Our centrally-muppeteered markets are getting less real, by the day.
The Hedgeye Macro team will be hosting a conference call on Tuesday, March 17th at 11:00AM EST to discuss the current state of the domestic labor market and the implications for the path of monetary policy.
We'll present a comprehensive review of the current domestic labor market dynamics, profile the prevailing trends and contextualize the recent data within the context of the labor and economic cycles over the last half-century.
Watch the replay of this presentation below.
KEY AREAS OF FOCUS WILL INCLUDE:
- The Cycle: We'll detail where we are in the current cycle and what's the likely trajectory for labor fundamentals from here.
- Wage Inflation: While leading labor metrics are approaching levels of peak improvement, wage inflation remains the notable holdout. We'll discuss the dynamics underpinning the ongoing stagnation in wage growth and the outlook for this key input in the Fed's policy calculus.
- Patience or Pre-emption? We'll conclude with a detailed scenario analysis regarding the outlook for U.S. monetary policy.
- Toll-Free Number:
- Toll Number:
- Conference Password: 13604172
- CLICK HERE to download the slides associated with this call
***As always, there will be an audio-visual replay distributed after the call.***
The Hedgeye Macro Team
Takeaway: Longer-term trends, the current position in the business cycle, and the outlook for the U.S. Dollar all line-up for more downside risk.
This note was originally published March 05, 2015 at 11:51 in Macro. For more information on our services for smaller, individual investors click here.
There is one thing we can be sure of with regards to long-term commodity prices over the long run:
They will continue to go up and down, falling just as far as they rose in real-terms, from cycle to cycle.
In the shorter run, which is where we all make our tactical investing returns, we think there are two key reasons commodity prices, especially in the raw material and metals space, could move lower from here:
1) The Hedgeye macro view is that the U.S. dollar, WHICH HAS ALWAYS LED THE BIG TURNS IN CYCLES ACROSS DURATIONS, looks like it will continue to strengthen over the intermediate to longer-term even if we briefly transition from QUAD 4 to QUAD 1 and back again; and
2) There is a cap-ex cycle in the commodities space which lasts longer than the normal business cycle on average, and we are now on the back-end of BOTH cycles.
The table below is separated into 6 periods of large inflections in dollar and inflation adjusted growth, spanning across 8 business cycles. In this period of time we’ve experienced 2 longer resources-related capital investment cycles (back-end of the 2nd currently):
1. 1970s inflation (Bretton Woods)
2. Early 1980s recession and contractionary policy
3. Mid-1980s-mid-1990s expansion
4. Clinton – tight policy, strong dollar deleveraging
5. Greenspan de-regulation, low interest rate era (post tech-bubble through 08’ and still currently a part of the commodities bubble)
6. Great recession-to-present (commodity prices down from 2010 bubble but still room to run)
There is a clear pattern that emerges, which seems to be very similar to our current cycle:
USD/Growth Inflection --> inflection in metals (early cycle materials) --> inflection in Ags. And Energy (consumer-based)
Clearly, as the dollar goes, so too goes the price of many key commodities. Not to view the dollar as the only factor to consider, but certainly getting the direction of the USD right will enable us to get the price direction of many of these commodities right.
The existence of “super-cycles” as some call it, are longer than business cycles because of the capital intensive nature of bringing product online.
We thought the following quote from Otaviano Canuto of the World Bank was a good description of the normal chain of events:
“Reports on previous cycles and price volatility have been more convergent. These works tend to agree on the localization of at least three super-cycles of commodities since the 19th century, as well as one initiated at the end of the 1990s. Typically 20-year boom periods have reflected strong demand associated with moments of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation – as in the case of the US in the 1890s, or China in the 2000s – in which supply takes a long while before matching that demand. When this happens, periods of much lower commodity prices follow.”
Now that iron ore capacity has matched that demand, we have observed the end result several years after the demand picture turns sour. In other resource-heavy areas, this downside is just beginning.
Simply put, the amount of time elapsed between making an investment decision (capital spent), bringing production online, and getting those top-line revenue streams often spans over multiple business cycles. Supply does in fact take longer to match the demand and investment decisions tend to be made at times when the spread between the cash cost of production and per/unit selling price are the widest (that NPV picture looks most attractive).
