<![CDATA[Ed Steer's Gold & Silver Daily]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/feeds/main Stay abreast of the news that's moving the gold and silver markets in The Gold & Silver Daily. en <![CDATA[Platinum Producers Capitulate on Union Pay Demand]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/platinum-producers-capitulate-on-union-pay-demand/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/platinum-producers-capitulate-on-union-pay-demand/#When:09:19:00Z "Wonder why palladium and platinum didn't head south at the same time"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

[NOTE: Unless the precious metal markets are open in New York today---and there's something worth reporting if they are---I can absolutely guarantee that I won't have a column tomorrow.]

Gold chopped around the $1,300 price mark for all of the Far East and early London trading sessions yesterday.  The price rallied a bit more convincingly above the $1,300 mark once the noon silver fix in London was in---but that ended an hour later---20 minutes before the Comex open.  It was all downhill from there, with an extra kick in the pants starting at noon in New York.  By 1:10 p.m. EDT, the price was down another $7---and then traded sideways into the close.

The CME Group recorded the high and low ticks at $1,304.40 and $1,292.80 in the June contract.

Gold closed in New York at $1,294.60 spot, down $7.60 from Wednesday.  Volume, net of April and May, wasn't overly heavy at 111,000 contracts.

Not much happened in silver yesterday---and the price action really doesn't merit any comment at all---except for the fact that it was the only precious metal that didn't get kicked in the teeth during the New York lunch hour.  The low and high ticks aren't worth looking up, either.

Silver closed in New York at $19.65 spot, up two cents from Thursday.  Net volume was very light at around 19,500 contracts.

Platinum traded pretty flat up until about 12:30 p.m. in New York---and at that point, the roof caved in.  Platinum finished down $26 on the day.  And I thought for sure that palladium was finally going to close well above the $800 spot price mark, but JPMorgan et al. showed up shortly before 1 p.m. EDT and put an end to that.  Palladium closed down $5---and back below $800 per ounce.

Now there was news on the strike front that Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum had made a "startling" offer to AMCU, but if that was the real reason for the selloffs in both platinum and palladium, why did they occur at different times---and not simultaneously?  Just asking.

The dollar index finished the Wednesday trading session in New York at 79.83---but by 10:45 BST in London, it was down to its 79.59 low.  The subsequent rally took the index back up to 79.84 by 12:30 p.m. EDT---and the index didn't do much after that.  It finished the Thursday session almost where it started---at 79.85.

Once again the gold stocks opened in positive territory---and for the most part remained in the black until the gold price got sold down $5 starting around lunchtime in New York.  Then the shares headed south as well, and the HUI finished down another 0.92%---and on its absolute low of the day.

Despite the fact that silver outperformed gold in the New York trading session---and actually finished up on the day, that didn't affect the silver equities, as they continued to sell off as the Thursday trading session wore on.  Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 1.17%.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that five gold and 20 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.  ABN Amro was the short/issuer on the 20 silver contracts---and Canada's Scotiabank took delivery of all of them.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

Another day---and another withdrawal from GLD.  This time an authorized participant took out 105,965 troy ounces.  And as of 9:10 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

Joshua Gibbons, the "Guru of the SLV Bar List" updated his website with the internal goings-on within SLV for the end of their reporting week on Wednesday---and this is what he had to say:  "Analysis of the 16 April 2014 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list.  No bars were added, removed, or had serial number changes.  As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 39.6 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list."  As you know, dear reader, despite the big decline in the silver price recently, there has been no in/out activity over at SLV worthy of the name---and I'm really starting to wonder why that is.  The link to Joshua's website is here.

There was no sales report from the US Mint.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they showed that only a tiny 353 troy ounces of gold were shipped out---and none was reported received.  I shan't bother with the link.

Of course it was a different story in silver, as it almost always is.  There was nothing reported received---and 802,042 troy ounces were reported shipped out.  It was JPMorgan and Canada's Scotiabank doing the honours---and the link to that activity is here.

Here's a FRED chart that Casey Research's BIG GOLD editor Jeff Clark sent my way yesterday---and it has finally cracked the $4 trillion mark.  Jeff mentioned that "It was $855 billion in April 2008, so that's a 368% increase in six years."

I have the usual number of stories for a weekday column---and I hope you find some you like.  Because of the Good Friday holiday,  I probably won't have a column tomorrow, because all the market are closed, so I've included all the stories that I've been saving for that---and some of them are truly incredible.

¤ Critical Reads

NYT: Rents No Longer "Affordable" for Most Americans

Demand for rental housing has soared over the past seven years, and that has pushed rents higher than many middle-class Americans can afford to pay.

A rule of thumb is that households shouldn't pay more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities.

But now half of U.S. renters devote more than 30% of their income to housing, up from 38% in 2000, revealed a report from Harvard University.

Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan has called this "the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has ever known."

The story from The New York Times showed up on the moneynews.com Internet site early Wednesday afternoon EDT---and today's first news item is courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.

IHS Economist: "Living Standards Will Suffer" as Food Prices Surge

Food prices are registering sharp gains, climbing 0.4% in both February and March and threatening to put a damper on the economy.

What's happening is that wholesalers have raised the prices they charge grocers, and grocers in turn have passed along the increases to their customers, USA Today reports. That obviously creates a hardship for consumers, who account for about 70% of GDP.

"Living standards will suffer, as a larger percentage of household budgets are spent on grocery store bills, leaving less for discretionary spending," Chris Christopher, an economist at IHS Global Insight, told USA Today.

The bad news may not be over. California's drought will probably push prices upward this year for fruits and vegetables, including avocados, lettuce and berries, Timothy Richards, a professor at Arizona State University's business school, told the paper.

This short article from USA Today on Thursday, was also picked up by the moneynews.com Internet site---and it's also courtesy of Elliot Simon.

Hedge Funds Post Worst First-Quarter Results Since 2008

It’s time again for another installment of “Hedge Funds Are a Ripoff,” our long-running series chronicling the asset class’s habit of underperforming far less exotic investments while charging more and limiting clients’ access to their own money.

Hedge funds posted their worst first-quarter results since 2008, according to financial data service Preqin, whose “All Hedge Fund Strategies” index shows a gain of 1.2% since the start of the year. That compares with a 1.8% total return for the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index through March 31. Hedge funds have badly trailed plain-vanilla equities over the past 12 months, gaining 8.53% vs. 19.32% for the S&P. In 2013, the gap between hedge funds and stocks was the widest since 2005.

Defenders of hedge funds often get exasperated when the asset class gets compared with stocks: The investments are not supposed to outperform equities when the market is on a tear, this argument goes—they operate complicated strategies that hedge against lots of contingencies, so that they do well in all types of weather. Well, nobody would call 2014 a bull market, and hedge funds aren’t exactly shining now, either.

This piece appeared on the businessweek.com Internet site on Wednesday---and I found it in yesterday's edition of the King Report.

Matt Taibbi: The SuperRich in America Have Become "Untouchables" Who Don't Go to Prison

Earlier this month, attorney James Kidney, who was retiring from the Securities and Exchange Commission, gave a widely reported speech at his retirement party. He said that his bosses were too "tentative and fearful" to hold Wall Street accountable for the 2008 economic meltdown. Kidney, who joined the SEC in 1986, had tried and failed to bring charges against more executives in the agency’s 2010 case against Goldman Sachs. He said the SEC has become "an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors. ... Tough enforcement, risky enforcement, is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening," he said.

Well, for more, we turn to our guest Matt Taibbi, award-winning journalist formerly with Rolling Stone magazine, now with First Look Media. His new book is called The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

Matt, we welcome you back to Democracy Now! It’s a remarkable, important, certainly needed book in this day and age. Talk about the thesis. What is the divide?

This interview/book review was posted on the alternet.org website on Tuesday---and for content and length reasons, had to wait for today's column.  It's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.  This will be on my must-read pile for the weekend.

After Success on Iran, US Treasury's Sanctions Team Faces New Challenges

This is what the modern American war room looks like: the clocks on the wall show the times in Kabul, Tehran and Bogota. The faces around the conference table are mostly young. There is talk of targets, and of middle-of-the-night calls to Europe.

But the meeting one recent morning convened deep within the Treasury Department, not the Pentagon. The weapons at hand were not drones or cruise missiles, but financial sanctions, aimed with similar precision at U.S. rivals' economic interests.

Before discussing possible next steps against Russia over its annexation of Crimea, Adam Szubin, the slim, boyish-looking director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, thanked his team for putting in a string of sleepless nights to devise sanctions against senior Russian officials and associates of President Vladimir Putin.

The measures, rolled out in three executive orders signed by President Barack Obama in March, included blocking the Russians and Bank Rossiya, Russia's 17th-largest bank, from access to the U.S. financial system and freezing their U.S. assets.

This longish Reuters story, filed from Washington, was posted on their website late Monday afternoon EDT---and it's another news item that had to wait for today's column.  It's definitely worth reading---and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard touches on it in the story from The Telegraph posted below this one.  I thank internationalman.com senior editor Nick Giambruno for bringing it to our attention.

US Financial Showdown with Russia Is More Dangerous Than It Looks, for Both Sides

The United States has constructed a financial neutron bomb. For the past 12 years an elite cell at the US Treasury has been sharpening the tools of economic warfare, designing ways to bring almost any country to its knees without firing a shot

The strategy relies on hegemonic control over the global banking system, buttressed by a network of allies and the reluctant acquiescence of neutral states. Let us call this the Manhattan Project of the early 21st century.

"It is a new kind of war, like a creeping financial insurgency, intended to constrict our enemies' financial lifeblood, unprecedented in its reach and effectiveness," says Juan Zarate, the Treasury and White House official who helped spearhead policy after 9/11.

“The new geo-economic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive,” he writes in his book Treasury's War: the Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.

This absolute must read Ambrose Evans-Pritchard commentary showed up on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site very early Wednesday evening BST---and I found it in yesterday's edition of the King Report.

Runaway Spy Snowden Is Surprise Guest on Putin Phone-In

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of U.S. intelligence eavesdropping, made a surprise appearance on a TV phone-in hosted by Vladimir Putin on Thursday, asking the Russian president if his country also tapped the communications of millions.

The exchange was the first known direct contact between Putin and Snowden since Russia gave the American refuge last summer after he disclosed widespread monitoring of telephone and internet data by the United States and fled the country.

Snowden was not in the studio with Putin, who angered U.S. President Barack Obama by refusing to send the American home to face espionage charges. He submitted his question in a video clip that a lawyer said had been pre-recorded.

Snowden, 30, wearing a jacket and open-collar shirt and speaking before a dark background, asked Putin: "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?"

This must-read Reuters story, filed from Moscow, was posted on their Web site late on Thursday morning EDT---and it's the second contribution to today's column from Roy Stephens.

Putin Says it's Impossible for Europe to Stop Buying Russian Gas

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday it would not be possible for Europe, which is trying to cut its reliance on Russian energy, to completely stop buying Russian gas.

Putin also said that the transit via Ukraine is the most dangerous element in Europe's gas supply system, and that he was hopeful a deal could be reached with Ukraine on gas supplies.

Russia meets around 30% of Europe's natural gas needs. Moscow's actions in Ukraine have spurred attempts by the continent to reduce its dependency on oil and gas supplies from the former Cold War foe.

"Of course, everyone is taking care about supply diversification. There, in Europe, they talk about increasing independence from the Russian supplier," said Putin.

This is another moneynews.com story that's courtesy of Elliot Simon.  It was posted on their Internet site later in the morning EDT.

