Cashin On The Coordinated Commodity Collapse

Tyler Durden's picture

As we said regarding yesterday's coordinated commodity dump, there was nothing sinister going on beneath the surface: it was merely a liquidation step in advance of margin calls by various asset managers seeking to lock in profits. And as we will show in a second courtesy of GOFO, the liquidation may be over. But here, explaining things in his patented simple words, is Art Cashin to summarize yesterday's move.

From UBS:

Oil, which had rallied for several days on rumors about the Strait of Hormuz, suddenly shifted to the downside, plunging more than 5%. Apparently margin clerks are a bigger threat than the Iranians.


The carnage in the commodity sector was positively stunning. Gold caught lots of attention falling nearly $100. That had the gold bugs and other conspiracy theorists blaming central bank selling. It was a nice theory and fit handily with the current sovereign squeeze. But, if central banks were the culprit, why were other commodities down even more than gold?


To us old timers, it looked like a liquidation squeeze. It seemed to be a perfect example of the old Wall Street adage that when you can’t sell whatever you want, you sell whatever you can - even your grandmother’s necklace.


There were several guesses at factors exacerbating the severity of the action in commodities. The MF Global mess continues to keep some players on the sideline. The Dodd/Frank negatives on proprietary trading has also thinned the trading community and cut liquidity. At any rate, it was downright ugly.


The bulls will need a Tim Tebow fourth quarter performance if they are going to protect the December Expiration Week bullish tradition. Could be interesting.


You Look Rather Familiar - Matt Lynn had an interesting piece on MarketWatch last evening. Here’s how it began:


"LONDON (MarketWatch) — In retrospect, it wasn’t hard to see that the markets were becoming dangerously unstable. Germany had just adopted a new monetary system, and Europe was being flooded with cheap German money. Greece had signed up to a monetary union with Italy and France but was struggling to hold it together.


Financial markets had been deregulated. New technologies were transforming production and communications, allowing money to move across borders at lightening speed.


And a massive new industrial power was flooding the world with cheap manufactured goods, blowing apart old industries.
When it all fell apart in an almighty crash, it was only to be expected.


A prophesy for London, New York or Berlin in 2012? Not exactly. It is a description of Vienna in 1873. In that year, in one of the great crashes of all time, the Austrian markets triggered collapses across Europe, swiftly followed by an equally spectacular collapse in New York. It was the start of what economic historians call the Long Depression, a prolonged period of volatility, unemployment and slumps that lasted an epic 23 years, only coming to an end in 1896.


I have been researching that episode for my new e-book ”The Long Depression: The Slump of 2008 to 2031.” The parallels with our own time are fascinating. German unification, and the adoption of the gold standard, had led to a boom in that country, and cheap German money had flooded Europe. Greece had just joined the Latin Currency Union, an ill-fated attempt to merge currencies across Europe. Banking had been deregulated, which was partly why so much German money was invested on the Vienna bourse. The telegraph created instant communications, allowing the European crash to spread to New York. The U.S. was industrializing, transforming the global economy as much as China has transformed the present era’s economy in the past decade.


All those factors came together to create an almighty bubble, followed by an even worse crash. The slump that followed — although it is hard to measure these things precisely — lasted more than two decades. If the slump following the crash of 2008 is anything like that one, then this one is going to last until 2031."


Matt goes on to make several other comparisons between then and now. I have written several times on the analogies with 1873 but Matt picks a couple of points I missed. If you get a chance, pull up the article.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
fonzanoon's picture

How about that gdxj this year huh? fkin bloodbath.

Max Fischer's picture



Tyler said: 

......there was nothing sinister going on beneath the surface.......

And I agree with that. But Turd Ferguson told everyone yesterday the EXACT OPPOSITE.  

Turd Ferguson, December 14th 9:37pm:

Do not be discouraged by the blatant and shameful price manipulation tactics of The Cartel....


This is the EXACT sort of disinformation bullshit that I was talking about yesterday.    

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi 

nope-1004's picture

It sucks that a little guy has such an explosive voice.  Turd does what he does, and clearly it's a thorn in the side of the bankstas.

Either that or you bought silver at $49 and the wife has since cut y'off.  LOL.


GeneMarchbanks's picture

China will be happy and surely BTFD. Meanwhile a nice opportunity for the CB cartel to do some more 'easing'...

achmachat's picture

how interesting would it be if China actually used all their USD to buy gold at these dips?!

in fact, one theory is that this is how the US is "repaying" China just before letting the USD devaluate even more...

GeneMarchbanks's picture

Them and everyone else who holds US debt. Buying, mining and importing all metals not just precious. Bass style...

CPL's picture

That's easy.  They'll have a war.  Do you think the US is going to pay back one dime of the borrowed capital without using inflation?


