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June 01 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

In Gold We Trust Q2 2021

Thanks to a subscriber for this edition of Ronald-Peter Stoeferle and Mark Valek’s heavyweight report on gold with a spattering of crypto analysis. Here is a section:

Silver’s rally is likely to continue for the rest of the decade. We could be moving into an inflationary politician-led era of universal basic income, modern monetary theory, and government-guaranteed bank loan schemes. These trends will put upward pressure on the silver price.

Silver is far and away the most heavily leveraged exchange-traded commodity. An August 2020 report by Macquarie put the ratio of derivatives to physical market at 193 for silver, compared to 86 for nickel and 74 for gold. This creates potential for a GameStop-style short squeeze on silver.

The consensus opinion of professional silver analysts is that the world will broadly go back to the way it was before 2020. They are forecasting falling investment demand and lower silver prices for 2021–25, but we think they are mistaken.

We believe the ‘go back to the way things were’ assumption will be proven wrong. The virus may have had little impact on silver sources, but it has had a profound impact on government and society.

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Silver is both a precious and industrial metal. The growth of the solar cell industry has been one of the key industrial demand drivers over the last decade and that is likely to continue even as the marginal cost compression of solar cells moderates.

 



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June 01 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

U.S. says ransomware attack on meatpacker JBS likely from Russia

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

The company, which has its North American operations headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, controls about 20% of the slaughtering capacity for U.S. cattle and hogs, according to industry estimates.

U.S. beef and pork prices are already rising as China increases imports, animal feed costs rise and slaughterhouses face a dearth of workers.

The cyberattack on JBS could push U.S. beef prices even higher by tightening supplies, said Brad Lyle, chief financial officer for consultancy Partners for Production Agriculture.

Any impact on consumers would depend on how long production is down, said Matthew Wiegand, a risk management consultant and commodity broker at FuturesOne in Nebraska.

"If it lingers for multiple days, you see some food service shortages," Wiegand added.

Two kill and fabrication shifts were canceled at JBS's beef plant in Greeley due to the cyberattack, representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 7 said in an email. JBS Beef in Cactus, Texas, also said on Facebook it would not run on Tuesday.

JBS Canada said in a Facebook post that shifts had been canceled at its plant in Brooks, Alberta, on Monday and one shift so far had been canceled on Tuesday.

 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Piracy on the high seas is policed by both nation states and international organisations. A zero tolerance policy is taken to any threat to international trade and significant military and diplomatic resources are deployed to contain any threat that appears. Doing the same for cyber pirates is a lot more difficult.



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June 01 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Mudrick Said to Sell AMC Stake, Calling Shares Overvalued

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

AMC said Tuesday it sold stock to Mudrick with plans to “go on offense” for acquisitions. The agreement with New York-based Mudrick was for 8.5 million shares of common stock at $27.12 apiece. The stock purchase came with the assurance that the shares would be “freely tradable,” meaning the firm could sell the shares at any point or in any amount it chose.

Debt holders have also benefited from the recent equity rally. Some of its junk-rated second lien bonds due 2026 that were trading as low as 5 cents on the dollar in November are now close to face value, and quotes on its senior subordinated notes maturing in 2027 jumped about 4.5 cents Tuesday to almost 80 cents.

Mudrick has made big bets on AMC in the past, helping the movie theater chain as it pushed through the pandemic. In January, the firm agreed to buy $100 million of new secured bonds in exchange for a commitment fee equal to about 8 million AMC shares. The agreement also called for Mudrick to exchange $100 million of AMC bonds due 2026 for about 13.7 million shares.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Kudos to AMC’s management for making ample use of its shelf listing to milk investors for additional capital. Quite what going on the offensive means is another question entirely. Content creators are increasingly choosing to go straight to streaming. When they do choose to show movies in theatres the interval before streaming is shorter. Cinema might be a shrinking market but the company will at least survive long enough to increase market share.



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May 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

First named storm of hurricane season comes early because of warming seas

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

"The system is considered a subtropical cyclone rather than a tropical cyclone since it is still entangled with an upper-level low as evident in water vapor satellite images, but it does have some tropical characteristics as well," according to the National Hurricane Center.

There have been pre-season named storms in the past six years, but Ana’s addition to the group is distinct for another reason. Storms in May normally form near the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean Sea or the Southeastern coast of the United States, CNN reported. But subtropical storm Ana is distinct because it formed in the Atlantic. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded a record-breaking 30 named storms in 2020. NOAA reported that 2020 was the fifth consecutive year with an “above-normal” hurricane season. There have been 18 “above-normal” seasons out of the last 26. 

“As we correctly predicted, an interrelated set of atmospheric and oceanic conditions linked to the warm AMO were again present this year. These included warmer-than-average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a stronger west African monsoon, along with much weaker vertical wind shear and wind patterns coming off of Africa that were more favorable for storm development. These conditions, combined with La Nina, helped make this record-breaking, extremely active hurricane season possible,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

La Nina has dissipated and we are now in the lull before a new El Nino forms. How long that takes is likely to have an impact on how storms form over the summer months. Seven years in a row for an early hurricane season is not an aberration but looks more like a trend.



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May 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Fed Reverse Repo Primed to Top Record Demand Level at Month-End

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

Volume at the Federal Reserve’s facility for overnight reverse repurchase agreements is poised to climb on the last trading day of the month, surpassing Thursday’s record, as global banks pull back on their balance sheet activity for regulatory purposes.

Wrightson ICAP said it’s likely demand for the Fed’s RRP moves above $500 billion level, but will be looking for some pullback in activity on June -- though any dip may be temporary

RRP usage surged to $485.3 billion Thursday, a record since the facility started in September 2013 and up from $450 billion in the prior session

The rate on overnight GC repo opened at -0.01%, according to Oxford Economics. Treasury bills out to September are yielding less than 1.5bp. On the unsecured side, three-month Libor dropped to a fresh record low of 0.13138% from 0.13463% in the previous session

The glut at the front-end has been spurred by the central bank’s ongoing asset-purchase program, commonly referred to as quantitative easing, as well the drawdown of the Treasury’s general account. The latter has been driven by the looming debt-ceiling reinstatement, which is due to take place at the end of July, and the flow of pandemic stimulus funds to taxpayers

Federal relief payments to state and local municipalities are also adding to the oversupply, and that’s being exacerbated as regulatory constraints encourage banks to turn away deposits, directing that cash into money-market funds

Eoin Treacy's view -

There was a lot of concern at the prospect of banks turning away deposits and the impact that would have on money market funds a couple of months ago. Since then, the Fed has acted to support banking operations. Additional supports are now going to be required to ensure money market funds do not see negative yields. That may require stepping up asset purchases in an effort to mop up excess liquidity.



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May 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

ECB Expected to Keep Its Higher Bond-Buying Pace Through Summer

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

The pandemic purchases were ramped up in March when the U.S. rebound was fueling a global rise in borrowing costs while the euro zone was in a double-dip recession. The ECB will unveil new economic projections that should confirm a far brighter outlook as vaccinations pick up.

A European Commission report on Friday showed economic confidence in May at the highest level in more than three years as restaurants, hotels and shops across the region start to reopen.

Yet in a sign that the recovery remains fragile, French data on Friday came in much weaker than expected. Consumer spending fell 8.3% in April from the previous month, more than twice as much as forecast, and first-quarter gross domestic product was revised to show a decline. Finland also posted an unexpected contraction.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Over the past few decades there have seldom been times when European equities outperformed the S&P500. The equity cult in the USA is much stronger than elsewhere which creates demand for domestic growth stories. The presence of strong consumer brands, companies with long histories of paying and increasing dividends, the ready supply of new exciting stories from Silicon Valley and the largest consumer base in the world means Wall Street has tended to outperform.



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May 27 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 27 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Advance your thinking on 10 critical themes

Thanks to a subscriber for this report from UBS which may be of interest. Here is a section on new materials:

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Biodegradable plastic is a major growth theme if costs can be brought in line with existing manufacturing techniques. The modern world is built on hydrocarbons because the chemical sector has been so versatile in developing products from them. The challenge is these types of products last for seemingly interminable lengths of time and find their way into every facet of the global ecosystem. As awareness of the dangers of microplastics increases, demand for degradable alternatives will increase.



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May 27 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Bank of England likely to raise rates at some point in 2022

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

“In that scenario, the first rise in Bank Rate is likely to become appropriate only well into next year, with some modest further tightening thereafter,” he added.

The government’s furlough programme, which pays the wages of more than 2 million workers, does not expire until Sept. 30 and Vlieghe said it would take time for the true health of the economy until early in 2022.

If unemployment in the first quarter of 2021 was low and upward pressure on wages stronger then than the BoE expected, “a rise in Bank Rate could be appropriate soon after, along a slightly steeper path than in my central case,” Vlieghe said.

However, if concerns about COVID infection risks persist - possibly as a result of new variants of the disease - higher unemployment could prove persistent and the economy might need more BoE stimulus. (Reporting by David Milliken and Andy Bruce)

Eoin Treacy's view -

Dominic Cummings and his lengthy testimony in front of Parliament are making headlines today but crowds have short memories.

Psychologically, we tend to remember a whole experience by how we feel at the end. Christmas is a good example. All of the preparation, decoration and rushing around are worth it because of the positive experience at the climax of the festival.



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May 26 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 26th 2021

May 26 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on platinum

Dear Eoin, What is happening with Platinum please? Many thanks,

Eoin Treacy's view -

The platinum miners have been among the biggest supporters of the hydrogen fuel cycle because platinum is essential to how hydrogen fuel cells function. The loss of diesel engine demand left a hole in the market and they have been struggling to find new customers. The new energy revolution, being supported by politicians all over the world, is great news for the sector.



