Thursday, April 23, 2015

Industrial Commodities Still Sinking (excerpt)

There’s no party in the commodity pits. While the price of a barrel of crude oil has rebounded smartly from a low of $46.59 on January 13 to $62.84 yesterday, the CRB raw industrials spot price index continues to slip and slide. In the past, the weakness in the CRB index would have been a bearish omen for stock prices. It still might be, but the monetary liquidity that isn’t boosting global economic growth and commodity prices is fueling bull markets in stocks and bonds. Consider the following:

(1) From 2005 through mid-2011, there was a reasonably good correlation between the S&P 500 and the CRB index. The two have diverged since then, with the S&P 500 heading higher to new record highs, while the commodity index has been trending lower and is now at the lowest since February 8, 2010.

(2) Since late 2001, there has been a very good correlation between the Emerging Markets MSCI stock price index (in local currencies) and the CRB index. The two have diverged significantly over the past year, with the former only 2.6% below its 2007 record high. Leading the way since early 2014 has been India in anticipation of a new reform-minded government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose party won election last May.

Since mid-November of last year, when the PBOC started to ease monetary policy, the China MSCI stock price index has also joined the global melt-up parade. It had been very highly correlated with the price of copper since 2009. They too have diverged over the past year. This is yet another sign that ultra-easy monetary policy is boosting asset inflation rather than real growth and price inflation.

Today's Morning Briefing: Go Away or Go Global? (1) Nice melt-up overseas. (2) Days of Infamy: May Day to Halloween. (3) Two wicked corrections. (4) Three choices: Stay Home, Go Global, or Go Away. (5) Sunrise in Japan? (6) Can central banks overcome secular stagnation? (7) Not much fun in the commodity pits. (8) Unusual divergence between stock prices and commodity prices. (9) Lumber trading like lead. (10) China’s international reserves depressed by depreciations of euro and yen. (11) China’s capital outflows story still rings true. (More for subscribers.)

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