I don't think so.  Cheaper to have a war as stupid as it sound.  Death is a cost effective instrument.  More bodies will be made to replace the losses.

Random_Robert's picture

Sadly I agree.

In this age where monetizing debt is becoming sacrosanct, the only other option will be to monetize death.

We'll let the idiots like Krugman and Roubini smoke screen it as economic growth (Just look at how awesome Hiroshima and Nagasaki grew after 1945).

Humans are God's ultimate form of capital, and since God lives on Wall Street these days, I guess it's time to pledge some blood at the stone alter.




firstdivision's picture

10Y went from depressionary levels to recessionary. We're saved...right?

Price movements in WTI this morning --> o_O

Bazinga's picture

It appears as though the liquidity crisis stepped up a notch, causing the commodities bloodbath. Everything Cashin says about liquidation for margin calls makes sense. I have no facts for what I am about to say but my gut tells me there is another shoe about to drop - compliments of MF Global, truly Global MF's!

firstdivision's picture

On top of the liquidity calls, the dollar has been rising for the past month now.  We all know the inverse correlation of commodities and the lollars.

nyse's picture

At an economic conference right now. The speaker just mentioned that the Natl Asscn of Realtors will announce next week that they have "accidentally" been double counting housing sales since 2007. Oops. Sorry if this is old news or if you all already know.
I am shocked. /s

Iriestx's picture

Have one where every other word isn't ObamaCare?  I hate Obama as much as any other sane person, but it makes the author look like an obsessed, frothing loon when they can't write a piece without using 'ObamaCare' as an adjective for everything.

DormRoom's picture

uhm... isn't China's property bubble popping?


Why would you be bullish on commodities, if China is entering a hard landing? 


You have a lot of leverage based on the China copper collateral trade [1] that is going to implode.  My question would be how much leverage was based on Chinese collateral?  And if China has a hard landing, how will that effect collateral chains?


sell first to survive.



GeneMarchbanks's picture

Uhm, it's not so much that I'm 'bullish' on anything, it's that I'm bearish on Bernankes ability to do nothing and stay idle while banks go out of business. Paper promises are now turning into mere paper, the promise has become illusory.

China (and shortly Australia & Canada) will experience housing pain that will probably not be as quick to collapse like the US but certainly the psychological factor will send those populations into confusion if not panic.

SheepDog-One's picture

Sell first is always safe.

eri's picture

I am not bullish on commodity. I am bullish on gold

yabyum's picture

The liqidation may be over but, the rectal bleeding continues.

PaperBear's picture

The Long Depression between 1873 to 1896, I suppose it is entirely coincidental that silver was demonitized around 1870 , was it ?

Stoploss's picture

It actually started in 1871, they didn't realize it until 1873. We started in 08, but refuse to realize it at all. But, reality, always seems to muscle it's way into everything right about the time the wheels come off. Yes, this crisis is almost a mirror image of 1871. That was the great depression, not the 30's.  

Quintus's picture

Gold's been selling off hard for 5 consecutive trading days, and this is all due to a liquidity problem yesterday?

PulauHantu29's picture

Maybe the bes ttime to buy commodities is now when they are so low...before the massive next QE?

firstdivision's picture

They need to fall and the lollar needs to rise a bit more for QE to get the green light. 

youngman's picture

I disagree there was nothing going on under the surface..the gold stock I watch is CEF..a closed in Canadian gold and silver fund....its a very quiet stock..1.3 million avg volume...yesterdays premarket sales..83, volume was 4.5 premarket volume was 8,000...something was going on..the raid was on..the elite knew it was on..we sheeple did not...they win..we lose

onebir's picture

It starts: "In a fresh sign of bankster desperation, we recently learned that they have pushed lease rates for gold to the lowest, negative level in history – i.e. they are paying people more money to “borrow” their gold than at any other time"

Isn't that just plain wrong? I thought it meant the gold owners were paying to lend their gold, because they're short of liquidity...

Sufiy's picture

We are at the Tipping point now. Gold is trashed with all commodities - FED must kill the Dollar rally now or situation can be out of control. Will be interesting to watch this week's action. Everything is ready for QE - all denials are just adding to the unticipated. 


With the Europe Panic exploding and markets in the free fall from August this year, junior miners have been beaten into the dust and still have not recover after the blood bath. Now, when situation has approached the catalyst, when "the worst it gets the better it will be" the only way out is QE n+1 on the Global world wide scale.



falak pema's picture

the unstable walk on the pirate's plank : If Euro land burns, USD climbs to sky and brings down the US financial economy.

