Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
Coronavirus Pandemic Vaccines Indicator Current State - 3rd Mar 21
AI Tech Stocks Investing 2021 Buy Ratings, Levels and Valuations Explained - 3rd Mar 21
Stock Market Bull Trend in Jeopardy - 3rd Mar 21
New Global Reserve Currency? - 3rd Mar 21
Gold To Monetary Base Ratio Says No Hyperinflation - 3rd Mar 21
US Fed Grilled about Its Unsound Currency, Digital Currency Schemes - 3rd Mar 21
The Case Against Inflation - 3rd Mar 21
How to Start Crypto Mining Bitcoins, Ethereum with Your Desktop PC, Laptop with NiceHash - 3rd Mar 21
AI Tech Stocks Investing Portfolio Buying Levels and Valuations 2021 Explained - 2nd Mar 21
There’s A “Chip” Shortage: And TSMC Holds All The Cards - 2nd Mar 21
Why now might be a good time to buy gold and gold juniors - 2nd Mar 21
Silver Is Close To Something Big - 2nd Mar 21
Bitcoin: Let's Put 2 Heart-Pounding Price Drops into Perspective - 2nd Mar 21
Gold Stocks Spring Rally 2021 - 2nd Mar 21
US Housing Market Trend Forecast 2021 - 2nd Mar 21
Covid-19 Vaccinations US House Prices Trend Indicator 2021 - 2nd Mar 21
How blockchain technology will change the online casino - 2nd Mar 21
How Much PC RAM Memory is Good in 2021, 16gb, 32gb or 64gb? - 2nd Mar 21
US Housing Market House Prices Momentum Analysis - 26th Feb 21
FOMC Minutes Disappoint Gold Bulls - 26th Feb 21
Kiss of Life for Gold - 26th Feb 21
Congress May Increase The Moral Hazard Building In The Stock Market - 26th Feb 21
The “Oil Of The Future” Is Set To Soar In 2021 - 26th Feb 21
The Everything Stock Market Rally Continues - 25th Feb 21
Vaccine inequality: A new beginning or another missed opportunity? - 25th Feb 21
What's Next Move For Silver, Gold? Follow US Treasuries and Commodities To Find Out - 25th Feb 21
Warren Buffett Buys a Copper Stock! - 25th Feb 21
Work From Home Inflationary US House Prices BOOM! - 25th Feb 21
Man Takes First Steps Towards Colonising Mars - Nasa Perseverance Rover in Jezero Crater - 25th Feb 21
Musk, Bezos And Cook Are Rushing To Lock In New Lithium Supply - 25th Feb 21
US Debt and Yield Curve (Spread between 2 year and 10 year US bonds) - 24th Feb 21
Should You Buy a Landrover Discovery Sport in 2021? - 24th Feb 21
US Housing Market 2021 and the Inflation Mega-trend - QE4EVER! - 24th Feb 21
M&A Most Commonly Used Software - 24th Feb 21
Is More Stock Market Correction Needed? - 24th Feb 21
VUZE XR Camera 180 3D VR Example Footage Video Image quality - 24th Feb 21
How to Protect Your Positions From A Stock Market Sell-Off Using Options - 24th Feb 21
Why Isn’t Retail Demand for Silver Pushing Up Prices? - 24th Feb 21
2 Stocks That Could Win Big In The Trillion Dollar Battery War - 24th Feb 21
US Economic Trends - GDP, Inflation and Unemployment Impact on House Prices 2021 - 23rd Feb 21
Why the Sky Is Not Falling in Precious Metals - 23rd Feb 21
7 Things Every Businessman Should Know - 23rd Feb 21
For Stocks, has the “Rational Bubble” Popped? - 23rd Feb 21
Will Biden Overheat the Economy and Gold? - 23rd Feb 21
Precious Metals Under Seige? - 23rd Feb 21
US House Prices Trend Forecast Review - 23rd Feb 21
Lithium Prices Soar As Tesla, Apple And Google Fight For Supply - 23rd Feb 21
Stock Markets Discounting Post Covid Economic Boom - 22nd Feb 21
Economics Is Why Vaccination Is So Hard - 22nd Feb 21
Pivotal Session In Stocks Bull Bear Battle - 22nd Feb 21
Gold’s Downtrend: Is This Just the Beginning? - 22nd Feb 21
The Most Exciting Commodities Play Of 2021? - 22nd Feb 21
How to Test NEW and Used GPU, and Benchmark to Make sure it is Working Properly - 22nd Feb 21
US House Prices Vaccinations Indicator - 21st Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction – No Need to Hold Onto Your Hat - 21st Feb 21
Gold Setting Up Major Bottom So Could We See A Breakout Rally Begin Soon? - 21st Feb 21
Owning Real Assets Amid Surreal Financial Markets - 21st Feb 21
Great Investment Ideas For 2021 - 21st Feb 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

