Feb 02/15 – Remembering “Chuck”

2015-02-02 9am EDT  |  #bonds #Charlotte #Chuck #de Blasio #gold #ground hog #NYC #platinum #Staten Island Zoo

It’s Ground Hog Day and one year later, New York City is still asking questions after the gruesome murder of “Chuck” the Staten Island groundhog.

Last year, eager to assume his Mayoral duties, Bill de Blasio headed to the Staten Island Zoo to participate in the annual Ground Hog celebration. What should have been a simple photo op turned into one of the greatest scandals to rock New York City in decades.

Not only was “Chuck” the Groundhog an imposter (“Chuck” had been secretly replaced with “Charlotte” after he bit former Mayor Bloomberg and was determined to be too ornery for public duties – hey, who wouldn’t bite Mayor Bloomberg if given the chance?), but the real scandal occurred in plain sight for everyone to see. Mayor de Blasio, obviously a city boy who never held a wild animal outside his college girlfriend’s miserable cat (who he was only nice to in a desperate attempt to get into her pants), completely panicked when assigned the task of holding “Chuck” aka Charlotte. Leaping from the inexperienced Mayor’s arms, Charlotte made a bold dash for freedom. Although she was quickly caught, the fact that Mayor de Blasio is over 7 and a half feet tall made the leap far too dangerous for a creature that cannot jump more than 6 inches high (which coincidentally is how far she would have fallen if she had escaped Mayor Bloomberg’s grasp).

The zoo and Mayor de Blasio put a brave face on the snafu, but Charlotte was the one who had ultimately had to pay with her life for the Mayor’s cold hearted political agenda. The next day, Charlotte mysteriously disappeared. For a while the Zoo claimed that she had been sent “upstate” to another zoo, but when at the behest of requests from her family (who said that it wasn’t like Charlotte to just disappear like that), reporters finally discovered that Charlotte passed away that very day after the de Blasio drop. She had died from internal injuries from the fall. The Zoo had quietly disposed of the body and the family was even denied a proper funeral. It was just another dead groundhog that no one would miss. Another victim of the shady underworld of New City politics.

I don’t have any way to segue this story into my usual market commentary, but I really felt that on a day like today, we should take a moment to remember the lives of all the groundhogs who have paid the ultimate price for our zeal to know the weather for the next six weeks.

Something to think about

I am aware of the tendency to cherry pick relationships between two data series that happen to correlate for a period of time. We have all seen the ridiculous charts of stupid stuff like the amount of snow fall in Idaho versus the the homebuilders index that for a while, tracks perfectly… until it doesn’t.

Therefore I am going to present the following relationship with a big grain of salt. But I have been watching it for a while, and it does seem to be more robust than I would ever guess.

The ratio of platinum to gold seems to follow the yield on the US 10 year treasury with amazing accuracy. It’s not like I don’t understand why this might work – platinum has more industrial uses than gold, so a growing economy should see this ratio expand, which should also mean higher rates. But it is shockingly correlated.

I don’t have anything to add, except that if you are a bond bear, you should keep an eye on this ratio as a potential clue of when the turn might come.