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Tuesday September 13, 2005 - 11:45:01 GMT
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Dollar Hodgepodge

Key News

•Key reports due today (WSJ):
7:45a.m. ICSC-UBS Store Sales Index For Sept. 11 Wk. Previous: Unch.
8:30a.m. August Producer Price Index. Consensus: +0.8%. Previous: +1.0%.
8:30a.m. August Producer Price Index, Ex-Food & Energy. Consensus: +0.1%. Previous: +0.4%.
8:30a.m. July Trade Deficit. Consensus: $60.0 Bln. Previous: $58.8 Bln.
8:55a.m. Redbook Retail Sales Index For Sept. 11 Wk. Previous: +0.2%.
5p.m. ABC/Money Consumer Confidence For Sept. 11 Wk. Previous: -14.


“The growing likelihood of deterioration on the national saving front heightens the macro tension between saving and investment -- widely thought to be a critical determinant of the equilibrium real interest rate. In today’s era of unusually low real interest rates, that only underscores the potential for a long overdue mean reversion that would produce a wrenching correction in the bond market.”

Stephen Roach

FX Trading

“…a long overdue mean reversion” in the bond market. You can say that again! “…a long overdue mean reversion” in the bond market. As odd as a “wrenching correction in the bond market” may sound, especially to those who have shorted many times in vein (not to mention any names mind you), those things have happened a time or two in history. Complacency breeds surprise! Actually, I just made that up, but I think you get the picture.

Chart: 10-yr T-note

Let me preface this by saying I know almost as little about bonds, as I do about agriculture. So, with that warning label…

The price action was a bit odd yesterday—I think. Consider this if you will ladies and gentleman:

1. The dollar rallies - the Fed on pause thing being washed away could explain it
2. Bonds tank – ditto above
3. Gold moves higher – hmmm!
4. Wheat moves higher – hmmm!

We are conditioned to believe gold and the dollar are inverse creatures. But lately, and I am sure you have noticed, they have been moving in the same direction.

Chart: Gold vs. US$

This is likely telling us something, but we can only conjecture (nice word for guess) for now. One possibility might be risk. Here is a tidy but obvious one: You own a major hedge fund and you have bought hook line and sinker the Peak Oil Theory, so you continue to load up on every dip and you are looking very very smart. I would suspect that even the Peak Oil theorists would allow for a dip in oil prices now and then on any dislocation, disruption, or oil piling up in ports in the Gulf Coast because of a hurricane. So, maybe this is the dip and maybe your hedge fund is loaded to the gunnels with black gold.

Risk is conjecture number one to suggest gold moves with the dollar.

On to guess number two…the last for today. We just don’t have room for all the plausible and implausible guesswork.

We get an inflation surprise. With the boys in DC rushing to express “compassion” by spending as fast as they can, one has to believe this fiscal stimulus will eventually feed into prices. And that’s where wheat comes in. (it’s only a story…)

Chart: Wheat/ Open Interest

Often we see wheat and bonds move inversely. And we would suspect the driver of that would be inflation (or lack thereof), as we have witnessed over the years.

Okay! Interesting guesses, or stupid guess, you may be saying to yourself. What is the point here?

If we do get an inflation surprise, we should consider it delivered via the fiscal side. And when we get inflation surprises the Fed usually counters that with tighter monetary policy. And one of George Soros’ favorite maxims is this: Loose fiscal and tight monetary often lead to a rising currency.

The logic: A real growth stimulus domestically with improving yield differential.

Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital


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