Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Which part of Goldman is right?

Many of you will have heard about Goldman's bullish call on oil (via ZeroHedge), with a target price of $130 for Brent. Not are they bullish on oil, but the entire commodity complex.

At the same time, Goldman is forecasting for an economic slowdown in China:
Our new GDP estimates show a significant slowdown in 2Q11 to 8.0% qoq (significantly below trend), then recovering towards trend in 3Q11 at 9.0% and returning to trend in 4Q11 at 9.3%. This is both a sharper and more extended slowdown than we had previously forecast.
How can Goldman Sachs be oil and commodity bullish when China consumes 25-50% of many key commodities?

Izabella Kaminska at FT Alphaville points out some analysis from Simon Hunt of Simon Hunt Strategic Services which suggests that rising copper demand seen in China is the result of re-stocking and not final demand, which remains weak:
What is now being seen is that fabricators who have been operating on a hand to mouth basis, now seeing prices having fallen by $1000+ , are replenishing those inventories. It is not a signal that actual production of semis, i.e material going into furnaces has improved. On the contrary, I expect to be told that business is pretty weak.
Who is right? Which part of Goldman Sachs is right? Are they all right?

I don't know. This is a "feature" of sell-side research, where you have encounter analysts with competing views.


keithpiccirillo said...

I suppose when you offer something for everyone our confirmation biases can be satisfied.

keithpiccirillo said...

They can create cognitive dissonance with the best of them. Computers don't have it unless we program it in.

WSM said...

No, if you look at some snippets of these two reports, they are not contradictory. The China slow-down call seems to be hinging mainly on inflation pressures. Which are driven by, you guessed it, commodity costs (mainly oil) increasing.

Brandwashed said...