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May 26 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on emissions trading

Eoin Hope you are well and settled in your new home. In your comments, you refer to companies having to purchase carbon credits and how Tesla has profited at the expense of others. Could you kindly share some more color on this or direct us to articles you may have posted. Also, could you please shed some light on carbon futures, and where they trade? Thanks much and stay safe Regards

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this timely email. Royal Dutch Shell’s failure to avoid censure in the Netherlands brings the issue of how emissions are priced into sharper focus.

Here is a section from a relevant article:

“Companies have an independent responsibility, aside from what states do,” Alwin said in her decision. “Even if states do nothing or only a little, companies have the responsibility to respect human rights.”

There are currently 1,800 lawsuits related to climate change being fought in courtrooms around the world, according to the climatecasechart.com database. The Shell verdict could have a powerful ripple effect, not least among its European peers including BP Plc and Total SE. Those companies have set similar emissions targets, which have also been criticized by campaigners for not going far enough.

Court Wins
The courts have become an increasingly successful arena for campaigners to hold governments and countries to account over pollution and climate change. This is the second time in quick succession that a Dutch court has ruled that Shell’s parent company in The Hague is liable for environmental damages in other jurisdictions.

In January, a court of appeals said that Hague-headquartered Shell had a duty of care to prevent leaks in Nigeria. The German government fell foul of a judge over its climate targets when its top court ruled that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s climate-protection efforts were falling short in April.

“Urgent action is needed on climate change which is why we have accelerated our efforts to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050,” a Shell spokesperson said. “We are investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels.”



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May 26 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

EU May Sanction Belarus's Potash Industry by This Summer

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

The EU measures will need to name specific sectors and be clearly defined so as to withstand potential legal proceedings and win the backing of all member states. Forging unanimity between EU governments has proved tricky lately, with several countries keen to avoid hurting their economies or dent controversial political alliances.

“A lot will depend of what type of sanctions are implemented,” said Elena Sakhnova, an analyst at VTB Capital. “If those are just sectoral penalties, such as limiting Belarus potash industry’s ability to get financing in European banks, this won’t cause disruption on the market as Belarus uses alternative sources of funding anyway.”

Potential Impact
More meaningful penalties would prevent European companies from trading with the Belarusian potash industry, though Belarus would still be able to divert from Europe to other markets,
mostly to Asia Sakhnova said.

That may cause a short-term increase in potash prices in Europe, as Belarus supplies about 25% of the region’s demand, though the situation should normalize fairly quickly, she said. Producers like Russia’s Uralkali PJSC may replace Belarusian volumes in Europe, she said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

A big outstanding question is how powerful is the EU’s farm lobby? Potash is an essential crop nutrient and is impossible to replace. Supply is concentrated in Belarus, Russia and Canada. Farmers have plenty of experience with exaggerated pricing for agricultural nutrients so achieving unanimity on sanctioning Belarus’ potash exports will be difficult to achieve. A further deterioration in relations would probably be required to spur action.



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May 25 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 25 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Stocks Jump Most Since July Amid Record Foreign Purchases

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

Beijing’s efforts to talk down commodity prices and impose more control over financial markets have sent investors into more defensive assets such as consumer stocks with steady cash flows. Liquor giant Kweichow Moutai Co., mainland’s biggest stock, rose 6% after Chinese media outlets reported its parent company aimed to double revenue by 2025.


“Beijing’s crackdown on commodity prices has forced more funds to seek shelter,” said Zhang Gang, a Central China Securities strategist. “Stocks such as Moutai are attractive given its stable earnings outlook and relatively reasonable valuation following this year’s correction.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Two pieces of news on China hit the headlines today. The first is that Goldman Sachs and ICBC have formed a joint venture for wealth management clients. The second is the central bank is at least comfortable with the current strength of the Renminbi and may be inclined to allow it to appreciate further. Both are positive for asset prices.



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May 25 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on the value/growth ratio

Eoin, congrats for your most recent calls on crypto etc. well done! You were showing a chart re value over growth outperformance and that it could go on a little longer. What in your view is the best way to play it? iShares ETF value long and short iShares growth? Tkx a lot and keep, up your good work! Dani

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for your kind words and the general pattern of outperformance in value is certainly noteworthy. Low interest rates favour growth at the expense of value because expectations for future potential are stretched to the point of incredulity the longer an easy money regime persists. When interest rates change direction the enthusiastic outlook for valuations is harder to justify and the relative attraction of reliable earnings is burnished.



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May 25 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on tops versus medium-term corrections

Dear Eoin, I hope you are keeping well. A very (very) general query, but I've found myself struggling to distinguish between mean reversion in ongoing trends and type 2 / type 3 trend endings. Can we overlay some (subjective) fundamental analysis to gain some clues at this point, or do we have to "wait for the charts to show us"? Or is it about trend consistency? I accept the uncertainty present in markets and that one man's mean reversion is another man's top / bottom, but as this has been playing on my mind, I thought I'd ask the question. Please feel free to answer this in the context of examples as they come up if that's easier! Sincere thanks for the unique and invaluable service.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Distinguishing A top from THE top is a big question and requires us to have an appreciation for what the motivating factor behind a move is. The most pressing point is that every secular bull market is punctuated by several medium-term corrections. Market trends are endlessly fractal so we see evidence of acceleration, massive reactions against the trend and massive congestions areas on occasion.



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May 24 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 24 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

How China Avoided Being Like Russia: The New Economy Saturday

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

Weber: What puzzles me about the idea that the problem lies in Chinese “state capitalism” or China’s active state participation in the market is that this is not unique to China. Other states also have historically had quite extensive industrial policy and state engagement. It seems that the tensions between China and the West have been mounting since China moved from being the workshop for companies headquartered in the West toward trying to establish its own companies that can reach the technological frontier. That of course required the state, as China was starting from a position of relative technological under-development.

Browne: Local experimentation accounts for much of China’s early economic success. But these days, the approach is more top-down. Is that a problem?

Weber: First of all, I think we have to recognize that the 1980s is really this moment of great openness before a new paradigm has settled. This is a little bit like what we might be observing right now in the U.S. context, where suddenly all of the premises that we used to have in economics, especially in economic policymaking, seem to be up for debate. Obviously, this moment of openness cannot last forever. Eventually the mist settles, and you get a new, more consolidated system.

Eoin Treacy's view -

China is a country populated by large numbers of industrious, inventive people who are ruled by an autocratic regime that is terrified of the peasant revolts that have toppled many previous dynasties. The only way for them to ensure control is maintained is clamp down on any form of protest while simultaneously attempting to sustain productivity growth. It’s a tall order and will require continued political evolution if they are to succeed.



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May 24 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Cars Are About to Get a Lot More Expensive

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

Consider a car manufacturer with $100 billion in sales. A 10% decline in sales volume would push earnings before interest and tax down by 40%, the Boston Consulting Group has estimated. That's an optimistic scenario — and this analysis assumed the company could eliminate all variable costs such as raw materials and labor. In the current situation, that’s not quite possible.

No doubt, carmakers could digest the rising cost of production a bit longer by reducing incentives and discounts they’ve used to lure buyers. But that's already been happening in the world’s largest auto markets, the U.S. and China, and you can’t trim back enticements forever. 

Companies have few options to offset creeping manufacturing expenses. With prices already high, consumers aren’t going to be as liberal with their wallets. So far, they have been willing to
accept a 12% premium, or around $5,000 over the sticker price, according to Kelley Blue Book and Cox Automotive. But a U.S. vehicle affordability index has started ticking down, signaling people are beginning to think twice before splashing out. Almost 40% of those who were going to buy cars have now put off their purchases. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

The challenge for consumers is prices rarely go down after they go up because companies pocket margin. That’s as true of cars as it is of every other product. The additional premium companies are no enjoying will help as they redeploy resources towards developing electric replacements for their biggest sellers. That was going to happen anyway so in many regards the current go-slow on production is being welcomed by manufacturers.



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May 24 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Solar Power's Decade of Falling Costs Is Thrown Into Reverse

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

For the solar industry, the timing couldn’t be worse. Renewable energy finally has a champion in the White House and ambitious climate goals have been announced across Europe and Asia.

At the center of the crisis is polysilicon, an ultra-refined form of silicon, one of the most abundant materials on Earth that’s commonly found in beach sand. As the solar industry geared up to meet an expected surge in demand for modules, makers of polysilicon were unable to keep up. Prices for the purified metalloid have touched $25.88 a kilogram, from $6.19 less than a year ago, according to PVInsights.

Polysilicon prices are expected to remain strong through the end of 2022, according to Roth Capital Partners analysts including Philip Shen. 

And the problem isn’t limited to polysilicon. The solar industry is facing “pervasive upstream supply-chain cost challenges,” panel manufacturer Maxeon Solar Technologies Ltd. said in April.

Eoin Treacy's view -

This is just one more sector facing medium-term supply disruption. The clear conclusion is when we look around the world there is too much money chasing too many goods and services. The big question is how long will it take for this inflationary bias to become anchored in the minds of consumers?



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May 23 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 23 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on the velocity of money

Dear Eoin, I hope that your move has gone well. In this article the author argues that it is the velocity of money rather than the quantity of money that influences stock market prices. What do you think of this? Regards https://on.ft.com/3v9CcNt
 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this article which may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

What is really happening is that all the additional money sloshing around makes people want it less, relative to stocks, and the increased relative demand for the stocks forces share prices up. That’s how QE affects stock prices (or one way it does; other people, especially central bankers, prefer stories about QE lowering the discount rate, on which more shortly.)