Look no further than this current cap-ex cycle. Investments that were made before the Great Recession are just now being finished:
Mid-cycle commodity bubble investment decisions --> Great Recession --> investment goes on through the next cycle to the 2010 bubble highs and beyond --> the over-investment is now unraveling in some areas, (iron ore and copper) with others to follow
The aftermath will bring more pain:
- How much further can the Fed lower interest rates to “fight deflation”? Rates are already near zero yet we are in a deflationary environment and the dollar is getting stronger (we believe it will get even stronger). Can the Fed out-Ease the BOJ and ECB? Nevermind lowering rates. The question consensus is asking is WHEN will a rate HIKE occur? Could a surprise "kicking-of-the-can" crush the dollar? Probably not for any more than a short-term correction.
- Projects that were implemented at the commodity bubble highs circa 2006-10 are still being brought online. Just look at the fertilizer space (which is a monopolized industry in some products)
Like iron ore and copper, fertilizer is a mature industry that pivots on a number of very accessible and very abundant resources, and the demand for fertilizer (both nitrogen, phosphate, and potash-based) has followed a slow and steady climb for a long period of time. Given this dynamic, the above table tells the picture of “supply coming late” to meet demand. However the question we would ask is:
Were low-interest policies inflating commodities prices circa Greenspan deregulation (selling vs. cash cost) or was there as long period of under-investment lagging a demand increase for some of the most abundant resources on earth?
There is quite a bit of evidence for the former...
The charts re-purposed below, and sourced from the World Bank and OECD, also provide support for the existence of this longer-cycle with the previous two evidenced in the tables above.
Pulling back the magnifying glass gives a peek at where we are in the longer cycle. There are a few key takeaways we would like to point out:
1) Commodity prices go down over the long-term driven by a surplus of investment in inflationary periods (Oil is the only commodity that has appreciated in real-terms over the long-term)
2) Not surprisingly the metals (early-cycle materials specifically) segment tracks global GDP pretty closely
A risk management strategy molded by predicting how long the current cycles will last is not something we subscribe to, but we acknowledge that longer cap-ex cycles do exist in the industrials, materials, and mining space and they take longer to manifest than a business cycle.
Considering we’re on the back-end of both of these longer-term cycles, we remain bearish on the space in a QUAD 4 set-up where both growth and inflation are decelerating. The fundamental matches our bearish quantitative view which is what we want to see for picking good shorts in the commodity and commodity related space.
We have been in and out of copper on the short-side over the last couple of weeks (ETF: JJC) in Real-Time Alerts and continue to expect downside in the commodities complex over the intermediate to longer-term.
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Link to Report: Monday Mashup
- Key Tickers: SHAK, KKD ARCO, FRSH, SBUX, DRI, MCD, PLKI, JACK, DFRG
- Key Callout: We recently added short SHAK to our Best Ideas list and are removing long KKD from our Investment Ideas list.
Below are key European banking risk monitors, which are included as part of Josh Steiner and the Financial team's "Monday Morning Risk Monitor". If you'd like to receive the work of the Financials team or request a trial please email
European Financial CDS - Swaps mostly widened among European banks last week. Greece began discussions with the Troika regarding the technical details of its bailout extension last week and the Syriza party raised some inflammatory issues such as opening up Greece's borders to Middle Eastern refugees and alleged reparations owed to the country by Germany for Nazi war crimes. Investors reacted negatively to the signal from Greece that it will not make the process easy; swaps on Greek banks rose between 152 and 158 bps.
Sovereign CDS – Sovereign swaps were little changed last week. Italian sovereign swaps widened by 6 bps to 105. Meanwhile, Japanese swaps tightened by 3 bps to 40.
Euribor-OIS Spread – The Euribor-OIS spread (the difference between the euro interbank lending rate and overnight indexed swaps) measures bank counterparty risk in the Eurozone. The OIS is analogous to the effective Fed Funds rate in the United States. Banks lending at the OIS do not swap principal, so counterparty risk in the OIS is minimal. By contrast, the Euribor rate is the rate offered for unsecured interbank lending. Thus, the spread between the two isolates counterparty risk. The Euribor-OIS spread widened by 1 bps to 11 bps.