Seven Ukraine/Russia-Related Stories

1. Putin: "Nonsense - no Russian troops, special services in east Ukraine": Russia Today  2. Russia has no intentions to send troops to Ukraine - Lavrov: The Voice of Russia  3. Putin on Kiev op: "Tanks, jets against own people?! Are they nuts?!": Russia Today  4.  Princeton's James: Sanctions Against Russia Could Lead to Banking Crisis, Shooting War: Moneynews  5. "Washington has miscalculated the wishes of Ukrainian people": Russia Today op-ed  6. Ukraine Push Against Rebels Grinds to Halt: The New York Times  7. U.S. and Russia Agree on Pact to Defuse Ukraine Crisis: The New York Times

[The above stories are courtesy of South African reader B.V., Elliot Simon---and Roy Stephens.]

Opinion: Putin's Q&A Session Was Brilliant, Sincere, Warm, and Compassionate

The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin conducted his yearly question-and-answer session with the public and citizens of Russia, this time spending approximately three hours and fifty minutes answering a wide range of questions in an impressive manner never once faltering or at a loss and citing facts, figures and details on everything from assisting a disabled man to obtain a home to the aggressive expansion of NATO to the East. This year the Kremlin added a the possibility of sending in video for those who wanted to ask the president questions, as well as text messages, e-mails, regular post, phone calls and submissions through the Internet.

This very interesting commentary, which is worth reading, showed up on the voiceofrussia.com Internet site early on Thursday evening Moscow time---and it's the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.

Saudi Spy Chief Ousted Under US Pressure: Experts

The exit of Saudi's spy chief was the result of US pressure over his stance on Syria but does not signal a shift in Riyadh's goal of toppling the Damascus regime, experts say.

Riyadh, as is usual, did not elaborate on its statement this week that Prince Bandar bin Sultan was being replaced, saying only that the veteran diplomat had asked to step down.

But a Saudi expert said that Washington -- irritated for some time by Prince Bandar's handling of the Syria dossier -- had in December demanded his removal.

This news item showed up on the france24.com Internet site later in the afternoon Europe time---and it's certainly a must read for all students of the New Great Game.

Death from Above: How American Drone Strikes Are Devastating Yemen

The people of Yemen can hear destruction before it arrives. In cities, towns and villages across this country, which hangs off the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, the air buzzes with the sound of American drones flying overhead. The sound is a constant and terrible reminder: a robot plane, acting on secret intelligence, may calculate that the man across from you at the coffee shop, or the acquaintance with whom you've shared a passing word on the street, is an Al Qaeda operative. This intelligence may be accurate or it may not, but it doesn't matter. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the chaotic buzzing above sharpens into the death-herald of an incoming missile.

Such quite literal existential uncertainty is coming at a deep psychological cost for the Yemeni people. For Americans, this military campaign is an abstraction. The drone strikes don't require U.S. troops on the ground, and thus are easy to keep out of sight and out of mind. Over half of Yemen's 24.8 million citizens – militants and civilians alike – are impacted every day. A war is happening, and one of the unforeseen casualties is the Yemeni mind.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma and anxiety are becoming rampant in the different corners of the country where drones are active. "Drones hover over an area for hours, sometimes days and weeks," said Rooj Alwazir, a Yemeni-American anti-drone activist and co-founder of Support Yemen, a media collective raising awareness about issues afflicting the country. Yemenis widely describe suffering from constant sleeplessness, anxiety, short-tempers, an inability to concentrate and, unsurprisingly, paranoia.

Ah, yes!  America bringing "democracy" to all countries of the world.  This two-page essay showed up on the Rolling Stone Web site on Monday---and is another news item that had to wait for today's column.  It's also another offering from Roy Stephens.

America's Coup Machine: Destroying Democracy Since 1953

Soon after the 2004 U.S. coup to depose President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, I heard Aristide's lawyer Ira Kurzban speaking in Miami.  He began his talk with a riddle: "Why has there never been a coup in Washington D.C.?"  The answer: "Because there is no U.S. Embassy in Washington D.C."  This introduction was greeted with wild applause by a mostly Haitian-American audience who understood it only too well.

Ukraine's former security chief, Aleksandr Yakimenko, has reported that the coup-plotters who overthrew the elected government in Ukraine "basically lived in the (U.S.) Embassy.  They were there every day."  We also know from a leaked Russian intercept that they were in close contact with Ambassador Pyatt and the senior U.S. official in charge of the coup, former Dick Cheney aide Victoria Nuland, officially the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.  And we can assume that many of their days in the Embassy were spent in strategy and training sessions with their individual CIA case officers.

To place the coup in Ukraine in historical context, this is at least the 80th time the United States has organized a coup or a failed coup in a foreign country since 1953.  That was when President Eisenhower discovered in Iran that the CIA could overthrow elected governments who refused to sacrifice the future of their people to Western commercial and geopolitical interests.  Most U.S. coups have led to severe repression, disappearances, extrajudicial executions, torture, corruption, extreme poverty and inequality, and prolonged setbacks for the democratic aspirations of people in the countries affected.  The plutocratic and ultra-conservative nature of the forces the U.S. has brought to power in Ukraine make it unlikely to be an exception.

If I had to pick just one story for you to ready today---this would be it.  And if you want to hear about these sorts of things from the inside, John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, was an operative for the U.S. in some of these situations.  This longish essay showed up on the alternet.org Web site on April 8---and it's another contribution from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.

Japan Population Drops for Third Year Straight; 25% Are Elderly

Japan’s population has shrunk for the third year running, with the elderly making up a quarter of the total for the first time, government data showed Tuesday.

The number of people in the world’s third-largest economy dropped by 0.17% or 217,000 people, to 127,298,000 as of last Oct. 1, the data said. This figure includes long-staying foreigners.

The number of people aged 65 or over rose by 1.1 million to 31.9 million, accounting for 25.1% of the population, it said.

With its low birthrate and long life expectancy, Japan is rapidly graying and already has one of the world’s highest proportions of elderly people.

This very interesting story is definitely worth reading.  It was posted on the japantimes.co.up Internet site on Tuesday sometime---and it's another story I found in yesterday's edition of the King Report.

Japan Bond Market Liquidity Dries Up as BoJ Holding Crosses ¥200 Trillion

The Bank of Japan’s massive purchases of government debt hit a milestone this week, sucking liquidity out of the market to such an extent that the benchmark 10-year bond went untraded for more than a day, the first time in 13 years.

Data from the BoJ late on Monday showed its holding of Japanese government bonds topped ¥200tn ($1.96tn), or about 20% of outstanding issuance – up by more than half from ¥125tn about a year ago.

The fall in market liquidity looks set to intensify as the BoJ has vowed to continue its aggressive buying for at least another year, with market players expecting it to expand its easing some time later this year.

“Everybody thinks the market is not going to move for the time being because of the purchase by our dear customer, the BoJ,” said a trader at a major Japanese brokerage.

This Reuters story from Tuesday found a home over at the gulf-times.com Internet site---and I thank reader 'David in California' for sending it around yesterday.

Five King World News Blogs

1. David P: "One of the Greatest Opportunities In More Than a Decade"  2. Art Cashin: "Unprecedented $5 Trillion Liquidity Monster to Be Unleashed"  3. Keith Barron: "The Elites Fear What Will Crash the Global Financial System"  4. Richard Russell: "Silver---and the Greatest Mistake My Father Made"  5. "Pippa" Malmgren: "Western Default, China---and Gold"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

Paper Gold Falls in West, but Premium for Real Metal Jumps in India

Hawala Premium Crosses 4% as Akshay Tritiya Boosts Demand; Spot Delivery Premium also Doubles

The premium for getting spot delivery for gold in the Indian market jumped to $70 an ounce from $35 a couple of days earlier, with a sudden scarcity.

While the trade is facing a scarcity of gold in official channels due to lower imports by private banks, the increase in demand in the unofficial market resulted in the hawala market premium crossing four per cent from 2.75-3% a few days earlier and 2-2.25% a month before, said a source in the Kolkata market, where smuggled gold inflow is said to be higher.

Recently, gold spot premiums were on a downward trajectory due to permission to five private banks to import gold. However as the new financial year had begun, a private bank bullion desk official said quarterly and yearly targets were being fixed, which is why their import was limited.

This gold-related news item, filed from Mumbai, showed up on the Business Standard Web site late on Wednesday evening IST---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.

Asia Takes Every Ounce West Unloads, but Gold Will Fall for Two Years, GFMS Says

A lack of investment interest in gold is starting to take its toll on the price, with an average of $1,225/oz forecast for 2014 and heading lower in 2015, GFMS said Thursday in its Gold Survey 2014.

The price forecast is 13% lower than the 2013 average of $1,411.23/oz.

"The price is expected to post 2014 lows in mid-year, with a fundamentally driven rally thereafter, but this is likely to peter out in early 2015," the Thomson Reuters/GFMS survey read.

Despite the "heavy visible sales from Exchange Traded Funds, driving a 25% price fall in the second quarter [of 2013], OTC investors were net buyers in 2013, notably in East Asia and the Middle East," the report read.

This story showed up on the platts.com Internet site midmorning in London yesterday---and it's another gold-related news item I found in a GATA release.  By the way, I'd take anything that GMFS says with a big grains of salt.  But it's worth reading nonetheless.

Platinum Shortfall to Take Four Years to Fix - Morgan Stanley

A labor dispute that all but shut platinum mines in South Africa since January is extending the longest shortfall in global production since 2005, which Morgan Stanley predicts will take at least four years to fix.

For a third straight year, makers of auto parts and jewelry will use more of the metal than is mined. Credit Suisse Group AG on March 31 raised its deficit forecast for this year by 25% to 836,000 ounces, after concluding the strike in South Africa, the world’s top producer, will prevent more than 1 million ounces from being retrieved in 2014.

Workers who normally earn 5,000 rand ($474) a month have gotten nothing since the walkout began, forcing some to sell belongings as union leaders renew demands for higher pay. Mine owners including Lonmin Plc say they are losing $15 million a day and may buy metal to meet supply commitments. Hedge funds more than doubled their bets on higher prices this year, and holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by platinum are up 68% from a year ago.

This longish Bloomberg story, co-filed from Johannesburg and New York, was picked up by the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday---and represents the final offering of the day from Elliot Simon.  It's certainly worth reading.

Platinum Producers Capitulate on Union Pay Demand

Saying they could "ill afford" it, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum made a startling offer to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) on Thursday in a bid to end a 13-week long strike that has shut down much of South Africa's platinum sector.

Both Anglo American and Impala issued press releases stating they would agree to pay entry-level underground workers a minimum of R12,500 a month in pay by July 2017.

The offer appears to substantially meet the AMCU's strike demand on pay that Anglo American, Impala and Lonmin had long maintained was impossible.

I linked this story further up when I was discussing the strange timing of the selloffs in both platinum and palladium in New York trading yesterday, but here it is again if you missed it.  It was filed from Johannesburg---and posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday sometime---and it's worth reading as well.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

The additional commonality is that the silver, platinum and palladium concentrated short position is dominated by a U.S. bank or banks, according to the latest Bank Participation Report of April 4. I know Ed Steer has raised this issue before, but as I said, I wasn’t interested in delving into palladium and platinum. Now, it’s hard not to. The Bank Participation Report leads me to conclude that JPMorgan, in addition to being the big short in Comex silver, is also the big short in Nymex platinum and palladium. (There is no big U.S. bank short position in cocoa).

What I believe this means is that JPMorgan is the prime manipulator of all five major Comex/Nymex metals; silver, platinum and palladium on the short side, gold and copper on the long side. The one sure thing you can say about a concentrated position is that if it did not exist, the price of the commodity in question would be markedly different because it would need to be replaced by many other traders responding to current prices. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 16 April 2014

Since I won't have a column tomorrow---here's your pop "blast from the past."  It's by a Canadian pop group from back in the mid to late 1970s---and this was one of their biggest hits.  I heard it on the radio earlier this week---and couldn't get it out of my head, so now you have to put up with it. The link is here---and if you wish to listen to others by this group, they're in the right sidebar.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra [Memories of the Alhambra] is a classical guitar piece composed in 1896 in Granada by Spanish composer and guitarist Francisco Tárrega. It uses the classical guitar tremolo technique often performed by advanced players.

