told Bloomberg TV on Monday.

Monday’s market reaction -- especially offshore -- suggests international investors are becoming increasingly leery of Xi, who has implemented tough curbs on one-time market favorites from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to education firms. With a new leadership team packed with his allies, analysts also expect little dissent against Xi’s Covid Zero strategy.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The ejection of Hu Jintao from the Party Congress over the weekend has been much discussed. The headline is that he was experiencing health issues. That’s reasonable from an octogenarian. However, there is an eerie historical comparison.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 24 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Texas Natural Gas Prices Drop Toward Zero as Supplies Boom

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

Insufficient pipeline capacity has actually been a long-term problem that has dogged Permian Basin gas producers for years. The choke points worsen when pipeline operators must perform repairs and preventative maintenance work that forces temporary reduction in pressure or halts to shipping. 

Permian pipeline constraints “have never been relieved,” making the region more susceptible to sudden gluts and price volatility, said Campbell Faulkner, chief data analyst at OTC Global Holdings LP.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The world is not running out of natural gas. What we are dealing with at present is a supply bottleneck. These kinds of problem can be solved. It would be a lot worse if there was a genuine shortage of global natural gas supply. However, to bring prices back to acceptable levels significant investment in pipeline, LNG import and export facilities, and shipping will be required.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 21 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 21 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Sluggish CLO Markets Hit by Departure of Major Japanese Investor

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

Nochu dominated the CLO market until 2019, when it exited amid regulatory and political scrutiny. The Japanese bank would buy all the top-rated securities in a deal. It returned to the US market in late 2021 and to Europe in recent months, but it was buying far fewer securities. 

But with Nochu backing out again, a critical buyer is gone, potentially slowing down CLO sales, money managers said. And others are buying existing deals in the secondary market.

“In a tight CLO liability market the loss of any buyer makes a difference,” said Dagmara Michalczuk, an investor at Tetragon Financial, in an interview. CLO issuance for the remainder of the year is likely to be more uneven than in the last quarter of 2021, she said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Big institutional buyers will buy every day as long as they are making money. When a favoured strategy stops working it causes a crisis of confidence. Whole business lines have been developed to thrive from the trade. When it stops making money the best performing sector becomes an internal problem that requires a remedy.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 21 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Swiss Banks Seek Most Dollars Since 2008 in Bid for Easy Profit

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here it is in full:

Banks in Switzerland sought the most dollars since 2008 using an emergency dollar swap facility provided by the Federal Reserve in what is likely to be a bid for easy profits.

In Wednesday’s auction conducted by the Swiss National Bank, 17 institutions took up $11.09 billion. That’s the most since October 2008, when the Global Financial Crisis was raging in the wake of Lehman Brothers’ collapse. 

This is the fourth week in a row when banks have accessed the facility. Last Wednesday, 15 banks took up $6.27 billion in funds. 

According to economists at Credit Suisse, Swiss banks swap the dollars into francs in order to generate a profit. The lenders can even sell the cash back to the SNB using its reverse repo auctions, or deposit it at the institution to benefit from a positive interest rate.

“We do not believe that the increased demand for US dollar liquidity by domestic banks reflects any liquidity issues in the Swiss banking system”, Credit Suisse economist Maxime Botteron wrote in a report last week.

The dollar swap facility was created during the crisis that began in 2007 as a lifeline to provide safe access to Greenback liquidity, while the SNB’s cash-taking repo auctions are designed to drain excess liquidity from the market. 

It’s not clear that Swiss officials are likely to act to stop banks from taking advantage of the facility. Conditions of the dollar auctions are controlled by the Fed, and the reverse repos are a core instrument in the SNB’s current tightening of monetary policy.

All Swiss and foreign banks which have a branch in Switzerland or are registered with Swiss authorities are entitled to participate in the dollar auctions. Credit Suisse expects predominantly smaller banks to take advantage of the profit play.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The world is dealing with falling supply of Dollars as rates rise and money supply shrinks. Tapping swap lines to source dollars which can then be sold for a profit is a handy money making exercise for banks. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 21 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

'Strikingly Tight' Copper Market Belies Price Drop, Miner Says

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

It’s “striking how negative financial markets feel about this market and yet the physical market is so tight,” said Richard Adkerson, chief executive officer of Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

“We’re not seeing customers scaling back orders. Customers are really fighting to get products,” Adkerson said Thursday during a conference call with analysts after the miner reported adjusted third-quarter per-share profit that exceeded estimates. 

The decline in copper prices this year reflects investor concerns about the global economy, weak economic data from top consumer China, the European energy crisis and a strong dollar, he added.

Such a pricing environment will defer new copper projects and mine expansions just when the world’s epic shift to electrification requires a massive amount of the metal, according to Adkerson.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The mining sector is expecting demand from the electrification sector to explode over the coming decade with the result that copper demand will double. That goal is impossible to achieve with investment in new mining infrastructure on a massive scale.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 20 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 20th 2022

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: Yen carry trade doesn't work when yields are rising this fast. On the other hand lets remember that everything is priced off the 10-year. The discount rate all investments are compared against continues to rise.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 20 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Stocks Pare Gains Amid Hawkish Fedspeak, Earnings

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

A rally in the S&P 500 faded after Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said officials are likely to raise interest rates to “well above” 4% this year and hold them at restrictive levels to combat inflation, while leaving the door open to doing more if needed.

Traders also sifted through a mixed bag of corporate earnings, with Tesla Inc.’s sales disappointing and International Business Machines Corp. surging on a bullish forecast. Several market observers remarked that the bar has been lowered quite a bit ahead of the current earnings season, boosting the odds of upside surprises. It’s also worth pointing out that there’s been no shortage of warning signals about the economy when it comes to corporate outlooks.

Alcoa Corp. -- which is a dependable barometer of US economic health across industries including construction, automotive, aerospace and consumer packaging -- said demand for the world’s heavy industries is falling. Union Pacific Corp., the largest US freight railroad, cut its forecast for volume growth to reflect a “challenging year.”

As traders wade through corporate results, “with an extra eye on guidance, expect volatility to remain elevated,” said Mike Loewengart at Morgan Stanley Global Investment Office

Eoin Treacy's view -

Earnings are holding up but guidance is being lowered. CEOs are at their most bearish in years but investors have cash to burn and are eager to salvage a dire year for their performance. Appetite for buying the dip following upside key day reversals for mega-cap stocks last week is still evident.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 20 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Indonesia Raises Key Rate by Half-Point Again to Aid Rupiah

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

The central bank will defend the rupiah in line with fundamentals, Warjiyo said. It will monitor forex supply, and strengthen the currency stabilization policy, he added.

“The hike reflects less concern of inflation but more on the need to anchor FX stability,” said Wellian Wiranto, economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore, who now sees a terminal rate of 5.25%. “Going forward, downside risks to growth will gain more prominence.”

A weakened rupiah threatens to fan imported inflation, adding to the risk posed by higher fuel costs that’s sent consumer price gains to a fresh seven-year high of 5.95%. Bank Indonesia expects inflation to climb further to 6.3% at the year-end before returning to its 2%-4% target next year.