The resonance of moving plank makes the walk get dizzyingly scary; whose heading for the deep blue and awaiting Tiger Shark, or is it Moby Dick?

sabra1's picture
The Tale of Jamie Dimon Threatening To Blow the Brains Right Out Of Jon Corzine’s Head

Our story begins with former Goldman Sachs CEO, former Senator, former Governor, the CEO of MF Global Jon Corzine. Jon Corzine being a rather simple fellow and not used to running an investment firm like MF Global, (disregard that he used to be the CEO of Goldman Sachs), was speculating with MF Globals money. Low and behold, after only running MF Global for about a year and a half, poor Jon Corzine had accumulated over $1 Billion in losses. Realizing that he had made this big boo boo and was not going to be able to make good on loans that MF Global had outstanding, poor Jon Corzine called up Jamie Dimon, the powerful leader of the five families, er, I mean the CEO of JP Morgan Chase. Jon Corzine carefully explained to Jamie Dimon that although he was very very sorry, he would not be able to pay back the paltry billion or so dollars that MF Global owed JP Morgan Chase. Much to Jon Corzine’s complete shock, Jamie Dimon then informed him, “You will raid the deposits that are in the accounts of your customers and pay me back.” He then said in a very deadly voice, a voice that stung Jon Corzine to the very bone, (can’t say soul, he probably doesn’t have one), “If you do not do as I say, you will swim with the fishes” and then Jamie Dimon hung up. Jon Corzine, a visibly shaken man, then authorized the theft of over $1 Billion dollars from MF Globals customer accounts and the money transferred to the Godfather, er I mean, Jamie Dimon the most powerful banker in the world.

The preceding story is as told by Max Keiser to Alex Jones, with a few embellishments thrown in by me. The embellishments in this short tale may make it seem rather humerus, but in truth, these people are deadly and that is how they are operating. Kind of a truth is stranger than fiction. Many an ordinary person doing their banking on a daily basis at JP Morgan Chase or investing with Goldman Sachs, will realize that they are dealing with mafia like organizations that are just as ruthless, just as deadly and 100 times smarter than Michael Corleone in the Godfather

onebir's picture

"Many an ordinary person doing their banking on a daily basis at JP Morgan Chase or investing with Goldman Sachs, will realize that they are dealing with mafia like organizations that are just as ruthless, just as deadly and 100 times smarter than Michael Corleone in the Godfather"

A friend of mine who worked at Goldman said something quite similar about the traders. Needless to say he left fairly quickly (despite being offered share options equivalent to his annual salary). He was working in risk management.

Issues of reporting lines aside, if Goldman's risk managers feel like this, it seems pretty unlikely their risk management is very effective...

Sziget's picture

The 1873 despression started becouse of the depleted gold mines which couldn't supply the always increasing demand. Its ended by the Klondike gold rush at Alaska. The gold standard requires (and will require) constantly growing money supply too. We cant see something like that in a fiat era but will start immediately if we return to gold standard. 

tmosley's picture

Yeah, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the end of the civil war, and the mass currency devaluation that went on during that period.


economics1996's picture

What an idiot statement.  Corporations do not give a shit about money supply.  Corporations care about profits.  It is a big economic myth that you have to have an increasing money supply to keep the people and corporations happy.  A total fucking lie.

Corporations cut cost, deflation, when production increases.  If they cut cost they can increase profits, the bottom line.

All this Keynesian bull shit lies needs to fucking stop.

Dangertime's picture

Corporations, like people, like nations, care about paying interest on debt.


Which is something that cannot happen harmoniously in a fiat world, UNLESS we print more money (debt) to allow the interest to be paid.  Your tactical argument is nullified by the bigger strategic picture of lending 10 for 11 when only 10 exist.

Having said that, a gold standard will also be affected negatively by the market only because we still allow lending at interest, thus magnifying the business cycle.  It is quite simple really when you stop and think about it.

kridkrid's picture

Yes.  Lending with interest... and fractional reserve lending... the latter creates money that doesn't exist, the former requires repayment in money that does not exist.  Both holes will get larger over time, exponentially, until the cost to simply maintain the debt overwhelms the productive economy.  We are looking at that kiosk map thing and it reads, "YOU ARE HERE".

tmosley's picture

That doesn't magnify the business cycle, it only encourages consumer spending, which is the source of all interest in a free market.  Higher interest paid->cheaper goods->more consumer spending.