The piece showcases the challenging guitar technique known as tremolo, wherein a single melody note is plucked consecutively by the ring, middle and index fingers in such rapid succession that the result is an illusion of one long sustained tone. The thumb plays a counter-melody on the bass between melodic attacks. Many who hear this piece initially in a non-live setting can mistake it for a duet, rather than the challenging solo effort it actually is.

South Korean classical guitarist Kyuhee Park does the honours---and she's fantastic.  I thank reader U.D. for bringing this recording to my attention earlier this week---and the link is here.  Enjoy!

It was a pretty quiet trading day in the precious metals up until noon in New York.  Then the gold price got docked $5---and at 12:30 EDT the platinum price got hit hard---and at 1 p.m. it was palladium's turn.  You have to wonder why palladium and platinum didn't head south at the same time on the news out of South Africa---and it's for that reason alone that the declines in these two precious metals look "engineered" to me.

Here are the updated six-month gold and silver charts.

Gold closed below its 200-day moving average once again---and it will be interesting to see how it "performs" at the open in New York on Sunday evening.  Silver is well below any of its moving averages---and has been for many weeks, so the technical funds will be in no rush to cover short positions, or go long in a big way until one or both are broken to the upside.  At that point it will be interesting to see if JPMorgan increases its already grotesque short position in that metal as a seller of last resort.

Ted mentioned the April 4, 2014 Bank Participation Report in his quote above---and I thought I should post Nick Laird's famous charts from that report once more.  They're for all four precious metals---and show the Comex short and long contracts held by the the US banks---and also the non-US banks.  JPMorgan's long position in gold stands out, as do its short positions in the other three precious metals as well.  The "click to enlarge" feature is useful here---and all eyes should be on Charts 4 and 5 in each one, along with a quick glance at Chart #3.

As I say every month when this report comes out, the precious metals price management scheme is 100% "Made in the U.S.A." with JPMorgan Chase as the capo di tutti capi---with Canada's Scotiabank thrown in for a little international "spice" in silver and gold.

I don't know how much more obvious the price management scheme in the precious metals can get.

And here is Nick Laird's "Days of World Production to Cover Comex Short Positions" chart.  It's a week old, because this week's COT Report doesn't come out until later today---and with the exception of gold---it's looked like this for years.

That's all I have for today.  I understand that the new Commitment of Trader Report will be posted on the CFTC's website, but the play-by-play on that will have to wait until my Tuesday column.  And, as I said at the top of today's column, unless the precious metal markets are open in New York today---and there's something significant to report---I can absolutely guarantee that I won't have a column on Saturday.

Enjoy your long weekend, if you get one---and I'll see you on Tuesday.




Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:19:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Gold Import Curbs Seen Continuing in India to Help Currency]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/gold-import-curbs-seen-continuing-in-india-to-help-currency/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/gold-import-curbs-seen-continuing-in-india-to-help-currency/#When:09:21:00Z "What they do, are instructed to, will determine prices going forward"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price sold off $5 or so during early Far East trading, but had gained it all back by shortly after 9 a.m. in London---and after that the price didn't do a thing until the Comex open.  The rally that began at that point got dealt with in the usual manner less than 15 minutes later---and that was it for the remainder of the Wednesday trading session.  The lows and highs aren't worth the effort of looking up.

Gold closed in New York at $1,302.20 spot, down 20 cents from Tuesday's close.  Volume, net of May, was around 127,000 contracts.

Naturally enough, the silver price got manhandled the most of all four precious metals.  The silver price hit its low of the day about 30 minutes before the London open---and the rally that began shortly before the Comex open got dealt with in the usual manner as well---and at the exact same time as the tiny rally in gold got put in its place.  After that, the silver price traded pretty flat.

The CME Group reported the low and high ticks as $19.325 and $19.805 in the May contract, an intraday move of well over 2%.

Silver closed yesterday at $19.63 spot, up 7 cents from Tuesday.  Volume, net of roll-overs, was 30,500 contracts.

Platinum didn't do much yesterday---and palladium closed up a bit over a percent.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index closed late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 79.79---and after flopping around a bit on either side of unchanged on Wednesday, finished the day at 79.83.  Nothing to see here.

The gold stocks opened up a bit, but there was someone there to happily sell them down---and they never saw positive territory again, although they finished off their lows, as the HUI closed down "only" 1.00%.  I spoke with John Embry yesterday---and we're both of the opinion [and have always been] that the precious metal equities are almost as managed as the metal prices themselves.

And despite the fact that the silver price did much better, that didn't help the silver equities one bit, as Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment index closed down another 1.47%.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories they reported that 76 gold and one silver contracts were posted for delivery on Friday within the Comex-approved depositories.  The largest of the short/issuers was Jefferies once again---and the two biggest long/stoppers were the two usual suspects, JPMorgan and Canada's Scotiabank.  Between them, they stood for delivery on 65 contracts. The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The GLD ETF had a monster withdrawal yesterday, as 269,731 troy ounces were removed.  What the bullion banks giveth, they can also taketh away---and they did.  GLD is now back at the same level it was at the beginning of 2014.  And as of 9:27 a.m. EDT, there were no reported changes in SLV.

Over at Switzerland's Zürcher Kantonalbank for the period ending 14 April, they reported a smallish increase in their gold ETF of 6,211 troy ounces.  That's the first increase since February 7.  Their silver ETF went in the other direction, as 64,752 were removed.

The U.S. Mint had another sales report yesterday.  They sold 2,500 troy ounces of gold eagles---1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---200 platinum eagles---and 50,000 silver eagles.

There wasn't a lot of activity at the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.  Once again, there were no reported in/out movements in gold---and in silver, a smallish 170,873 troy ounces were removed.  The link to the silver activity is here.

I don't have a large number of stories for you today, but some of them are definitely worth reading.

¤ Critical Reads

Path to Extinction: Only Three US Companies Still Have AAA Credit Ratings

Their numbers have been dwindling for years, and now only three U.S. companies have the coveted AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's.

Automatic Data Processing was the latest U.S. blue chip to lose its pristine AAA rating from S&P, downgraded this week after it spun off its auto-dealers services unit, USAToday noted.

That leaves only Johnson & Johnson, Exxon-Mobil, and Microsoft as companies rated AAA, which is reserved for companies with the unassailable financial strength and discipline.

In 1980, there were more than 60 U.S. companies with AAA ratings. That number declined to six in 2008. Since then, General Electric, Pfizer, and now ADP have fallen out of that esteemed ranking.

Today's first news item was posted on the moneynews.com Internet site early yesterday morning EDT---and it's courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.

Yellen: Fed Stimulus Still Needed for Job Market

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the U.S. job market still needs help from the Fed and that the central bank must remain intent on adjusting its policy to respond to unforeseen challenges.

In her first major speech on Fed policy, Yellen sought to explain the Fed's shifting guidance on its interest-rate policy, which at times has confused or jarred investors. She said the Fed's policies "must respond to significant unexpected twist and turns the economy may make."

"Thus far in the recovery and to this day, there is little question that the economy has remained far from maximum employment," Yellen told an audience at the Economic Club of New York.

She said the Fed's forecast for moderate growth has changed little since last fall despite the severe winter. Fed officials still see only a gradual return to full employment over the next two to three years, Yellen said.

This AP news item was picked up ABC News yesterday---and it's the second offering in a row from Elliot Simon.

Spain ETF Grows as Rajoy Attracts Record US Investments

The iShares MSCI Spain Capped ETF attracted almost $238 million in the period ended April 11, the most for any country, according to data compiled by Bloomberg going back to 2002. Traders have poured money into the exchange-traded fund every week in 2014. The $1.9-billion ETF tracking companies from Banco Santander (SAN) SA to Telefonica SA has gained 5.3% this year, compared with declines in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Confidence is growing that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will make good on his pledge to complete an overhaul of Spain’s economy as the nation that sought a bank bailout in 2012 returns to growth. A manufacturing report this month pointed to the fastest expansion since at least April 2011, and lenders from Santander to Banco Popular Espanol SA (POP) are benefiting from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s policy to keep interest rates at a record low.

This longish Bloomberg article, filed from London, was posted on their Internet site late yesterday morning MDT---and that makes it three in a row from Elliot Simon.

Regional Unemployment Highest in Spain

Over two dozen regions throughout the Union have an unemployment rate twice the EU average.

The data, published on Wednesday (16 April), by the EU’s statistical office Eurostat, says the jobless rate in 27 regions in 2013 was higher than 21.6%.

Thirteen are found in Spain, 10 in Greece, three in the French Overseas Departments, and one in Italy.

Five of the worst affected are found in Spain alone.

This story, filed from Brussels, showed up on the euobserver.com Internet site yesterday morning---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

Eurozone Inflation Stuck in "Danger Zone," Keeps Pressure on the ECB

A shock drop in March eurozone inflation to its lowest level since November 2009 was confirmed on Wednesday, keeping pressure on the European Central Bank to intervene should prices not rebound.

The year-on-year inflation rate in the 18 countries sharing the euro was 0.5% in March against 0.7% in February, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said.

Inflation has now been in the ECB's "danger zone" of below 1% for six consecutive months, fuelling speculation that the ECB will need to take further action.

ECB policy makers said the bank stood ready to deploy unconventional measures to ensure that inflation did not stay low for too long.

This short, but must-read commentary, was posted on the moneynews.com Internet site early yesterday morning EDT---and it's the fourth and final offering of the day from Elliot Simon.

Out of Ammo? The Eroding Power of Central Banks

Since the financial crisis, central banks have slashed interest rates, purchased vast quantities of sovereign bonds, and bailed out banks. Now, though, their influence appears to be on the wane with measures producing paltry results. Do they still have control?

Once every six weeks, the most powerful players in the global economy meet on the 18th floor of an ugly office building near the train station in the Swiss city of Basel. The group includes United States Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and her counterpart at the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, along with 16 other top monetary policy officials from Beijing, Frankfurt, Paris, and elsewhere.

The attendees spend almost two hours exchanging views in a debate chaired by Bank of Mexico Governor Agustín Carstens---and the central bankers talk about the economy, growth and market prices.

But ever since many central banks lowered their interest rates to almost zero, bought up sovereign debt and rescued banks, a new, critical undertone has crept into the dinner conversations. Monetary experts from emerging economies complain that the measures taken by Europeans and Americans are pushing unwanted speculative money their way. Western central bankers say they have come under growing political pressure. And recently, when the host of the meetings -- head of the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements Jaime Caruana -- speaks in one of his rare public appearances, he talks about "chronic post-crisis weakness" and "risk." Monetary institutions, says Caruana, are at "serious risk of exhausting the policy room for manoeuver over time."

This longish five-page essay showed up on the spiegel.de Internet site early yesterday afternoon Europe time---and it's the second offering of the day from Roy Stephens. It's definitely worth reading.

EU Countries to Boost Defence Budgets in Light of Ukraine

Military chiefs have said the Ukraine crisis is a “wake-up call” for E.U. countries’ defence spending, as the US backed Ukraine’s use of force in eastern regions.

Speaking to press after a regular meeting of E.U. defence ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday (15 April), the deputy chief of the EU’s external action service, Maciej Popowski, said: “We’ve had 70 years of peace now [in Europe], but we see that power politics is back with a vengeance, so it’s a wake-up call and now we need to get serious about defence.”

He noted that “this was the feeling around the table” at the Luxembourg event.

He added that E.U. foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton told the ministers: “If Ukraine is not a trigger to get serious about spending, about pooling and sharing, about smart defence, then what more do we need to get real?”

Blah, blah, blah.  I'll be amazed if this amounts to anything more than talk.  This "news" item was posted on the euobserver.com Internet site yesterday morning Europe time---and I thank Roy Stephens once again for sending it our way.

