“Woe to the land whose king is a child and whose leaders are already drunk in the morning. Happy the land whose king is a nobleman, and whose leaders work hard before they feast and drink, and then only to strengthen themselves for the tasks ahead”. (Eccl 10: 16-17)

"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat

Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput

Friday, April 13, 2012

Algorithms Gone Wild - AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN

What more is left to say at this point other than the fact that the hedge fund computers and their damnable algorithms have destroyed the integrity of the US futures markets. The sheer size, extent, ferocity and volatility of the moves that these pestilential computers are creating have rendered these markets basically useless for what they originally came into being for, namely, risk management for commercial entities.

Price swings of this magnitude are blowing up hedged positions put on by commercials and other end users/merchants/processors, etc. While margins are reduced for legitimate hedgers, they still must meet any and all margin calls on any hedged position, whether that is a long position or a short position. Some will say that all they need to do is to buy or sell the corresponding physical commodity and while simultaneously lifting the hedge. That might work fine on paper but in the real world it is a fabrication.

A cattle feedlot, a grain elevator owner/operator, a cocoa processor, a cotton mill, etc, may or may not have the actual product ready to sell as it is still maturing or growing in the field or may not be ready yet to actually buy the product but they might have hedges in place while they are waiting. So much for their hedges in this sort of idiotically insane trading environment. Their hedges are getting blasted to kingdom come but they must maintain the thing if it moves against them meaning that they need cash to meet any and all margin calls.

At some point, the cost of doing so, with hedge fund running prices all over the damn planet on a daily basis, is no longer feasible.

I am predicting here and now that unless something is done to corral these hedge funds, the futures market is going to become useless as a risk management tool for non-speculative entities.

Take a look at the following CCI chart (it might as well be copper or silver for that matter) and look at the extent of the daily price swings. Tuesday saw a big sell off across the sector as traders feared European debt woes and that brought about the RISK OFF trades. Commodities were dumped, the Dollar was bid higher and up went the bonds. The next day was relatively tame by comparison as traders were hesitant to do much of anything. Thursday saw the entire losses of the previous two days erased as Fed Governor Dudleys' comments were interpreted as making the case for another round of QE forthcoming sooner rather than later.

Today, news hit that Chinas' growth had slowed in the first quarter to a "pitiful" 8.1%. Yep, such a debacle ( if we could get half of that over here, a lot of our fiscal budget woes and our unemployment problem would actually get better). I am of course being sarcastic but once again the hedge funds and their mindless machines dumped everything in sight since we all know that no one needs to eat when growth is slowing down now do they? The result, YEP - all of the Dudley rally went down in flames with the market right back where it ended Tuesday.

Maybe we all should just go the hell to sleep and wake up in a year and see if the chart has actually gone anywhere besides up and down like a stinking yo-yo.