The central bank retained its 2022 growth forecast for the economy, expecting it to be at the upper end of its 4.5%-5.3% target, while flagging risks from a slowing global recovery. For now, it expects to end the year with a current account surplus of 0.4%-1.2% of gross domestic product -- better than its previously estimated 0.5% of GDP.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Indonesian Rupiah spent most of 2021 in a tight range relative to the Dollar but broke down in May and is now trending lower. The pass through of inflationary pressures from the developed world into ASEAN didn’t pick up until early this year. Many ASEAN countries did not engage in the same degree of monetary stimulus so effect was delayed. However, the surge in energy prices is increasing the cost of fuel subsidies and putting downward pressure on regional currencies.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 20 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Lula Losing Brazil' Biggest State Forces Urgent Campaign Rejig

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

Inside Lula’s campaign, the result in Brazil’s most populous state — the birthplace of his political career, and containing about 25% of the entire electorate — was compared to a plane crash, where a confluence of small factors leads to catastrophe. At his team’s first post-election meeting, the talk was of frustration and failure. 

Edinho Silva, the former president’s campaign coordinator, may have had an inkling of what was to come, saying in an interview on the eve of polling that Sao Paulo had become a center of hard-core support for Bolsonaro’s brand of right-wing identity politics. 

“We have a percentage of Brazilian society that, unfortunately, is racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, and doesn’t accept the social ascent of the lower classes,” he said. “And a significant part of Brazil that thinks in this way lives in Sao Paulo.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Here is a novel idea. Perhaps Brazilian voters are not prepared to install a man who squandered the bounty from the last commodity boom on vanity projects. As if that were not enough, he  led an administration that was the most corrupt in the country’s history, and that is saying something. Lula was jailed for corruption and was only allowed to run because he was offered a politically motivated dispensation.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 19 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 19th 2022

October 19 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Battered Safe Credit Is Now a 'Screaming Buy' After Yield Jump

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

After historic losses this year, high-quality corporate debt has flipped the script to become one of the hottest asset classes in the market.

Investors are increasing allocations to investment-grade corporate bonds as the yield they can get just by holding the debt to maturity has reached its highest level since the global financial crisis. At 5.6%, global high-grade yields now exceed where junk-rated debt was trading at the start of the year, according to Bloomberg indexes.

It’s a major shift for the $10 trillion global high-grade market, which has suffered massive losses this year amid aggressive central bank rate hikes. The steep losses in investment-grade bonds, despite their near-zero probability of default, has created one of the most favorable entry points in years for some investors.

“High quality is a screaming buy,” said Eric Vanraes, head of fixed income investments at Banque Eric Sturdza SA. “The big difference between high yield and investment-grade is that in high yield you have to cope with default rates.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is a point where higher yields will be a good buying opportunity in fixed income. To buy at today’s levels is certainly preferable to paying all-time highs and many investment managers have a mandate to hold some fixed income so they don’t have much choice.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 19 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

FBI misled judge who signed warrant for Beverly Hills seizure of $86 million in cash

Thanks to a subscriber for this article from the Los Angeles Times which may be of interest. Here is a section:

Eighteen months later, newly unsealed court documents show that the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles got their warrant for that raid by misleading the judge who approved it.

They omitted from their warrant request a central part of the FBI’s plan: Permanent confiscation of everything inside every box containing at least $5,000 in cash or goods, a senior FBI agent recently testified.

The FBI’s justification for the dragnet forfeiture was its presumption that hundreds of unknown box holders were all storing assets somehow tied to unknown crimes, court records show.

It took five days for scores of agents to fill their evidence bags with the bounty: More than $86 million in cash and a bonanza of gold, silver, rare coins, gem-studded jewelry and enough Rolex and Cartier watches to stock a boutique.

The U.S. attorney’s office has tried to block public disclosure of court papers that laid bare the government’s deception, but a judge rejected its request to keep them under seal.

The failure to disclose the confiscation plan in the warrant request came to light in FBI documents and depositions of agents in a class-action lawsuit by box holders who say the raid violated their rights.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The war on cash is an ongoing program by governments to control and tax every Dollar, Euro, Pound, Yen, Renminbi and Rupee in existence. The Reaganism “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” It is as true today as ever. In an effort to further that aim, governments want to know exactly where every unit of currency resides and to control how it moves. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 19 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Work From Home And The Office Real Estate Apocalypse

This report from the NBER may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

We study the impact of remote work on the commercial office sector. We document large shifts in lease revenues, office occupancy, lease renewal rates, lease durations, and market rents as firms shifted to remote work in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. We show that the pandemic has had large effects on both current and expected future cash flows for office buildings. Remote work also changes the risk premium on office real estate. We revalue the stock of New York City commercial office buildings taking into account pandemic-induced cash flow and discount rate effects. We find a 45% decline in office values in 2020 and 39% in the longer-run, the latter representing a $453 billion value destruction. Higher quality office buildings were somewhat buffered against these trends due to a flight to quality, while lower quality office buildings see much more dramatic swings. These valuation changes have repercussions for local public finances and financial sector stability.

Eoin Treacy's view -

San Francisco commercial real estate occupancy is below 40% while New York and Los Angeles are just higher than that figure. This is a looming issue for the owners of vacant properties, many of whom are pension funds and other private investors. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 18 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 18th 2022

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: alternative assets under pressure from rising rates and escalating yields, 10-yr-3mth spread close to inverting, pricing in a recession. dollar eases, gold stable, bitcoin inertia will not last. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 18 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Guide to the Markets Australia

Thanks to a subscriber for this chartbook from JPMorgan which may be of interest.

October 18 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

White House to Tap Oil Reserve Again Amid High Fuel Prices

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

The Biden administration is moving toward a release of at least another 10 million to 15 million barrels of oil from the nation’s emergency stockpile in a bid to balance markets and keep gasoline prices from climbing further, according to people familiar with the matter.  

The move would effectively represent the tail end of a program announced in the spring to release a total of 180 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. About 165 million barrels has been delivered or put under contract since the program was put into effect.

The Biden administration also is set this week to provide details on plans to replenish the emergency stockpile. The Energy Department announced in May it was planning a new method of buybacks to allow for a “competitive, fixed-price bid process,” with prices potentially locked in well before crude is delivered.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The mid-term elections are in exactly three weeks. The incumbent party generally does not do well in the mid-terms but this year with inflation running rampant and a slim majority, the majority in both houses is at stake. Getting gasoline prices down was central to the effort to appease consumers’ inflation fears ahead of the election.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 18 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Intel Slashes Mobileye IPO Valuation Again to $16 Billion

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

Despite the drop in valuation, the listing is set to be one of the year’s biggest IPOs. Amid heightened volatility and disappointing debut performances of last year’s listings, IPO volume in the US has plummeted to $22.3 billion this year, compared with $277 billion at this point in 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Instacart Inc., another highly anticipated IPO, last week cut its valuation for the third time, to $13 billion, and is waiting for the markets to settle before going ahead with a listing. Another deterrent for new listings is the fact that many companies that went public in 2020 and 2021 are trading below their IPO prices.