Three King World News Blogs

1. Grant Williams: "Remarkable Road Map From $5,000 to $20,000 Gold"  2. Eric Sprott: "Crisis, Gold---and an Incredible Opportunity No One is Looking At"  3. David P: "One of the Greatest Opportunities in More Than a Decade"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

Scientists Verify World's Largest Single Crystal Piece of Gold

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the U.S. have confirmed a 7.68 oz (217.78 g) piece of gold is in fact a single crystal, increasing its value from around US$10,000 to an estimated $1.5 million. The specimen, the largest single crystal piece of gold in the world, was discovered in Venezuela decades ago, but it is only by using advanced probing instruments that experts can now verify its authenticity.

Gold found in the ground will generally have a polycrystalline structure, meaning it is made up of many crystallites, varying in shape and size. Gold of a mono-crystalline structure, where the material is unbroken, are rarer and of significantly higher value. The US-based owner provided geologist John Rakovon with four gold specimens, hoping to determine whether they were of a polycrystalline or mono-crystalline structure.

This very interesting news item, complete with an embedded video, showed up on the gizmag.com Internet yesterday---and my thanks go out to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan reader Marvin Weiler for bringing it to my attention---and now to yours.  If you don't read the article, you should at least look at the picture.

How Marriage Is Keeping Gold’s Prospects Bright in China

Last year was a big one for gold in China. As Chinese middle-class families, particularly aunties, bought up gold bars and jewelry for their use as accessories as well as investments, China became both the number-one producer and consumer of the precious metal—surpassing even India where yearly bullion demand had long been the world’s highest.

This year, with prices up of gold up, a government campaign against conspicuous spending by officials, and financial reforms designed to increase the availability of other investment opportunities, a new report from the World Gold Council predicts that demand for the metal won’t be as strong as last year.

But there’s one segment of the market that has and should continue to underpin China’s appetite for gold—newlyweds and the people who want to wish them well.

This short, but rather interesting gold-related article showed up on the qz.com Internet site on Tuesday---I found it posted over at the Sharps Pixley website---and here's another article on the same subject from the mining.com Internet site.

Gold Import Curbs Seen Continuing in India to Help Currency

India, the world’s second-largest gold consumer, will probably keep restrictions on imports to control the current account deficit and defend the rupee, said the managing director of the country’s biggest refiner.

The limits would result in shipments of 650 metric tons to 700 tons in the 12 months started April 1 from 650 tons a year earlier, according to Rajesh Khosla at MMTC-PAMP India Pvt. Purchases were 845 tons in 2012-2013, the finance ministry says. While the form of restrictions may change, the government will continue to restrain buying, he said in an interview.

India represented about 25% of global demand in 2013, the World Gold Council says. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requires importers to supply 20% of purchases to jewelers for export and sell 80% on the local market. Singh also raised import taxes and only allows banks and government-nominated entities to ship in gold. The new finance minister may review the rules after elections in progress now.

This news item, filed from New Delhi, was posted on the Bloomberg website just before midnight last night Denver time---and it's another story that I "borrowed" from the Sharps Pixley Web site.

India’s Gold Demand Surges as Supply Declines

Amidst high import duties, the gold demand in India likely to stay high in this year. Last year, India consumed 975 tons and it expects to be between 900 and 1,000 metric tons in 2014.

According to the World Council, last year China overtook India as the biggest consumer of gold in the world and both countries seem to want more gold for further days.

As per the report, India’s current account deficit was narrowed by the stringent import restrictions over the last year whereas the gold smuggling increased, approximately 200 tons of gold. The customs department seized less than 1% of smuggled gold in the last year.

This very short gold-related news item, filed from Mumbai, showed up on the metal.com Internet site in the wee hours of the morning British Summer Time [BST].  It's another story I found over at the sharpspixley.com Internet site just after midnight Denver time [BST-7].

India's Pain Is UAE's Gain - Indian Expats Buy Up Gold Jewellery

If any nation is happy about India's gold import curbs it is the UAE, where bullion traders are registering brisk sales given the restrictions on the import of the precious metal in India.

The curbs on gold in India have raised demand for gold and diamond-studded gold jewellery among expatriate Indians and visitors from India to the UAE.

"The UAE’s gold trade has become the de facto beneficiary of the Indian government’s tough stance on domestic consumption. There is almost a 16% difference on a per gram basis, in buying gold ornaments in the UAE as compared to buying gold in India," said an official at a store in Dubai's gold souk.

This interesting, but not surprising story, was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday---and it's worth reading.

Lawrence Williams: Jansen Sticks By China Gold Demand Figures

There has been a considerable amount of disagreement over China’s real gold demand figures – with some of the differences being accounted for by what is actually being included in the varying estimates, with different analysts coming up with figures between around 1,100 tonnes from organisations like GFMS to over 4,000 tonnes from Alasdair Macleod of Gold Money. While the 1,100 tonne estimates seem on the face of things to be unaccountably low given some of the published statistics on known Chinese imports, the Macleod figures seem unaccountably high.

Somewhere in the middle comes the detailed analyses from China gold watcher Koos Jansen as published on his In Gold we Trust website, and he has now put out a detailed response confirming his own figures and commenting that Macleod’s high figures include unintentional double counting – and given that Chinese sources for this information can be confusing and contradictory, this is not too surprising!

This commentary by Lawrie is definitely worth reading---and it was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site sometime yesterday.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

As regular readers know, it is not just the fact that gold, silver, copper, platinum, and palladium are traded on the Comex/Nymex; it is in how each are traded that most reasonably explains why all five declined sharply on Tuesday. The pricing in each is determined by the same technical fund/commercial paper trading tango that I harp on continuously in Comex silver and gold. The price of all five metals went sharply lower yesterday as a direct result of the commercials (led by JPMorgan) rigging prices lower in order to induce technical fund selling (so that the commercials could buy). This is the essence of the price control that the commercials possess. I know it seems counterintuitive and difficult for many to grasp, but on the big down days like yesterday, the commercials were not the big sellers, but were the big buyers. In fact, the sole reason for the big price decline was for the purpose of allowing the commercials the opportunity to buy. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 16 April 2014

After Tuesday's engineered price decline, "da boyz" decided to take a breather on Wednesday.  I wouldn't read much of anything into yesterday's price action, except to point out that the tiny rallies in all four precious metals that began at the Comex open in New York, all ran into a not-for-profit seller at 8:37 a.m. EDT, which was less than 15 minutes after the open.  This was particularly noticeable in silver.

Here are the six-month gold and silver charts once again.

As I mentioned yesterday, silver is pretty much washed out to the downside---and it's impossible to know what's in store for the other three precious metals going forward.  JPMorgan has short-side corners in silver, platinum, and palladium---and long-side corners in gold and copper.  What they do, are instructed to do, will determine prices going forward.

I would suspect that not much will happen, or be allowed to happen, at least until we get past first notice day for the May delivery month.  Of course things could go bump in the night sooner than that, but as we know, the real world supply and demand pricing mechanism is no longer functioning in these five metals---and if there is market-moving news to the upside, "da boyz" are there to kill any rallies before they get even close to getting out of hand.

And as I type this paragraph at 3:20 a.m. EDT, I note that both gold and silver got sold down a bit in Far East trading---and are still down now that London has been open for 20 minutes.  Gold is lower by about four bucks---and silver is down another 15 cent.  Platinum and palladium are within a dollar of unchanged.  Volumes are very light in both gold and silver---15,000 contracts in one and 5,000 contracts in the other, so I wouldn't read a thing into the current price action.  The dollar index took a bit of a header about 9 a.m. Hong Kong time---and is down 15 basis points as of this writing.

I've been looking at the CME's Daily Bulletin closely starting on Wednesday to see if there's a clue in the volume/open interest numbers to indicate if the figures from Tuesday's big sell-off were reported in a timely manner or not---and it's not possible to tell.  And as Ted Butler has mentioned on numerous occasions over that last ten years, the bullion banks [besides withholding data] can hide their tracks very well using spread trades.  This could be one of those times---and any speculation in advance is fraught with danger, as I've had egg on my face a number of times over the years from attempting to divine what the Commitment of Traders numbers will show.  Whatever they are, I'll have them for you on Saturday.

And as I hit the send button on today's column at 4:55 a.m. EDT, there hasn't been much change in either gold or silver prices, but platinum and palladium are now both down a few dollars from Wednesday's close in New York.  Volumes in both silver and gold are heavier now, of course, but nothing really out of the ordinary for this time of day---and the dollar index is still down the same amount as it was a bit over 90 minutes ago.

That's everything for today---and I'll see you here tomorrow.




Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:21:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Zero Hedge: Gold Futures Halted Again on Latest Furious Slam Down]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/zero-hedge-gold-futures-halted-again-on-latest-furious-slam-down/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/zero-hedge-gold-futures-halted-again-on-latest-furious-slam-down/#When:09:22:00Z ""Da boyz" could hit gold for another $50 easily if they choose to do so"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price drifted quietly lower in Far East trading on their Tuesday until around 2 p.m. Hong Kong time---and it was about then that the HFT boyz showed up, with the final kick in the pants coming at 8:27 a.m. EDT---seven minutes after the New York trading session began.  Gold futures traded was halted, as gold gapped down $12 in an instant, as 4,000 contracts were dumped in seconds.  In less that three minutes it was all over, with the low tick coming a precisely 8:30 a.m.

From there, the price recovered a bit until noon---and then traded pretty flat for the remainder of the day.

The CME Group recorded the high and low price ticks as $1,328.40 and $1,284.40 in the June contract.

Gold finished on Tuesday at $1,302.40 spot, down $24.20 from Monday's close.  Volume, net of April and May, was very heavy at 198,000 contracts.

The silver price traded flat until about 9 a.m. Hong Kong time---and then it, too, came under selling pressure.  There was a tiny rally beginning at the London a.m. gold fix, but that was dealt with in short order---and that's when JPMorgan et al. really went to work.  Like gold, the big selloff began at, or minutes before, the Comex open---and silver was down 40 cents in less than fifteen minutes as the their HFT traders worked their magic.  The low was also at precisely 8:30 a.m. EDT as well.

The subsequent rally worked its way higher in fits and starts until shortly after 4 p.m. in electronic trading---and from there it sold off a bit into the 5:15 p.m. close.

The high and low ticks were recorded at $19.995 and $19.22 in the May contract---and intraday move of almost 4%.

Silver finished the Tuesday session at $19.56 spot, down 40.5 cents from Monday's close.  Net volume was very high at 54,500 contracts.

Platinum and palladium weren't spared by "da boyz" either, although the timing of the engineered price declines varied with each metal, as most of their attention was taken up in silver and gold.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index finished late on Monday afternoon in New York at 79.76---and then chopped and flopped around a bit during the Tuesday session. It got as high as 79.87---but sold off a bit into the close finishing the day almost unchanged at 79.79.

Not surprisingly, the gold stocks gapped down a hair over 3% at the open, rallied a bit---and then headed to their low of the day which came shortly before 11:30 a.m. EDT in New York.  From there, the stock rallied a respectable amount [all things considered] and the HUI closed down only 2.11%.

The silver equities followed a very similar chart pattern---and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index only closed down 1.79% when all was said and done.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 97 gold and five silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday.  Jefferies was the big short/issuer with 86 contracts---and JPMorgan and Canada's Scotiabank stopped 77 contracts combined.  Scotiabank accepted delivery on all five silver contracts as well. The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

Just as a matter of interest, there are still about 700 gold contracts open [net of the above 97 gold contracts just issued for delivery] in the April delivery month at the moment---and it will be interesting to see who the short/issuer is when they finally decide to crawl out from under their rock.

There was a smallish deposit in GLD again yesterday.  This time an authorized participant deposited 19,267 troy ounces.  And as of 9:41 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

There was another sales report from the U.S. Mint again yesterday.  The 2,500 troy ounces of gold eagles---1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---100 platinum eagles---and 282,500 silver eagles.

