Raw Commodities Show Signs of Bottoming

A scan of the daily price charts for several raw commodity markets (grains, cotton, gold, livestock, sugar and natural gas) shows that fledgling uptrends are occurring, or at least those markets have rebounded well up from their recent lows.

While the raw commodity bulls have more work to do to make a convincing case that the sector is in a fresh bull run, the rebounds in market price are a significant early clue that the entire raw commodity sector has hit or is close to a major bottom.

There still may be some rocky times ahead for the major commodity-consuming world economies -- they must endure the European Union sovereign debt and financial crisis that continues to play out. However, markets tend to factor in expected events well before they actually occur. In other words, recent price action in the commodity markets suggests that the market senses that the worst of the E.U. debt crisis and world economic stagnation is behind us and that better times are in the not-too-distant future.

Now is the time for commercial end-users of raw commodities to consider locking in prices for as far out into the future as possible. In the opinion of this veteran commodity market watcher, most raw commodity market prices have bottomed out or are close to doing so.

Importantly, any experienced commodity hedger in any major commodity market will also profess that trying to correctly time and pick precise market bottoms (or tops) is a futile endeavor. It's generally agreed that a commodity market hedger who can get a price locked in at the lower one-third of its recent historical trading range for buyers, or the top one-third of that range for sellers, is a good move.

And if the notion that the raw commodity sector is close to bottoming is way off the mark and if commodity market prices in general still have significantly farther to fall, this would suggest that the world's major economies have slipped back into recession and that a prolonged period of world economic stagnation is possible.

Jim Wyckoff is president of JimWyckoff.com, a trading advisory and trading education service.

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