But some analysts said it was reasonable for Intel to go through with the listing despite the poor market timing. Analysts at Bernstein said Intel likely needs the money it will receive from the deal, “given the way their own business is currently trending.” And Vital Knowledge analysts wrote that the “headline is negative, but keep in mind the $50B valuation was floated back in December, so no one should be shocked that the number is now lower today.” Intel shares were up about 1.4% in early trading in New York. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

At present we have straws in the wind but the issues with alternative asset valuations are going to become pressure points for investors over the next couple of years. The LDI debacle in the UK where pensions engaged in financial engineering to avoid leverage rules is the thin end of the wedge.

The reality is QE and the low interest rate environment robbed savers, like pension funds, and forced them to become speculators. At the same time it favoured risk takers and inflated their assets. That allowed both to prosper for a long time but rising rates and tighter liquidity mean the party is over.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 17 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 17th 2022

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: China supports stock market ahead of Xi's confirmation of a 3rd term. Dollar eases on UK fiscal recalibration, Bond yields rebound from intraday low, gold fails to hold the intraday highs, Latin America currencies steady. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 17 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Mini-Budget Torched, Now Hunt Must Balance the Books

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

Our latest assessment, taking on board the change in borrowing costs since Hunt’s announcement and the policies in the statement, is that a further £13 billion will still need to be found to just get debt falling relative to GDP. It would take more like £36 billion of consolidation to put it on the same trajectory as we projected before the mini-budget was published in September.

Debt Still On Explosive Path
Finding a package of spending cuts that are politically viable and deliverable will be extremely challenging -- much of the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. Hunt faces an uphill struggle to win the faith of markets as he formulates a budget, to be delivered on Oct. 31.

Hunt also said that the universal household energy price cap will be replaced from April 2023 with more targeted measures. It’s not clear what those measures will be but removing the government cap altogether and reverting to Ofgem’s methodology from April would imply a 75% rise in energy bills for households. Inflation would jump to 11.6% in April, against 6.4% under the cap.

The combination of austerity and less support for households next year means the risks to our forecast for a 0.4% drop in GDP in 2023 have shifted to the downside. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Jeremy Hunt introduced a reset over the weekend which puts the UK government’s finances back to where they were two weeks ago. As a result the Pound is back to where it was on September 20th. Deficits are wide but the assumption is the universal energy price cap is assumed to be temporary. The reality is price controls are difficult to remove once installed and are always expensive to maintain.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 17 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on name changes and courier services

It seems Royal Mail changed its name to International Distributions Services plc (IDS.L). I would be grateful if you would kindly share your views on the implications of this change to the price of the share and the health of the company. As always thanks for your great service.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The official name change was announced several months ago but went into effect on the 5th. The main reason posted was to highlight that Royal Mail has two businesses, domestic and international. At the time the name change was announced the company said there would be no transfers between the international and domestic businesses. In other words, they are intent on pushing through significant rationalization of the domestic mail and package service which is still called the Royal Mail.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 17 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Seeks to Boost Stock Market as Xi Speech Disappoints

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

Chinese regulators are ramping up efforts to support the stock market, which saw little reprieve from President Xi Jinping’s speech amid continued pressure from geopolitical tensions and the Covid Zero policy. 

A series of market-supporting measures are in the pipeline, including proposals to encourage companies to buy back shares and to ease curbs on short-term transactions by overseas mutual funds. In a sign that private firms are heeding the government’s efforts, at least eight mutual funds announced plans on Monday to invest in their own equity products.  

The benchmark CSI 300 Index ended up 0.1%, reversing earlier losses as investors weighed Xi’s speech against the prospect of measures. The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.2%, while a gauge of Chinese stocks trading in Hong Kong also eked out gains. 

Stock investors have been looking for fresh market impetus after suffering losses that have been among the worst in the world. Xi’s renewed pledge for tech self-reliance trigged a rally in the sector’s stocks, but the overall market reaction was muted as he defended the Covid Zero policy and fell short of promising further support for the property sector.   

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Chinese authorities will be eager to ensure the market and society at large are deeply supportive of President Xi’s third term in office as well as the economic agenda laid out over the weekend. That suggests at least a near-term low for the CSI 300 has been reached.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 14 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 14 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Champagne Flows at Pension Gathering in Midst of a UK Crisis

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

Margin calls for more collateral are still coming through, though at a less aggressive pace than two weeks ago, according to market participants, who asked not to be identified. Funds are still selling assets to meet them, managers are trying to lobby the BOE, everyone is bracing for next week when the central bank support has gone, they said. 

Many funds are making tough choices in the run up to the deadline. Almost daily they have been having to decide whether to dump assets to raise cash for possible future margin calls, which would weigh on returns; reduce their LDI positions, which would leave them more exposed if rates turn back around; or find other ways to get some cash.

Some have asked the corporates, whose employees pensions they manage, for emergency short-term loans so they don’t have to sell prized assets. Others have agreed that the companies could accelerate already-agreed payments they would have made to their pension schemes over several years, according to consultants, who asked not to be identified discussing their clients. This means some companies have been stumping up large one-off payments to their pensions, the people said.

“For instance, if they had a pre-agreed payment plan to put in cash on a monthly schedule, some have decided to make an advanced contribution equivalent to one year’s deficit recovery payment,” Norbert Fullerton, a partner at Lane Clark and Peacock said.

“Across the industry there are schemes that can’t raise enough cash and have had to reduce their leverage and hedge ratios,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate situation to be in but some don’t have sufficient liquid assets to sell.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Every pension fund has been faced with the same challenge. They need an assumed return of 7-8%. When bond yields collapsed and stayed down for a decade, the scope for compounding disappeared. Quantitative easing was often described as favouring traders at the expense of savers and the dilemma faced by pensions is a vivid example of that.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 14 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

First Tesla 4680 battery teardowns reveal it is not all that revolutionary at the moment

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

Current 4680 battery cells are not living up to their promises made by Elon Musk during Tesla's Battery Day in 2020 when they were first revealed. At the time, Musk mentioned features like a high-nickel cathode, silicon anode, and an ingenious packaging system at a fraction of the cost of the 2170 batteries. For now, however, it has hit only one of these purported features.

We already know that the 4680 battery packs that Tesla now places in its Model Y are only halfway to the stated goal of a 50% cost reduction compared to conventional batteries. The bulk of the savings come from the packaging efficiency of stuffing them into much larger tubes hence improving the volumetric density and requiring fewer welding points. The key dry-coating process for the electrodes, however, which doesn't require toxic mixes and oven baking, remains a pie-in-the-sky goal for now, despite that Tesla hopes to hit a pilot run this year.

Moreover, independent 4680 battery teardowns and chemistry analysis shows that Tesla is still using the regular 811 nickel-manganese-cobalt mixture for the cathodes and ordinary graphite anodes. Be it because of the price of raw materials that go into batteries for performance electric vehicles now, or simply for the lack of necessary manufacturing technology or equipment, the high-nickel and silicon electrodes that bring about true cost, range, and performance improvements, are still to come for Tesla vehicles with the 4680 battery.

