The face of today’s mainstream financial media has gone from meaningful analysis and commentary to constant tub-thumping between undisciplined Main Streeters, overambitious Wall Streeters, and ignorant bureaucrats. It has turned into a showcase of the blame game, everyone looking for a scapegoat to shoulder the iniquities of the masses.
Though the recent financial-market shenanigans are of historic proportions and have scared stiff nearly every investor on the planet, folks seem to be growing complacent. And it has been easy to fall into this trap and lose sight of investment strategy considering the indiscriminate selloff of virtually every asset class. Everything has been hit so hard that even the anti-commodity CNBC commentators have toned down their bubble-bursting rhetoric.
But now more than ever investors need to step back and revisit their strategies. The markets have changed, and for better or worse we need to know if what has worked in the past will continue to work going forward. And what has worked in the past is commodities.
Hands down, commodities have been the top-performing asset class of the 21st century. This powerful commodities bull was driven by strong global fundamentals that saw skyrocketing demand far outpace supply. Based on simple economic principles this imbalance prompted commodities prices to launch stratospherically.
Regardless of the mainstream financial media’s continual disdain for this commodities bull, which has run parallel with a secular bear for their precious stock markets, legendary gains were won for those prudent investors and speculators who saw the writing on the wall.
Now there is certainly a valid argument to be made that exuberant speculators caused many commodities prices to reach overbought territories and perhaps even launch into bubble-type parabolas. But there is no denying that it was the fundamentals that provided a solid foundation for the run on commodities.
Well, with the crumbling financial markets taking their toll on the global economy and launching what is expected to be a recession of historic proportions, is the commodities bull over? Over the course of the last several years the financial media has proclaimed the end of the commodities bull on countless occasions. And much to their chagrin they have been wrong every time.
But is it different this time? Is the commodities bull really over? In the past it has been easy to defend this bull market using anecdotal evidence of real-time hunger for scarce raw materials. But this time there seems to be little defense for commodities. And over the last several months there has been a massive selloff in the commodities realm. Nothing has been immune to the carnage.
While the dust may not have fully settled yet, fundamental changes in the global marketplace are already beginning to unfold. And I believe it is prudent to catch our breath and see if and how these interim fundamentals are changing the secular nature of the commodities bull. But first we need to assess the damage. To place the commodities bull in strategic context, I put together a table that captures its essence.