A key rule for any successful trader is that high volume is always bullish, and low volume is negative. The blog first learnt this when trading oil products in Houston, on secondment from the UK in the 1980’s. And it has proved an invaluable guide ever since, in a wide range of markets.
The rationale for the rule is simple, namely that (a) more people join in a rally as it strengthens and (b) the end of a bear market is signalled by a “give up phase”, when volume rises as people finally lose faith in recovery. In turn, this sets the scene for a new trend to emerge.
Thus the chart above carries a fairly clear message. Trading in linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) on China’s Dalian futures exchange leapt earlier this year, just as benzene prices also surged. By April, Dalian was trading 80 million tonnes – 4 times total annual world production. But August’s trading was down 58%, whilst benzene prices have also fallen.
Clearly, the “smart money” feels that it is now time to move on, having made a healthy profit. In turn, this confirms the blog’s growing sense that the speculative price rallies of the past 6 months, in commodity and financial markets, may now be coming towards an end.