Even NIO, which is farther ahead in the development and mass production of a 150 kWh high-nickel battery that is supposed to propel its top ET5 and ET7 performance sedan versions for more than 620 miles on a charge, had to postpone their launch. Its battery maker WeLion was supposed to deliver the first mass-produced batch of 150 kWh semi-solid packs with high-nickel technology this month, but the launch of the top ET5 and ET7 models has now been stretched into 2023 as the technology needs further validation.

Eoin Treacy's view -

As if the issues with the 4680 battery not living up to its hype were not bad enough, apparently Tesla is facing some significant issues with scaling up production. Quite apart from the fact lithium prices broke out to new highs this week, the cost of production is rising and a lack of manufacturing efficiency is going to make matters worse.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 14 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Oil prices rise 2% on low diesel stocks ahead of winter

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

The U.S. Energy Secretary in August urged domestic oil refiners to refrain from further increasing exports of fuels like gasoline and diesel, adding the Biden administration may need to consider taking action if the plants do not build inventories.

The EIA warned this week that most U.S. households will pay more to heat their homes this winter. President Joe Biden said on Thursday that U.S. gasoline prices remain too high and he will speak next week about lowering the cost. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

I’ve seen a lot of commentary predicting an oil price spike is imminent, that the winter is going to result in a chronic shortage of every form of distillate and there is nothing being done to solve the issue. Meanwhile, the number of drilling rigs in service continues to trend higher and the economic activity is likely to moderate everywhere in response to higher rates. Energy is mostly about supply but at economic turning points it is about demand.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 13 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 13th 2022

October 13 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

ECB's Wunsch Wouldn't Be Surprised If Rates Exceed 3%: CNBC

This note from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers.

European Central Bank Governing Council member Pierre Wunsch said interest rates may eventually have to top 3% to get record inflation under control. 

“My bet would be it’s going to be over 2%, and I would not be surprised if we have to go to above 3% at some point,” Wunsch told CNBC in an interview in Washington. 

Wunsch also said:

The ECB’s deposit rate, currently 0.75%, will “most probably” need to exceed 2% year-end

“Frankly on the basis of our base case, which is now more or less a technical recession in Europe, I think we are going to have to go real positive somewhere”

“We’ve been claiming that what happens in Europe is different from the U.K., from the U.S. But over the last six months basically the direction we’ve been taking was not that different”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The ECB’s rate peaked at 4.25% in 2008. That suggests the anticipated peak of hiking, at 3%, will be well below that 2008 peak. That’s only relevant because the Fed Funds rate could exceed its 2007 peak at 5.25% before this hiking cycle has ended. That raises the question why is the Euro rebounding?



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 13 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Truss Prepares to Abandon Key Tax Cuts Following Market Turmoil

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

“Has the government finally heeded the calls from markets and the Bank of England? Price action in gilts and the pound suggests markets believe so,” said Simon Harvey, head of FX analysis at Monex Europe. 

The plan to freeze corporation tax next year has come in for particular attention from detractors within Truss’s own Tories. Under a strategy set out by the previous Conservative administration, the levy on companies was due to rise to 25% from 19% in April. But scrapping that move was one of the key measures in Kwarteng’s fiscal plan announced Sept. 23.

The initial market reaction on Thursday suggests that a U-turn on corporation tax -- along with the bank’s greater buying activity this week -- could help ease any turbulence next week after the Bank of England halts its bond purchases on Friday. Investors will be focused on the details of the plans the government is drawing up, and that may determine whether the broad market rally can be sustained.

“Given investors are short, the reaction of sterling is not a surprise,” said Gareth Gettinby, portfolio manager at Aegon Asset Management. “Ultimately, the UK has an extremely negative external balance that remains reliant on foreign funding which remains a negative. So a short term bounce on government noise and then expect the currency to weaken.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Confidence in the standard of UK governance has taken a beating recently. The government has few options when the bond market is throwing a fit at the prospect of modern monetary theory gone wild. They will inevitably have to walk back the commitment to lower taxes and will hopefully double down on deregulation.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 13 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Hong Kong Buys HK$11.697 Billion to Defend Currency Peg System

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority buys HK$11.697 billion ($1.5 billion) to manage the city’s currency peg for Oct. 14 settlement, according to the de facto central bank’s page on Bloomberg.

Aggregate balance will decrease to about HK$106.6 billion on Oct. 14

Eoin Treacy's view -

The strength of the Dollar and the Fed’s policy of raising rates has put a lot of pressure on the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to sustain the Hong Kong Dollar’s peg. The rate has been bumping up against the HK7.85 level for much of the last year in a repeat of the 2018/19 weakness.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 12 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 12th 2022

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: BoE defends 5% on the 30yr, Fed Minutes see a long slog to control inflation, stocks ease, bonds steady, Bank of Japan recommits to QE so Yen extends decline, rise of asset heavy businesses versus intangible assets. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 12 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

UK 30-Year Yield Tops 5%, Pound Jumps as Confusion Grips Market

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

“Bailey’s words did sound harsh but from the BOE’s perspective they need to sound stern,” said Pooja Kumra, rates strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank. “The BOE has been very receptive to markets. If chaos continues we doubt that they will run away.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Bank of England is in a very difficult position. They desperately need to act against inflationary pressures but are constrained from using the tools at their disposal because of the risk posed by leverage in the financial system, not least in the pension sector.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 12 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

FOMC Minutes for September Meeting

This excerpt of commentary following the release of the Fed Minutes may be of interest. Here is a section:

It will take years to see inflation pressures completely recede, according to the minutes. That’s also apparent in the Fed forecasts, which don’t see headline inflation returning to 2% until 2025, and core still above that then.

Catarina Saraiva  Fed Reporter

10/12 19:26

Regarding QT, several officials said it would be “appropriate” to consider sales of agency MBS at some point so the Fed’s long-term portfolio can be composed primarily of Treasury securities.

Ian Lyngen at BMO Capital Markets comments:

“Not new information per se, but nonetheless reinforcing the idea that for the time being the status quo of QT will be maintained. Especially after the volatility experienced in the gilt market, and liquidity in both mortgages and Treasuries already becoming an issue, we don’t expect MBS sales from SOMA will be a near term issue.”

Ye Xie  Markets Reporter, New York

10/12 19:25

Here’s something to keep in mind when looking at tomorrow’s CPI report:

“Participants commented that they expected inflation pressures to persist in the near term.”

Catarina Saraiva  Fed Reporter

10/12 19:25

The median estimate of Fed officials’ projections in the September SEPs was for unemployment to climb to a high of 4.4% next year. Many economists have said this is wishful thinking, and that it will likely rise much higher if the Fed keeps raising rates. It sounds like some at the Fed are concerned about this as well.

“A few participants particularly stressed the high uncertainty associated with the expected future path of the unemployment rate and commented that the unemployment rate could rise by considerably more than in the staff forecast.”