FIRST ACCESS to Nadeem Walayat’s Analysis and Trend Forecasts

Is Copper Poised for a Sustainable Secular Bull Market?

Commodities / Metals & Mining Apr 14, 2009 - 09:17 AM GMT

By: Guy_Lerner

Commodities Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleOver the last 4 months, copper has bounced about 70% from its lows. Yet it is only recently that such a significant price move is beginning to attract attention as pundits try to explain what is going on. With stocks roaring back over the past 5 weeks, the obvious (and wrong) connection is that the global recession is ending. To me, copper's price rise is more technical after a deeply oversold condition, and it appears that the pundits are only crafting a good story to explain its recent price movements.


It is often stated that copper is more like Dr. Copper, the base metal with a PH. D. in economics. If copper, which is used in commercial and residential building, electronics and automobiles, is surging, then all must be right in the world and in the economy too. Copper knows all (sic). But there appears to be a disconnect from reality as strength in copper generally occurs late in the economic cycle, and there is little or no relationship between price rises in copper and the beginning of a new economic cycle.

This can be seen in figure 1 a monthly chart of copper. The indicator in the lower panel is an analogue representation of economic expansions and contractions from the National Bureau of Economic Research; recessionary periods are noted with the vertical gray bars across the graph.

Figure 1. Copper v. NBER Expansions/ Contractions


Of the six recessions since 1974, the current recession would be the only one that would see copper prices acting as a leading indicator. In fact, the most bullish price moves for copper occur late in the economic cycle not at the beginning. These bull markets in copper are noted by the maroon colored vertical lines.

Another explanation tossed about to explain copper's rise is that the easy monetary policies of the Federal Reserve will lead to inflation, and copper is only anticipating these coming changes. While higher copper prices would be expected as inflation rises, the fact remains that there is a very poor correlation between higher copper prices and inflationary expectations. Of the 5 bull runs in copper since 1974, only 2 were associated with any real significant inflationary pressures, and these were in the 1970's. This can be seen in figure 2 a monthly chart of copper; in the lower panel is the inflation rate as measured by a year over year change in the CPI. As before, the vertical gray lines note recessionary periods. Recessions by definition are deflationary, and we should not expect copper prices to rise during the current de-leveraging, deflationary environment.

Figure 2. Copper v. Inflation



So why is copper rising?
Brent Cook at explorationinsights.com has written a very balanced commentary on copper. He states the following:

"What’s behind the current price increase?

Both China and South Korea have been adding to strategic reserves and restocking at what they consider to be much better prices. Copper producers and marketers all down the supply chain are keeping some supply out of the market due to low prices or a complete lack of buyers.

The desire by Asian buyers to turn US dollars into hard assets—a phenomenon we are seeing across the entire hard asset class.

Short covering as the copper price stabilized.

A favorable arbitrage between the London Metal Exchange (LME) and Shanghai Exchange that made it cheaper to import copper cathode into China.
Scrap supplies having dwindled due to the lack of credit, low prices and slowing manufacturing activity. With the exception of Asia’s desire to convert their substantial holdings of US dollars into something of value, I believe all the factors listed above are temporary. Going forward inflation may also play a role. "

If you note, none of Mr. Cook's observations as to what is driving the price of copper have anything to do increasing copper consumption. In fact, he goes on to state that in all likelihood copper utilization will be down for 2009:

"To come to some sort of understanding of underlying fundamentals of the copper market we need to look at where copper actually goes. The retail and commercial construction markets use about 46% of all copper. Another 12% goes into vehicles. These two industries were trashed, to say the least, in 2008; they are not likely to do too well this year either. Without a global recovery in both industries to past levels I don't see how copper consumption can possibly increase significantly. "

The serial bottom callers and those pointing to the magic, predictive powers of copper can always point to China. But haven't we been down this road before? Wasn't decoupling disproved in the summer of 2008? Yes, the Chinese economy might be the world's economic engine, but they don't live in isolation. According to Cook, global demand and Chinese consumption of copper will remain weak:

"Can China save the day?

