Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dollar Break Downs

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. In addition to the term helicopter economics, we have also coined the term, helicopternomics, to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government and to update the old-fashioned term wheelbarrow economics.

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The trade-weighted dollar closed below its break down point of 78.33 yesterday. Intraday the dollar traded as low as 77.45 and it closed at 77.57. As has been the pattern for months now, everything else rallied as the dollar sold off. While stocks continued their long move up and the S&P 500 reached 1000 (a major resistance point), commodities were the star players in the rally. The CRB index, a broad basket of commodities, was up 3.48%. The ISM manufacturing Report supposedly set off the rally.

According to the media, the promise of economic revival was responsible for the big commodity rally. So what commodity is doing best recently? Sugar! - which was trading at a three year high yesterday. Sugar is not economically sensitive at all (people don't go into sugar eating frenzies when a recession ends), but is instead a strong mover in the early stages of inflation. The biggest winner on the day was natural gas (the chart is very bullish and UNG closed above the 50-day moving average), with the near term futures contract up 10%. Copper, which is perhaps the most economically sensitive of all commodities was up 4.4%. Copper, zinc, lead and nickle are all trading at 10-month highs. Aluminum is at an 8-month high.

The rallies in gold and silver, which are the commodities most sensitive to movements in the U.S. dollar, were somewhat muted. Gold was as high as $963 intraday. A report released yesterday stated that net sales of gold by central banks fell to 39 metric tons during the first half of this year. This was down 73% from last year. If total sales for the year come in under 140 metric tons (highly likely), they will be the lowest in decades. Central bank gold selling was a major factor keeping gold prices low in the 1980s and 1990s and it looks like it is now completely exhausted.

As for the ISM report PMI came in at 48.9 (under 50 means contraction). This was above expectations and a few components were up decently, including production, new orders, and prices paid -which is an indication of inflation. Inventories were the most negative component of the report and they have been contracting for 39 months so far. According to the ISM, six industries are now expanding - Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Paper Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Transportation Equipment; and Chemical Products.

As I have stated many times in this blog, economic revival is going to mean a lot of inflation.
The dollar break down is an indication of this and the powers that be are going to have to do something soon to try to hold up the dollar. My guess is that this will happen when gold hits the $1000 area. This is the inflation marquee for the economically savvy. The Fed can deny that inflation exists all it wants, but if gold soars past 1000, only the naive and gullible will listen. Since there is usually a lot of buying pressure for gold in August, the next few weeks should be interesting.

NEXT: Gold Shining, Silver Lustrous

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer,New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

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