The highest unemployment rate forecast among the 19 policymakers for 5% in 2023.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The steadier action focusing on the “calibrate” statement implies the Fed will slow down the pace of interest rate hikes after the November meeting. The thing I find most interesting about this evolving environment is the willingness of investors to pre-empt what the federal reserve will do. It’s a symptom of relying on past experience to inform future decisions. We know what has happened on every other occasion, so why not this time? That’s why buying the dip works after all.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 12 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Putin Says All Infrastructure at Risk After Nord Stream Hit

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

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said any energy infrastructure in the world is at risk after the explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

The attacks were an act of terror that set “the most dangerous precedent,” the Russian president told a Moscow energy forum on Wednesday. “It shows that any critically important object of transport, energy or utilities infrastructure is under threat” irrespective of where it is located or by whom it is managed, he said.

Putin blamed the sabotage on the US, Ukraine and Poland, calling them “beneficiaries” of the blasts that caused major gas leaks in the Baltic Sea. The US and its allies have rejected those allegations and suggest Russia may have been behind the underwater blasts.

The attacks on two strings of Nord Stream and one string of Nord Stream 2 at the end of September have raised concerns over the future of Europe’s gas supplies. Other critical infrastructure in the region has also suffered damage in recent weeks. 

Earlier this month, an act of sabotage halted train services across northern Germany and the government has said it can’t rule out foreign involvement. A pipeline that carries Russian oil through Poland was found to be leaking on Tuesday. Investigations continue, and Poland’s top official in charge of strategic energy infrastructure said he assumed it was an accident.

Eoin Treacy's view -

This is a none too subtle threat to expect escalation of attacks on energy infrastructure for as long as the EU is supporting Ukraine’s resistance efforts. The sabotage of Germany’s rail network with specialized interruptions conducted simultaneously at locations 200km apart is a display of Russia’s extraterritorial ability to sow disruption.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 12 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 11 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 11th 2022

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: Dollar eases, gold steadies, stocks steady and bonds hold lows, Bank of England intervenes in inflation protected bonds market, China pauses but renminbi remains weak, technological innovation raises scope for unconventional war during times of geopolitical stress.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 11 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on annuity pensions

It will be interesting to see whether the higher gilt yields (and turbulent stock markets) lead to an increased demand for fixed pension annuities and thus a new demand for gilts

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this email which may be of interest. Annuity sales in the USA set a record in the 2nd quarter of this year at $79.4 billion. With so much volatility in stock markets there has been significant demand for guaranteed returns and particularly now since bonds pay a modest yield. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 11 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Social Security COLA update coming this week - and it could be huge

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

Should Social Security beneficiaries see an 8.7% increase in their monthly checks next year, it would mark the steepest annual adjustment since 1981, when recipients saw an 11.2% bump. An increase of that magnitude would raise the average retiree benefit of $1,656 by about $144 per month or roughly $1,729 annually, the group said.

"A COLA of 8.7% is extremely rare and would be the highest ever received by most Social Security beneficiaries alive today," Mary Johnson, a policy analyst at the Senior Citizens League who conducted the research, said. "There were only three other times since the start of automatic adjustments that it was higher."

However, the decades-high benefit increase is not always good news for recipients, according to Johnson.

Higher Social Security payments are a bit of a Catch-22. They can reduce eligibility for low-income safety net programs, like food stamps, and can push people into higher tax brackets, meaning retirees will pay more taxes on a bigger share of their monthly payments.

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is a lot of complication in the US tax code but one thing is certain, if you make more you pay more. That both increases compliance costs and ticks people off when they believe they should not have to pay taxes. It’s likely to become a political factor in coming elections.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 11 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Discovering novel algorithms with AlphaTensor

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

Beyond this example, AlphaTensor’s algorithm improves on Strassen’s two-level algorithm in a finite field for the first time since its discovery 50 years ago. These algorithms for multiplying small matrices can be used as primitives to multiply much larger matrices of arbitrary size.

Moreover, AlphaTensor also discovers a diverse set of algorithms with state-of-the-art complexity – up to thousands of matrix multiplication algorithms for each size, showing that the space of matrix multiplication algorithms is richer than previously thought.

Algorithms in this rich space have different mathematical and practical properties. Leveraging this diversity, we adapted AlphaTensor to specifically find algorithms that are fast on a given hardware, such as Nvidia V100 GPU, and Google TPU v2. These algorithms multiply large matrices 10-20% faster than the commonly used algorithms on the same hardware, which showcases AlphaTensor’s flexibility in optimising arbitrary objectives.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Taiwan Semiconductor initially expected to produce 3nm chips this year and now plans to mass produce next year. They expect to have 2nm chips in the market by 2024/25. A silicon atom is 0.2nm wide so the 2nm phrase is essentially marketing terminology for chips that more efficient and incorporate more transistors. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 11 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Shows Off Drone That Drops Robodog With Huge Gun Anywhere

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

A video has gone viral of a large drone dropping off a gun-wielding robot dog, a terrifying vision of what the future of warfare and policing could soon look like.

The footage shows a sizable octocopter drone dropping off its armed payload on a rooftop in an urban area. The robodog then springs to life and stretches its legs.

The robot appears to be carrying a modified, semiautomatic assault rifle, which has been the service rifle for the People's Liberation Army and paramilitary agencies in China since 1995.

The clip was shared by an account called Kestrel Defense Blood-Wing on Chinese social media. According to a rough Google translation of the account's description of the video, "war dogs" that "descend from the sky" can be "directly inserted into the weak links behind the enemy to carry out surprise attacks," be delivered "to the top of enemy buildings," or provide fire suppression.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Boston Dynamics has committed to not developing weapons, but they are certainly inspiring copycats. This kind of picture is designed to instill fear. It does not get over the issue Boston Dynamics has with battery life. A robot dog like that, has 90 minutes of usability before it runs down. Carrying a gun, it would be even less. At that point they had better explode or they will quickly be repurposed to fire back at an invading force. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 10 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 10th 2022

October 10 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on synthetic biology

In the section of the Wired article, you post there is this: "...and production is on the cusp of becoming biological". Any ideas what this means? Is it the "synthetic biology" that you refer to in your view?

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this question. Yes, they use some poetic license with the language but what they are talking about is synthetic biology. Most people are familiar with the Human Genome Project. It’s what led to the birth of the genetic revolution which has been underway for the last twenty years.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 10 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Taiwan Tensions Spark New Round of US War-Gaming on Risk to TSMC

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

That doomsday scenario injects a new dynamic to Washington’s war-gaming that highlights an uncomfortable dilemma: For all the talk of strong support for the government in Taipei, the US has concluded that it’s too dependent on Taiwan for the kind of advanced chips that are essential for the latest smartphones and next-generation military hardware, and is working to build more domestic capacity as a result.

“The focus among policymakers — and this is true of the US and elsewhere — is of understanding where risks are or concentration is,” said Chris Miller, an associate professor at Tufts University and the author of Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology. The chip industry’s concentration in Taiwan, he said, “has raised red flags.”

