Saturday, February 9, 2013

Some crazy weird shit Japanese videos.

After the break there will be crazy weird Japanese videos.

Don't click through if you're at work, or have a tenuous grasp of reality.

For more, just google "WTF Japan seriously".

Busy this weekend

Busy either digging snow or trying letting my arms recouperate.

So I'll leave you with this:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Trading advice from teenagers

Zerohedge - 16-year-old girl outperforms 99% of hedge funds.

Maybe she just bought the S&P 500 and held it?

Fave quote:

"you have to really just trade on your own instincts and not just be like, oh, this person says this is great, let me just go for it."

Friday Videos - A Place to Bury Strangers with a love song for Valentine's Day

A Place To Bury Strangers, with "I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart".

Fun facts:

1) Ollie makes his own guitar effects.

2) His old band Skywave used to master their songs up to -5dBfs, which was pretty fucking extreme for the 90s - guitar-based pop music never went above -15, and even trance had a hard time getting up to -9.

3) If it doesn't feel like someone kicked you in the gut, it's probably not love.

Aw! Little kittens eating food!

Aw! Little silly kittens eating food!

They're so cute!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Little sad kitten wants to be adopted!

The poor sad kitten! Let us adopt all the kittens now!

The little kitty has a complaint!

Aw! He's so peeved! He has a complaint and you must listen to him!

Return of the son of the kitties strikes back!

Little kitties talking to a squirrel!

Here's another scary chart

If it was being bought for $3 before the maiden resource came out, and now it can't find buyers at $2.50, I'd have to assume the maiden resource wasn't received well.

Maybe $150M is considered rich right now for a company with 1Moz low grade gold with a silver kicker.

All I know is that chart has been going down recently.

Belo Sun Mining's scary chart

Would you buy this chart?

It looks like it topped twice from Nov 2012 thru Jan 2013. Since then it's lost its SMA(50), failed to retake it twice, stayed below its Bollinger mean, and on a day with relative strength in junior miners it's -2SD with a negative MAC trending lower.

The price is dropping with decreasing volume, which could suggest it's got a lot further to fall. There is a lot of horizontal support at $1.30, but when you factor in that this stock has gotten decent exposure from Canaccord, you have to wonder if there are any more buyers available to buy and stop the trend down. So few people want to buy mining stocks nowadays.

Weekly had a good strong upward trend thru 2012, but unless the price can get back to $1.52 by week-end this stock will have broken its short-term EMA(16) support and Bollinger mean after a couple weeks of fighting. Weekly and daily both show support around $1.30 (the weekly -2SD and weekly SMA(50)), and the long-term support line runs through about $1.30, so maybe it will stop falling at that point?

However, its weekly MACD triggered a sell signal in January, so people might be concerned that BSX would only temporarily rebound at $1.30 before falling more.

Maybe it's not completely scary, but given how other mining stocks have done over the past year I'd expect people to watch from the sidelines for confirmation before buying.

Aw! A little tired kitten!

He's so sleepy that he wants to sleep in a cup!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Little kitten begging for food!

Aw! He's hungry! And so lonely!

More kittens!

Four more cases of newsitis

FT Alphaville - more comment on Chinese redistribution. Also, relevant to the demographic problem, China's challenges in three easy charts.

Bonddad - negatives for US growth. Basically, the politicians are fucking everything up.

Bloomberg - Hudbay's looking to buy stuff. Not your favourite shitty junior, though. Something better.

So many more kittens!

It's a video of little dancing kittens! Aw!

Little kitten falls asleep! Aww!

The war against readership continues!

Further comment on the CS writeup

Someone's literally screaming at me to get off my ass and do my errands today, but I need to say one more thing about my comments on the CS writeup.

While CS does also believe in mean reversion, they essentially make a supply-demand argument for expecting gold price to decline in future, and they do assert any decline should be slow.

Therein lies the problem.

