The Fed’s Hawkish Pressure Is Working Against InflationPosted: July 3, 2022 Filed under: Agriculture, Bond market, commodities, iron ore, Materials, Monetary Policy, Steel | Tags: 30-year fixed rate mortgage, BHP, BHP Group Limited, corn, FCX, Federal Reserve, Freeport McMoRan, lumber, RIO, Rio Tinto, TIPS, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, XME 5 Comments
The Federal Reserve has stuck by its aggressively hawkish stance despite massive pains suffered in financial markets and growing risks of a recession. Markets are so convinced by and so scared of the Fed that they have raced far ahead of current policy to anticipate a lot of price hikes ahead. Soaring mortgage rates are one example of the Fed’s sharp impact. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage was last this high during the recession of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC).
These suffocating mortgage rates are an important sign of victory for a Fed whose primary inflation concerns come from housing.
An even clearer sign of victory comes from the bond market, specifically the breakeven rates on five- and 10-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). Reuters reported that these TIPS “slid to 2.636% and 2.362%, respectively, a level last seen in September 2021.” Nancy Davis, managing partner and chief investment officer at Quadratic Capital Management LLC, accordingly observed that “the breakeven market, the difference between TIPS versus regular Treasuries, is dramatically downward sloping. It’s barely above the Fed’s long-term average (inflation) target of 2%.” In other words, the bond market is already anticipating that the Fed’s aggressive push to normalize monetary policy and fight inflation will work.
A broad swath of commodities and commodity-related stocks are suffering under the weight of the Fed’s success. The charts below are just a sample: diversified commodities producer BHP Group Limited (BHP), iron ore producer Rio Tinto (RIO), copper producer Freeport McMoRan (FCX), and the metals and mining ETF (XME) (charts from TradingView.com). Even agricultural commodities like corn and lumber look like they have topped. Perhaps these declines represent the early signals of a recession. If so, those concerns may wait for a post-inflationary day.
BHP printed a double-top in 2022 BELOW the 2021 highs.
RIO topped out in 2022 well below 2021’s highs. It now trades at the November, 2021 low and is at risk of challenging the November, 2020 low.
FCX is close to erasing ALL its 2021 gains.
The SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) quickly reversed its entire 2022 breakout.
Spot corn prices closed below the uptrending 200-day moving average for the first time since January. The topping formation for 2022 looks like the dreaded head and shoulders top (shoulders in March and June, the head in April).
Lumber prices topped out in 2022 well below the 2021 highs.
Be careful out there!
Full disclosure: no positions
Deltic Timber riding all-time highs despite declines in lumber pricesPosted: April 29, 2011 Filed under: commodities, Housing, Materials | Tags: DEL, Deltic Timber Corporation, pulp, timber Leave a comment
Deltic Timber (DEL) reported earnings earlier this week that were severely down year-over-year. DEL, a $844M market cap company based in Arkansas, blamed a depressed housing and construction market that has forced timber prices lower.
Here is the related commentary from the press release:
“Lumber prices in 2010 [benefited] from a supply-side driven price increase primarily caused by a sawmill log supply shortage due to inclement weather in the southeast portion of the U.S…
…[There are] continued depressed economic conditions for the forest and building products and residential and commercial real estate development businesses. We remained profitable even with persistent record-low prices for pine sawtimber, lack of the usual spring building-season benefit to lumber prices, continuation of a depressed residential real estate market, and absence of a commercial acreage real estate sale.”
The average sales price for pine sawtimber remained level at $26/ton with last year’s first quarter. Pine pulpwood plummeted over this same period by 50% to $8/ton. Average lumber sales price fell 14% over this period to $266 per thousand board feet. No forecasts were provided for future prices.
One of the few areas of the economy the Federal Reserve has failed to inflate continues to be mired in recession-like conditions. Thus motivating the Fed to continue to be accomodative in its monetary policy. On the other hand, these depressed conditions have not prevented Deltic’s stock from performing well. Stocks have, of course, well-benefited from the Fed’s printing of money. Corporate profits are now at all-time highs and DEL expects to turn in good profit performance going forward.
Inflation may loom as material costs pressure earningsPosted: November 4, 2010 Filed under: clothing, commodities, earnings reports, Materials, Retail | Tags: material costs, profits Leave a comment
In “Business Earnings Climb Despite Rising Costs“, the WSJ reports that companies reporting third quarter results are starting to sing a common refrain: material costs are rising fast and threaten to pressure profits. Soon, these pressures could translate into inflation at the consumer level…just as the Federal Reserve is rolling out a second phase of quantitative easing to fight the exact opposite force of deflation.
The article cites inflationary (or stagflationary) examples from paper and packaging makers, apparel manufacturers, tire companies, and office supply distributors.
Avery Dennison Corporation is experiencing particularly acute problems with higher material costs:
“Label maker Avery Dennison Corp. is battling higher raw material costs with price hikes, but is still losing ground. CFO Mitchell Butier said while the company keeps adding more price increases to fight rising raw materials, it continues ‘to be behind that curve.’ The company announced a ‘mid to high single-digit’ price increase in North America, Chief Executive Dean Scarborough said. ‘Pretty substantial…but we need it. Our margins are really taking a hit,’ he added.”
DuPont benefits from pricing powerPosted: October 29, 2010 Filed under: Chemicals, earnings reports, Materials | Tags: DD, EI DuPont de Nemours & Co. Leave a comment
E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co, or DuPont, (DD) reported strong earnings results on Tuesday. DuPont generated $7B in revenue, a 17% year-over-year increase for the third quarter.
DuPont has six business segments. Each one generated year-over-year revenue growth in the third quarter. Four of the six experienced positive pricing power: Electronics & Communications, Performance Chemicals, Performance Coatings, and Performance Materials. Only Safety & Protection experienced downward pricing pressure (hurting net sales gains by 1 percentage point), and Agriculture & Nutrition was (surprisingly) flat.
Pricing power was strong even in the U.S. The U.S. generated 31% of DuPont’s revenues for the quarter, 5 percentage points of the 17% increase in sales came from pricing.
As a result, DuPont is bullish about its outlook and expects its positive pricing power to continue (emphasis mine):
“The company expects full-year earnings to be about $3.10 per share, excluding significant items which will include a fourth quarter $.13 per share loss on the early extinguishment of debt. The previous guidance range was $2.90 to $3.05 per share. The increased outlook reflects strong third quarter results and expectations for sustained demand in key global markets, continued pricing momentum and benefits from ongoing productivity.”