March 2020 market storm has been an important test of the I-System model and the way it navigated the unforeseen events. The results have been very encouraging and the system has done well in all affected markets. Last week I summarized its performance on Brent crude oil, Silver and US 30-year Bond. Here we take a look at how it performed in Russell 2000, S&P500 and Palladium markets. Continue reading
Category Archives: Commodity risk
With I-System through the storm… with flying colors!
Recent weeks brought severe price shocks in many markets. Their timing and severity took most participants by surprise. In these circumstances, I-System strategies performed superbly well. As this post shows, a few strategies sustained negative results, but this is to be expected. This is why, rather than formulating a trading strategy, we built a stable knowledge framework so that we can formulate and implement literally thousands of strategies within that framework. In this sense I-System holds potential to entirely transcend uncertainty by supplanting it with a more predictable risk class: a swarm of consistent, intelligent and emotionless trading agents, each in charge of a small fraction of portfolio risk. The current experience was an important test for the I-System. The results speak for themselves. Continue reading
Market panics and trend following
Today global capital markets opened to unprecedented price dislocations. ZeroHedge captured the mood: “Panic Purgatory: Oil Crashes to $27%; S&P Futures Locked limit Down, Treasuries Soar Limit Up Amid Historic Liquidation.” Over the recent months I’ve posted many articles on this blog and on SeekingAlpha, basically along two themes:
1) Warning that the markets would experience great turbulence in the near future (see here: “Perfect Storm Gathering…” and
2) Suggesting that the best way to navigate through the storm is by using high-quality systematic trend following strategies (see here, “Trend Following Might Save Your Tail“).
It may be that the time of reckoning has begun But if you followed my advice and used systematic trend following, most likely you’d be having a good day today. The chart below illustrates the net positioning of my 493 I-System strategies at market open this morning: Continue reading
In October 2019 I predicted the current oil price collapse. How I knew? Here’s how:
In January last year, Reuters polled 1,000 oil market experts who basically agreed that oil would remain anchored in the $65-$70/bbl range through 2023. Only 3% of these experts thought that oil might rise to $90/bbl or more in 2020. I posted my analysis at this link: Market Fundamentals and Forecasting Groupthink. Later that year I published my own analysis, “Next Move in Oil Prices: $5-$10 Lower,” concluding that, …oil price will likely see another leg down… with Brent falling toward high $40s and WTI toward low $40s. Continue reading
Trend following and the impact of unforeseen events
“Yes, but how can your system know if XYZ happens and markets go haywire?” This is one of the two most frequently asked questions about systematic trading strategies I’ve used over the last 20 years. Most traders tend to rely on analyses of supply and demand fundamentals to form a judgment about future price changes.
My contention is that this simply does not work and I can make a strong case to back this up (see here, here or here). I can also offer evidence that my systematic approach does work (see here or here) even if I know nothing about the supply and demand economics of most markets I cover. This usually elicits the objection that my system can’t know if some XYZ event might happen tomorrow (recently, XYZ tended to refer to Trump tweets), upsetting the markets and rendering my strategies ineffective. Recent experience afforded me an (almost) perfect answer to this question (plus another important issue related to trend following). Continue reading
Do trend followers move markets? (they do).
A few months ago, when reviewing our trades on US Treasury futures, I was so delighted, I drafted a bragging article titled “How we knew yields would collapse?” summarizing the results of our trading. That performance was entirely generated by my I-System model, first built in 1999. I still find myself awestruck that this works… We generated profitable trades through both the bear and the bull market in bonds, literally without needing to know a single thing about the market fundamentals. The trades were strictly based on the knowledge framework built into the system more than 20 years ago (by the way, our strategies are still generating excellent signals in those same markets). Continue reading
The oil price shock: has it arrived?
Experts seldom expect surprises. In spite of the ever deepening economic and political uncertainties gripping most oil producing and oil consuming regions, most market experts surveyed last year predicted that oil price would fluctuate between $65 and $70 through 2023.
That forecast assumes that nothing unforeseen would happen over the next five years. Such an assumption, to put it politely, is unjustified and the list of reasons is long and complex, and it can be neither ignored nor wished away. Over the recent months I’d written a handful of articles on the subject of the ‘coming oil price shock.’ Here are the last three: Continue reading
Market fundamentals, forecasting and the groupthink effect
Last month I had the privilege of meeting with Jaran Rystad of Rystad Energy to discuss strategic cooperation between our companies. On the occasion, he gave me a rather detailed presentation of his firm’s energy intelligence database. I must say, in my 20+ years trading in commodities markets this is by far the most impressive product of its kind I’ve ever seen. Even from the software engineering point of view, I was very impressed. For full disclosure, nobody asked nor encouraged me to write this. Much as you’d recommend a restaurant where you ate well or a doctor you respect, I wholeheartedly recommend Rystad Energy as a provider of energy market intelligence as a matter of giving credit where credit is due.
However, even with top notch data on economic supply and demand fundamentals, divining the future remains difficult and unlikely. John von Neumann rightly said that forecasting was “the most complex, interactive, and highly nonlinear problem that had ever been conceived of.” Continue reading
Six Principles To Adopting Best Practices In Commodity Price Hedging
- This week Sinopec disclosed the latest hedging mishap, losing $690 million amid last year’s oil price collapse.
- Unless price risk management is organized as an integral part of core business operations, it can devolve into eratic and risky game of speculation that can cause massive damage.
- The six simple but important guiding principles could help commodity firms create a world class risk management process and turn price risk into a source of value and competitive advantage.
This week Sinopec disclosed that it had incurred $690 million in losses in the fourth quarter of 2018. The losses were attributed to Unipec’s oil hedging bets. Unipec clearly took the wrong directional exposure to oil prices in the period when they staged a sharp, 40% collapse (October-December 2018). This much is understandable. However, such losses did not need to happen – I maintained heavy exposure to oil prices over the same period and not only avoided heavy losses but actually generated significant profits by simply adhering to a systematic trend-following model.