Eric Barthalon, global head of capital markets research for Allianz Research, notes that this process is self-limiting. As equity prices rise, the weight of cash relative to equities in investors’ portfolios goes down to a level where the investors are happy. Investors stop trading so much, and prices stabilise. In this story, it’s not the Fed simply stuffing the markets with cash. There is an intermediary factor: investors’ relative preference for cash. 

Barthalon’s argument — I find it pretty convincing — is that (a) investors preference for cash is not stable and (b) the Fed is not in control of it at the moments that matter, that is, when markets are falling. You can track investors’ unstable preference for cash by looking at the velocity of money, or how much it changes hands. Barthalon told me: “It is not the quantity of money but its circulation that causes asset prices to rise or fall . . . and historical experience shows us that central banks do not control the velocity of money, especially in capital markets.”



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May 23 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Net Zero by 2050 A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector

The IEA was always a politically motivated organisation but this report highlights just how far they have adopted the renewable consensus. Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

The one thing the market teaches us is the consensus is seldom correct. What happens when we spend until trillions on energy diversification only to learn that it does nothing to arrest a warming trend? Will we then lament not moving sooner on risk mitigation strategies like building higher seawalls or developing additional food supplies? The one thing I can be sure of is the vilification of opposition is a key symptom of mania.



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May 23 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 21 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Please note - Moving house update

May 21 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Canadian Dollar is pick of commodity currencies

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

The Canadian dollar may fare better than other commodity currencies in the remainder of the year as resurgent growth spurs the nation’s central bank to wean the economy off stimulus.

While already perched near multi-year highs, the loonie still has potential to add to its gains given the surge in commodity prices and an economy that is forecast to grow at the fastest pace in several decades. And with the Bank of Canada having unveiled a scale-back of government debt purchases while accelerating the timetable for a possible interest-rate increase, money markets have lost no time in pricing an aggressive rate trajectory.

Other G-10 commodities, too, have fared well this year. While Norway’s central bank is likely to raise rates sooner than its Canadian counterpart, the differential between 10-year yields in the two nations is a considerable hurdle for the krone to overcome. The Australian and New Zealand dollars, meanwhile, face considerable headwinds to climb from current levels given that they are both overvalued from a fundamental perspective, especially against a backdrop where their central banks are likely to stay accommodative for a long time yet.

The Canadian dollar also stands out in relation to its peer group by its muted volatility, which reduces the overall risk in a portfolio setting. All told, it’s been plain sailing for the loonie so far this year. If the current macroeconomic backdrop prevails, 2021 may well turn out to be annus mirabilis for the currency, not only against its commodities peer group but also the wider G-10 complex.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Canada has a long history of fostering upstart companies that come to dominate their respective niches during the prevailing bull market of the time. Nortel Networks, Blackberry, Canopy Growth Corp, Brookfield Asset Management and Shopify all come to mind. Amid the significant media attention these companies receive, it is worth remembering that the oft-maligned extractive sector forms the basis for the country’s wealth and stability.



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May 21 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

South African Central Bank Maintains That Next Rates Move Is Up

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

The Reserve Bank’s hawkish stance is likely to draw criticism from politicians and labor unionists, who say it should be doing more to support the economy and reduce unemployment that’s at a record high.

The central bank cut the key rate by 300 basis points last year. Its contribution to an economic recovery will now be predictable policy, according to Deputy Governor Kuben Naidoo.

“You need low, predicable rates during the recovery to support economic activity, to encourage people to lend, to encourage businesses to invest,” he told reporters. “That’s the contribution of the SARB during a crisis.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

South Africa has joined the ranks of countries signaling the lows for rates are in. Interest rate differentials are once more a factor in how currencies are valued. Commodity exporters are leading this trend because of their much-improved balance of payments and that is true of both emerging and developed markets.



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May 21 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Tokyo Traders See Faster Vaccine Pace Driving Markets Higher

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

“Looking at Europe, expectations for business sentiment increased when the inoculation rate reaches about 20-30%,” said Masashi Samizo, a senior market analyst at SMBC Trust Bank Ltd. in Tokyo. “Japan is still in single digits, but the trend is clearly accelerating.”

To be sure, vaccinations for professionals in Tokyo still seem far off, with little indication when they might get shots. While Japan has administered just 7 million first and second doses in a country of more than 126 million, compared with almost 60 million in the U.K., the pace has begun to increase as more local authorities in charge of vaccinations start to spin up their programs.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga surprised many earlier this month when he gave a formidable target for the country to achieve 1 million inoculations a day, seeking to finish administering doses to the country’s 36 million over-65s by the end of July. While around 86% of municipalities have said they expect to finish by that date, it’s unclear if the pace, which per capita would match some of the best days in the U.S., is realistic.

But the stock market’s mood has definitely changed for investors like Naoki Fujiwara, the chief fund manager at of Shinkin Asset Management in Tokyo. “It’s starting to feel real, whereas just a few days ago I was wondering when it would begin,” said Fujiwara, who expects the Moderna approval to support the market. “Should vaccination expand in the next month or so, Japanese stocks could rebound strongly again.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Most of the island nations that successfully limited exposure to COVID-19 by cutting themselves off from the world have lagged in accessing vaccines. That has delayed economic recovery and the reopening of borders. For Japan the question of open borders is particularly pressing since they had hoped for a tourist influx with the Olympics. That missed opportunity is probably the motive force behind vaccination enthusiasm today. 



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May 21 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on type-2 top formation development and completion

Thank you, Eoin, for the service. Your call on BTC topping out was excellent. Could you please explain again the signals for your call? You were discussing inconsistency in trend, I believe. In what period? Also, it would be great to hear (based on your latest audio comment) why do you think BTC is not in a secular bull? Thank you. Kind regards, 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for your kind email which may be of interest to subscribers. One of the oldest adages from The Chart Seminar is “a consistent trend is a trend in motion”. That means the rhythm of the market will persist until something happens to change it. When a consistent trend becomes inconsistent, it tells us the imbalance between supply and demand has altered. That is a warning sign that trouble may lie ahead.



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May 19 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 19th 2021

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: bitcoin volatility and bounces, accelerated trends unwinding overbought conditions, Treasury yields rise, standing repo facility confirmed, stocks steady from intraday lows and VIX reverses earlier advance. 



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May 19 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Bitcoin Plunge Wipes $500 Billion From Value in Crypto Rout

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

Bitcoin is now down more than 50% from its record of almost $65,000 set in April. Fueling the volatility is Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose social-media utterances have whipsawed the crypto community. A statement from the People’s Bank of China on Tuesday reiterating that digital tokens can’t be used as a form of payment added to the selloff.

The selloff dominated market chatter on a day when equities also were tumbling and the Federal Reserve was set to release minutes from its latest meeting. #Cryptotrading was trending on Twitter, where critics and fans alike were in a tither over the rout. Critics had warned for weeks that the moves in crypto assets were unsustainable and that any sign of a selloff would lead to a rout.

“This is going to be the first ‘welcome to crypto’ day for a lot of new entrants,” said Stephane Ouellette, chief executive and co-founder of FRNT Financial. “The history of these assets has been littered with aggressive rallies and sickening selloffs.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The biggest question for the wider investment community is “who are the new entrants to crypto?”. There are two large new groups of investors. Retail investors, flush from US government stimulus checks, bought cryptos in size in the first quarter. Institutional investors, desperate for an “uncorrelated asset” also jumped in and helped fuel the appreciation in value to $1.9 trillion for the entire crypto sector at its peak.



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May 19 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Want To Understand Carbon Credits? Read This

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

An untouched stand of trees in Oregon – as in our compliance market example above – generates one big benefit – the carbon sequestered in the living trees themselves. However, voluntary development projects may offer other social or environmental benefits in addition to lowering GHG emissions, such as poverty reduction, habitat preservation, and increases to local living standards.

These are all benefits that support U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, so a company able to tout participation in programs with co-benefits scores valuable PR wins for its shareholders.

For example, one of Bluesource’s founders helped start a venture named the Paradigm Project to subsidize highly efficient wood-burning stoves and easy to use water filtration units to rural families in Kenya. In Kenya, as is true for other less developed rural areas, a lot of deforestation is brought about by families cutting wood to boil water and cook.

Through projects developed by the Paradigm Project, organizations are able to invest in carbon credits generated by verified emission reductions from rural households’ reduced burning of wood for fuel.

Proceeds from the sale of those carbon credits are ploughed into to the operations of a company that employs local people to build stoves and filters and distributes these products to their rural neighbors. The filters help cut the amount of firewood needed for boiling water and the stoves are much more efficient at converting wood fuel into usable energy.

Eoin Treacy's view -

This article highlights the virtuous circle argument for carbon credits when low emitting companies voluntarily redeploy money devoted to public good to socially acceptable carbon offset strategies. 



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May 19 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Aliens Are (Probably) Not Harassing the U.S. Navy

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

Starting in the 1950s, as UFO sightings began proliferating across the U.S., both the Air Force and the CIA tried to conceal their interest in the matter. They did so in part because they feared that the Soviets were trying to sow hysteria and wanted to calm the public, but they also knew that many of the sightings were of top-secret U.S. spy planes. In the end, such deceptions were counterproductive. Nobody believed the denials, the government lost credibility, and the hysteria only grew. An internal CIA review in 1997 found that the agency’s duplicity only added “to a growing sense of public distrust.”

That skepticism is one reason why, in the decades since, garden-variety military incidents and mishaps have repeatedly been transformed into galactic conspiracies believed by a shockingly high percentage of Americans. With trust in the U.S. government once again at a low ebb, misleading the public with regard to UAPs would be a serious mistake.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Media interest in unidentified flying objects is ramping up ahead of the anticipated release of a US government report in June. That report is almost certainly going to reveal a lot more examples of pilots observing phenomena they do not have a ready explanation for. The question is why is the US government so eager to talk about it now?



