Neither Lean Hogs nor Live Cattle have yet hit their buy targets mentioned in the previous post, although Live Cattle came very close and the hogs look like they are trying to put in a bottom here. We will continue to wait for all the stars to align correctly before committing capital. In the meantime, one of the most exciting commodities out there, Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice, looks like it is entering a seasonal down pattern. And unlike Lean Hogs or Live Cattle, it's probably OK to go ahead and short it now. In fact, I did just that yesterday and am already up over two points on the trade. As you can see on this chart, this year's seasonal down leg has already begun:
The reason for the traditional drop in OJ prices from mid-January through the beginning of March is weather-related. More than 90% of the frozen concentrated orange juice sold worldwide comes from oranges grown in either Central Florida's citrus belt or Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the majority of that comes from Central Florida's citrus belt. Since OJ is a very thinly traded and volatile market, a freeze in Central Florida during the winter or a hurricane during the summer or fall that damages Florida's fragile orange trees can cause OJ prices to shoot up dramatically. I went to high school in Central Florida and I vividly remember stories on the local news showing farmers putting heating units near their trees during cold snaps to protect them from frost.
Orange juice processing companies are well aware of this seasonal risk, and therefore tend to buy futures contracts from about September through December every year to hedge against the risk of frost in the winter. Once the peak season for freezes passes in mid-January, those companies sell their futures contract "insurance policies," and the OJ price drops dramatically until March, when the companies begin buying futures contracts again to hedge against the summer hurricane risk.
While this appears to be a slam dunk trade, as Naval Academy graduate Robert Heinlein informed us in his classic novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, and the danger in this trade is clearly that you short OJ futures and then there is an unexpected late freeze in Central Florida that causes prices to move against you very quickly. So if you take this trade, watch the weather in Central Florida like a hawk and bail out at the first sign of approaching cold weather! Also, with such a potentially volatile commodity, tight stops are highly recommended.
Since my brother is an Obamite, I have listened to Obama speak a few times now, and I am very impressed with his oratorical ability. His acceptance speech in New Hampshire was, I thought, very similar to Jesse Jackson's keynote address at the 1984 Democratic convention, one of my all-time favorite speeches, although Obama's was obviously much shorter and suited to its specific occasion. Both speeches really jump out and grab you emotionally, and both men are very, very good at delivering such speeches.
The problem, of course, with both speeches is that the specific economic proposals contained within them would not actually help the people they spend the rest of their speeches implying they really want to help. Bottom line: America has a more than $9 trillion dollar foreign debt that China, Japan, and the Gulf Arabs own a huge piece of. The dominos have started falling - first housing, then sub-prime mortgages, then sub-prime mortgage derivatives, then the hedge funds that owned those derivatives, and now the banks that lent money to the hedge funds and loaded up on lots of derivatives themselves. Since consumers can't tap into their home equity anymore, they are maxing out their credit cards to pay for greatly inflated gas. They have already stopped going to Starbucks, and they are even spending less than usual at Target and Walmart. The next dominos to fall are auto loan companies, followed by banks that own large amounts of credit card debt that will never be repaid. The whole house of cards is finally coming down, since the Asians and Arabs who have financed this charade for several decades have finally tired of it, and are now diversifying out of dollars and into gold, which is re-assuming its historical role as the world's reserve currency.
None of the candidates are talking about the only issue that will matter by November when millions more adjustable-rate mortgages have reset and the banks are failing - how to avoid another Great Depression. The correct answers are simple to state, but politically undoable until the average consumer feels much more pain than they do now: drastically slash government spending with no sacred cows (the military, Social Security, Medicare, etc.) left untouched to balance the budget, and re-establish some form of modified gold standard to restore the stability of our currency as the founding fathers insisted upon. Instead, the candidates are all babbling about health care. The one thing that will never happen is another good, old fashioned, New Deal-type government entitlement program costing billions of dollars. That jig is up once and for all. Our foreign payday lenders won't lend us the money to finance any more living beyond our means as a country, so we will have to bite the bullet and "endure the unendurable," until we have our financial house in order.
And you can just forget about anybody in the mainstream media raising this issue with any of the candidates...it has been positively surreal watching the Clinton News Network, NBC, and the rest of their ilk abandon Hillary and Bill and embrace Obama like a teenage girl experiencing her first crush!
You've got to love Camille Paglia. Check out her latest dissection of Hillary.