Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
Has Next UK Financial Crisis Just Started? Bank Accounts Being Frozen - 21st July 19
Silver to Continue Lagging Gold, Will Struggle to Overcome $17 - 21st July 19
What’s With all the Weird Weather?  - 21st July 19
Halifax Stopping Customers Withdrawing Funds Online - UK Brexit Banking Crisis Starting? - 21st July 19
US House Prices Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021 - 20th July 19
MICROSOFT Cortana, Azure AI Platform Machine Intelligence Stock Investing Video - 20th July 19
Africa Rising – Population Explosion, Geopolitical and Economic Consquences - 20th July 19
Gold Mining Stocks Q2’19 Results Analysis - 20th July 19
This Is Your Last Chance to Dump Netflix Stock - 19th July 19
Gold and US Stock Mid Term Election and Decade Cycles - 19th July 19
Precious Metals Big Picture, as Silver Gets on its Horse - 19th July 19
This Technology Everyone Laughed Off Is Quietly Changing the World - 19th July 19
Green Tech Stocks To Watch - 19th July 19
Double Top In Transportation and Metals Breakout Are Key Stock Market Topping Signals - 18th July 19
AI Machine Learning PC Custom Build Specs for £2,500 - Scan Computers 3SX - 18th July 19
The Best “Pick-and-Shovel” Play for the Online Grocery Boom - 18th July 19
Is the Stock Market Rally Floating on Thin Air? - 18th July 19
Biotech Stocks With Near Term Catalysts - 18th July 19
SPX Consolidating, GBP and CAD Could be in Focus - 18th July 19
UK House Building and Population Growth Analysis - 17th July 19
Financial Crisis Stocks Bear Market Is Scary Close - 17th July 19
Want to See What's Next for the US Economy? Try This. - 17th July 19
What to do if You Blow the Trading Account - 17th July 19
Bitcoin Is Far Too Risky for Most Investors - 17th July 19
Core Inflation Rises but Fed Is Going to Cut Rates. Will Gold Gain? - 17th July 19
Boost your Trading Results - FREE eBook - 17th July 19
This Needs To Happen Before Silver Really Takes Off - 17th July 19
NASDAQ Should Reach 8031 Before Topping - 17th July 19
US Housing Market Real Terms BUY / SELL Indicator - 16th July 19
Could Trump Really Win the 2020 US Presidential Election? - 16th July 19
Gold Stocks Forming Bullish Consolidation - 16th July 19
Will Fed Easing Turn Out Like 1995 or 2007? - 16th July 19
Red Rock Entertainment Investments: Around the world in a day with Supreme Jets - 16th July 19
Silver Has Already Gone from Weak to Strong Hands - 15th July 19
Top Equity Mutual Funds That Offer Best Returns - 15th July 19
Gold’s Breakout And The US Dollar - 15th July 19
Financial Markets, Iran, U.S. Global Hegemony - 15th July 19
U.S Bond Yields Point to a 40% Rise in SPX - 15th July 19
Corporate Earnings may Surprise the Stock Market – Watch Out! - 15th July 19
Stock Market Interest Rate Cut Prevails - 15th July 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Current State July 2019 Video - 15th July 19
Why Summer is the Best Time to be in the Entertainment Industry - 15th July 19
Mid-August Is A Critical Turning Point For US Stocks - 14th July 19
Fed’s Recessionary Indicators and Gold - 14th July 19
The Problem with Keynesian Economics - 14th July 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Top AI Stocks Investing to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend

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