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May 18 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 18th 2021

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 testing the lows of a long-term range versus many currencies, Bund yields rise, accelerated trends unwinding overenthusiasm in all asset classes, gold steady, oil eases. ASEAN picking up interest. 



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May 18 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Eurozone in Double-dip Recession as Mediterranean Economies Risk Another Lost Summer

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

But Robert Alster at Close Brothers Asset Management warned of a divide between industrial economies in the north and tourist-reliant nations in the south, despite the start of UK tourism to Portugal. This could spark a return to the two-speed Europe which raised questions over the stability of the bloc after the financial crisis.

Mr Alster said: “The risk now is that the north/south divide continues to widen. Germany’s economic growth is not far behind the UK’s, with its vaccination programme set to overtake, whereas Spain’s economy has been hardest hit,” he said.

“The northern countries have benefited from strong manufacturing growth, with the US and China driving global demand, whereas the Southern countries are on tenterhooks to see whether the European tourism season can go ahead.”

Two consecutive quarters of contraction mean the currency area is officially in recession again, despite not fully recovering from the initial shock of Covid.

GDP remains more than 4pc below its pre-pandemic peak at the end of 2019.

Employment fell by 0.3pc in the first quarter of 2021, meaning the number of people in work is still almost 3.6m below its pre-Covid level.

Jack Allen-Reynolds at Capital Economics said the jobs market should soon start to recover too, but that the rebound in hiring will probably be quite slow.

He said: "Many firms will be able to raise output by increasing employees’ working hours before they start taking on more staff."

Eoin Treacy's view -

Europe and the USA adopted very different methods of supporting the economy during the pandemic. The USA favoured giving direct support to workers by boosting unemployment benefits. Europe favoured supporting companies so they would not fire large numbers of workers. Both sets of policies have resulted in unintended consequences.



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May 18 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Averting Climate Crisis Means No New Oil or Gas Fields, IEA Says

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

Reducing emissions to net zero -- the point at which greenhouse gases are removed from the atmosphere as quickly as they’re added -- is considered vital to limit the increase in average global temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s seen as the critical threshold if the world is to avoid disastrous climate change.

But it’s a path that few are following. Government pledges to cut carbon emissions are insufficient to hit “net zero” in the next three decades and would result in an increase of 2.1 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the IEA said.

“This gap between rhetoric and action needs to close if we are to have a fighting chance of reaching net zero by 2050,” the agency said. Only an “unprecedented transformation” of the world’s energy system can achieve the 1.5 degrees Celsius target.

The IEA’s road map appears to be at odds with climate plans laid out by Europe’s top three oil companies -- BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA. They all have targets for net-zero emissions by 2050, but intend to keep on seeking out and developing new oil and gas fields for many years to come.

“No new oil and natural gas fields are needed in our pathway,” the IEA said. If the world were to follow that trajectory, oil prices would dwindle to just $25 a barrel by mid-century, from almost $70 now.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Many of the oil majors have significantly reduced plans for additional new supply already. That decision was as much about the price structure as it was about appeasing the increasingly powerful green lobby. Today, the European oil companies in particular are attempting to reorient towards becoming utilities to boost their green credentials.



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May 18 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

SGD Gains as Stock Rally Outweighs Virus Fear

This note from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers.

The Singapore dollar gains as buoyant Asian equities outweigh concern over the spread of coronavirus infections in the city state.

USD/SGD falls 0.2% to 1.3335 after closing up 0.3% on Monday
MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index advances 1%
Govt bonds gained across the curve on Monday, with the 10-year yield down 2bps to 1.52%
HSBC sees more room for underperformance of SGD rates versus USD rates over the next few days, according to a note on Monday

FX swaps and front-end SGD rates have shifted higher as tighter social distancing measures reduced the odds that the Monetary Authority of Singapore would tighten its currency policy stance later this year

The highly transmissible strain of Covid-19 that surfaced in India has become more prominent among Singapore’s growing number of unlinked cases
An air travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong has been delayed
The World Economic Forum canceled the annual meeting it was planning to hold this August in Singapore

Eoin Treacy's view -

The US Dollar has been ranging against the Singapore Dollar for six years and is now testing the lower side. Meanwhile the Straits Times Index has also been ranging for a long time. The correlation between the two assets is hardly a coincidence. If the Dollar declines, the bank-heavy Singapore market with capacity for dividend growth and a 3% yield becomes more attractive.



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May 17 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 17th 2021

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: cryptocurrencies had a tough weekend, gold resurgent, gold miners break their downtrend, mega cap stocks continue to underperform, Dollar on cusp of breaking lower which supports non-US assets, 



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May 17 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Square Halts Bitcoin Purchases After Loss, Financial News Says

This note from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers.

Jack Dorsey’s Square is not planning on buying more bitcoin for its corporate treasuries after losing
$20m on a $220m investment in the cryptocurrency last quarter, Financial News reports, citing CFO Amrita Ahuja.

* Bitcoin represents about 5% of Square’s cash on hand
* NOTE: Square Revenue More Than Triples, Driven by Bitcoin Sales
 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Fans of any asset will buy all day, all week and all month as long as they are making money. When they stop making money, they might think about selling, but they first stop buying. That action removes a significant source of demand from the market.



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May 17 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Gold Miners Rise With Prices on Weaker Dollar, Inflation Worry

This note from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers.

Earlier, gold was buoyed by signs that money managers and exchange-traded fund investors are turning more positive on the precious metal
Gold spot price was up as much as 1.3%, silver +2.8% intraday; U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) fell as much as 0.2%
Precious metal miners intraday gainers include HL which rose as much as 15%, EDR CN +11%, GGD CN +11%, CDE +8.9%, FR CN +7.4%, K CN +6.1%, FVI CN +6.5%
Goldman said in a note that “gold tends to perform well when realized inflation is elevated and rising, while the dollar suffers, especially as the Fed stays on hold”
Meanwhile, copper miners also got a boost as price climbed on Monday, lifted by concerns of supply disruptions in Chile and signs that Chinese demand is picking up
Some of the copper/base metals miner that gained intraday include TKO CN, FCX, FM CN
TECK also gained, which was partially helped by rise in coal equities on higher natgas prices

Eoin Treacy's view -

Negative real interest rates are the primary secular tailwind for gold prices. With inflationary measures ramping higher and central banks reluctant to raise rates, the negative real interest rate environment is being supported by that policy.



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May 17 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on India's demographics

You say that India has a significant demographic tailwind, taking the consensus view that that is an investment plus; one that is embedded in so many analyses on India. For a challenge to this listen to the Meb Faber interview with Vikram Mansharamani, 50 minutes in for 5 minutes, on his take on India and why in fact the demographics are a head not a tail wind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM40JZ3NSNk&t=30s

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this link and the discussion raises a large number of questions. There are two that I think are particularly relevant. The first is on the assumed ubiquity of the bullish India story and the second is the continued dominance of capital over labour.



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May 14 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 14 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

McDonald's, Amazon Accelerate Push Toward Higher Minimum Wage

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

McDonald’s Corp. announced Thursday it will raise hourly wages by about 10%, bringing the average wage at its restaurants to more than $13 an hour. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said earlier this week it will set hourly starting wages at $11 to $18. Target Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp. have increased theirs to $15 and $16, respectively.

McDonald’s is hiring 10,000 new employees at its company-owned stores over the next three months alone, and Walmart Inc. brought half a million people on board last year. Chipotle is hiring 20,000 workers across the U.S., and Target needs workers for the 30 to 40 stores it will open this year.

Amazon.com Inc. also upped the labor market ante Thursday by announcing plans to hire 75,000 people in the U.S. and Canada at starting pay that will average more than $17 an hour. New employees will get hiring bonuses of $1,000 and those fully vaccinated for Covid-19 will get additional $100.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The year over year change in average hourly wage growth has been massively distorted by the pandemic. It surged in 2020 because fewer people were working, and those that were got pay rises. It then plummeted to historic lows because the current growth is on par with what was witnessed a year ago.



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May 14 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on investment trust resources from Jonathan Davis

Knowing the interest that some of your subscribers have in investment trusts, they might be interested to know that in addition to publishing the Investment Trusts handbook each year (this year's out in December will be the fifth edition), I have been hosting a regular weekly podcast devoted to keeping up with all the news from the investment trust sector which has proved pretty popular - we are now up to 1400 listeners a week. I do it with Simon Elliott, one of the best and certainly the most articulate of the investment trust analysts in London. He is the head of investment trust research at Winterflood Securities. Oh and it is free of course!

More info at www.money-makers.co, where I also offer a modestly priced newsletter with a couple of model portfolios I report on that roughly mirror my own investing.

Hope all is well in your empire. Not sure how you fit it all in....!

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for your kind words and this informative email. Your podcast is a trove of information on investment trusts and well worth the time to tune in. Investment trusts are certainly an interesting sector and not least because of the potential to buy attractive assets at a discount and to sell at a premium.



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May 14 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on copycat crypto offerings

Excuse my ignorance but is Dogecoin the same animal as Shiba Inu crypto? Shiba is a breed of Japanese dog ("inu") but frankly, I'm more than a bit confused (despite Eoin's clear and enlightening description of the phenomenon) by the entire cryptocurrency story. To me it smells of...tulips.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this question. Shiba Inu coin is a copycat coin for Dogecoin. They are not related projects. There are valid comparisons between cryptocurrencies and the tulip mania but perhaps not in the way people think.



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May 14 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on the free daily email

“Appreciate your daily comments very much! But you know that we don’t get any email alerts anymore?"

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this email. Unfortunately, the server we used for the free daily email has crashed, potentially irretrievably, and we are currently working on fixing the problem. Getting the free daily email up and running again is a priority but it is not a simple fix.



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May 13 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 13th 2021

May 13 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Bitcoin Falls Below $50,000 as Musk Calls Energy Use 'Insane'

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

“Surely he would have done his diligence prior to accepting Bitcoin?” said Nic Carter, founding partner at Castle Island Ventures, and a leading voice among defenders of Bitcoin’s energy use. “Very odd and confusing to see this quick reversal.”

Musk’s decision in February to buy $1.5 billion in Bitcoin and plan to accept it as a form of payment has been a major catalyst in the crypto bull market. In the eyes of analysts, it helped add legitimacy to the token and usher in new investors.

Musk’s crypto tweets have often been in jest, and his attention toward Dogecoin brought the joke token into the mainstream. He’s quipped about being the “Dogefather” in the past, and tweeted on Tuesday, “Do you want Tesla to accept Doge?”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The cognitive dissonance of a clean energy visionary also promoting one of the most carbon dependent endeavours has obviously begun to weigh on Elon Musk. It may also be convenient to argue against bitcoin if he is helping to promote alternatives which certainly appears to be the case with Dogecoin.



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May 13 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on China's growth potential

That some manufacturing will move to other parts of Asia makes sense (especially as Chinese labour costs rise)

But the comparison some make with Japan needs to take account of the facts that:

a) Even now only 60% of the Chinese population is urbanised (93% for Japan)

b) Output per capita must still be much lower than advanced countries so they can also catch up in that? Most developing countries have the constraint that they don't have the capital to invest for that but lack of capital is not China's constraint.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this email which raises some important points. The base effect helps to spur economic growth for frontier markets because small improvements tend to have big effects on economic potential for poor countries. Obviously, the larger a country becomes, the greater the challenge to maintain high growth rates. That’s where China is today.



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May 13 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Over 700 Barges Stuck in Mississippi River From Bridge Crack

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

“The river is the jugular for the export market in the Midwest for both corn and beans,” said Colin Hulse, a senior risk management consultant at StoneX in Kansas City. “The length of the blockage is important. If they cannot quickly get movement, then it is a big deal. If it slows or restricts movement for a longer period it can be a big deal as well.”

The New Orleans Port Region moved 47% of waterborne agricultural exports in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The majority of these exports were bulk grains and bulk grain products, such as corn, soybeans, animal feed and rice. The region also supports a significant amount of edible oil exports, such as soybean and corn oils and even attracted 13% of U.S. waterborne frozen poultry exports in 2017.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Cracks in pieces of critical regional infrastructure are not encouraging. It’s another example of how much need for infrastructure replacement there is. The massive infrastructure development in the post World War 2 era boosted economic growth for decades but many countries grew complacent to the need for constant renewal and maintenance. Large numbers of roads, railways, dams, power plants and pipelines are reaching the end of their anticipated lives.



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May 13 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 12 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 12th 2021

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: stocks and bonds fall together spurs volatility bets as inflationary fears are priced in. Semiconductors follow innovation stocks lower, bitcoin weak, gold eases back, oil stable.value outperforms growth amid risk-off sentiment.



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May 12 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Days of Low Treasury Yields Are Numbered

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

Today, there’s ample reason to expect a positive term premium to return. For one, the Fed has a new, more patient monetary policy stance. As a result, inflation will be higher and more variable — a risk that must be compensated with higher long-term yields. Also, keeping inflation in check will require a higher peak fed funds rate, reducing the risk that the Fed will again get pinned at the zero lower bound. Beyond that, deficit financing is expanding the supply of government bonds: Treasury debt outstanding has quadrupled since 2007, and the Biden administration is seeking to add several trillion dollars more. Meanwhile, one big source of demand for the bonds is set to dwindle as the Fed phases out its asset purchases, most likely next year.

Putting the pieces together, one can expect a 10-year Treasury yield of at least 3%: The 2.5% floor set by the federal funds rate, plus a term premium of 0.5% or more. But that’s not all. The Fed says it wants inflation to exceed its 2% target for some time, to make up for previous shortfalls. This, in turn, could stoke inflationary fears and lead markets to expect a higher path for future short-term rates. As a result, the 10-year Treasury yield could more than double from the current 1.6%. And if persistent deficit financing prompts concern about growing U.S. debt, the yield could go to 4% or higher.

Anyone who has been in finance for less than a decade has rarely seen 10-year Treasury note yields above 3%. So what’s coming could, for many, be quite a shock. The secular bond bull market that began nearly 40 years ago is finally ending.

Eoin Treacy's view -

US job openings now far exceed the pre-pandemic peak. At the same time credit card balances are declining even as debt loads are increasing. Meanwhile the unemployment rate is holding at 6%.

The conclusion is simple. Households are buying capital goods like houses and cars, that do not require credit cards, because they are flush with cash. Companies are desperate for workers, but unemployed people are in no hurry to take up offers. The reality is the stimulus enacted in the first quarter was overly generous and has created economic disincentives. It exacerbated bottlenecks and enhanced consumer perceptions of rampant inflationary pressures.



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May 12 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 12 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

No Relief in Sight for World's Soy Supply Crunch, U.S. Says

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

“Something has to give,” Scott Irwin, a professor at the University of Illinois said by phone. “Either we have to find more planted acres, we have to get lucky with summer weather, or the price has to go high enough to ration usage lower than projected.”

Crop markets have skyrocketed amid record Chinese demand and rising consumption as economies recover from the pandemic. More evidence of China’s strong appetite for farm commodities emerged this week with further purchases of U.S. corn. Weather concerns persisting in major producers like Brazil also risk further straining global supplies.

The relentless rally across crop markets has stoked worries over rising food bills at a time when many consumers are still struggling from the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. The United Nation’s monthly gauge of global food prices has climbed for 11 straight months.

There is a scenario in which the supply crunch could see some relief.

“If we don’t see a major weather problem from September all the way through June of next year, then we should see maybe new crop prices remain below the average that we’ll probably realize for the current marketing year,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst at Futures International LLC in Chicago.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Soybean supply is dominated by the USA and Brazil. Demand is focused on Chinese consumption and cooking oil demand everywhere. The pandemic hit restaurant demand last year so there were fewer acres planted, and the surge in demand this year has resulted in a supply shortfall. US drought conditions eased over the last week which is good for crops but the Brazilian drought remains ongoing.



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May 12 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Romania Holds EU's Highest Rates as Economy Trumps Inflation

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

The central bank is switching to a “wait-and-see mode,” Commerzbank analyst Alexandra Bechtel said. “The rate-cut cycle is complete.”

The jump in inflation has brought to an end a run of four reductions in the benchmark during the pandemic.

That easing helped fuel an economic revival: Economic growth outshone the rest of the EU in the last quarter of 2020. The expansion has added to upward price pressures that are mainly being driven by higher global energy costs and the liberalization of the domestic electricity market.

With borrowing costs stable, central bank Governor Mugur Isarescu has said he may make the national currency’s exchange rate more flexible to keep inflation in check without choking the nascent economic recovery.

Eoin Treacy's view -

MSCI’s Eastern Europe ex-Russia index was last updated in 2016. Generally speaking, when esoteric benchmarks are abandoned, it is because investment demand has evaporated. The ETF issuance business is driven by fashion and momentum. The incremental cost of creating new funds is low and success is measured by the number of assets they attract. When a sector falls out of favour ways to invest in it disappear.



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May 11 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 11th 2021

May 11 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China's Surging Factory Prices Add to Global Inflation Risks

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

The widening gap between CPI and PPI “suggests an uneven recovery of the economy,” said Raymond Yeung, chief China economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. “Despite the commodity boom, the service sector has yet to catch up.” 

Wages are lagging and the central bank will likely keep its policy stance “largely neutral,” he said. The People’s Bank of China is seeking to scale back the stimulus it pumped into the economy during the pandemic last year, worried by the build up of debt. Economists expect policy makers to slow the pace of credit expansion rather than raise interest rates. The Communist Party’s Politburo, China’s top decision-making body, said last month there won’t be any sharp reversal of macroeconomic policies. China aims to keep consumer inflation at around 3% this year, but an NBS official said in a recent interview that the headline index is expected to be “significantly lower” than the official target in 2021.
 

Eoin Treacy's view -

China exported deflation to the world by producing goods at lower prices than anywhere else for years. The interconnectedness of the global economy means that if inflation does return as a trend, it will not only occur in one country but will be a global phenomenon. That suggests the world’s relationship with China and what happens inside China will have a strong bearing on the outlook for longer-term inflation.



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May 11 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Agronomics to raise GBP50 million to invest in "cultivated meat"

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

The net proceeds of the fundraising will be used to finance further investment into current portfolio companies and projects, investment in new opportunities within the "cultivated meat" sector and development and commercialisation of intellectual property where Agronomics holds an interest.

"Agronomics has expanded rapidly over the past two years, and this financing will further accelerate its growth," said Non-Executive Chair Richard Reed.

"We anticipate it will provide the full funding to support our existing portfolio companies through their next financing rounds, while also giving us sufficient capital to pursue acquisitions of new investments in this exciting field as it enters into what we expect will be a multi-decade growth phase," added Reed.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The renewable energy sector did spectacularly well in the run-up to the oil price and credit availability peaks in 2007. There was a great sales pitch that an energy revolution was underway and renewables would take over. However, at the time the inability of the companies to breakeven was a major headwind. The rationale for owning the sector was heavily influenced by the comparison with oil. When oil prices fell, the sector collapsed.