If you were to assert there is a major supply-demand change coming that should immediately alter the price in a strong fashion (e.g., Branson starts mining asteroids for gold in 2014), then it's valid to leave your argument at the level of first approximation. We know something catastrophic will happen, so whether gold goes down 30% or 50% matters little.

It's the same as with a gold project valuation: if your theory is that Eike Batista is about to buy Guyana Goldfields, you don't need to do a detailed calc to determine a buyout price; the first approximation says if you buy GUY at $3.38 it'll make you good money and you don't have to quibble over pennies. Who cares: your target price be wrong anyway.

But if you instead say, for example, we should revalue GUY based on diesel prices escalating 10% annually, gold being in a slow downward trend of 3% per year, and taxes being increased by 2% at some point in the next ten years? OK, now a first approximation of the target price is swamped out by these individual factors. You need to do a second approximation, which involves looking under the hood at all empirical data.

Credit Suisse makes an argument that gold should slowly dwindle in price, based on fear trade receding, fed funds rate, expected inflation, mean reversion, an increase in junior miner hedging, decreased grade and increased capex/opex being "unimportant", global IP, American housing prices for some reason, competition for Chinese investment dollars, competitive currency devaluation... and nothing to do with India.

The problem is that if you add all these factors together and only expect the sum to result in a slow decrease in gold price, and you don't have data and a price model to determine by how much, you're really truly just making shit up. This is because if that sum results in a slow decrease, you really need to quantify each item to determine whether that increase can swamp out other important things like net Asian per-capita wealth generation, or whether the failure of one item to come to pass can alone change your predicted trend in the gold price.

Credit Suisse's writeup is really only a first-approximation argument for a slow decline in the price of gold. They don't provide any data, they don't provide a theoretical model or formula anywhere, and they are utterly ignoring some major inputs.

It's like, say, Northland doing up a mine plan that forgets to include labour, trucking equipment, and diesel costs, uses only the average ore grade, and assumes 100% recovery.

In this case?

Well, for example, if India buys 25% of world gold, and if India's buying is a function of per-capita wealth generation, then ceteris paribus an 8% annual growth in per capita Indian wealth means in five years they make up ~30% of annual world gold demand. Yet CS ignores India entirely.

If Chinese gold demand is a function of per-capita wealth generation, then 8% annual growth in per capita Chinese wealth needs to be sopped up entirely by competing asset classes to keep Chinese gold demand constant. If the other asset classes can sop up 120% of annual Chinese wealth growth, that reduces Chinese gold demand; if they can only sop up 80% of wealth, Chinese gold demand still increases.

Also: "fear trade receding", "expected inflation", "future increase in junior miner hedging" and the like are all things that a professional analyst at a world-class house like Credit Suisse should be able to model and quantify. Just throwing these factors in, without either any proof that they'll happen or any quantification of the size of their effect, is like answering an engineering question with "because Jesus loves us." It's not even an argument, it's just a bald unsupported assertion.

If this was a proper scientific document? Y'know, something you could rely on at all, something that you'd be justified in using to inform your own investment thesis?

They would investigate, model and quantify all inputs, including Chinese and Indian retail demand and their growth rates, detailed future gold production models, some sort of explanation for how Central Bank buying is affected by "fear", a quantification of how much "fear" will decrease, some detailed model of how much the gold price will suffer from Chinese asset class competition, a model to determine future increases in miner hedging and how it affects gold futures contract demand and how that can affect the physical price, and a model for future US real rates and how they correlate to gold.

And an explanation, any explanation, for that stupid bullshit about US housing prices.

They don't really need to show their work, but if they want someone with more than a highschool diploma, an MBA, or a post-doctoral fellowship at LSE to take them seriously then they probably should. Certainly not showing your work impacts reputation very negatively.

Each model should ideally come with error bars. I'm sorry, but that lesson on cumulative error in first-year physics had an effect on me.

