Falling Gas Prices and Goldman Sachs: Helping Republicans Before the Election
Heh. I knew it. Caveat: I'm no economist. But I defy anyone to refute this wonderful analysis. Don't tell me about the fucking 'invisible hand,' econogeeks. Love to my rational acting friends, but this stinks (graphs and links at original post):
As most of you folks who drive a car are more than aware, over the past six weeks weâ€™ve all been on the receiving end of welcome reprieve in the price of gas at the pumps. In fact, a good many commodity prices have moderated somewhat over the course of the summer.
While I â€œwelcomeâ€ cheaper gas just as much as the next guy, I also like to get my head around the reason[s] for precipitous price movements â€“ particularly in prices of commodities that have such a profound influence in my life. After all, itâ€™s often said that knowledge is empowering, isnâ€™t it?
Well, if you happen to be a â€œCommodities Bullâ€ - last week [Thursday, September 21, 2006] the Wall Street Journal ran an inauspicious article in â€œSection Câ€ titled, Some Investors Lose Their Zest For Commodities. With the article being â€œburiedâ€ in Section C and the fact that the newsy bit received zero TV time â€“ I wouldnâ€™t be at all surprised if you all missed it.
One person who did not â€œmiss itâ€ was Bill King â€“ he of the King Report fame. Not only did Mr. King â€œnot miss it,â€ he quickly understood the implications of the content of the article, namely that,
Goldman Sachs [on July 12] tweaked the composition of their â€œbenchmarkâ€ Goldman Sachs Commodity Index [GSCI].
Not A Big Deal, Right?
For those of you who might figure a little â€œtweakingâ€ of an index is not such a big thing, you might want to consider this;
â€œThe Pimco fund has a rival in Oppenheimer Real Asset Fund (QRAAX), which doesnâ€™t use commodity swaps and is therefore unaffected by the SEC ruling. It tracks the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index, which is much more volatile than Pimcoâ€™s benchmark.â€
â€œIt is public knowledge that PGGM and ABP, two of the largest pension funds in the world, are benchmarked to commodities via a passive allocation to the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index, with ABP between 2-4% and PGGM 4%. Since ABP manages $155bn and PGGM $50bn,â€¦.â€
So letâ€™s just say â€œa little tweakâ€ in the composition of the much watched and followed Goldman Sachs Commodity Index can [and does] have a profound influence on the composition of funds and institutional money that is tracking it.
So here is what Goldman Sachs did to the GSCI,
Prior to Goldman's revision of the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index in July, unleaded gas accounted for 8.45% (dollar weighting) of the GSCI. Now unleaded gas is only 2.30%.
So Whatâ€™s Wrong With This?
As Bill King points out,
â€œGoldman's changes probably induced arbs, commercial hedgers, and other traders to sell September and October unleaded gasoline future contracts to avoid possible (settlement, delivery, etc.) problems.
September futures expired in August; October contracts expire September 29. So unleaded gasoline prices collapsed in August and September.â€
I would like to â€œrestateâ€ what Mr. King said: What this means folks, is that hedge funds and institutional money that â€œTRACKS THE INDEXâ€ were FORCED TO SELL 75% of their gasoline futures to conform with the reconstituted GSCI. And if anyone hasnâ€™t noticed the timing of the price of the gasoline price collapseâ€¦just in time for Novemberâ€™s Mid Term Elections!
So donâ€™t be fooled into believing that potential energy shortages have â€œmagically been solved.â€ In all likelihood â€“ much of the recent decline in the price of gasoline we have all â€œwelcomedâ€ has been the result of paper tricks being played on what amounts to a wealthy flock of sheep.
But in the meantime, filler up!
Via the ever entertaining and deserving of more attention Ran Prieur.
...and damn, I love this new category of "Now it all makes sense." Taglines for our times, don't you know.