201801.08
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The Conspicuous Rush To Import

According to the Census Bureau, US companies have been importing foreign goods at a relentless pace. In estimates released last week, seasonally-adjusted US imports jumped to $204 billion in November 2017. That’s a record high finally surpassing the $200 billion mark for the first time, as well as the peaks for both 2014 and 2007….

201712.15
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The Economy Likes Its IP Less Lumpy

Industrial Production rose 3.4% year-over-year in November 2017, the highest growth rate in exactly three years. The increase was boosted by the aftermath of Harvey and Irma, leaving more doubt than optimism for where US industry is in 2017. For one thing, of that 3.4% growth rate, more than two-thirds was attributable to just two months….

201712.07
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COT Black: Bad News For Jerome, Swap Dealers Seem Really Convinced

US domestic stocks of crude oil continue to be quite high and now the futures curve is only a few pennies in the front month contract from being fully backwardated again. Contango is gone, which suggests that oil market is in sight of achieving some measure of balance. That anticipated equilibrium, however, is registering at…

201711.16 2

Huge Crude Stakes

There is a titanic struggle going on right now in the oil market. On the one side of the futures market are the usual pace setters, the money managers. Last week, the latest COT data available, they went the most net long since March. If it continues, it will close in on the most positive…

201711.16
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Industrial Production Still Reflating

Industrial Production benefited from a hurricane rebound in October 2017, rising 2.9% above October 2016. That is the highest growth rate in nearly three years going back to January 2015. With IP lagging behind the rest of the manufacturing turnaround, this may be the best growth rate the sector will experience. Production overall was still…

201711.14
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Globally Synchronized Downside Risks

Oil prices were riding high after several weeks of steady, significant gains. It’s never really clear what it is that might actually move markets in the short run, whether for crude it was Saudi Arabia’s escalating activities or other geopolitical concerns. Behind those, the idea of “globally synchronized growth” that is supposedly occurring for the…

201711.13
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Broad Market Calibrations: Nowhere Near Good

In later 2014, the Bank of Russia began to repo out eurodollars to local Russian banks. These financial institutions were being increasingly deprived of “dollar” funding on global markets. It made sense that Russia’s central bank would step in on their behalf, redistributing what it could out of its own pocket (though exactly which one…

201711.10
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COT Black: Crude Balance Here?

Oil prices have had a very good run for several months now. Dating back to the recent low reached June 21, WTI is up an impressive 35% to a new two-year high. Crude hasn’t traded at $57 since June 2015. During this latest increase, the oil futures curve has finally achieved backwardation (which isn’t necessarily…

201710.26
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China’s (de)Dollar Bonds

The Chinese government has sold its first dollar bond issue in thirteen years. Given that fact alone, the idea is causing more than a little confusion, perhaps consternation. Why now? What are they really up to? It seems as if it is contradictory, especially given China’s very public positions against the dollar as hegemonic reserve…

201709.13
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Harvey’s Muted (Price) Impact On Oil

The impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf energy region is becoming clear. There have been no surprises to date, even though the storm did considerable damage and shuttered or disrupted significant capacity. Most of that related to gasoline, which Americans have been feeling in pump prices. According to the US Department of Energy, as…