The MUST READ was this article (on Seeking Alpha so a free membership of the site required to see the full article) about the low levels of gold inventories at the Comex (the commodities exchange) with, in my view, the key quote being (with my emphasis added):
'considering the huge drawdown in registered gold stocks, the owners-per-registered ounce ratio surged to an all-time high of 111.6 claims per registered gold ounce! Yes that means if less than 1% of COMEX outstanding contracts stand for delivery there will not be enough gold to meet the delivery requirements. Of course gold could be transferred from eligible stocks to meet this request, but that cannot be depended on since eligible gold has no obligation to be used to fulfil delivery'.
Gold remains good risk-reward here
'Commodity currencies' under pressure with a weak commodity index performance over the last year
Of course there are alternative/other explanations for currency weakness such as this amazing chart about divergent Canadian / US debt progression...if you wanted to know why the Canadian Dollar has weakened against the US Dollar recently, here's a good reason why:
The European banking sector remains a head-scratching subject, so this article on capital shortfall under stressed conditions (link here) is a good read. That's quite a lot of GDP at risk under a 'systemic' crisis (with France particularly standing out):
Of course any volatility in the banking sector would lead to some volatility in bond spreads. This chart from the weekend edition of The Financial Times struck me as being useful. Compression of the spread against bunds all-around, but (arguably) isn't the French/Belgian spread the most interesting juxtaposition given the above chart?
A bit of an expose on some UK tracker funds here. Regular readers will know I believe we are now moving into a time for active management
A thoughtful article (as always) from John Mauldin here with some earnings charts akin to my own observations about the corporate earnings cycle. The chart which really caught me eye though was this one on the VIX. 'Back to pre-crisis levels', eh? Hmmm.
Talking about corporate earnings, low dispersion today = high dispersion tomorrow? In a stock-picker's market absolutely...
China and pollution...this from Bloomberg:
'The city published a draft of a pollution prevention plan on Jan. 18 with new penalties, according to a Beijing Morning Post report yesterday. They include fines of 10,000 yuan ($1,653) to 100,000 yuan and possible closures for companies exceeding national or city emission limits. Owners of vehicles who exceed emission rules will face penalties of as much as 3,000 yuan, the newspaper said.
The National Meteorological Center issued a yellow alert for smog yesterday, the fourth straight day, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The warning covered areas in 10 provinces and municipalities including Shanghai and Tianjin, a coastal city neighboring Beijing'.
You did see that the Beijing authorities have introduced a huge TV to help show residents when the sun is rising/setting?
Overwhelmed by social media? So you should be...
CME - 'CME Group Inc. is stuck between its past and future, dragged back by industry traditionalists as it struggles to expand a global electronic futures exchange'. Link here
Morrisons - a second activist investor emerges. Link here. I remain long of the share...the second weekend press in a row talking about activism and the company can only be good news
Softbank and Deutsche Telekom are attempting
to resolve obstacles to Sprint's possible acquisition of the German
carrier's 67% holding in T-Mobile USA, Bloomberg reports.