The critics are calling the HBO series “Chernobyl” possibly the greatest television show ever. Consider the following critique posted on MarketWatch, a website normally devoted to the markets rather than movies: “‘Game of Thrones’ may have attracted a record number of viewers to its finale in April, but its HBO’s latest hit that’s getting all the critical love.”
The Independent calls “Chernobyl” a “triumph of disaster.” Forbes describes it “as an absolutely stunning achievement of filmmaking.”
RogerEbert.com calls it “brilliantly structured and remarkable.” The New York Times says “it’s a tale of gripping detail and historical and scientific import.”
Here is a chapter entitled “Chernobyl” from my book “Back To The Futures” that I composed way back in 1986, describing the impact that catastrophic nuclear accident had on the entire Big Four — stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.
Hope you find something of interest in my ancient ramblings: “The Chernobyl nuclear accident was one of several major events that occurred in 1986 that had a profound impact upon all markets. In the past 20 years of trading, I have never seen the commodity markets so sensitive to news and daily bulletins as it was during this period.
“Even today, several years after the Chernobyl incident, the grain markets are especially sensitive to any news or rumors about radiation affecting agriculture in the Soviet Union.
“On May 8, 1986, this article appeared in my newsletter. Commodity futures soared this past week when news of a meltdown at a major Soviet nuclear power plant reached the marketplace. The accident occurred in an important livestock and grain producing region of the Soviet Union.
“The commodity markets have been totally and completely dominated by the news of this disaster and its possible consequences. As a matter of fact, the past five days of trading have been the most emotional and hectic that I have experienced in over 10 years. Prices for grains, livestock and virtually all other agricultural commodities are literally skyrocketing.
“The nuclear accident occurred over a weekend. However, the world was kept in the dark by the ever-secret Soviets. It wasn’t until Tuesday, April 29, that the news of the disaster became public knowledge. And that is when trading went into a frenzied pitch.”
Here is more from the “Chernobyl” chapter: “I know of one poor fellow that came into the week short wheat and soybeans. He had orders to cover short July beans at $5.48 on a stop when news of the disaster became known. But prices moved so quickly that he was filled at $5.60. Needless to say, he was quite upset.
“Trading in any market has become quite an experience. I am reminded of the early 1970s, when prices would start out limit up and stay there all day long. And with nothing to do, everyone would go home. The next day the same thing would happen again and once more everyone would head home.
“What made these markets difficult was the fact that rumors persisted throughout the trading sessions. All day long, the television, radio, or wire services were spitting out news about the accident.
“I heard everything from thousands of people had died from the accident to millions being evacuated. There were also rumors about high winds blowing radioactive fallout over major portions of Europe.
“And every TV and radio station had its expert on the air to discuss the tragedy and tell the world what was in store in the coming days. The Japanese will no longer buy meat from Europe. The Russians will be clamoring to buy U.S. wheat. Fertile land in the Ukraine will be useless for 50 years.
“I heard it all, and so did every other commodity trader and producer in the world.”