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May 11 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Coinbase Global

Thanks to a subscriber for this report from Oppenheimer. Here is a section: 

We want to make it clear upfront that our recommendation heavily rests on our long-term positive view toward the disruptive nature of crypto, particularly on cross-border money transfers, payments infrastructure and tokenization. That said we do recognize, based on the limited trading history of COIN on the public exchange, the stock could be quite volatile driven by bitcoin price and newsflow. In the near term, we don’t foresee this high volatility would disappear even though it could abate. Therefore, we believe COIN is well suited for long-term-oriented investors who could tolerate near-term volatility.

Based on our experience covering this space and talking to investors, some investors sell crypto stocks after, say a miserable five-day bear run. This is partly driven by the generally accepted notion that it is difficult to: 1) predict the revenue/earnings trajectory; and 2) estimate the valuation of the stock with high confidence, at least at this early stage of the crypto development. Note, we are not asking investors to hold crypto stocks after a bad run, rather we urge investors to exercise additional caution before investing in crypto names. Again, we reiterate that COIN is not a stock for everyone, in our view. Another observation dug from its limited trading history is COIN tends to slide along with a rapid drop in bitcoin price. While there is merit to question COIN’s long-term revenue outlook if bitcoin price continues to go down for a long time, we think it is more reasonable to assume that volatility of bitcoin and other crypto actually spurs trading volume, and in turn revenue growth for COIN.  

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

The cryptocurrency sector is wide and varied with a large number of competing offerings. As the sector gains popularity, the number of tokens available for trade increases in an exponential fashion; right along with speculative interest. That suggests cryptocurrency exchanges are a viable way to gain access to the sector without going through the technical education required to buy and hold tokens.



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May 11 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 11 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 10 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 10 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day - on rising inflationary pressures

I am building a garage-workshop (2,200 sq ft) at my home in Arizona, in a mid-sized community (100,000 population spread out in 4 towns) which is experiencing the most rapid growth in its history, thanks to the socio-economic disaster in the state to our West (California). About 1,000 new homes are being constructed this year, with 9,000 additional already authorized by the county. Similar growth rates are happening in many other desirable parts of the country, like Austin, Texas and Boise, Idaho. 

My project is competing with this construction frenzy, and I am experiencing substantial delays in construction as high-quality contractors are beset with material delays and cost overruns, plus a labor market dramatically harmed by government handouts coupled with high labor demand. Real inflation should be measured using real facts and versus longer-term averages, not the current crap methods...

This article includes a letter from the CEO of a metal roofing manufacturing company - who does not mention (but maybe should have) how hard it is (read soon to be more expensive) to get and retain qualified employees... which I would add to the article to round out what it says...

[I believe the article can be freely republished with attribution.]

https://wolfstreet.com/2021/04/26/forget-2-inflation-with-margins-forcefully-squeezed-big-companies-are-raising-prices-and-point-at-massive-inflation-overshoot/

Eoin Treacy's view -

Lumber, iron ore and copper prices have accelerated higher as investors binged on supply inelasticity trades. Prices are now getting to points where substitution demand is evolving. I priced the cost of a new kitchen hood cover over the weekend. It is now only marginally more expensive to have it done in stone than wood.

I’m reminded of the craze for adorning London’s landmark buildings with pineapples in centuries past. Limited supply creates demand but also incentivises new supply to come to market.



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May 10 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on shipping investment vehicles:

Further to your longer-term theme review on Fri., the Collective might want to consider this new shipping fund launch.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this press release which may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The seed portfolio consists of 23 Handysize and Supramax ships, which are all fully operational and income-generating, and are expected to be purchased soon after the listing. According to the intention to float document published today, these classes of vessels have historically demonstrated average annual yields over 7%.

That will enable the investment company to target an initial dividend yield of 7% in its first year. Once fully invested, the fund managers will target a total return including dividends from the underlying portfolio of 10-12% per annum.

The seed assets have an estimated average remaining life of 17 years. Of the 23 ships, 17 are already under the commercial management of Taylor Maritime, while the rest are being sourced from vendors with established relationships with the managers. About $24m worth of the seed assets will be acquired in exchange for shares in the new fund, issued in consideration.



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May 10 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Pound Surges 1% as Risk of Imminent Scotland Referendum Recedes

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

Then there’s the prospect of another divisive campaign, and issues over Scotland’s future currency, the state of its finances, EU membership and the border with England coming to the fore again. That’s something many in Scotland remain unwilling to get into again.

“We haven’t demonstrated that we have the capability,” said Rachel Martin, 63, a bank worker in Glasgow, which as a city voted for independence seven years ago when the country as a whole rejected it. “I haven’t seen the politicians answer the questions that weren’t answered at the last referendum that we had.”

Sturgeon may need the political capital she’s been accruing since taking over as Scotland’s first minister and SNP leader following the 2014 vote to stay in the U.K.  

Eoin Treacy's view -

Scotland voted for the status quo in both the independence referendum and the Brexit referendum. The demise of the Labour Party is a bigger story than the success of the Scottish Nationalist Party in many respects. During a time of economic and political strain people favour revolutionaries because they offer change. Labour’s vision has calcified and that has left a political vacuum which the SNP has filled. However, that does not mean Scotland is ready to approve independence when so many questions about what the new country would look like remain unanswered.



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May 07 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 07 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Secular Themes Review May 7th 2021

Eoin Treacy's view -

On November 24th I began a series of reviews of longer-term themes which will be updated on the first Friday of every month going forward. The last was on March 5th. These reviews can be found via the search bar using the term “Secular Themes Review”.

After a crash everyone is wary. We all seek to learn lessons from our most recent experience because it is the only way to help us emotionally move past the trauma. Coming out of the pandemic most investors wished they had sold everything at the first sight of virus news in early 2020 and bought everything back again following the crash. Today they are worried that there is another big shock waiting around the corner that will cause a repeat of pandemic panic.

The challenge for investors is less to learn from the most recent mistake but rather to know when to deploy the lessons learned. The best time to be wary about a massive decline is when no one is worried about it. The time to take precautionary action is when it seems like a waste of time and when you are most afraid of giving up on the potential for even better gains. That’s the best time to remember the experience of the crash but the interval of time and the positive reinforcement of experience in an uptrend make it difficult.



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May 06 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

May 06 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 6th 2021

May 06 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Kellogg Gains Amid Unexpected Organic Sales Growth in 1Q

Kellogg shares rose as much as 3.9% to $65.50 premarket, which would be the highest intraday level since November, after the packaged food company surprised analysts with positive organic sales growth in the first quarter, vs expectations for a decline.

“K impressed this morning, as another large-cap food name tops revenue and profit expectations, partially driven by positive shipment timing and emerging market strength,” Jefferies analyst Rob Dickerson writes

Eoin Treacy's view -

Commodities prices are running higher and that raises the question of how you can pass on higher costs to consumers. It’s the same old corn flakes or shredded wheat so you need to do something. Organics are a great way to do that. Fair trade is another rationale to charge more. Reusable packaging, different shaped packaging and substitution with additional ingredients all allow food producers to protect margins. During this bull market I fully except to see carbon footprint credentials printed on each individual box of food and that will be used as the rationale for price increases.



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May 06 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Americas May Lead World's Silver Mined-Supply Recovery

This note from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers.

Silver primary supply set to recover in 2021, following Covid-19 operational restrictions suffered last year. 2020 saw the silver mining industry's biggest fall of the last decade, down 6% to 784 million ounce, based on Metals Focus data. Mined-output may rise by 8% year-over-year to 849 million ounces in 2021, based on Metals Focus estimates. We believe the Americas, with a 58% of global supply share, will lead the recovery in 2021, thanks to higher output from Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. Mexico could stay as the world's No. 2 producer, with nearly 200 million ounces, up 12% based on BI's scenario analysis.

Fresnillo kept its crown as world's No. 1 silver producing company in 2020, followed by KGHM, Glencore, Newmont and Codelco. We calculated that these miners combined represented 23% of global mined supply.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Silver is mostly produced as a by-production of other mining activity and the majority of pureplay silver miners now concentrate on gold. Additionally, silver is more of an industrial resource than gold so it tends to elicit interest from many different sources. Those complicated supply and demand fundamentals mean significant new sources of supply or demand are required to meaningfully change the outlook for prices. The loss of photographic film demand was a major hit meanwhile the building boom in solar cells now accounts for 10% of total demand.  



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May 06 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Chip Shortage Keeps Getting Worse. Why Can't We Just Make More?

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

Chip plants run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They do that for one reason: cost. Building an entry-level factory that produces 50,000 wafers per month costs about $15 billion. Most of this is spent on specialized equipment—a market that exceeded $60 billion in sales for the first time in 2020.

Three companies—Intel, Samsung and TSMC—account for most of this investment. Their factories are more advanced and cost over $20 billion each. This year, TSMC will spend as much as $28 billion on new plants and equipment. Compare that to the U.S. government’s attempt to pass a bill supporting domestic chip production. This legislation would offer just $50 billion over five years.

Once you spend all that money building giant facilities, they become obsolete in five years or less. To avoid losing money, chipmakers must generate $3 billion in profit from each plant. But now only the biggest companies, in particular the top three that combined generated $188 billion in revenue last year, can afford to build multiple plants.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Semiconductor factories are largely automated so they were not particularly impacted by the global lockdowns. Demand for their products surged during the lockdowns. Factories running on thin margins and under constant threat from obsolescence do not operate with a lot of spare capacity. That is the primary reason we now have a semiconductor availability issue. The demand curve has accelerated well above the ability of supply to keep up. The increasing dependence of the automotive sector on chips has been building for a while and will contribute to the investment case for more supply. 