The following account of the contingency planning being undertaken was provided by multiple officials and former officials who requested anonymity to speak candidly. They stressed that plans are purely hypothetical and many details remain unresolved. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is a lot of talk about the possibility of war over control of Taiwan. The island economy’s dominance of the semiconductor sector is often associated with TSMC. However, Taiwan’s network of smaller essential component companies is equally important. That’s not going to be solved by expatriating a relatively small number of engineers.

 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 10 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Was That The Whale?

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

On this last point, an old Gavekal trope has it that liquidity crises resemble dynamite fishing. When a stick of dynamite is detonated under the sea (let alone 200kg equivalent, as seems to have occurred off Denmark’s coast this week), everything in the vicinity is killed. The coral dies, little fish die and so do any whales in the vicinity. The tiddlers quickly come up to the surface, but it takes longer for any whale carcasses to emerge. Historically speaking, it is when the whales show up that policymakers shift gear and reinject liquidity. In my career, whales have included Mexico in 1994, Asia, Long-Term Capital Management and Russia in 1998, Enron and MCI-Worldcom in 2001-02, Lehman, AIG and Bernie Madoff in 2008 and the US repo market in 2018.

Now, in the past few weeks, the financial markets’ waters were undeniably troubled. We have seen surging currency volatility, huge moves in government bond markets, especially in the US and the UK, and collapsing equity prices. The waters were sufficiently turbulent to suggest that a whale may soon show up. Indeed, on Monday, I speculated that the underfunded US pension fund system could be the surprise whale, whose troubles would force the Fed to change course (see The US Dollar Wrecking Ball)? I was wrong—by one letter. It turns out that the whale was most likely the UK pension fund system.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The margin call on UK pensions was a big deal and has painted the Bank of England into a difficult position. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 10 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on an online version of The Chart Seminar

Why not do the Chart Seminar by Vimeo? I don't want to travel to London from California for this valuable seminar. I attend John Mauldin's seminar online, which are quite helpful. Why not yours, also?

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this suggestion and I can understand the reluctance to travel when so much is online today. There are several reasons I am reluctant to do an online seminar.

The first is I have done online seminars for private organisations in the past and they turn into lectures very quickly. It is virtually impossible to practice the Socratic method with a group of strangers online who are unfamiliar with the material being covered.

The second reason is time zones. This is a truly global service with subscribers coming from all over. If I were to schedule a seminar, what time zone would I pick, or should I do three? One each for the Americas, Europe/Middle East and Asia/Australia?

Lastly, I do my best work in person. That’s why I refused to participate in the Money Show’s online seminars. When I give a seminar, I want to deliver the best of what I can offer and I believe that is in person.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 10 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 08 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 08 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Great Progression 2025-2050

This lengthy article by Peter Leyden for Wired’s bigthink.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

We’re living through an extraordinary time in American history, and really in all human history. Once you take that big-picture historical perspective, once you look at the whole forest rather than the individual trees, the real story of our times starts to make more sense. We happen to have arrived at a juncture between two very different historical eras and that makes everything on the ground very confusing, and very traumatic.

One way to understand this is that for the last 40 years America and the world have been operating within a series of interconnected systems that add up to one mega-system. Our energy system was rooted in carbon, and our transportation system was based on the internal combustion engine. Our culture was dominated by the huge Baby Boom generation and our politics tended to be more conservative. Our economics was all about unleashing the private sector and maximizing shareholder capitalism. Work was done in physical places and production was primarily industrial. Our uber-challenge was terrorism, and our geopolitical focus was the Middle East, which made sense because we needed to keep the carbon energy flowing to keep the whole flywheel of this mega-system spinning.

That whole mega-system, and all the subsystems, arguably are now breaking down and often causing more problems than they are solving. This world that older people spent their entire careers and lives mastering is coming to an end. This world that younger people were taught is “just the way things are” increasingly does not make sense. This world that politicians proudly had policies for, and that the media confidently analyzed and explained, is soon going to be over.

Every one of those systems arguably is being superseded by new systems much better suited for the 21st century. Our uber-challenge is now climate change and so our energy system must shift to clean power and our transportation system to electric. Our culture now is dominated by the huge Millennial generation and our politics are becoming more progressive. Our economics is raising the role of the public sector and capitalism being pushed to include all stakeholders. Work is now taking place much more virtually, and production is on the cusp of becoming biological. And our geopolitics is recentering on Asia, and in particular on the new superpower, China.

Eoin Treacy's view -

There are two important cycles investors need to be aware of. First you have the technology cycle. Time marches to a different beat inside universities and labs all over the world. The market may go up and down but smart people, beavering away on their pet idea, will eventually lead to technological innovations that take everyone by surprise.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 08 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Malaysia LNG declares force majeure on supply to customers -Mitsubishi

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

The possible disruption comes at a time when Japan and many other countries in Europe are scrambling to ensure gas supply for the peak winter demand season as they face the threat of an energy cut-off from Russia amid the war in Ukraine.

The force majeure was due to a leak on the Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline on Sept. 21, the Mitsubishi spokesperson said, adding it was assessing the impact from the action.

"We have already strongly requested that Malaysia LNG take all possible measures to examine and respond to the impact," he said.

"We will closely monitor the situation and provide full support to Malaysia LNG in order to minimize the impact on the Japanese market," he said, adding there would be limited impact on its earnings.

The spokesperson declined to give details such as the dates of declarations and volume of the supply that may be affected or how long the supply disruption could last.

Eoin Treacy's view -

We are in a tight supply environment so every pipeline or processing facility interruption makes global headlines. Nevertheless, there is still potential that the explosion at the Freeport terminal in Texas, the Nordstream pipeline explosion and the Petronas leak are related events. Regardless of whether these events are the result of malicious intent, the argument for any measure that supports energy independence is more convincing than ever.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 08 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on pension troubles

Thank you so much for a superb and invaluable service. I’ve been a subscriber since the ‘80s. I’ve just recently renewed my subscription again after a short break of a couple of years. Just so enjoying hearing your thoughts and steady guidance through these volatile times, thank you. I’d really enjoy your thoughts re this recent article from Reuters ‘Pension fund blowup faces brutal second act’ which may also be of interest to the collective

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for your kind words and this question which I’m sure others have an interest in. The short answer is the blowup of pension funds in the liability-driven investing (LBI) sector is likely to have a long tail. Pensions are now going to be much more wary about taking on leverage so they are forced sellers of illiquid assets. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 08 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Overwatch 2 launch brings big hopes and woes for Activision Blizzard and OWL

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

Overwatch 2’s launch suffered from a double whammy of troubles when the servers opened for business Tuesday: Massive player interest led to equally massive login queues and a cyberattack.

Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Ybarra tweeted that the company was dealing with a Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that was disrupting servers (these stopped after Tuesday’s launch). "Server issues” and “launch day” predictably go together in gaming, so plenty of players knew to expect disruptions and wait times.

Another issue plaguing Overwatch 2’s launch was the use of Blizzard’s SMS Protect feature, which requires a mobile phone number to prevent cheaters and stop hackers from taking over player accounts. But since Tuesday’s launch, those using prepaid cellular accounts can’t use those mobile numbers to play (it's part of the SMS Protect protocol). A Blizzard spokesperson said that the company is "actively engaging with some service providers to explore if we can expand the program to cover more users while still protecting our players and game security."