A sensitivity analysis of the results would also be nice. At the very least it would demonstrate an acceptance that maybe some of your asserted future negative price pressures don't come to pass.

I know all this is a lot of work. And it means less time for coke and whores and reading the Daily Mail.

But fuck, guys! While your analysis was much more well-written than the childish hack job at Business Insider, it still does reek of amateurishness.

Another kitty! Yay!


Blog stats: fame and fortune

So the CS hatchet job is making the rounds at Credit Suisse - all sorts of logins from their many evil fortresses around the world.

But there are other financial hacks who are also reading the post. Here's just a few of the most recent ones (my stats page has been overwhelmed by the heavy traffic so I can't go back very far):

BNP Paribas is getting a chance to laugh at Credit Suisse.

There are many guffaws at Dundee, the cheap seats of investment.

UBS are having a good larf.

Um... is this the guy with the piano? Sorry dudes, I have no clue who you are.

OMG The Rothschilds. OMG! Dudes! OMG! You gonna finally invite me to that big Davos conference? The one with the caviar and the Russian "translator" girls and the secret plans for Illuminati world domination? I've always wanted to dominate the world. I'm not selfish... I mean, I can just run Latvia or something.

If anyone out there still plays IDM, Take my advice: This Field Was Added to Fix Syntax Error would make an awesome album title.

Some morning news

Bonddad - is the US economy moving into a higher growth phase? Accept the data, don't ignore it.

Reformed Borker (Bork Bork Bork!) - the seller's dilemma. He feels there really is no other place for a manager to put money than in stocks. It's good to be reminded that there is such a thing as a market, with rational actors - seriously, it's too easy to ignore.

China Economic Watch - China's new income inequality plan. Also,

Bloomberg - China's new income redistribution plan. It's an interesting development; might be net positive for the world, if it truly means the rural poor aren't going to be left behind any more. Dunno, I'll have to think on it. Looks like an improvement, anyway.

Mineweb - Northland nixes $375M financing - now what? Now you die! In all seriousness, this illustrates two problems - one, nobody can finance when their share price is a fraction of their capex. Two, how the hell do you "miss" $425M in capex costs in a "bankable" feasibility study? Who were the engineers responsible, and why isn't it litigable negligence?

Bespoke - trading range screen for country ETFs. In case you want something other than miners to invest in from now on. I wonder what the problem is in Malaysia? By the way, note to Peruvians - you might want ask Bespoke why they're ignoring EPU.

JC Parets - Brazil building a huge base. I guess if you just go by the charts, Brazil looks like a good bet, with a bit of patience and a good stop point? I remember a couple years ago I invested in BRF, by the way - so it's something to keep in mind if you don't want to play the big brazil ETF like everyone else does. Similarly, if you're investing in China, take a look at CQQQ, YAO and TAO.

More kitten videos!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Credit Suisse report in detail

So I've browsed through the Credit Suisse's "Gold: The Beginning of the End of an Era"; and, as it turns out, my previous nastiness towards Credit Suisse was unfounded, because the actual childishness was the oversimplified presentation given in the Business Insider article.

Basically, Joe Wiesenthal is an idiot boy-child whose job is to harvest clicks for cash, and serious analysts should stop feeding him stories til his testicles descend. If CS has a problem with my previous nasty opinion of them, they should stop using The Thinking Man's ZeroHedge for promo.

Credit Suisse do actually base their arguments in supply and demand; but it seems they're referring more to a paper supply-demand. Now, how much does paper influence the gold price? And does the physical supply issue not provide any underpinning? Big questions, worthy of answering, someone do that sometime.

Still, while it's appreciated to see intelligent arguments for a top in gold, and they don't argue for anything worse than a slow drift downwards, I have some big problems with this CS report.

I'll just give you a bunch of bullet points cos I gots me better things to do tonight:

1) I really don't see how you'll drive Indians, for example, out of gold. CS doesn't even mention India. They're 25% of demand right now, and should be creating wealth into the future; why is this not important? And the Indians who own gold don't give a damn what happens outside India: they care about India. White sahib needs to gain some fucking perspective.

2) Credit Suisse argues some gold demand comes from a "fear trade"; I think John Kaiser's take is better, that gold competes against the US dollar (et al) when there is uncertainty about global hegemony. Again, unless you argue globalization is about to end, I don't really see any way to argue for the end of this trend - except maybe by suggesting something nasty happening with China that drives the world back into Cold-War-style major power blocs that at least reinforce US dominance within their bloc. But that would probably be fearwise bullish for gold too, no?

3) I still see zero correlation between US housing demand and gold demand. I'm sorry, I don't see it. They think it's important but fail to explain why. This section looks like filler.

4) I still see zero correlation between US inflation and gold demand (as they do too later on). As an aside, I agree with them that there won't be an explosion of inflation any time soon, and from now on will be ignoring any opinion source who screams "wharrgarbl inflation".

5) Now, they do mention China - but say that gold demand there will be reduced by more competition from equities and bonds. I'm sorry, but I think the Chinese financial and investment system has to be drastically reformed, and show better stability and reliability, before gold's competitors can establish a high enough trust level to lure much money out of gold. I think China needs at least a generation of utter stability to do this, and I'm worried that they won't do it. And also, remember that they need not just to sap demand from gold; they have to sap enough demand to swamp out year-over-year Chinese wealth creation.

6) "Some gold bulls argue that a renewed focus on capex discipline and cost control by major gold miners should result in slower growth in mine supply. Perhaps, but [...] we do not believe mine supply has much impact on price over the short to medium term." WHAT?!? You'll just completely ignore the supply side of the argument?

7) Probably because they're cheese-eating surrender-monkey Europeans, Credit Suisse calls Draghi's "whatever it takes" statement the top in gold. Basically, the "fear trade" ends at that point. And this is where their report is illustrative of a greater problem: that time coincided with the world teetering back into recession, and that coincides with collapse in EM demand. This is problematic because they're not presenting data that proves fear buys gold; I have data that proves India and China buy gold. It's also problematic because it shows they think their quaint little backwater has an influence over the gold price.

Broadly speaking, while their report is much more thought-out than the Business Insider article made it out to be, it still seems to suffer from:

- rhetoric without supporting data;
- trends based on weak datasets;
- conflating paper and gold;
- arguing for reversion to the mean, which assumes there is such a thing as a mean in this case;
- ignorance of any correlation between EM wealth creation and new gold demand;
- too much importance placed on EU/US effects on gold, which really don't exist outside of the Central Banking world's increasing drive towards asset diversification;
- over-concentration on speculation as a price determinant of gold, when really 50% is India-China asset class demand and another large chunk is central bank diversification demand;
- basically, demonstrating ignorance of long-term trends in demographics, globalization and supply depletion, which drives CS to make 1960s arguments against the gold price.

I'm no gold bull, I'm agnostic; but this writeup doesn't make me any more bearish.

Maybe I'll read thru it again and post a further yammer.

But not tomorrow cos I gotta pick up my new glasses, and a large amount of booze.

Keep stacking physical, goldbug warriors!

UPDATE: further and more wonkish comment on the CS writeup is available here.

Evening news

Someone forwarded me the actual Credit Suisse writeup this afternoon, probably in an attempt to goad me into criticizing it in detail. Frankly I'd much, much rather read that National Bank writeup, and feel my valuable time would be better spent watching Leafs games.

Which really says something.

Who knows, if I'm horribly bored you might see a detailed criticism here. For the time being, I'll note that their entire 20-page report doesn't even mention India, and you know how much of a sin that is around here. And certainly the full report does look at things in a much less childish fashion than the way it's presented at Business Insider. So really the criticism of the previous post should have been aimed at that Wiesenthal boy-child.

Anyway, here's the news:

Beyond Brics - Randgold warns about resource nationalism. Awfully clever, that West Africa concentration.

Montreal Gazette - Article on Pascua Lama. Because if IKN readers are going to spend another day here, I may as well give them some LatAm stories.

BI - the outlook for US profit margins is fantastic. Margins are already high and they're only getting better. I should check my emails - I seem to remember that someone I was recently chatting with suggested margins were razor-thin, and thus the market should drop. If I'm not imagining things, if that's what really happened, then I should probably stop talking to them.

Beyond Brics - turning radio links into countryside broadband service. Not really immediately related to anything, just an illustration of how modern industrialization tends to include the leapfrogging of older technologies. I think it'll be neat to watch Africa's industrialization, if I live that long - heck, they might ignore distributed electricity altogether, in favour of self-generation at the house or village level. - Blah blah China record gold imports blah blah new Chinese gold-backed ETF. Also,

Mineweb - 2012 Hong Kong-to-China gold flow hit record high. Now, maybe this was just an artefact of the kleptocrats needing somewhere to stash their illegal wealth, and Xi's anti-corruption movement will throttle gold purchases? But still, when a country responsible for a quarter of all gold demand sets a new record for imports, is it time to call the bull run for gold over? And also,

Investors are waiting for a research report from the World Gold Council due next week, which will show whether China overtook India last year as the world's top gold consumer.

I'll be waiting too. Thanks for reminding me.

Kitten videos: first salvo in the war against readership

Blog stats fun!

Oh yay... people everywhere have been reposting that CS takedown of mine from last night. It's everywhere now. It's viral - like something that makes your genitalia change colour and drop off. I even expect it to be featured on ZeroHedge soon.


I mean it's nice when IKN forwards his readers over here, cos then I get to check out the various mining industry professionals and analysts who read his blog. But I wish the rest of them could have figured out the bullshit of Credit Suisse on their own. And, y'know, written about it publicly.

Anyway, here's a funny little tidbit:

Now which is funnier?

1) Someone from CS read the article?

2) Someone from CS decides to spend 75 minutes following the "morans" tag to see who they're in competition with?

Anyway, since I have so many new readers, I'm going to have to spend the next while alienating them with funny kitten videos. Hope you 4 regulars don't mind.

UPDATE: Oh, turns out that that guy above from Credit Suisse was probably directed here by his boss at Credit Suisse:

Cos bosses use Blackberries.

And apparently the post is even going to be featured on BNN:

No. No, probably not. I'm just playing with you.

morning news

BI - HSBC puts out an optimistic China services PMI. I still haven't found out why China's down 2% last night.

WaPo - no, there isn't a bond bubble. Read it and quit being a sissy. Yes, bonds are probably near the end of their 30 year bull run, and I guess they'll start going up once the fear subsides and greed comes back; but bond yields aren't going to suddenly explode.

Calculated Risk - housing inventory. He notes the number will now go up from Feb thru Aug, the way it does every year. But, knowing housing is the centrepiece of the optimistic argument for the US economy, I think that might mean that US equities begin going down or sideways when the rising inventories start to be seen.

Reformed Borker (Bork! Bork! Bork!) - on all the lying pussies. He still thinks all the bullshit fear of S&P 1500 is a fantastic buy signal. Let's just quote him at length:

I'm still in full-on cringe mode after reading this piece in Pensions & Investing about pension fund managers refusing to admit that they're buying stocks. They are - but they have to pretend that they're not so that in hindsight, it won't look like top-ticking after a huge rally. The article plays it straight but the subterfuge is hilarious. First, the title:

"Pension funds are unlikely to be part of any big equity push"
Which is hilarious because regardless of what they say, that is exactly what they're doing - slowly for now. For example:

"investors are taking short-term tactical advantage of the rising equity premium by, for example, allowing multiasset managers to drift toward the higher end of the equity allocation range."

Bonddad - the "currency war" meme is useless. Quit whining, it's just another manufactured crisis.

Oh, by the way - I found an interesting piece of trivia last night. So, let me quiz you on something. Which country has most aggressively expanded money supply since the 2008 crisis? In particular, which country has contributed to around half of all world money supply expansion since 2008?

Answer after the pagebreak....

Monday, February 4, 2013

Credit Suisse's 12 bullshit charts that make a goldbug shake his head

UPDATE: someone has since sent me the actual Credit Suisse report. It is more well thought-out than the childish Business Insider article made it out to be.

I'll leave this original article here (after a relocated pagebreak) for those who've linked to it, but I'd much rather you read my newer writeup on what Credit Suisse actually said. CS does address some of the problems I bring up below; the real problem was that the BI article was nothing but a click-whoring gross over-simplification of their report.

However, I'm only partially disavowing what's written below. To some extent, BI's distillation of their report brings some of their obfuscatory tricks/blind spots into much sharper focus.

So read my newer writeup. There is now also a third writeup by me that is even more technical.


Would you buy this stock?

How about now?

Seems like a good place to get in, actually. And while yes, Blackberry sucks, the touchscreen makes the 10 just a crap version of the Android, and we have to wait to see how many carriers they can snag, and so on, the fact is this is a company that was going bankrupt and now isn't.

And it's in an uptrend on increasing volume. With pretty well-defined support at the daily SMA(50) and weekly EMA(16). And a lot of price movement recently.

Seems like a neat stock to watch, anyway.

Oh, and also, we have a new player on the field.

Almost forgot, since I was trying so hard to ignore it:

Business Insider has published article after article this weekend on how Europe is imploding.

It seems there's a desperate need to find something to freak people out about.

Been mostly ignoring it, but the gist has been:

(1) the Siena bank bailout is wreaking havoc on the political scene in Italy, to the benefit of Berlusconi. In reality, Italy's always been corrupt, and Berlusconi owns all the media so no wonder he's getting play; but don't expect him to ever get back into power. Merkel will nuke Rome first. Not a problem, ignore it.

(2) There's a major bribery scandal hitting Spain, undermining Rajoy's power. Big deal - Spain has also always been corrupt, and Spain's abandoning any further austerity for more growth policies. Ooh, but photoshopping Rajoy on a remote video feed in hilarious situations has become a new meme in Spain? Yes, that's a great reason to freak out, he said with a sarcastic voice. Not a problem, ignore it.

(3) Greek neo-Nazis are marching around and stuff. Like they don't do that every day.

(4) Blah blah Euro banks are corrupt, look bad, so on. Yeah we knew that.

Basically, none of this is news, but it gives people a reason to freak out and sell stuff.

I'm thinking they're probably only getting pumped to deflect attention from all the stories about the corrupt Eurozone plutocracy making billions off the crushing of the working class that aren't being run in the media.

So let me counter that silly bullshit with some real silly bullshit:

Four morning newsbits

BI - prepare for the gold production cliff. It's a summary of the National Bank Financial writeup that's been making the rounds, which basically summarizes what Brent Cook's been saying for the past couple years now. And of course they run this article after running that utter bullshit from Credit Suisse about how gold is only going down from here. - a video interview with the CEO of Finning, on mining in LatAm. Probably more informative than newsletter writer crap, cos this guy actually works in the industry.

BI - Krugman on Japan. He says that in some cases a central bank has to look irresponsible, to generate fear of inflation and drive people out of security and into productive investment. Almost as if you have to look responsible to rein in inflation, and irresponsible to exterminate deflation? Interesting idea.

Reformed Borker (Bork! Bork! Bork!) - you can't have it both ways. Very perceptive from Josh - almost as if he's finally got his bullshit detector back up and running. In fact, let me quote the entirety of it to you:

The same people who've spent three years growling about low volume and lack of participation being bearish are now saying that the reversal of that is also bearish. You can't have it both ways.