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May 05 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 5th 2021

May 05 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Gold CEO Blasts 'Hysterical' Fund Managers Chasing Quick Cash

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

“I’m cautioning people not to become too obsessed with stripping the industry out of its cash, and not allowing strengthened balanced sheets to be built and investments in the future,” he said. “Whether it’s exploration or deal making, it’s got to create value and you can’t create value as a mining executive if you don’t have support from the fund managers.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Investors have been conditioned to expect well-capitalised companies will buy back shares, pay special dividends and will not engage with capital intensive business lines. That sounds great for tech companies but it doesn’t work for miners. Mining executives that are not actively engaging with M&A targets are coming under profound pressure to distribute available cash. Meanwhile there is no tolerance for green field exploration among either large miners or investors. No one wants that kind of open-ended risk. The 10-month correction in the gold price will only have further damaged appetite for investment in new supply and particularly from banks which control the supply of liquidity. At a minimum it will require even better prospects than normal. That bolsters the limited supply argument over the medium term.



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May 05 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Colombia Coffee Exports Halted by Protests, Federation Says

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

Coffee isn’t moving to ports, including the main Buenaventura shipping hub, because of nationwide protests and road blockades, Roberto Velez, CEO at the Colombian Federation of Coffee Growers says by phone from Bogota.

The Colombian situation is fueling gains for prices in New York, which have reached the highest since 2017
Protests that started last week against a tax reform bill continued even after it was withdrawn, Velez says, adding any solution would have to come from the central government
There’s also concern that Covid-19 rates are increasing in coffee areas
Coffee pickers needed for the harvest are already on the farms
NOTE: Colombia Protests Slow Coffee Shipments to Ports, Importer Says
2021 Coffee Output Seen at 14M Bags: Trade Group

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Brazilian drought has been the primary tailwind for coffee prices over the last few months. A threat to the consistency of Colombian exports represents and additional tailwind for as long as it lasts. Coffee is one more commodity experiencing supply inelasticity. The year of lockdowns unset supply/demand fundamentals and left the commodity markets more susceptible to weather or political interruptions. The result is rising prices for just about everything.



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May 05 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Chinese vaccines sweep much of the world, despite concerns

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

China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccines to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press. With just four of China’s many vaccine makers claiming they are able to produce at least 2.6 billion doses this year, a large part of the world’s population will end up inoculated not with the fancy Western vaccines boasting headline-grabbing efficacy rates, but with China’s humble, traditionally made shots.

Amid a dearth of public data on China’s vaccines, hesitations over their efficacy and safety are still pervasive in the countries depending on them, along with concerns about what China might want in return for deliveries. Nonetheless, inoculations with Chinese vaccines already have begun in more than 25 countries, and the Chinese shots have been delivered to another 11, according to the AP tally, based on independent reporting in those countries along with government and company announcements.

Eoin Treacy's view -

This map of China’s vaccine exports is very impressive and highlights just how high global demand for any form of vaccine is. China’s commitment to export hundreds of millions of doses before inoculating its domestic population and the spotty efficacy data for its shots suggests there is more at work than meets the eye. 



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May 04 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for May 4th 2021

May 04 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Yellen Says Spending May Spur 'Modest' Interest-Rate Increases

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

“It may be that interest rates will have to rise somewhat to make sure our economy doesn’t overheat,” Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chair, said in an interview with the Atlantic recorded Monday that was broadcast on the web on Tuesday. “It could cause some very modest increases in interest rates.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Investors relying on momentum want to hear that the money will keep flowing and there is no risk the punchbowl will be taken away. Whenever that desire is fulfilled, we see the stock market climb to new highs. However, when it is even modestly questioned it is cause for profit taking.



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May 04 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Cautious German Savers Brave the Stock Market

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

Michael Schacht, 70 years old, is a typical German saver. Risk-averse, the clothing-shop owner kept the equivalent of $300,000 in a local bank in a small town near Hamburg.

Then, earlier this year, Mr. Schacht’s bank told him it wanted to charge him a negative 0.5% interest rate to hold his money.

Furious, Mr. Schacht did something he never considered: He put it all in the market. His portfolio includes investments in stocks and corporate bonds from Europe and elsewhere through funds, plus gold and silver.

“I don’t want to make lots of money, I just want a low-risk investment that provides a reasonable return on capital, like 2%, 4%,” Mr. Schacht said. “That has always been realistic in the past.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

This is an example of how investors are being forced to speculate. Negative interest rates are an obvious tax on savers so they have no choice but to buy riskier assets. It is a choice between guaranteed modest losses or potential gains with the added scope for bigger losses.  This is particularly acute in places like Germany where retail investors don’t generally invest in the stock market.



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May 04 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on central bank digital currencies:

I have been a subscriber to your service for over 20 years, probably closer to 30 years. I am very satisfied with your service, and am one of your great admirers. I was surprised though how certain you sounded on the future of money and digital currency on Friday's audio. Do you really think that the current monetary system will change drastically and that digital currency will be the main currency in the future? What will be your guess as to how long will it take to have that kind of change? Once again thanks a lot for the excellent service. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for your patronage over the decades and this question which may be of interest to the Collective. The world is awash in debt and the total continues to rise. Governments are running wartime-like deficits and spending plans continue to be revised upwards. Nothing has occurred to change the trajectory of policy. Whenever the next crisis occurs central bank balance sheets will multiply in size again.  



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April 30 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

April 30 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

April 30 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Copper Boom Is Just Beginning for the CEO of Biggest Gold Miner

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

Copper may be flirting with record highs but the metal is far from peaking as the energy transition revs up, according to Newmont Corp. Chief Executive Officer Tom Palmer.

Futures hit $10,000 a metric ton on Thursday for the first time since 2011 as mines struggle to keep up with surging demand. Newmont, the world’s largest gold producer, is increasing exposure to copper through several “mega projects,” Palmer said on an earnings call. Even if just one materializes, copper will account for 15-20% of the company’s total output by the end of the decade, he said.

“I’m pretty excited about having good exposure to copper at that time when the world is going through the energy transition,” Palmer said on an interview with Bloomberg TV following the earnings call. “Copper’s got a pretty good story in front of it. I think its day in the sun is more towards the end of this decade.”

The copper push doesn’t mean Palmer has a downbeat view on gold. He sees bullion prices holding their current “very healthy levels” or even moving higher given fiscal and monetary stimulus. India should remain one of the key sources of demand after the country recovers from the Covid-19 tragedy, Palmer said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Mining executives have been slow to invest in new supply because they are still scarred from the negative experience of the last bear market. Green field mining is expensive and uncertain and they now wish to preserve their balance sheets and strong cash positions. Investors are certainly not complaining at the rising dividends either. There is a growing belief among gold mining CEOs that copper/gold deposits are the most attractive for new investment. That might also be considered a hangover from the mining bust because it hedges exposure to the gold price and diversifies income streams.  



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April 30 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on the inevitability of bitcoin's multiplication

Hi, what would be your comment on the following report from these people who were right more frequently than not:
https://panteracapital.com/blockchain-letter/five-orders-of-magnitude/

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this article which may be of interest to the Collective. Here is a section:

For every million new users, the price of bitcoin rises $200.  It happened every time except for February 2016, when the price was slow to hit.   

The rise in the price has been amazingly constant.  I’ll leave it to some future Avogadro to figure out exactly why.  The important point is:  If this relationship holds, bitcoin will hit $200,000 in 2022.

I realize that sounds like a large caveat – but these relationships have held for a decade.  The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of bitcoin has been 213% for more than ten years.  $200,000 a year from now would be exactly 213% higher than today.  It would be just normal trend growth.

The best time to buy bitcoin is around a year before the halving of the reward for mining (halvening). The last one was almost a year ago and the next will be in about three years. After the halving of the reward, the limited supply argument is burnished because it becomes twice as expensive to mine new coins so the need for additional resources increases while the value of coins already in existence inflates. That’s exactly what we have seen after every other halving and there is no reason to believe that will not persist.



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April 30 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Biden = Roosevelt: The Analogue

This side by side comparison by Ray Dalio may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section on corporations:

Roosevelt, 1935: “We have established the principle of graduated taxation in respect to personal incomes, gifts, and estates. We should apply the same principle to corporations. Today the smallest corporation pays the same rate on its net profits as the corporation which is a thousand times its size.”

Biden, April 2021 Speech to Joint Session of Congress: “Recent studies show that 55 of the nation’s biggest corporations paid zero in federal income tax last year. No federal taxes on more than $40 billion in profits. A lot of companies also evade taxes through tax havens from Switzerland to Bermuda to the Cayman Islands. And they benefit from tax loopholes and deductions that allow for offshoring jobs and shifting profits overseas. That’s not right. We’re going to reform corporate taxes so they pay their fair share and help pay for the public investments their businesses will benefit from.”

Treasury Report on Biden Tax Plan, 2021: “The President’s Made in America tax plan is guided by [six principles, including] requiring all corporations to pay their fair share. To ensure that large, profitable companies pay a baseline amount of taxes, the President’s plan would impose a minimum tax on firms with large discrepancies between income reported to shareholders and that reported to the IRS. It would also provide the IRS with resources to pursue large corporations who do not meet their tax obligations, reversing a trend toward fewer corporate audits.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

When there are thousands of people on the street and parliament buildings are under siege, politicians tend to wake up to the public mood. The harrowing experience, many elderly politicians experienced in the USA during the Capitol riot, is likely to inform their decision making going forward. That’s true regardless of whether they are aware of it or not. Giving the people what they want, which is more money, is going to be high on the list of priorities.