There were no reported in/out movements in gold over at the Comex-approved depositories on Monday---but it was another busy day in silver, as 743,338 troy ounces were reported received---and 140,350 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that action is here.

In this space yesterday I posted the six-month chart for the Ukrainian Hryvnia---their not-quite-eight-year-old national currency.  Nick decided to up the ante and whipped up this chart that shows the entirety of this currency's young life, whose longevity is being threatened at the moment.  It sure makes gold look good.

Here's a two-minute tick chart of the gold price action on the Comex yesterday---a price pattern that JPMorgan et al. have presented to us before on numerous occasions.  The times on the chart are Mountain Daylight Time [BST-7].  I thank reader Brad Robertson for sending it our way.

I have a decent number of stories today---and I hope that there are few in the list below that interest you.

¤ Critical Reads

Debt Burdens Soar for Major US Companies

Large U.S. companies have more than tripled their debt loads in the past three years, enabling them to spend money without dipping into their record-high cash reserves.

The spending has included share buybacks, dividends and capital investments. Stock buybacks and dividends registered $214.4 billion in the fourth quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The companies are reluctant to spend cash partly because much of it is held offshore and would be subject to taxes if repatriated, the Financial Times reports.

From 2010 to 2013, the 1,100 companies rated by Standard & Poor's for five years or longer saw their combined cash reserves climb $204 billion to $1.23 trillion, according to the FT. That pales in comparison to the $748 billion jump in gross debt to $4 trillion during that period.

This short, but must read news item, was posted on the moneynews.com Internet site early yesterday morning EDT---and today's first story is courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.

France Is the New Cauldron of Eurosceptic Revolution

Britain is marginal to the great debate on Europe. France is the linchpin, fast becoming a cauldron of Eurosceptic/Poujadist views on the Right, anti-EMU reflationary Keynesian views on the Left, mixed with soul-searching over the wisdom of monetary union across the French establishment.

Marine Le Pen’s Front National leads the latest IFOP poll for the European elections next month at 24%. Her platform calls for immediate steps to ditch the euro and restore the franc (“franc des Anglais” in origin, rid of the English oppressors), and to hold a referendum on withdrawal from the EU.

The Gaullistes are at 22.5%. The great centre-Right party of post-War French politics is failing dismally to capitalise on the collapse in support for President François Hollande.

The Parti Socialiste is trailing at 20.5%. The Leftist Front de Gauche is at 8.5% and they are not exactly friends of Brussels.

This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard blog was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site yesterday sometime---and it's the first story of the day from Roy Stephens.

Russian Holdings of Treasuries Fall to Lowest Since 2011

Russian holdings declined for a fourth straight month, to $126.2 billion, from $131.8 billion in January, according to figures released today in Washington as a part of a monthly report on foreign holders of Treasuries as well as international portfolio flows.

Russia might have been selling Treasuries, world’s most liquid assets, as part of an effort to limit a decline in the ruble, which lost 2% versus the dollar in February, the biggest drop that month among 24 emerging-market peers tracked by Bloomberg. The currency weakened amid rising tensions in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

“Russia’s been slowly shedding holdings,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, a U.S. strategist at TD Securities USA LLC in New York. “When you try to defend your currency, this is when you really use those Treasury reserves.”

Russia might have also switched custodian from the Federal Reserve to an offshore center, based perhaps in the U.K., said Sebastien Galy, a senior currency strategist at Société Générale SA in New York. If that were the case, the securities would show up in the Treasury’s survey as British holdings.

This Bloomberg news item, filed from Washington, appeared on their Internet site late yesterday morning Denver time---and my thanks go out to Washington state reader S.A. for sending it along.

Russia's Bond Market Is Achilles Heel as Showdown with West Escalates

Russia is at increasing risk of a full-blown financial crisis as the West tightens sanctions and Russian meddling in Ukraine pushes the region towards conflagration.

The country’s private companies have been shut out of global capital markets almost entirely since the crisis erupted, causing a serious credit crunch and raising concerns that firms may not be able to refinace debt without Russian state support.

“No Eurobonds have been rolled over for six weeks. This cannot continue for long and is becoming a massive issue,” said an official from a major Russian bank. “Companies have to roll over $10bn a month and nothing is moving. The markets have been remarkably relaxed about this, given how dangerous it is. Russia’s greatest vulnerability is the bond market,” he said.

This is another offering from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.  This one was posted on The Telegraph's Web site late on Monday evening BST---and it's the second contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.  It's worth skimming.

Seven Ukraine/Russia-Related Stories

1. West pressures Russia as separatists tighten grip on east Ukraine: France24  2. Ukraine Falters in Drive to Curb Unrest in East: The New York Times  3. 'We Will Shoot Back': All Eyes on Russia as Ukraine Begins Offensive in East: Spiegel Online  4. Putin: Ukraine’s radical escalation puts it on edge of civil war: Russia Today  5. Those who don’t lay down arms, will be destroyed - Ukrainian military op commander: Russia Today  6. Villagers stop armored column of Ukrainian troops near Lugansk: Voice of Russia  7. Ukraine on brink of civil war as Kiev sends in troops: The Telegraph

The Spiegel Online story was originally headlined "Tensions in eastern Ukraine rise as Kiev offensive begins."

[All of the above stories are courtesy of Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.]

BRICS Countries to Set Up Their Own IMF

Very soon, the IMF will cease to be the world's only organization capable of rendering international financial assistance. The BRICS countries are setting up alternative institutions, including a currency reserve pool and a development bank.

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have made significant progress in setting up structures that would serve as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are dominated by the U.S. and the EU. A currency reserve pool, as a replacement for the IMF, and a BRICS development bank, as a replacement for the World Bank, will begin operating as soon as in 2015, Russian Ambassador at Large Vadim Lukov has said.

Brazil has already drafted a charter for the BRICS Development Bank, while Russia is drawing up intergovernmental agreements on setting the bank up, he added.

In addition, the BRICS countries have already agreed on the amount of authorized capital for the new institutions: $100 billion each. "Talks are under way on the distribution of the initial capital of $50 billion between the partners and on the location for the headquarters of the bank.

This story was posted on the Russia Beyond the Headlines Web site on Monday---and it's courtesy of Elliot Simon.

Chinese Economic Growth Continues to Slow

China's Q1 GDP beat expectations rising 7.4% year-over-year.

Economists polled by Bloomberg were looking for Q1 GDP to rise 7.3%. But this was down from 7.7% the previous quarter, showing that China's economy continues to slow. 

Quarter-over-quarter however GDP was up 1.4% or 5.7% annualized. This was also slower than revised 1.7% growth in Q4 2013 and 7% annualized.

Meanwhile, year-to-date Chinese retail sales were up 12%, beating expectations for an 11.9% rise. For March, retail sales were up 12.2%.

I would expect that China's GDP numbers are massaged to perfection, just as much as the numbers coming out of the United States these days.  This business news item was posted on the Bloomberg Web site late yesterday evening MDT---and it's another contribution from Roy Stephens.

Japan Risks Public Souring on Abenomics as Prices Surge

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to vault Japan out of 15 years of deflation risks losing public support by spurring too much inflation too quickly as companies add extra price increases to this month’s sales-tax bump.

Businesses from Suntory Beverage and Food Ltd. to beef bowl chain Yoshinoya Holdings Co. have raised costs more than the 3 percentage point levy increase. This month’s inflation rate could be 3.5%, the fastest since 1982, according to Yoshiki Shinke, the most accurate forecaster of Japan’s economy for two years running in data compiled by Bloomberg.

The challenge for Abe and the Bank of Japan is to keep the public focused on the long-term benefits of exiting deflation when wages are yet to pick up and, according to BOJ board member Sayuri Shirai, most people still see price gains as “unfavorable.” Any jump in inflation that’s perceived as excessive by a population more used to prices falling could worsen consumer confidence and make it harder to boost growth.

A policy of "Inflate or die" is fraught with danger, as the Japanese government is discovering to its dismay.  This Bloomberg piece, filed from Tokyo, was posted on their Internet site in the wee hours of Monday morning Denver time.  I "borrowed" this story from yesterday's edition of the King Report---and it's worth reading.

Kyle Bass: Why Japanese Bonds Look "Terrible"

Hayman Capital's Kyle Bass believes Wall Street's recent declines in the biotech and social media sector, which spread to global stock markets last week, shows cracks in the Japanese economy.

The Japanese Nikkei saw a huge drop last Friday, but the country's benchmark 10-year government bonds did not see yields change as investors fled stocks. Bass, one of the biggest critics of the Japanese economy, has made a big bet on Japan's economy devolving into a debt crisis.

During an interview on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Tuesday, the hedge fund manager said questions remain whether Japan will lose control of interest rates or whether the yen can serve as an "escape valve." Bass sees inflation quickly surpassing Japaneses bond yields, he said.

Kyle only gets 1:03 minutes in this very brief appearance on CNBC yesterday---but it's a must watch.  I borrowed this from Tres Knippa's daily newsletter yesterday.

Four King World News Blogs

1. Art Cashin: "The Reason Gold, Silver and Commodities Are Getting Smashed"  2. Dr. Stephen Leeb: "Gold and Silver Smashed as incredible Events Unfold in Europe"  3. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: "U.S. Now Close to Total Collapse"  4. Gerald Celente: "The Vampire Squid, Gold and the Global Ponzi Scheme"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

Zero Hedge: Gold Futures Halted Again on Latest Furious Slam Down

It seems the two words "fiduciary duty" are strangely missing from the dictionary of the new normal's asset management community. This morning, shortly before 8:27 a.m. ET, someone decided that it was the perfect time to dump thousands of gold futures contracts worth over half a billion dollars notional. This smashed gold futures down over $12 instantaneously, breaking below the 200-day moving averaged and triggering the futures exchange to halt trading in the precious metal for 10 seconds.

Ah, yes---there are those words "fiduciary duty" once again---the other thing, along with their testicles, that precious metal mining executives leave hanging on a nail in the hall closet before they head to the office.  This tiny Zero Hedge piece was posted on their Web site an hour after the Comex event itself---and the charts are worth a look.  I found this worthwhile news item in a GATA release yesterday.

Dave Kranzler Reports on the Latest Manipulation of the Gold Price

Shortly after the Shanghai gold market closed last night, the market manipulators went to work on the gold price.  Gold was taken down another $20 during the morning trading in London, primarily in three HFT trading induced “mini flash crashes.” There were not any related news reports or events that would have triggered the relentless selling of paper gold (Comex futures via the Globex system and LBMA forward

As soon as the Comex floor trading opened at 8:20 a.m. EST, nearly 4,000 contracts were dropped instantaneously onto the floor and into the Globex system.  This is over a half a billion dollars worth of gold – over 10 tonnes of paper gold – in a nanosecond.    This amount represents 47% of the amount of actual physical gold that was reported to be available for delivery by the Comex yesterday.  The sudden burst in volume halted the Comex computer system for 10 seconds.  The contract bomb caused an immediate $16 plunge in the price of gold.   Over a period of seven minutes from the time the Comex opened, over 14,000 contracts traded.  This represented over 18% of the total volume in Comex contracts that had traded in the previous 14 hours of trading starting at 6 p.m. EST the night before.

Obviously this is was intentional and determined selling  of paper gold for the purposes of driving the price a lot lower.  The news reported over the last 24 hours, if anything, should have caused the price of gold to move higher. This includes the re-escalation of the events in Ukraine, an inflation report released this morning which showed that the rate of inflation in March was double the rate that was expected by Wall Street forecasters and a report of manufacturing activity in the northeast which was significantly  lower than expected.

This short must read commentary showed up on the paulcraigroberts.org Internet site yesterday---and I thank Brad Robertson for sending our way.

China Gold Demand Rising 25% by 2017 as Buyers Get Wealthier

Gold demand in China, which overtook India as the largest user last year, will rise about 25% in the next four years as an increasing population gets wealthier, according to the World Gold Council.

