- "Green shoots" are fragile and can easily be trampled underfoot; and
- "Green shoots" are indications of stabilization, not signs that a roaring bull market is about to begin.
China is an enormous consumer of commodities. In this post (see Time to take some risk off the table), I pointed to the dismal behavior of commodity sensitive currencies as a sign for caution. Now, commodity sensitive currencies such as the Australian Dollar has rallied through its downtrend. A period of sideways consolidation is likely at this point.
The Canadian Dollar, which is another commodity sensitive currency whose economy has greater leveraged to the American economy than the Australian economy, recently staged an upside breakout from a trading range.
Commodity prices are also showing a tender green shoot, though that one is far more fragile. The CRB Index below shows that commodity prices have staged an upside breakout from a short-term downtrend (solid line), but the longer intermediate term downtrend (dotted line) remains intact.
The liquidity weighted CRB Index is more heavily weighted towards the energy complex. A look at the equal-weighted CRB Index, called the Continuous Commodity Index or CCI, shows that the CCI has staged an upside breakout through the intermediate downtrend. The most likely scenario is that commodity prices undergo a period of sideways consolidation.
To be sure, these "green shoots" are early signs of recovery which can easily be trampled. The strength in commodity prices may be a false start, as Izzy at FT Alphaville pointed out that it could be just more inventory accumulation and not the result of actual physical demand.
Constructive on China
My current framework for the analysis of the global outlook is to examine the Three Axis of Growth, namely the United States, Europe and China. For now, I believe that the message of the markets from China has changed from bearish to a fragile stabilization. No doubt the aforementioned markets will retrace some of their gains, but chances are good that the risks of a hard landing are receding.
Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. ("Qwest"). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest.
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