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April 29 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

April 29 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

EBay Warns Pandemic Sales Boost Could Soon Fade; Shares Tumble

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

EBay Inc. warned investors that its sales boost tied to the pandemic and government stimulus checks may be coming to an end.

Shares tumbled as much as 7% in extended trading Wednesday after the online marketplace issued a revenue forecast for the current quarter suggesting spending on the site could recede as more people get vaccinated, businesses reopen and stimulus checks dry up.

Investors are watching to see which companies can build on their pandemic gains and which will fade. Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and Shopify Inc. all hinted at lasting momentum in their earnings reports this week, sending their shares higher. EBay joined social media platform Pinterest Inc. as a potentially short-lived pandemic phenom.

“This is a relative challenge for EBay to not be able to fully hang on to the gains from the pandemic,” said Ygal Arounian, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Rebounding consumer behaviour, renewed hiring and generous handouts have boosted earnings for all manner of consumer companies in the first quarter. That has been particularly true for the mega-caps with Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft all posting impressive results.

The fact that about half of people are better off unemployed than working has also helped to boost consumption of goods in particular. Those benefits will expire in September so there is still room for revenue support absent the spikes associated with stimulus cheques. 



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April 29 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Shale CEO Sees Producers Staying Disciplined at $70 Crude Oil

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

America’s shale producers will keep output in check even as global crude oil prices near $70 a barrel, Ovintiv Inc. Chief Executive Officer Doug Suttles said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
Explorers are focused on low growth, strong operating performance and returning cash to shareholders, Suttles said. Ovintiv is prioritizing paying down debt and maintaining its dividend, he said.

Private operators’ ability to weigh on oil prices by ramping up production is limited after recent tie-ups with publicly traded companies, Suttles said. While closely held producers have more influence on the natural gas market, “it’s a little bit of a concern, not a big one,” he said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

European natural gas prices have bounced impressively from the region of the trend mean and are quickly approaching the highs of the last decade. That is likely to encourage more sea-borne gas into the market which is contributing the US prices bouncing impressively from the trend mean.



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April 29 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The new Chrysalis Network is Live!

This news release from iota.org may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The time has finally come. With Chrysalis, IOTA is now enterprise-ready and has entered a new era of adoption, serving as a base layer for the machine economy, the Internet of Things and beyond, enabling new use cases and setting standards in data and value transfer. All of this is achieved without fees and while maintaining a minimal environmental footprint.

Partners, academia, and developers can now start to build on the Tangle and plan for the future.  There will not be substantial changes on the way to IOTA 2.0, Coordicide, as the majority of the code-base including tools, libraries, and APIs already exists in Chrysalis. Projects built on today’s codebase will not require major refactoring later on.

With the work for Chrysalis complete, many of the Foundation's engineers are now able to fully focus on Coordicide, Digital Assets and Smart Contracts. The next major milestone to a fully decentralized IOTA 2.0 is around the corner, with the Nectar network launching in just a few weeks!

Nectar will be the first complete implementation of the major Coordicide modules, which will be followed by the launch of the incentivized testnet. The goal of this network is to discover any bugs and issues and make any refinements before a release candidate for the IOTA mainnet.

IOTA will become the first production-ready DLT network based on a fully decentralized leaderless consensus protocol that is scalable, feeless and secure. This is a tremendous pioneering achievement and milestone for the innovation of distributed ledger technology. All achieved without requiring any miners or wasting resources.

Eoin Treacy's view -

IOTA gets faster the more it is used which makes it ideal for scalability and it does not require millions of machines running in tandem to solve algorithms to do it. The challenge is that until now it has had to rely on central coordination to achieve these feats. The ambition of the teams supporting IOTA’s Tangle (its rough equivalent of the blockchain) has been to achieve coordicide. That would enhance independence and turn IOTA into a true decentralised network. Today’s announcement brings that moment much closer.



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April 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for April 28th 2021

April 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

India Stocks Advance as Nation Ramps Up Virus Control Steps

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

“We expect markets to look beyond the short term on cases peaking, vaccine approvals and expansion,” Amish Shah, an analyst at Bank of America Securities India said in a note on Tuesday. The stabilization of new cases in Maharashtra state, location of the financial capital Mumbai, could be a “precursor” to the virus curve flattening over one to two months, Shah said.

The U.S. this week said it will help India by sending items needed to manufacture vaccines as part of an aid package. European countries are also pledging support after the South Asian country saw record numbers of new cases. India today began registering people from 18 years of age to get inoculations from May 1.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The headlines regarding India and feedback from domestic sources all point towards dire conditions. The reality is the Indian authorities were probably a bit too sanguine about their success in avoiding the worst effects of the pandemic and are now paying for that laxity. The bigger question for investors is if this spike is the result of superspreading religious events or a new variant.



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April 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook

Thanks to a subscriber for report from Lacey Hunt which reiterates his long-term view that yields will continue to compress. Here is a section:

Before the pandemic, economic growth was decelerating as confirmed by a decline in world trade in 2019, one of the few yearly declines in the history of this series. While the huge debt financed programs were a response to the pandemic, the end result is that global nonfinancial debt increased to a record 282% of GDP in 2020. The 37% surge of debt relative to GDP was also a record. While this debt may be politically popular and socially necessary, it will weaken growth and inflation after a transitory spurt, which will lead to even more disappointing business conditions than existed prior to the pandemic.

The actual global debt situation may be worse than these numbers indicate because they include China, the world’s second largest economy. Scholarly forensic research indicates that Chinese GDP is overstated by at least 18%. Thus, the official Chinese debt to GDP ratio is suppressing the global numbers. A comparative analysis of money velocity confirms the suspicion about the Chinese figures. Money velocity in China in 2020 was 0.44 versus 1.19 in the U.S. Admittedly money and debt are not identical, but they are opposite sides of the balance sheet and the glaring gap is too much to be ignored.

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Something that has been troubling me for a while is why has China chosen now as the time to clamp down on Alibaba and Ant Financial’s massive money market fund. The rationale that it was politically motivated and that the firm has become too big and powerful for the comfort of the Communist Party is tempting and probably holds some truth. However, the bigger question is whether the financial system needs to reabsorb the flows and be refortified because the debt overhang is much larger than investors are willing to give credence to?



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April 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

What 175 years of data tell us about house price affordability in the UK

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

Houses have rarely been more expensive relative to earnings than they are today in more than 120 years. Prices are stretched everywhere but London and the south of England stand out. Things look even less affordable for women.

The last time there was a sustained decline in the house price-earnings multiple was the second half of the 19th century. Average house prices fell for more than 50 years thanks to substantial building of houses, many of which were smaller than existed before. At the same time earnings rose.

How likely or even desirable would that be today? The UK’s heavily mortgaged consumers would struggle to cope with 50 years of falling house prices. It would also be political suicide for whoever was deemed responsible. A shift towards the building of smaller houses would also seem unlikely  – research has found that houses are smaller today than at any point since at least the 1930s[1]. Hobbit homes cannot be ruled out entirely but I’m not sure how positive an outcome that would be.

Which leaves us with earnings. Earnings growth has been weak since the financial crisis but has recently picked up strongly – average earnings in the final quarter of 2020 were 4.7% higher than the same period of 2019. A period of stronger pay growth may represent the best hope of improving affordability (with the caveat that stronger earnings may result from a stronger economy which could result in a stronger housing market).

The elephant in the room here is interest rates. A Bank of England working paper[2] concluded that nearly all of the rise in average house prices relative to incomes between 1985 and 2018 can be seen as a result of “a sustained, dramatic, and consistently unexpected, decline in real interest rates as measured by the yield on medium-term index-linked gilts”[3]. The Bank doesn’t rule out other factors, but concludes that they have had more of a short-term impact. It furthermore concludes that: “An unexpected and persistent increase in the medium-term real interest rate of 1 percentage point from its level as at end 2018 could ultimately generate a fall in real house prices (over a period of many years) of just under 20%.”

However, depending on whether you are a current home owner or a prospective buyer, you are likely to be encouraged and discouraged in equal measure by the Bank of England’s scepticism that this is likely to materialise. Just because house prices are expensive relative to earnings does not mean there is a good reason to expect them to cheapen materially.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The view that property is a better investment than stocks has grown considerably in the UK because the FTSE-100 peaked in 2000 and has spent the last twenty years ranging in a volatile manner. Against that background investing in property has been the right decision regardless of the costs of maintenance and taxes. The big question for investors is whether that will continue to be the case.



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April 28 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

April 27 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

April 27 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

OPEC+ Confirms Plan to Gently Hike Supply as Demand Recovers

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

The global oil market “is on the one hand positive, we see a recovery of demand and higher global GDP estimates,” Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told Rossiya 24 television after the OPEC+ committee’s conference call. Nevertheless, the group must keep monitoring the coronavirus situation across many regions, including Asia, he added.

“We see that some countries record higher coronavirus numbers, like in India and Latin America, which raises some concerns about further growth of demand,” Novak said.

Crude futures held gains after the OPEC+ gathering, trading 0.4% higher at almost $66 a barrel in London.

Strong Demand

It was the OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee that initially recommended sticking to their planned output increase. Ministers from the panel then asked other OPEC+ members to cancel the full meeting scheduled for Wednesday, and instead they drafted Tuesday’s statement by exchanging diplomatic messages.

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is no shortage of oil and there is no mystery about where to find more if it is needed. The drop off in domestic US drilling and the combined efforts of OPEC+ to curtail supply have shaved at least 7 million barrels a day from the market. That has been instrumental in the rebound for oil prices.



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