The argument was that no one is in this market except central banks and hedge funds, there are no real investors left so eventually this will collapse. There's no one to come in and buy, mom and pop are tapped out, etc.

This was a reason to run away from equities and batten down the hatches.

Now the retail investor is returning. People are starting to talk about stocks and their portfolios again. The Dow's new all-time high, god willing, is about to be on the cover of every local newspaper in the country, quite possibly the talk of the mainstream media and non-financial news shows.

The hollowness and "lack of participation" that you've complained about for 7000 Dow points now is beginning to change. People who've abandoned the market are coming back. After five years in the no-interest bonds and savings bank wilderness.

And this, you tell us, is also bad.

Clown. STFU.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

a short review of The Hobbit: A New Hope

So I saw the first Hobbit movie.

Meh, was okay.

The last time I read The Hobbit, I was 14, and was laid up on a couch with a torn up knee: true story, I read all of The Hobbit and then Lord of the Rings trilogy in one single sitting, except of course for a few short breaks where I had to crab-crawl to the washroom dragging my fucked knee behind me. There was little point in trying to sleep, since I had to use pillows to prop the knee up and keep it stable. So if you want an analysis of how close the movie is to the book, forget it.

Apparently Jackson was originally going to do a 2-parter, but then saw he had enough material for three movies, so he re-cut this first one.

Well, sorry dude, the padding is obvious. The pacing of this movie is bad. Seriously: for the first half hour you get to watch dwarves eating... and singing about eating.

I'm sure no Tolkien purist would have much problem with cutting out the more boring bits of the movie and getting it down to a 2-parter.

Other than that, yes, it's obviously The Hobbit, and there's Elrond and Gandalf. I don't remember Saruman and Lorien being in the book, but they're in the movie, and Saruman is more obviously evil and deceptive than you'd think he was in the novel.

We get to see more of the stranger bits of the New Zealand countryside too. (I wonder if the Kiwis even know that there's a giant cave under their island full of goblins!)

And you also get fight scenes, there are more CGI characters (trolls and goblins and stuff), and despite the scary battles and shit it's probably more safe for kids than you'd expect.

It looks nice, and if you've seen the LotR movies you'll want to see this.

Definitely dies on the pacing, though.

Glenn Ives interview

And here's the Glenn Ives interview.

Again, go watch his VRIC presentation too.

A new "big inflation" play? I doubt it and here's why.

Is the next story going to be a new "big inflation play" that sends commodities back up to the stratosphere? I doubt it, and here's why.

(1) You're not going to see >9% growth in China again. They're too close to the demographic rollover, too many of the easy productivity gains have already been made, and the leadership now understands that infrastructure spending just ends up in the foreign bank accounts of local kleptocrats. Growing China gets harder from here on out: now it's about fighting internal corruption, reform of labour mobility, a close eye on the financial system, transitioning to a post-industrial service economy. Not sexy, market gets bored.

(2) I think you need EM growth optimism greater than that of 2009-10 to see another 2009-10 style commodity spike. The sentiment was what drove the commodity spike, and you'll need crazy sentiment again. And I think China won't provide it. And nobody else is big enough to replace them in such a narrative. And I doubt, despite feeling bullish Europe & Americas, that DM growth will be strong enough in the next couple years to push prices particularly hard - working through debt deleveraging is supposed to reduce the speed at which growth can increase. And I think you'd need prices pushed hard enough to overwhelm the speed of new supply generation before a price spike can occur.

(3) Even if there's a flood of money supply coming, it may decide this time to go somewhere else than commodity speculation. With big negative fears of China predominant now, I think the money might just flow into equities instead - or heck, even more into bonds.

Commodity prices could still inch up in future, and I bet on balance they do, but it'll probably be slower and more measured this time than in the last commodity bubble. Frankly, I think the exciting era is over for commodities, unless we can get a great surprise somewhere.

