February 6, 2016

Markets in Transition – Crude Oil

As I began my last post I continue to understand the trading mantra, “I don’t care.”  I do care as to whether the shift in trend is towards buying or selling, but I don’t care about the why or what or where.  This, for the most part, allows me to concentrate on the momentum. The strength of the momentum determines the trend, whether that be on an hourly basis or a tick basis.  When you consider momentum on an hourly or daily basis it becomes more attached to a “binary event.”

Binary Events come in various sizes with regard to “strength” and “intensity”.  Tsunami’s are predicted according to the strength and intensity of an earthquake.  The stronger the quake the greater probability for a larger,  more intense tsunami in the form of a massive wall of water carrying literally tons of momentum.  As it rolls over land it obliterates everything in its path.  Weekly reports on crude can and often do provide many opportunities to trade once the violent knee jerk motion subsides and I would not consider some of them to be major in strength or intensity.  However, the further the “quake” goes up the chain towards reaching – foreign currency reserves – namely the U.S. dollar the resulting tsunami will roll across many commodities and sectors.

binaryeventHere’s the caveat, the canary in the coal mine, the domino that kicks off the race to the exits in all it’s forms, being either from the long side or short side.  China is expected to report that its total FX reserves declined $3.2125 trillion from $3.3 trillion.  A drop of approximately $118 billion.  Which the world needs to see in order to keep the “status quo” or a continuance of the quietly higher massive December 2015 outflow of $108 billion.

So, a reported number that would be below $118 billion or substantially below for January 2016 outflows would kickstart in mass  a short squeeze across the board in most commodity and materials linked sectors.

Here’s what BofA strategist Claudio Piron is expecting – a far smaller outflow.

“We forecast China FX reserve changes and estimate a USD37.5bn fall in January – (USD29.1bn decline adjusting for a negative FX valuation effect). Note that the standard error of the forecast is large at USD24.5bn, which would give us a downside of USD84.5bn fall. We caution that this is guidance and we attempt to be as transparent as possible so investors can gauge the odds in what is a key release for the markets. Note too this is based on onshore CNY FX volumes and our estimate maybe biased down as there are no real time volumes for offshore CNH.”


Futures Traders Should Participate Not Anticipate– the current volatility should remain high in that the markets may be bracing or be subject to a larger “trend change” from short to long – ala a massive short squeeze.  Should that be the case – do your best not to trade with emotions and let your signal generator do its work.  A larger “player” short squeeze should switch the “runners” to the upside.  Protect yourself against the urge to succumb to “counter trend” trading.  You don’t want to be missing out on all the fun so participate instead of attempting to anticipate the next turn in the other direction.  Which, by the way, is likely to be much shallower than you think because those needing to cover shorts will create an avalanche of demand as the various derivative traders get involved.  It will be best to keep focused on the trading mantra –  “I don’t care” about the “who, what, when, or wheres.”

Check out the chart below for a snippet of Friday’s trade in Crude – “CL”  I trade using a tick chart and with prices moving all over the map to squeeze together the day would be to miss the trees in favor of the forest.  The chart included is the time I traded, which is 6 to 8 AM PST.  The balance of Friday’s session reflected a quickly changing market as it appeared several larger traders were “somewhat” squaring positions or just plain out taking sides.


The gross ticks from the indicator “signal to signal” performance was +123 ticks.  Net numbers depend on your commission rate and “slippage.”  Deducting 25 ticks as “cost” would put the net ticks at +98 ticks or $980 per contract trading the front month – in two hours.

Sunday brings the perfect front for US retail traders – The 50th Super Bowl.  China will report their FX reserve numbers during the game — Globex opens at 6 PM EST – 3 PM PST – Do you know where your position is?