Most copper imported into China is then reprocessed and extruded as copper wire. When the copper wire is manufactured into tubing, refrigerators and batteries for export it still shows up as internal Chinese copper consumption. There is no way of knowing how much of China’s copper consumption actually stays internal and how much goes back out in other export products. If China is going to save the day for copper we have to approach usage from the perspective of China’s total economy.

China’s GPD in 2007 and 2008 was approximately 6% of global GDP—Europe and USA account for nearly half of global GDP. Based on the most recent World Bank statistics, China’s 2007 total GDP was $3.3 trillion, a full 55% of which was attributable to exports. In 2008 China’s exports were down 28%. This year is not getting off to a roaring start as the Shanghai Daily reports that industrial output is down 12.7% for the first two months of 2009.

China’s building boom is not fairing very well either. Post Beijing Olympics, China’s real estate market has collapsed. According to Jack Rodman, a China real estate expert, in Beijing alone approximately 500 million square feet of commercial real estate was developed over the past few years; this is more than all the office space in Manhattan. Rodman estimates 20% of that now stands vacant.

Similar stories are being reported across Asia as documented by the Asia Property Report which estimates that real estate transactions were down 70% in Q-4, 2008. With Asia and the world’s building boom gone bust or at least slowed significantly, and China’s export markets in a severe and prolonged recession, demand for their products and the copper within is unlikely to recover soon. In the near term at least, increased copper consumption would require a global recovery approaching the levels of a few years ago.

Confirming the obvious: true internal Chinese consumption is much less than many analysts believe and is unlikely to take up the slack in global copper consumption. "

My Take
From a technical perspective I do not believe copper is in a bull market or even poised to enter into a new bull market. In addition and as explained above, I attach no significance to the price movements of copper as they relate to economic growth.

What we do know is this: 1) over 7 months copper dropped 70% from high to low; 2) over the last 4 months, copper has bounced 70%; 3) copper still stands 50% below its all time highs.

Figure 3 is a monthly chart of a continuous copper futures contract. The indicator in the lower channel is our "next big thing" indicator, and the purpose of this indicator is to identify those assets that have the potential for secular trend change.

Figure 3. Copper/ monthly


The first thing we notice is that copper bounced at support or the breakout point (labeled with a "1") of the previous bull run. In other words, copper made a round tripper over the past 4 years. The bounce has carried 70% higher but right into the down sloping 10 month moving average. In other words, copper prices are behaving as they should. There was a breakout of historic proportions. Why did this breakout lead to such monstrous gains in 2005 and 2006? Because the breakout of historic proportions was 12 years in the making. In other words, the breakout was from a 12 year trading range. The current 70% move has the makings of a snapback or countertrend rally.

So the question I want to answer is this: Is copper poised for a new sustainable, secular bull market run?

Based upon the "next big thing" indicator, the answer is no. Based upon the technical setup, the answer is no. Going back to the 1970's, every major move in copper was heralded by the "next big thing" indicator signaling the possibility of a secular trend change. Even though copper has moved 70% off its low, I attach no significance to such a move. From my technical perspective, this is a bounce off of support and into resistance. Copper will need more sideways action and time before another new bull market is launched.

 

By Guy Lerner

http://thetechnicaltakedotcom.blogspot.com/

Guy M. Lerner, MD is the founder of ARL Advisers, LLC and managing partner of ARL Investment Partners, L.P. Dr. Lerner utilizes a research driven approach to determine those factors which lead to sustainable moves in the markets. He has developed many proprietary tools and trading models in his quest to outperform. Over the past four years, Lerner has shared his innovative approach with the readers of RealMoney.com and TheStreet.com as a featured columnist. He has been a regular guest on the Money Man Radio Show, DEX-TV, routinely published in the some of the most widely-read financial publications and has been a marquee speaker at financial seminars around the world.

© 2009 Copyright Guy Lerner - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Guy Lerner Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules