Dennis Gartman, a fund manager and the editor of the Gartman Letter, said his worst investment this year was a bet on grain before a U.S. Department of Agriculture report last week that showed an unexpected jump in corn supplies.
“The worst call was buying grain a couple of weeks ago and then getting absolutely blindsided by the USDA suddenly finding 300 million bushels of corn that they thought they had lost,” Gartman said today in an interview with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television. “That’s a lot of corn, especially in a country where we’re going to produce about 13 billion bushels.”
On Oct. 1, corn futures plunged 6.1 percent, the most since January, after the USDA said inventories were 1.708 billion bushels on Sept. 1. That was up 2 percent from a year earlier and 322 million more than a Sept. 10 USDA projection. Prices surged 33 percent in the third quarter, reaching a two-year high of $5.2875 a bushel on Sept. 27.
The report was a surprise because the government’s estimate of inventories three months earlier was smaller than expected, Gartman said. On June 30, corn prices surged 8.6 percent after the USDA said stockpiles on June 1 were 4.31 billion bushels. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News projected 4.624 billion, on average.
“That was probably my worst trade,” Gartman said from Virginia Beach, Virginia. “That was a debacle. That and having any positions on in early May, during the flash crash. That one really hurt. The flash crash was amazing. I think every hedge- fund manager in the world got hurt. We did, too.”
Bullish on Gold
Gartman remains bullish on gold after the metal jumped to a record $1,351 an ounce today in New York.
“You should still be in gold,” he said. “The funds that I run, I am still long of gold. I am less long than I was. That’s about the only thing that I can say.”
Gold has surged 23 percent this year, heading for a 10th straight annual gain. Prices reached a record in 13 sessions since Sept. 14.
“When you have this kind of euphoria, this kind of excitement, you usually get corrections,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it fell $100 from here. Am I bearish of gold? No. I’m still bullish. I just think too many people have gotten involved.”
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