Consumer demand will expand to at least 1,350 metric tonnes by 2017, the London-based council said in a report today. Growth may be limited this year after 2013’s price decline spurred consumers to do more buying last year, it said. China accounted for about 28% of global usage last year, the council estimated in February.

Buying accelerated last year as prices slumped 28%, the most since 1981, and the nation became the top buyer in place of India, where import restrictions curbed demand. China’s economy will expand 7.4% this year, economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimate. While that’s set to be the least since 1990, it’s still more than double expected growth in the U.S.

This Bloomberg story showed up on their Web site during the Denver lunch hour yesterday MDT---and it's another gold-related story that I found over at the gata.org Internet site yesterday.  The World Gold Council's report on which this story is based is linked here.

Much More to Come in China’s Already "Breathtaking" Gold Story

The scale, scope and speed of the development of the gold market in China to date has been “quite breathtaking” – and there is still a lot more to come, World Gold Council (WGC) investor relations manager John Mulligan indicated on Tuesday.

Speaking to Mining Weekly Online from London, Mulligan revealed that the WGC was engaged in ongoing discussions to support initiatives to make gold even more accessible in China and that various Chinese gold organisations were simultaneously setting out to modernise the entire gold supply chain from mining through to fabrication and appropriate technologies.

In its latest report, titled "China's gold market: progress and prospects," the WGC explains why the Chinese gold market will continue to expand, irrespective of short-term blips in the economy, and calculates that China’s middle class will grow by another 200 million people in the next six years, taking the total in the middle-income bracket to 500 million.

This is the same story as the prior Bloomberg piece, but with a slightly different spin.  This version, filed from Johannesburg, was posted on the miningweekly.com Internet site yesterday.  I thank reader Richard Murphy for finding it for us.

Wall Street Journal Spins a Gold-Bullish Report to Bearish

China's appetite for gold is waning after a decade-long buying spree, suppressed by the country's economic slowdown and constrained credit markets.

Demand in the world's biggest gold consumer is likely to stay flat in 2014, according to estimates from the World Gold Council. Gold demand in China has expanded every year since 2002, when it declined, according to the industry group, whose forecasts are closely watched in the gold market.

Decelerating Chinese gold demand could threaten the recent recovery in gold prices, some investors and analysts say.

It's hard to believe that the WSJ could spin a sow's ear out of a silk purse, but when something has to be spun with a negative slants, there's always someone up to the task---especially when their jobs may be on the line if they don't.  A lot of gold and silver columnists and so-called experts fall neatly into this category as well.

The above three paragraphs are all there is to this WSJ story---at least that's all there is posted in the clear; and you need a subscription to read the rest.  This is another news item I found on the gata.org Internet site yesterday.

Lawrence Williams: Chinese Take-Away – WGC Study Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

Further, although this report deals specifically with Chinese demand, the general urbanisation and earnings growth prevalent among the whole Asian gold-oriented populace – which hugely exceeds that of China alone – will also have a similar impact. Gold demand will be increasing hugely so where is the supply going to come from? And supply shortfalls will ultimately result in price increases – perhaps very substantial ones, but maybe not quite yet.

As gold bulls will be only too aware, such factors may take a long time to come to fruition and gold investment has to be seen as for the long term. It cannot be relied upon for short-term gains. That is very much the way the Asian market views it and ultimately – unless there is a total sea change in the way this sector views it – gold will undoubtedly prove perhaps the best asset class of all, particularly as the East begins to dominate global trade and finance as it surely will. Other assets will wax and wane but gold, which has stood the test of time through all kinds of political and financial upheavals over hundreds of years, will likely continue to do so in the years ahead.

Yes, one of these days the gold price will be allowed to rise to something resembling a fair market supply vs. demand price, but as Lawrie is more than aware, it will only happen with the blessing of JPMorgan et al.---and the rest of short sellers of last resort in the paper precious metal market.  This commentary was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday.

Koos Jansen: Shanghai Gold Exchange Withdrawals Equal Chinese Gold Demand, Part 3

Gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen tonight provides his most detailed review yet of China's gold demand and explains why he thinks it is not as much as recently estimated by GoldMoney research director Alasdair Macleod.

Jansen's commentary is headlined Shanghai Gold Exchange Withdrawals Equal Chinese Gold Demand, Part 3, and it's posted at his Internet site, ingoldwetrust.ch.  And the GATA releases just keep on coming---and I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the paragraph of introduction.

Hardly a Mention of Central Banks in Financial Times Report on London Gold Fix

The fix remains the global gold benchmark, used by miners, central banks, jewellers and the financial industry to trade gold bars, value stocks and price derivative contracts. The original five bullion dealers have been replaced by five banks: HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Scotiabank, Barclays, and Société Générale. But the process and traditions are little changed; had Rothschild not sold its fixing seat in 2004, the members might still be meeting in its oak-panelled boardroom with small Union Jack flags on their desks, rather than via conference call.

To supporters of the gold fixing, its longevity is a mark of its efficiency and utility. To a growing group of critics, however, the benchmark is opaque, old fashioned and vulnerable to market abuse.

Pressure to reform is coming from several directions.

Since uncovering evidence of alleged abuse by bankers of the Libor and forex benchmarks, regulators have been scrutinising other big financial benchmarks for signs of weakness. The German watchdog BaFin has requested documents from Deutsche Bank, which has put its seat up for sale, as part of a precious metals market review. Academics have questioned the fix's fairness and suggested possible collusion. Smelling blood, US lawyers launched at least three class action suits in March alleging rigging. From being an asset of considerable prestige, a fixing seat may be turning into a liability.

This longish Financial Times story from Monday---which is long on drivel and short on substance---was posted in the clear on the gata.org Internet site yesterday---and it's not worth reading, at least in my opinion.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

If silver prices rally enough from here in the short run (always a 50-50 proposition), the technical funds can be expected to buy and the raptors can be expected to sell and take profits. Usually the raptors need a rally of a dollar or more to begin to sell. Where does that leave JPMorgan and the other big shorts? Normally, the big commercial shorts sell on rallies, but since they just, effectively, sold on the way down, will they just keep adding silver shorts regardless of price direction? - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 12 April 2014

As the Zero Hedge commentary in the Critical Reads section so succinctly put it, these HFT price smashes were for one purpose only---and that was to get all four precious metal prices as low as possible, and as quickly as possible.  It was not-for-profit selling, pure and simple.  Supply and demand, the world's financial and monetary system, along with the Ukraine/Russia situation mean nothing.  Prices are set by JPMorgan et al. in the Comex futures market irrespective of anything else.  Why a large portion of the gold and silver commentators won't go there is impossible to fathom, but any other explanation they may come up with is pure bulls hit.

We have options and futures expiry coming up next week---and I'm sure that JPMorgan et al. wanted as many of these contracts to finish out of the money as they could.  And as both Ted Butler and I have warned, the Commitment of Traders Report has been configured for a down-side engineered price decline for quite some time---and "da boyz" did not disappoint yesterday.

Here are the six-month charts for both gold and silver showing yesterday's price declines in all their ugliness.

Ted feels that we are pretty much done to the downside in silver.  There may be more price pain to go, but it now becomes a question of how many more long contracts JPMorgan et al. can get the technical funds to puke up---and how many possible short positions they can get these same funds to put on.  And as Ted also said, the raptors [the Commercial traders other than the Big 8] were buying every long contract that came their way yesterday.  One would like to assume that the Big 8 short holders were doing likewise---and covering part of their grotesque short positions---but as Ted pointed out in the quote just above, that hasn't been the case lately.

As for gold, there's still a lot of room to go.  Ted mentioned that the Commercial net short position in gold improved by as much as 20,000 contracts yesterday---and looking at the gold chart, I'd guess that "da boyz" could hit gold for another $50 easily if they choose to do so, as the technical funds still have a very large net long position, despite the pounding they took yesterday.  But can they, or will they, is always the question---and we got part of that answer yesterday.

Yesterday at the close of Comex trading was also the cutoff for this Friday's Commitment of Trader Report---and the question that always arises on big price moves the day of the cutoff is whether or not all of yesterday's price/volume action will be reported in a timely manner.  They weren't two weeks ago when this same set of circumstances occurred---and we won't know for sure until the report comes out at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Friday.

And as I mentioned in The Wrap yesterday, the "Managed Money" category in the Disaggregated COT Report, which is usually net short at this point of any engineered price decline, is currently net long 8,400 contracts---and it will be interesting to see how much has changed in this category when the new COT Report comes out on Friday.

So we wait.

As I type this paragraph, the London open is about 15 minutes away.  All four precious metal got sold down a bit more in Far East trading, but now are rallying a bit as the London open approaches.  Gold volume is already north of 28,000 contracts---and silver, net of rollovers, is around 7,000 contracts.  Not exactly light volume, but most of it is of the HFT variety anyway.  And not that it matters, but the dollar index is down a small handful of basis points.

And as I send this down to Stowe, Vermont at 5:05 a.m. EDT, all four precious metals are back at, or just above their Tuesday closing prices in New York.  Gold volume is at 43,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is at 10,000 contracts---and almost all of it, especially in gold, is still of the HFT variety.  The dollar index has rolled over a bit and is now down 14 basis points.

I have no idea what to expect when I check in later this morning---but nothing will surprise me, nor should it you.

See you tomorrow.

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:22:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Grant Williams: All Markets Are Rigged, Maybe Gold Most of All]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/grant-williams-all-markets-are-rigged-maybe-gold-most-of-all/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/grant-williams-all-markets-are-rigged-maybe-gold-most-of-all/#When:09:21:00Z "Prima facie evidence of the Anglo/American price management scheme"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price rallied sharply at the 6 p.m. Sunday evening open in New York---and ran into short sellers of last resort almost immediately.  Volume wasn't overly heavy, but it was enough to do the job.  From there the price didn't do much until the 8 a.m. BST London open---and then got sold down to its low of the day, which came at 8:30 a.m. in New York, 10 minutes after the Comex open.  The subsequent rally got capped shortly before the London close---11 a.m. EDT---and from there got sold down $5 before trading sideways starting at noon in New York.

The CME recorded the low and high ticks as $1,318.70 and $1,331.40 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Monday session in New York at $1,326.60 spot. up $8.20 on the day.  Net volume was around 106,000 contracts, which was about 5,000 more than Friday's volume---and pretty light.

It was more or less the same chart pattern in silver, except for the fact that it got sold down once London began to trade---and looking at the chart pattern on the decline, it appears that the technical funds were doing some shorting, which added to the size of the price decline.  The low was in at the noon silver fix---and from there the price was allowed to rally back to the $20 spot price mark---and that as it for the day, as every rally back over that price got firmly put in its place.

The low and high ticks were $19.735 and $20.11 in the June Contract.

Silver closed in New York at $19.965 spot, up half a cent.  Net volume was 25,500 contracts, which is on the lighter side.

Here's the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart on its own, so you can see how carefully the silver price was managed around the $20 price mark in the Comex session.

After their initial rallies at the New York open on Sunday evening, neither platinum and palladium were allowed to get far after that.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index closed late Friday afternoon at 79.49---and spiked down to 79.42 immediately, before heading north seconds later, settling out at 79.62.  From there it didn't do much until about 20 minutes after London opened.  The subsequent rally took the index up to 79.82 before it fell back a bit into the close.  The dollar index finished at 79.76---up 27 basis points on the day.

The gold stocks gapped up about 2% at the open---and hit their high tick the same time as the gold price did, shortly before the London close.  They hung on to most of these gains until shortly before 3 p.m. EDT---but then got sold down about 1% going into the New York close.  The HUI finished up 1.49%---the exact same amount it lost on Friday.

The silver equities put in a similar performance, but Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index only closed up 1.20---which isn't bad considering that the metal itself closed flat on the day.