The business cycle is caused by government interventions in the market INCLUSIVE of the direct and collateral effects of war.

kridkrid's picture

Tulip Mania = Must regulate evil speculators

Standard Oil = Must take down evil monopolies

Sound money requires constantly growing the money supply

These are all popularized mythologies.  You were taught what you just wrote is some 400 level econ course, just as I was.  Because we paid a lot of money for our degree, and because our professors spoke with conviction, and because the words were printed in some text, we assumed them to be true.  Time to deprogram.


end da fed's picture

okay, this is a point which has been bugging me... with sound money, how do we not need a growth in the money supply? what about all the new products/services for sale? what if there is a shortage in the amount of currency to pay for items? we then have lowered prices, right? which sounds great but then do wages necessarily have to decrease too? does the currency supply increase when more gold/silver is mined? i apologize if these are stupid questions but I've been stumped.

Sziget's picture

u see better than most of the above

if the price fall the trading stops if the trading stops the economy stops

there isnt cheap and expensive stuff, if something's price rise its cheap. if it declines its expensive for a trader thus he not buys it so the factory go bust

the economy does NOT work with declining prices nor in sound money nor in fiat

u the above trolls may think it's something new but the not increasing money supply brought down the roman empire and pusd the world to the dark ages which only ended by the discovery of america and it's fresh supplys of gold 

economics1996's picture

Ignorance is not cool.  Here is a link that is a must read if you do not understand sound money.  I sincerely hope you take the time to read it and come to a better understanding of why we are in this financial mess.

Please read;

kridkrid's picture

What you are saying is completely detached from reality and built on years of succesful propaganda. - here is one such film.  Of course we can see it for what it is now... TOTAL propoganda.  But our BS detector wasn't so good back then.

Inflation is theft.  Again... deprogram.

Sziget's picture

u get me totally wrong, im not saying inflation is good, its not, its ripping of people

im saying that our economy cant work, wont work without rising prices, and the prices wont rise if the money supply not increasing. Its irrelevant if comes from freshly mined gold or printed fiat. Yeah its bad for the ppl but this system cannot work any other way. And in "this system" i mean debt+interest based money which applies to sound and unsound money to. What we need is free money, u all should check out for Silvio Gesell's works.

kridkrid's picture

OK.  I think I understand your position better and we do agree.  One of my posts above... usary and fractional reserve banking... both these things require more "money" to circulate in order to roll debt.

economics1996's picture

If prices fall, workers are getting a raise; their purchasing power parity is increased.  Wages are a function of the imputes used to make goods and services, just like steel.  They, in the past, 1866-1913, rose slowly, but when the deflation was factored in, rose at the fastest clip in US economic history.

Deflation is the friend of the people, just like gold and silver.  Inflation is preferred by capital owners to pay debt back in deflated dollars, and to be able to increase prices slightly faster than wage increases.  This is the secret to why the Rockefellers and Morgan’s wanted a central bank.  It shifts the economic balance, and power, in their favor.  They have the financial expertise to take advantage of inflation where as John Q. does not.  For John Q gold and silver was the way he protected his labor, with fiat that protection is gone.

Manufactures are forced to innovate and cut cost if they want to increase profits.  This is good for consumers, but obviously not the desired position of the manufacturers, who would prefer to pay off politicians to get cartel agreements and special tax code breaks to favor their market place position.

I hope this helps.

end da fed's picture

it does... i'm on board with gold/silver backing as the only way we can protect the value of our labor and hold the banks/currency printers accountable. i'll read up on what you posted above and what kridkrid has suggested. thanks

Sziget's picture

please point out those happening in the history which favored the "workers" or got into law because its "friend of the ppl"

what u write is flase and nothing to do with the economy, deflation hurted ppl long before central banks beacuse the falling prices (which is good for individual consumers) made imposible to pay interest, if u no pay interest no one lends u. And those are the wizards behind the curtain who realy moves the economy, the money lenders. They dont care about the lend gold or paper they care about the interest.

kridkrid's picture

I think people think of money the wrong way.  All money really should be is s simple way to barter.  That is, after all, all we are really doing, no?  I trade my labor to someone who is willing to give me something in exchange.  Or, if I work for myself, I trade my labor for some sort of "product"... doesn't have to be a physical product, but something of value for which someone is will to exchange something.  I take what is provided to me in exchange for my labor and I go out and trade stuff for it.

Gold has traditionally worked well as "Money".  There is some generally agree upon value to some agreed upon quantity.  I believe that we should have open competition for what can be accepted as "money".  I don't think that the government should have a monopoly on it.  We have advanced far enough technologically that I should be able to easily barter my 'product" for someone else’s, either outright, or through a mutually agreed upon medium of exchange.  There would be a number of dominant "mediums" and those would be, by in large, the most stable of the bunch.  And the most stable would certainly be those that were backed by hard assets. - Here is a great paper written by Howard Buffett (father of Warren... and yes, the apple fell far from the tree).  Redeemable money help to insure the stability of the medium of exchange.  We became fully detached in '71 (globally) and there will be hell to pay, literally.