Late Wednesday, Blizzard said an update it plans to roll out Friday will change SMS Protect so that any player who has logged into Overwatch since June 2021 can play without a phone number requirement (anyone who hasn't played Overwatch since that time will need to use a phone number. It’s also rolling out updates to improve online stability and long login queues. Players have also been reporting missing items and other data, and Blizzard said half of these issues are because players didn’t merge their accounts. For the rest, Blizzard said no data has been wiped or lost and it is working to restore missing items.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Activision Blizzard was in the process of collapsing before Microsoft made a bid for the company. The share is falling once more which suggests investors are wary of thinking the merger will get approval from the EU.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 06 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 6th 2022

October 06 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

PGIM Sees No-Brainer in Betting Against Another Fed Pivot Trade

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

Investors counting on a Federal Reserve pivot any time soon are bound to get burned again, according to PGIM Fixed Income.

“We’ve seen this movie time and time again,” said Greg Peters, co-chief investment officer at the Newark-based firm, in an interview. “The market gets hyped up on different narratives between inflation releases. I’ve been surprised by it, and we’ve been using it as an opportunity to sell into.”

The firm, which manages assets of $790 billion, sold US Treasuries after a rally earlier this week sparked by speculation the Fed was about to turn more dovish. The market move proved short lived, backing its view that there’s still not enough evidence to suggest policy makers will rein in aggressive interest-rate hikes.

The speculation -- fueled by a smaller-than-expected rate hike in Australia -- drove action across global markets in the first two days of this week, driving down two-year Treasury yields by nearly 30 basis points at one point to below 4%.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Neel Kashkari, who has historically been viewed as a dove, was quoted today as saying "more work to do" on bringing down inflation, and is "quite a ways away" from being able to pause its aggressive interest-rate hikes.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 06 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

LNG Market Supply to Remain Tight for Years, Top Producers Say

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

Liquefied natural gas will be in short supply in the coming years as production lags behind surging demand from Europe, according to the world’s top producers of the fuel.

Global LNG demand is unlikely to peak for another 20 to 30 years, Qatar Energy Minister Saad Al-Kaabi said at the Energy Intelligence forum in London. Meanwhile, supply will remain “structurally short” until there’s significant new production capacity, which will be 2026 at earliest, Meg O’Neill, chief executive officer of Australia’s Woodside Energy Group Ltd., said at the event.

Their comments add to a growing chorus warning that Europe’s worst energy crisis in decades is unlikely to end soon. While the continent looks set to cope this winter, it’s next winter when the supply shortage will really bite as Europe tries to replenish its stockpiles without Russian imports.

“Next winter is going to be the problem,” Al-Kaabi said. “It doesn’t look like it’s getting better.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The opinion that Europe will cope this season is implied in prevailing prices of natural gas. It is not reflected in media coverage which continues to paint a dire picture of what this winter will feel like for many consumers.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 06 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Thyssenkrupp may have just cleared the path to bulk green steelmaking

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

German steel giant Thyssenkrupp is investing US$1.9 billion in a hydrogen-powered direct-reduction system that can create high-quality steel without needing the rare, high-grade iron ore required by most green steel processes. This could open the floodgates.

But the technology to make green steel is well understood and already in use. You stop using fossil-fired blast furnaces to release the oxygen from iron ore, and you stop using baked coal, or coke, as a reductant to add the critical small percentage of carbon to your iron. Instead, you use green hydrogen in a direct reduction process, both as your reductant and to power an electric arc furnace to supply the heat. Instead of tons of carbon dioxide, this process emits water.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Electric arc furnaces require scrap steel to function so there is a heavy reliance on recycled supply. Using hydrogen to make the process more efficient and to avoid buying costly carbon credits is a bonus if it can be achieved effectively.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 06 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Tilray, Other Marijuana Stocks Rise After Biden Says He Will Pardon Federal Offenses of Simple Possession

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

"No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana," Biden said in a post on Twitter (TWTR). "Today, I'm taking steps to end our failed approach."

Biden said he will pardon all previous federal offenses of simple marijuana possession.

"There are thousands of people who were previously convicted of simple possession who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My pardon will remove this burden," he said.
The president also said he is asking Health Secretary Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.

"We classify marijuana at the same level as heroin -- and more serious than fentanyl. It makes no sense," Biden said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The are clear arguments in favour of freeing individuals for cannabis offenses when cannabis possession and consumption is legal in many states. The potential for reclassification of cannabis is a potentially significant development for the sector.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 05 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 5th 2022

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: high yield spread continues to march higher, the yield curve is still inverted, crude oil and oil stocks extend advance, dollar bounces, Treasury yields bounce but stock market steady. If the preceding trends remain intact, that spells trouble for the stock market. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 05 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

KKR's Debt Deal Shows How Ugly Things Are Getting for Lenders

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

Such maneuvers had been a decade in the making. Easy money after the global financial crisis made debt investors hungry to buy loans and bonds that provided higher yields. Funds began to agree to weaker protections in their creditor agreements. Loan and bond documents riddled with loopholes and imprecise language gave borrowers more flexibility in times of stress.

The documents didn’t explicitly allow future creditors to grab collateral. But they left just enough ambiguity, sometimes called “trap doors,” for lawyers with a bit of ingenuity and a lot of motivation to move assets to new entities and give dying companies some fresh capital. Because of these often-overlooked provisions, some creditors were surprised to discover they’d been left with almost worthless loans and bonds after struggling companies restructured.

“Loose documents have become the norm rather than the exception,” says Damian Schaible, co-head of restructuring at Davis Polk & Wardwell. “If we go into a real recession, we are going to see more and more borrowers and sponsors seeking to exploit document loopholes to create leverage against and among their creditors.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Covenant light debt issuance has dominated the post Global Financial Crisis bond markets. That hasn’t mattered until now. Default rates were low, successive waves of new money ensured rates stayed low, and credit remained abundant. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 05 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

OPEC+ Tries to Keep Oil Above $90 With Large Production Cut

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

Earlier on Wednesday, US officials were making calls to counterparts in the Gulf trying to push back against the move to cut production, according to people familiar with the situation. President Biden has long been pushing OPEC+ to boost output, visiting Saudi Arabia earlier this year in search of lower pump prices for Americans ahead of midterm elections in November.

The White House’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said in a statement after the OPEC+ meeting that the US would release another 10 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in November, and that “the president will continue to direct SPR releases as appropriate to protect American consumers and promote energy security.”

Real Cuts
The cut of 2 million barrels a day will be measured against the same baseline as the previous OPEC+ agreements, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, OPEC governor for Iran, told reporters in Vienna after the meeting. Shared pro rata between members, that would require just eight countries to curb actual production and deliver a real reduction of about 900,000 barrels a day, according to Bloomberg calculations based on September output figures.

