Monday, June 24, 2013

What's Coming in Commodity Markets?

I don't know, but I found this thought interesting:
Yanis Varoufakis presents another theory from one of his correesondents:
What had happened was that interbank lending rates were rising in China. Unlike other credit crunches (e.g. that in Italy now), this particular credit crunch was effected by the Chinese government for the purpose of pricking the gigantic speculative bubble in China before it inflates further with devastating potential. This same bubble is intimately linked to the US economy: both US finance and the midwest mining areas of the US are fully involved. Shortly afterwards Chairman Bernanke started talking about relaxing QE3. If the Chinese government no longer wants to provide unlimited liquidity then the whole burden of sustaining the bubble would fall on the Fed. Mr Bernanke considers this to be far too dangerous and for this reason he may have brought forward the Fed’s exit from QE. In this reading, the Fed’s signal that it is exiting QE has nothingto do with the actual health of the US economy and everything to do with China’s economic situation and government intentions.
If I understand the concept of bubbles, I would assume that agriculture is part of the "midwest mining areas of the US."  If this interpretation is right, farmers might get pummeled.  An if anybody doubts the "end of the commodity supercycle" story, there sure have been a lot of mention about commodity prices with the Chinese slowdown:

Caterpillar is high on the list of American companies that could suffer in a Chinese credit crunch. If big Chinese firms can’t get easy money, there will be less mining and construction, which is bad for CAT and ultimately, the nearby Italian joint. 
But the fuller picture is bigger and more complex. Tighter credit could mean Chinese firms have much less to spend on raw materials that power their businesses. “It also means cheaper commodities and long-run, that might not be such a bad thing,” says FTN Financial chief economist Chris Low, who has spent time in China. 
That could mean lower energy costs for American consumers and businesses. Tighter lending in China will hurt banks there, but not necessarily Chinese consumers. A credit crunch could accelerate China’s transition to an economy relying less on big projects funded with cheap money, and more on Chinese consumers buying things, including American stuff. 
I think it will take some tremendous weather setbacks to overcome the mindset, if not even the reality of the commodity markets.  Even if China can pull through the credit crunch without major pain, the storyline underlying the commodities markets for the past five years is dead.

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