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What most commodities are experiencing is a special moment, with strong rises and many missed seasonality. I am not going to explain the reasons for this situation by simply talking about one of the few spreads I follow on meat.
The spread is the consequence of a ratio, the Live Cattle/Lean Hogs ratio, which I show below (weekly chart).
Last week the ratio rose above 2.4 only to fall back below it this week. The signal is bearish and certainly interesting, you only have to see in the past how the ratio evolved once, after closing above 2.4, the following week's candle closed below that value again.
Now, I have to choose the spread to be analysed, or, to be more precise, the deliveries. The two spreads that are best suited for this are LEV23-HEV23 (October deliveries) and LEZ23-HEZ23 (December deliveries). The two legs, live cattle and lean hogs have the same Unit Move, so there is no need to use any multiplier.
Below are charts with 5-, 15- and 30-year seasonal patterns.
The counter-seasonal movement of the two spreads is evident. The very good correlation of the three seasonal patterns shows the exceptionality of the non-seasonality of the two Intermarket spreads. The strong bullish movement of the last few weeks of the live cattle has greatly affected the two spreads, as you can see below with the Seasonality stacked and the Continuous histogram of LEV23-HEV23.
Even stronger this imbalance is visible in LEZ23-HEZ23.
Never before has the price of LEZ23-HEZ23 reached such an extreme value. I leave my impressions to the final conclusions, now I show you the last chart, that of the term structure of the two futures.
The two term structures are very different, especially the October and December deliveries: in contango those of the live cattle, in backwardation those of the lean hogs. When the situation starts to normalise, the two deliveries in the lean hogs will appreciate more than those in the live cattle.
Precisely... when. These situations have the great virtue of providing excellent trading opportunities but at the same time, the defect is that it is very difficult to identify the timing of entry. The strong speculation of the live cattle can end tomorrow, in a week or in a month.
Certainly, the ratio gives us a good signal but it is not certain that a bearish phase will start next week (look what happened in February/March 2015). In these cases, you have to rely on your experience, and your knowledge of the two commodities, and if you are a beginner, much better to just open a demo trade.