OPEC+ will no longer hold monthly meetings, Zamaninia said. The group’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which oversees implementation of production cuts, will meet every two months, he said. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Moving meetings to every two months suggest this cut to production is not a short-term measure. OPEC ministers are obviously worried about the prospect of lower demand and above all do not wish to re-experience the 2020 plunge in prices because they were not prescient enough to reduce supply.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 05 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Ice Age - End In Sight

Thanks to a subscriber for this report from Morgan Stanley focusing on Asia. Here is a section:

Upgrade from Cautious to Attractive: No one knows exactly when this downturn will end and we find it difficult to get ahead of macro events, but we see signals that suggest we should no longer be overly pessimistic: (1) the cyclical sell-off has already been punitive in an historical context; (2) the magnitude of the valuation correction (YoY) is approaching extremes relative to the last two decades; (3) earnings risks are now well understood and it is surprises that will drive stocks from here; (4) green shoots are emerging while some consumer parts of tech are close to bottoming; (5) we are upgrading our top down EM strategy view on IT, Korea, and Taiwan; these are set-up for a reversal in returns in the coming weeks. What is not understood is cycle turns and the market's willingness to increasingly look through this late stage of the downturn and, hence, our focus on the other side of the cycle.

An inflection is near and we see reasons to be constructive on a 2H23 recovery. (1) Macro headwinds are fading with the bulk of the Fed’s heavy lifting likely to be done by year-end and benefits from China’s reopening; (2) demand elasticity and replacement cycles will be driven by the sharp fall in pricing, especially consumer products; and (3) supply adjustment is accelerating via significant production and capex cuts that are underway. We have clearly worked through the slowdown in the consumer and are most positive on 'first-in, first out' exposure in LCD panels bottoming now, followed by memory in 4Q22, while the trough for foundry, auto and semicap should come with a lag in 1H23.

Eoin Treacy's view -

As the fourth quarter begins and investors position for how they hope to salvage returns for 2022, questions are already arising about the prospects for 2023. There is no doubt, steep declines in asset prices, particularly within the tech sector, have improved valuations. In normal circumstances that would be sufficient to create attractive entry points. Therefore, the question is whether this is a normal correction following the excesses of the pandemic or the end of the cycle. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 04 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 4th 2022

October 04 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on looking at lots of charts

Dear Eoin, In the 1960s and 1970s subscribers to the David Fuller Chart Service received a booklet containing hundreds of charts each week or each month. I used to come into the office at 6a.m. and complete the point and figure charts each day. Thanks to this work, I gained a reputation among my colleagues for being the first one to spot changes in the long-term trends of both overall markets, sectors and individual shares. As of this morning, I am getting up one hour earlier and I will start by looking at all the daily charts of the Autonomies in the Chart Library. Let's hope that this will produce the same result. This morning's work show very small blue upward marks in almost every chart. These are tiny upward movements in the year-long major decline in all these share prices. This "summer's swallow" has not yet started chirping. Regards,

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this account. David was still having chartbooks printed in 2003, when we began working together. By that stage they were a very niche product that had become obsolete with the development of charting software. Nevertheless, the practice of looking at lots of charts is as useful today as it has ever been.

In following your program of activity, I would suggest taking one day to look at point and figure charts. They will give you clear confirmation of a change of trend.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 04 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Freeport LNG Paradox

This article from Goehring & Rozencwajg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is the conclusion:

With the announcement that Freeport will likely resume exports in October, much sooner than originally planned, combined with low inventories and a gas supply that has shown little in the way of growth, we believe the risk of a Q4 price spike in North American natural gas is once again high.

Natural gas has quickly gone from relative obscurity to geopolitical lynchpin. In the summer of 2020, seaborn LNG reached a low of $1.90 per mmcf while oil prices turned negative. Together, this represented the lowest energy costs in human history. Two short years later, LNG has risen 30-fold to $58 per mmcf, representing the highest energy costs in human history. Such is the result of a decade of underinvestment. Given the fragility of the world’s energy supply, it is no wonder tyrants and despots are moving to weaponize fuel sources. We do not expect this trend to stop and recommend investors position themselves accordingly. We remain extremely bullish on North American natural gas and recommend investors continue holding their natural gas related equities.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Some of information quoted in this report is not accurate. For example, Rhine river levels could approach normal depths this week, and France changed the rules on nuclear power heating of river water in August. European coal prices peaked in March and continue to unwind an overbought condition.
 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 04 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

UK Seeks 20-Year Gas Deal With Norway to Avoid Winter Blackouts

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

The UK is in talks with Norway to secure a natural gas contract of potentially 20 years in a bid to stave off the risk of winter blackouts, a person familiar with the matter said.

Ministers are discussing a price with their Norwegian counterparts, according to the person, who asked not to be named discussing sensitive matters. The business department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Because of the length of contract under discussion, there’s a risk that locking in long-term gas contracts now might leave the UK exposed to high costs in years to come. Current volatility means producers could demand higher prices to guarantee strong profits as it’s unclear how much money they could make by selling on the spot market in the future instead.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Forced buyers are never going to get the best price regardless of how amicable the relationship is between Norway and the UK. However, if that is the only way to ensure security of supply over the coming couple of years, it may be a price worth paying.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 03 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 03 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Some of Truss's Top Team Say Her UK Project May Already Be Over

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

Speaking on the sidelines of the Tories’ annual conference in Birmingham, the ministers predicted she will survive to fight the next election, due in about two years, because there isn’t enough time to replace her. The result, they said, is likely to be more rebellions from Tory MPs pushing around a lame duck premier, just like the one that forced her into a humiliating U-turn on Monday morning. 

The stark view suggests the “new economic deal for Britain” launched by Truss and her Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng may be dead in the water before it has even got going. The policy calls for a major program of deregulation in areas such as housebuilding and childcare alongside tax cuts.

One former Cabinet minister predicted Truss will be gone within a year to allow the party time to regenerate before the general election, which must be held by January 2025 at the latest. They said local votes in May, 2023, would provide a clear indication of how badly Truss is doing and predicted that her successor would have to come from outside the current Cabinet.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Reversing the 5% cut to the top rate of tax was essential to avoid significant public protest. The biggest challenge for the Truss administration is their inability to fathom that the era of profligate spending with no concern for funding ended when inflation surged and forced rates higher. The reality is high rates force a reappraisal of value and in turn a questioning of values is inevitable.



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top
October 03 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Brazilian Assets Soar as Presidential Race Goes to Runoff

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

Brazilian assets jumped after President Jair Bolsonaro secured his way to a runoff election against Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as investors cheered on the incumbent’s better-than-expected showing and bet his leftist challenger will be forced to moderate his stances in the second stretch of the race.   

Lula, as he is universally known, took 48% to Bolsonaro’s 43%, Brazil’s electoral court said, with almost all votes counted.

That tally left Lula without the simple majority needed for an outright victory, as some opinion polls had suggested, and set the two up for a bruising face off in what has already been a divisive election campaign.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Brazilian iBovespa is the only major global index in positive territory this year; in both nominal and currency adjusted terms. 13.75% short-term interest rates, up from 2% in March 2021 have successfully got inflationary pressures under control. The central bank expects to be cutting rates by the end of the year or early in 2023. 



This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top