I forgot to "fill in the blanks" for Friday's CME Daily Delivery Report.  I have the paragraph typed before the CME posts the numbers on their website around 10 p.m. EDT---but then put "x"s where the actual numbers are supposed to go---and then fill them in when I edit the column, or sooner if I remember.  The editor missed that---and he ensures that he'll be more careful next time.

Anyway, the Friday numbers were nothing to write home about, as only three gold and two silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday, so you didn't miss much.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report for yesterday showed that 45 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday.  Jefferies was the short/issuer on all 45 contracts---and JPM and Canada's Scotiabank stopped 38 of them.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

An authorized participant added gold to GLD yesterday---57,801 troy ounces to be exact.  And as of 6:47 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

Since yesterday was a Monday, there was a decent sales report from the U.S. Mint.  They sold 5,500 troy ounces of gold eagles---and 752,500 silver eagles.

There was a pretty decent deposit in gold over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday, as 158,397 troy ounces were reported received.  About a tonne went into HSBC USA---and the balance was taken by Canada's Scotiabank.  Nothing was shipped out.  The link to Friday's activity is here.

It was another decent in/out day in silver as well.  597,216 troy ounces were reported received---and 607,136 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that action is here.

Yesterday, reader "T.B." sent me the information below about 1-ounce gold coin holdings at the Permanent Fund---and I thought it worth sharing.


Just thought I'd give you an update on the 1-ounce gold coin holdings of the Permanent Fund.  As normal it's delayed info, but should give you some insight to the supply/(decreasing) demand for the newly minted eagles/maples.
Holdings on July 31, 2013: 1,200,000 coins
Holdings on Oct 31, 2013: 1,080,000 coins
Holdings on Jan 31, 2014: 930,000 coins
Without the selling of some 270,000 coins over a six-month period, the mint stats would obviously have been that much stronger.  I guess one has to assume that these coins made their way back into individual investor aftermarket sales. 
When you start to see big 25-50,000-ounce sales weeks in gold eagles again you can probably assume that the $9 Billion Permanent Fund is once again growing and increasing its mandated allocation to gold.
Cheers,  T.B.

Here's a chart of the almost-18-year-old Ukrainian hryvnia [the national currency] vs. the U.S. dollar over the last six months---a graph that I shamelessly stole from an email that Casey Research's Bud Conrad sent around yesterday.  One would suspect that it's only a matter of time before the U.S. dollar chart is similarly configured.

I have a lot of stories today---and the final edit is yours.

¤ Critical Reads

Mortgage Lending Drops to 17-Year Low as Rates Curb Borrowing

U.S. mortgage lending is contracting to levels not seen since 1997 — the year Tiger Woods won his first of four Masters championships — as rising interest rates and home prices drive away borrowers.

Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the two largest U.S. mortgage lenders, reported a first-quarter plunge in loan volumes that’s part of an industry-wide dropoff. Lenders made $226 billion of mortgages in the period, the smallest quarterly amount since 1997 and less than one-third of the 2006 average, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington.

Lending has been tumbling since mid-2013 when mortgage rates jumped about a percentage point after the Federal Reserve said it might taper stimulus spending. A surge in all-cash purchases to more than 40% has kept housing prices rising, squeezing more Americans out of the market. That will help push lending down further this year, according to the association.

This article showed up on the moneynews.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sending it along very late last night.

Tensions over Money Flows Bode Poorly for Global Economy

For a bunch of people who just agreed the global economy is doing better, top officials from the world's rich and poor nations sound rather worried.

For poor nations, the easy monetary policies in advanced economies are leading to big swings in capital flows that could destabilize emerging markets. For rich countries, the hoarding of currency by developing nations is blocking progress toward a more stable global economy.

Those tensions, which have been brewing for years, seemed to be rising as finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of 20 economies gathered last week in Washington, as evidenced by harsh words from Washington and Delhi.

Both rich and poor say they are acting in their own self interest, and what makes the conflict so intractable is that both have very rational arguments.

This Reuters piece, filed from Washington, was posted on their Internet site in the wee hours of Sunday morning EDT---and I thank reader "h c" for sharing it with us.

Martin Hutchinson: The Ultimate in Foolish Leverage

The Financial Times revealed this week that trades in index credit default swap (CDS) options had managed to avoid being listed on exchanges, with all the transparency requirements that brings, instead being allowed to continue trading on an over-the-counter basis. The amount outstanding is relatively small in relation to the $25 trillion of CDS outstanding, but lack of transparency is likely to hide a deep underlying problem. I had thought that CDS themselves represented the ultimate in unmanageability by conventional risk management. But index CDS swaptions are worse, being even more leveraged and hence even more liable to excessively large tail risks that can crater the world's banking system.

Let's start with a little background, for those who never read our 2010 book, "Alchemists of Loss," or who have forgotten it. CDS were invented in the 1990s as a way to hedge/bet on credit risk. As an instrument, they have a number of problems, one of which (significant for these new gambling chips) being that there's really no good way to determine how much the thing will pay off in a bankruptcy. The CDS bankruptcy "auction" in which a few million dollars' worth of defaulted debt is put up for auction, to determine the price of instruments worth billions, is far too easily gameable. That's why, when swap market practitioners like myself had looked at the possibility of CDS in the 1980s, we had decided there was no practical way to create a sound product.

Well, dear reader, this short essay is a must read, but don't feel bad if you get a little lost as you progress through it.  If you don't completely understand why you should be terrified of credit default swaps and swaptions, just know that you should be. [That, and collateralized debt obligations [CDO], which he doesn't mention]  You'll be scared enough by the parts you do understand.  This commentary by Martin was posted on the Bear's Lair over at the prudentbear.com Internet site a week ago yesterday---and I thank reader U.D. for bringing it to our attention.

Guardian and Washington Post Win Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

The Guardian and The Washington Post have been awarded the highest accolade in US journalism, winning the Pulitzer prize for public service for their groundbreaking articles on the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities based on the leaks of Edward Snowden.

The award, announced in New York on Monday, comes 10 months after the Guardian published the first report based on the leaks from Snowden, revealing the agency’s bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ phone records.

In the series of articles that ensued, teams of journalists at The Guardian and The Washington Post published the most substantial disclosures of U.S. government secrets since the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam war in 1971.

The Pulitzer committee praised The Guardian for its "revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy".

This article showed up on The Guardian Web site early yesterday evening BST---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

Europe's Top Banks Cut 80,000 More Staff in Post-Crisis Overhaul

Europe's largest banks cut their staff by another 3.5 percent last year and the prospect of a return to pre-crisis employment levels seems far off, despite the region's fledgling economic recovery.

Spurred into action by falling revenue, mounting losses and the need to convince regulators they are no longer "too big to fail", banks across the globe have shrunk radically since the 2008 collapse of U.S. bank Lehman Brothers sparked the financial crisis.

Last year, the tide of bad news began to turn for European banks, which are among the region's largest employers.

But despite the improved outlook, Europe's 30 largest banks by market value cut staff by 80,000 in 2013, calculations by Reuters based on their year-end statements showed.

This short Reuters essay, filed from London, was posted on their Web site on Sunday morning EDT---and it's the second offering of the day from reader "h c".

Banking Union Dominates Final European Parliament Session This Week

Crucial laws for the EU's banking union will headline proceedings in Strasbourg this week as MEPs gather there for the parliament's final session before May's European elections.

On Tuesday (15 April) deputies will debate and then sign off on the three final pieces of banking legislation: pan-EU rules protecting the first €100,000 of individuals' savings; a directive on bank recovery which sets out the hierarchy of shareholders and bondholders who will suffer losses if private banks get into difficulties; and a law establishing a single resolution mechanism for banks.

The agreement establishes a single regime to wind-down banks alongside a common fund worth €55 billion paid by the banks themselves to cover the costs of resolution. The rules will apply to all banks in the eurozone, as well as to those in countries which sign up to them.

This story, filed from Brussels, was posted on the euobserver.com Internet site yesterday morning Europe time---and it's the second contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.  It's worth reading.

Washington Drives the World to War — Paul Craig Roberts

The CIA director was sent to Kiev to launch a military suppression of the Russian separatists in the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine, former Russian territories for the most part that were foolishly attached to the Ukraine in the early years of Soviet rule. 

Washington’s plan to grab Ukraine overlooked that the Russian and Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine were not likely to go along with their insertion into the EU and NATO while submitting to the persecution of Russian speaking peoples.  Washington has lost Crimea, from which Washington intended to eject Russia from its Black Sea naval base. Instead of admitting that its plan for grabbing Ukraine has gone amiss, Washington is unable to admit a mistake and, therefore, is pushing the crisis to more dangerous levels.

If Ukraine dissolves into secession with the former Russian territories reverting to Russia, Washington will be embarrassed that the result of its coup in Kiev was to restore the Russian provinces of Ukraine to Russia.  To avoid this embarrassment, Washington is pushing the crisis toward war.

This essay by Paul was posted on his Web site yesterday---and is definitely worth reading, especially for all serious students of the New Great Game.  My thanks go out to Roy Stephens once again.

Europe Has Subjected the Greek People to a Cruel Experiment

Greece’s triumphant sale of five-year bonds to hedge funds (1/3) and global in investors – half based in London – tells us a great deal about the mental and emotional state of investors.

It tells us very little about the state of the Greek economy or Greek society. It is certainly not evidence that Greece is safely out of the woods. It is even less a vindication of EU/IMF Troika policies, an epic failure that will be studied years hence by scholars.

Normally when a country emerges from the trauma of an IMF austerity regime it has at least a tolerable level of debt, and if need be a devalued currency to restore competitiveness. Tough reforms matched by condign relief. The country is put on a viable path towards recovery.

This has not happened in Greece. Public debt is still 178pc of GDP, despite a haircut of private creditors near 70pc in effective terms, and despite (or because of) serial EU-IMF loan packages – the “occupation loans” as they are known in Greece. This level remains untenable for a country without a sovereign central bank and currency.

This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard blog, which is worth reading as well, was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site on Saturday---and once again I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way.

US Corn Exports to China Drop 85% After Ban on GMO Strains – Industry Report

China’s rejection of shipments of US corn containing traces of unapproved genetically modified maize has caused a significant drop in exports. According to a new report, US traders have lost $427 million in sales.

Overall, China has barred nearly 1.45 million tons of corn shipments since last year, the National Grain and Feed Association, an American industry association, said Friday.

The tally is based on data from export companies and is significantly higher than the previous numbers reported by the media, which said roughly 900,000 tons were affected. US corn exports to China since January are down 85 percent from the same period last year, the report says.

China has been blocking shipments of American corn from its market since November. This was caused by the presence of the MIR162 genetically modified corn strain in the shipments. It was developed by the company Syngenta and has not been approved by the Chinese government since an application was submitted in March 2010.

This article appeared on the Russia Today Web site during the Moscow lunch hour on Saturday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for finding it for us.

Nine King World News Blogs/Audio Interviews

1. John Embry: "The End Game Will Be Disastrous For the U.S. and the West"  2. James Turk: "Comex Casino Lies---and Skyrocketing to New All-Time High"  3. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: "Why This Collapse Will Be So Horrific"  4. Michael Pento: "The End Game For the United States Will Be Catastrophic"  5. John Ing: "China's Massive Gold Hoard---and Global Flight From the Dollar"  6. Robert Fitzwilson: "Alarming Secrets U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are Hiding From the World"  7. Richard Russell: "The Cheapest Thing on the Planet is Silver"  8.  The first audio interview is with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts---and the second audio interview is with Bill Fleckenstein

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

Goldman Stands by $1,050 Gold Target on Outlook for Recovery

Gold will resume a decline as U.S. economic growth accelerates, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which reiterated a forecast for the metal to end the year at $1,050 an ounce.

Bullion’s rally this year was spurred by poor U.S. data probably linked to the weather and rising tension in Ukraine, analysts led by Jeffrey Currie wrote in a report, describing the reasons as transient. With the tapering of the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program, U.S. economic releases will return as the driving force behind lower prices, he wrote.