TICKERS: LVS, IGT, RCL, CCL
- March 16-19: Cruise Shipping Miami Conference
- March 19: Galaxy FY 2014 results
- (), Passcode: 712943
LVS - The St. Regis Macao, expected to open during the third quarter of this year at Sands Cotai Central, is looking to recruit 700 employees. The luxury hotel brand held its first job fair in Macau on Friday. The St. Regis will offer 400 guest rooms and suites, as well as dining venues.
Takeaway: St. Regis is expected to open Aug 1, 2015.
IGT - High 5 Games is suing IGT alleging breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition stemming from their 2012 licensing agreement. The suit alleges that IGT failed to pay royalties on 81 games that use High 5 content, including features like super stacks, tumbling reels and split symbols.
RCL - Could Ovation of the Class be sailing to China?
Takeaway: Two Quantum class ships in China would prove RCL's short-term and long-term commitment to that risky but potentially lucrative market opportunity.
CCL - Agents have given a resounding thumbs-up to P&O’s newest ship Britannia, with some suggesting it could help the line attract a new clientele.
- Phil Evans, managing director of Cruise Nation: “I think it’s also going to appeal to a slightly younger audience that P&O tends to attract. They usually tend to get people in their late 50s, but I think this will appeal to people in their 40s."
- “I do think Anthem will be perhaps be more family orientated, but the staff at my agency have all said that they feel this signals a new era for cruising for P&O.”
- Ann Anglesea, managing director of Delmar World in Wrexham: “The size of the ship was noticeable – [at 3,647 passengers] it’s a much bigger ship than we’ve been used to.
- “It is beautiful, but the ambience of a ship depends on the clients that you have onboard, and I wonder if P&O will be reaching out to a different market share than they have previously had.
- “I think P&O have got it right. The Retreat area looked exceedingly nice, and the specialty dining will appeal to higher end customers, but the prices are competitive in the market place. Whether there’s enough in the market to fill it though will remain to be seen.”
Takeaway: More praise for Britannia. Attracting a new clientele is a stretch. We are concerned about pricing power for the older ships as the Southampton cruise supply revs up.
Super anti-graft bureau - China is preparing to establish a ‘super’ anti-graft bureau that will investigate high-ranking officials suspected of corruption, Procurator-General Cao Jianming said. The plan for the bureau has already been approved by the central government, said Cao, who heads the country’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate. The new bureau will be staffed by several dozen experienced senior prosecutors and will strengthen the Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s anti-corruption capacities.
Proxy-betting - proxy betting in Manila could "represent as much as 50%of VIP revenue in Manila, versus 5%-10% to in Macau.” (Morgan Stanley).
Takeaway: We have also confirmed Suncity adding junket rooms in Solaire and CoD Manila later this year. This is good news for CoD Manila. We will be getting additional color on the Philippines market later in the month.
Jeju Air- the leading South Korean budget airline is targeting Chinese gamblers deserting Macau due to the crackdown on corruption initiated by the People’s Republic of China Government, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Kim Tae Yoon, said. In order to attract Chinese tourists the company is offering popular liquor and cosmetics onboard to lure Mainlanders to Jeju Island, where the company is based. The South Korean island has seven casinos where only foreigners are permitted to gamble.
Cyclone Pam - Several cruise ships have been forced to alter South Pacific
itineraries to avoid category 5 Cyclone Pam which has devastated the island nation of Vanuatu. Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria and P&O Cruises’ Aurora, all on world cruises, have had itineraries altered in the region. Holland America Line’s Oosterdam was forced to miss a call into Port Vila in Vanuatu on Friday and instead spent a day at sea to avoid the weather front.
Other companies forced into making itinerary changes include Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia and Royal Caribbean International.
Singaporre private home sales - was nearly halved in February from a year earlier. Developers sold 382 units last month, compared with 739 units in February 2014, according to data compiled by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Hedgeye Macro Team remains negative Europe, their bottom-up, qualitative analysis (Growth/Inflation/Policy framework) indicates that the Eurozone is setting up to enter the ugly Quad4 in Q4 (equating to growth decelerates and inflation decelerates) = Europe Slowing.
Takeaway: European pricing has been a tailwind for CCL and RCL but a negative pivot here looks increasingly likely in 2015.