Thursday, December 23, 2010

Commodity-palooza - Year to Date Returns of the Commodity Complex

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Via Finviz we see if you threw a dart in the commodity pit you made money in 2010 as long as you missed natural gas, cocoa, and rice.  Cotton [Oct 17, 2010: Get Your Cotton On]  continues to be the star of the year along with silver, palladium, and coffee.  Thankfully this chart means nothing to the Fed, so QE-infinity it is.  [Dec 16, 2010: Consumer Inflation as Measured in 1980 Would be 8%+, as Measured in 1990 Would be 4%]

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On a serious note, as I've noted in the past the big one is crude oil.  It's been quite benign this year sitting between $70 and $90.  It just broke out over $90 earlier this week, so any continued upward trend is the potential game changer.  If it has a 'sugar like' year in 2011, it will be back over $110; if it has a 'corn like' year in 2011, it will be back to $130.  A 'silver like' year in 2011?  $150+.  We just have to see where Goldman and JPMorgan take it....err, I mean where the free market of supply and demand based on emerging market demand takes it.  Ahem.

One of the major downside risks being completely ignored by the market at this point in any material move by crude in 2011 - this is a massive tax on consumer and producer alike.  This helped put the final nail in the coffin of the economy in 2008, and many consumers are in worse shape now than they were then.  It will pressure corporate profit margins just as it did in 08.

That said, on the consumer side with 7M households not paying a mortgage up to 2+ years ($1200-$2000 a month straight to their pockets), many others recently refinanced down to a coupon that offers an extra $200-$300 a month of cash flow, and the payroll tax deduction of 2011 giving a household of $50K an additional $2000 per year, and a household of $100K an additional $4000 - we have a buffer built in for part of society to absorb a move to $110-115 oil.  For those who rent, who subsist on fixed income, or are unemployed - the story is not so positive.

p.s. do you really think we're going to allow the 2% payroll tax deduction revert back up a year from now with unemployment at 9%+?  Especially if Ben continues to inflate our commodities to the moon with his free money policies?  Once a tax is reduced in America in can never be raised again. So that's $120B a year less to go into an already empty social security fund... ponzi baby.

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