I would like to share some thoughts regarding present and past market correlations. One of my mother's sisters, aunt Franca, spent her life with my grand father, taking care of his many vices. She used to tell me that to have an edge on events they used to check share activity in Textiles and Heavy Industry in order to anticipate probable war declarations, or military activity. The rationale is clear.

The government ordered uniforms and mechanical spare parts before undertaking belligerent efforts. The same went for paper and other similar indicators that showed some kind of economic activity. For this reason I have given a look, first at the long term graph of copper, then added the S&P index.

The resulting picture gives an idea of a total and sudden decorrelation of the stock market and price of copper since mid 2011. I'm sure that better statisticians will be able to justify such a strange phenomenon: economic prosperity and declining raw material prices.

And mind you, not any raw material, but copper, the dear metal, the center of the electronic and electric universe. The S&P has risen roughly 49 percent since September 2011, while Copper (COPA LN bbg ticker, etf quoted in $ in London) has lost 22 percent in the same period.

The visual shock is, of course, much stronger than the raw numbers. Is this predictive of a market correction?

Not sure about it, although the crowding effect of larger and larger troops of SPU bulls give me a chilling feeling down the spine and the uncomfortable "dejà vu" state of mind.

Alston Mabry writes: 

If one were to search the interweb for the "copper, china, collateral", one would find several stories claiming that copper is used as collateral in the "shadow banking system" in China and that sharp moves in price are due to such stores being liquidated.





Speak your mind

2 Comments so far

  1. F. Allen on March 13, 2014 3:41 pm

    It’s not just the correlation of copper and spu that’s gone down since mid-2011. WTI vs spu, gold, and soybeans has also gone down. Volatility and correlations are down all over. Central banks seem to have cut off downside volatility, allowing many assets to bump along at low vols.

  2. Craig Bowles on March 15, 2014 9:32 am

    The copper/gold ratio is interesting as late 2011 retested the late 2008 and early 2009 lows. 2013 trended higher but 2014 has given most of it back.


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