Some questions arise from Deloitte's stuff

After sleeping on Glenn Ives' VRIC talk, and remembering the Deloitte pamphlet, some questions came to mind - the things I'd want to ask Ives if I met him at PDAC, say.

Here's one question I was just thinking about.

In all seriousness, why are so many juniors financing projects, or why does the market expect them to finance, through dilution?

I mean, there are tons of tiny pennycrappers with projects whose NPV is many multiples of their market cap. It seems the market's assumption is that there's no way they'll ever become mines without massive share dilution - and nobody wants to own a pennycrapper before that next wave of paper hits the market. The market doesn't seem to want to assume the possibility of debt financing for anyone. Why is this so?

We're in a debt market bull; India just sold a perpetual bond, Mongolia and Sri Lanka have 10Y bonds yielding 5% (which makes the Spain yield situation look even sillier), and now there are even African municipal bonds being sold. Are junior miners so pathetic that they're considered at higher risk of default than Mongolia? Why can't they sell debt? It's a seller's market right now. Yield is in demand.

Now maybe it's just a problem of selling a cyclical resource; after all, you wouldn't finance a mine with a break-even at $1000 gold, if you were worried that gold could drop below $1000 two years into production. So maybe there needs to be a recognition in the finance industry of a higher long-term bottom to the gold price before they'll ever consider buying this sort of debt.

But it still seems kinda funny. What's more likely in the next ten years? That gold will permanently drop below $1000, or that Sri Lanka will have another civil war/Nairobi will default? I know you get clowns like Credit Suisse saying "it's the end of the gold bull", but you've got to wonder whether these guys have ever looked at the cost and resource side of things that Brent Cook or Pierre Lassonde harp on about to all and sundry.

Or, maybe, the financiers are actually smarter than the mining CEOs. After all, like Ives said, a lot of the capex explosion is caused by miners being completely unable to hire good front-line management. Some of his examples were hilarious: a major African pipeline had to be rebuilt from scratch because the installers tightened the screws too tight, stressing every segment of pipe - because nobody on the project knew how tight to tighten a screw. I repeat, for the love of God and all that is holy, nobody on the project knew how tight to tighten a screw. And some Newfie project was achieving only 20-25% productivity from its construction staff, because they didn't know how to efficiently stage construction to maximize worker productivity.

So if I'm a financier, perhaps I accept the secret knowledge that worker productivity is a function of management competence? If so, then when I evaluate whether to buy a miner's capex debt, I'll do so based mainly on whether or not I feel management is competent enough to manage construction costs. Sure, you'll get some cost creep from your hard inputs, but it seems Ives is suggesting that the bigger capex explosions are arising out of sheer incompetence.

(And ultimately, if your company has a bunch of clowns on the job, it's the fault of the CEO and upper management. I'm sorry, but hiring a hundred construction managers at $500,000/year apiece is still a lot cheaper than a $1B cost overrun. It's a pretty stupid boss who doesn't understand that efficiency and cost saving start with hiring the best possible staff.)

So is it a situation where the good junior CEOs command a higher stock price than the idiot ones, because the good CEOs are more able to attract debt financing while the clowns are just expected to print more and more shares?

I dunno. As I said, it seemed an interesting question, and something Deloitte's chair could talk about at length.

In fact, since Deloitte is already marketing themselves vigourously as saviours for the mining industry, maybe they should add "finance consulting" to their stable of products. Maybe they simply need to explain to these companies how to finance without zeroing out the share price.

Cos after all, if the mining industry could only grab some of that crazy debt demand that's out there right now, that alone would be enough to reinvigorate what's essentially a patient on life support. CEOs might not have cared about dilution when they still had a path to production - but now they've all slit their own fucking throats by printing so much paper that they've essentially crippled themselves by reinforcing the expectation of -100% ROE.