Gold’s 12-year bull run ended in 2013 as the Fed prepared to reduce monthly bond-buying that fueled gains in asset prices while failing to stoke inflation. Prices rose 10 percent this year even as the Fed cut purchases, with Russia’s annexation of Crimea and mixed U.S. economic data boosting haven demand. Last year, Currie described gold as a “slam-dunk sell” for 2014.

Of course there's no way that gold will even get a sniff of that price, but the mainstream media will print any drivel without question that Wall Street hands them.  I found this Bloomberg story, which was filed from Singapore, posted on their Web site very early yesterday morning Denver time.  I borrowed it from the sharpspixley.com Internet site.

Question Greenspan About Gold at the New Orleans Conference in October

The greatest failure of financial journalism and investment fund management long has been the failure to put specific questions to central banks about their surreptitious interventions in the markets, their market rigging. But participants at this October's New Orleans Investment Conference may have an opportunity to start correcting that failure.

Astounding as it seems, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has agreed to speak at the conference and to take questions from the audience, including questions about gold.

Of course there is no guarantee that Greenspan will answer the questions, or answer them honestly, rather than claim some obligation to protect the secrecy of Federal Reserve operations or deflect questions to the U.S. Treasury Department, whose Exchange Stabilization Fund is explicitly authorized by federal law to trade secretly not only in gold but also in any foreign currencies and "other instruments of credit and securities"...

This commentary by GATA secretary/treasurer Chris Powell was posted on the the gata.org Internet site yesterday.

Bart Chilton Joins America's Largest Law Firm as Policy Advisor

It seems like it was only yesterday (actually it was early November) when infamous CFTC commissioner, legendary threat to gold manipulators nowhere, and Alexander Godunov impersonator Bart Chilton made a very dramatic exit stage left.

Here is what we said at the time:  Having "left traders in their own" during the shutdown, Chilton expressed "excitement" at his new endeavours after sending his resignation letter to President Obama this morning (more poetry? - or body doubles?) "I'm reminded of the old Etta James song, 'At Last,'" said Mr. Chilton, one of the agency's three Democratic members. "At last, we've got this rule here," and at last, he would be leaving the CFTC. This leaves us wondering whether Chilton, no longer burdened by the shackles of his meagre compensation, perhaps can finally do what he has been promising to do for years - become a whistleblower - after all he has insinuated so many times he knows where all the "dirt" is; unless, of course, it was all for show.

The rhetorical answer to the rhetorical question: of course it was all for show, confirmed moments ago when Chilton became just the latest "regulator" to take the great revolving door out of a worthless public service Washington office into a just as worthless, but much better paying private-sector Washington office. Presenting the latest employee of DLA Piper, the largest law firm in the US, and possibly the world, by number of partners - Bart Chilton, poet.

This should come as no surprise to anyone, as it certainly didn't for me.  This news item showed up on the Zero Hedge Web site late yesterday evening EDT---and I thank Elliot Simon for sending it to me just after midnight.

New York Fed Contradicts Its Former Vice President About Gold Accounts

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has contradicted the assertion of its former vice president that it has provided gold accounts to bullion banks.

The assertion of such accounts was made by H. David Willey, the former New York Fed vice president in charge of foreign central bank accounts and the gold vault at the New York Fed, in a speech given in May 2004 to the American Institute for Economic Reserve in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Willey said: "The Federal Reserve Bank of New York provides limited facilities for gold transactions. The bank will allow gold accounts only for foreign monetary authorities and for banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System, not for other gold dealers in the U.S. markets."

I found this commentary by Chris Powell posted on the gata.org Web site yesterday.

Anglo American "Mulls Sale of South African Platinum Mines"

Anglo American's chief executive has hinted that the mining titan is looking to offload its strike-hit South African platinum mines to concentrate on open-cast extraction.

The London-listed firm's operations in South Africa's platinum belt north of Johannesburg have been idle for close to three months, forcing the firm to dig into reserves and hitting its bottom line.

About 80,000 miners are on strike and have vowed not to return to the shafts until their minimum monthly wage is doubled to 12,500 rand, around $1,200.

Anglo American says that demand, if met, would wreck its platinum subsidiary.

This AFP story, was posted on the france24.com Internet site yesterday morning---and I thank reader B.V. for his final contribution to today's column.

Gold scarce, India's Silver Jewellery Exports Double

A shortage of gold as a raw material and the consequent decline in gold jewellery exports appears to have opened up new avenues of growth for silver jewellery in India.

India's silver jewellery exports rose 45.33% to $84.1 million in February 2014, and jumped 89% in the 11-month period to $1.35 billion, according to data from the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

Council data also showed that silver jewellery exports rose 109% between April 2013 and February 2014, to $1.3 billion (Rs 81.4 billion) from $642 million (Rs 38.85 billion) in the same period of the previous financial year.

Pankaj Parekh, vice chairman of the Council said it was not just silver jewellery that shone in the overseas market, but rather exports of silver utensils, artifacts and other silver articles too continued with their upward trend to the US, parts of Europe and Japan.

This silver-related news item, filed from Mumbai, showed up on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday---and it's a must read of course.

Economists Notwithstanding, Indians Know How to Put Their Gold to Work

It's indestructible. It's fungible. It's beautiful. And for Indians, gold -- whether it's 18, 22, or 24-carat -- is semi-sacred.

The late distinguished Indian economist I.G. Patel observed, "In prosperity as in the hour of need, the thoughts of most Indians turn to gold."

No marriage takes place without gold ornaments presented to the bride. Even the poorest Indian outfits girls in the family with a simple nose ring of gold.

The India of old was known as "sone ki chidiya" or "golden sparrow," so opulent were the jewels of its rulers from the Moghul dynasty to the princely states.

For Indian women who were not formally educated, gifting them gold was their social security. Today, whether Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim, bedecking the bride in gold invests her with good fortune, according to anthropologist Nilika Mehrotra.

This story, posted on the npr.org Internet site in the wee hours of yesterday morning, was something I found posted on the gata.org Internet site yesterday as well.  Its real headline reads "A Gold Obsession Pays Dividends For Indian Women".  Needless to say, it's worth reading.

Koos Jansen: Shanghai Withdrawals Falling but Still Above Last Year's

Weekly withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange have been declining for five weeks but remain above withdrawals for the same period last year, gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen reports at the Swiss Internet site ingoldwetrust.ch.

This is another gold-related news item I found on the gata.org Internet site yesterday.

Grant Williams: All Markets Are Rigged, Maybe Gold Most of All

All markets are rigged these days, perhaps the gold market most of all, fund manager Grant Williams writes in the new edition of his Things That Make You Go Hmmm... newsletter.

Williams writes: "In order for market rigging to be stopped, the changes have to come from those entrusted with regulation, in the form of stern punishments for those caught rigging them, and there must be changes to the rules to close the loopholes that allowed this kind of activity to occur in the first place.

"Instead, the bodies which supposedly oversee the markets are involved in the most serious rigging of all.

Grant's gold commentary isn't very long---and there isn't anything in it that you haven't see already in this column---but it, along with the rest of the column [which is a big read], is definitely worth your time.  I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the above two paragraphs of introduction.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

But under the hood, things got a lot stranger in silver.  For starters, the concentrated short position of the four largest shorts increased by nearly 1,900 contracts. Accordingly, I would peg JPMorgan’s short corner in Comex silver to now be 22,000 contracts, up from the 20,000 contracts the bank held last week. After removing spreads (as must be done), JPMorgan holds 16.6% of the short side of the entire Comex short position in silver futures. If the 4 and 8 largest shorts in Comex silver added shorts (which they did to the tune of 2.200 contracts combined) and the commercial short position increased by less than 500 contracts that means the raptors (the smaller commercials apart from the big 8) had to buy 1,700 new longs, which was the case.
Here’s what is so strange – even as the raptors have built up their net long position by almost 18,000 contracts to 37,500 contracts since March 4, JPMorgan and the other 7 big silver shorts have added 7,000 new shorts in that same time (with JPM accounting for 4,000 new short contracts). In fact, the concentrated net short position of the 8 largest Comex silver shorts is now at the highest level in three and a half years; 66,435 contracts, or the equivalent of 332 million oz. Huh? Silver prices are stinking up the joint and near the lowest levels in 3.5 years and the concentrated short position is the largest it has been in that time. What other evidence is required to prove that silver has been manipulated lower by JPMorgan and the other concentrated Comex shorts?

Up until very recently, the raptors and JPMorgan and the other big concentrated silver shorts generally worked the same side of the street, but with different agendas. Usually it was the raptors and the big shorts aligned against and milking the technical funds; the raptors for pure profit, the big shorts in order to contain the price first, with profits a secondary objective. That meant that the raptors and JPM and the other big silver shorts all bought and sold in harmony. These past four or five weeks have featured a very different pattern with the raptors buying big and JPM and the other big shorts actually selling pretty heavy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the raptors adding long contracts while JPM and the others added shorts. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 12 April 2014

It was another day that, even though there were relatively low volumes in both silver and gold, it was obvious that prices were being actively managed---and that the prices of all four precious metals [silver and gold in particular] were capped during the New York trading session.  Fortunately, all this data should be in Friday's Commitment of Traders Report.

Here are the silver and gold charts with yesterday's price data included.

With the exception of one day, silver has been closed at or just below the $20 spot price for three straight weeks.  A chart pattern like the one above cannot occur in a free market---which it isn't.

The gold price has now closed about its 50-day moving average for 3 consecutive days---and it will be interesting to see if this rally is allowed to continue.  Even if it does continue, it's obvious from the chart patterns of the last week or so, that the daily price rises are being heavily controlled---and it's equally as obvious that all four precious metals would be doing much better than they are if allowed to trade freely.  It's still entirely possible that we could get a "failure" at this level, but we'll have to wait it out.

In the Grant Williams' commentary that's posted in the Critical Reads section, he had a couple of gold charts embedded in it that you can't make out at all, so I asked Nick to send them along---and here they are below.  I've posted them on many occasions---and the "click to enlarge" feature works wonders here.  The contents in the dialogue boxes tells all.  If you started with $100 on January 1, 1970---and invested as indicated on these two charts, the amounts show on the far right is what that $100 investment would have returned after 40+ years.

As Grant pointed out---and as I've said on many occasions as well---these 40+ year charts are prima facie evidence of the Anglo/American price management scheme that has been in place since gold hit $850/oz. 30+ years ago.  Only the willfully blind can't/won't see it, but I know you can, dear reader---or you wouldn't be reading this.

Today is the cutoff for this Friday's COT Report and as always, I'm hoping that everything that happens today in gold and silver gets reported in a timely manner.  The data from two week ago, wasn't---and we had big spillover into last Friday's report, which really skewed the numbers in the last two reports.

And as I write this paragraph at 3:05 a.m. EDT, the London market has been open about five minutes.  I also note that the HFT boyz have been up to their usual tricks during Far East trading, as all four precious metals got "the treatment."  Gold volume is already a hair over 30,000 contracts---and silver's volume is around 9,000 contracts---with little, if any of the volume, rollovers or switches.  And not that it matters, but the dollar index is up a handful of basis points.

When I was talking to Ted yesterday, I mentioned the fact that I was concerned about the large net long position that still existed in the Non-Commercial category of the COT Report.  In reply, Ted pointed out that there was the big long position in the "Managed Money" category in the Disaggregated Commitment of Traders Report.  The "Managed Money" position is included in the "Non-Commercial" category of the legacy COT Report, the one I follow every week.  But, as Ted mentioned, normally this category would be net short---especially considering the current silver price action as of late---but that's not the case this time.  At the moment, the category is net long about 8,400 contracts---and Ted is wondering who might be sitting in the bushes on the long side at this juncture---and in that category in particular.  That's a good question---and I know that Ted will have much more to say about it in his mid-week commentary to paying subscribers tomorrow.

And as I send today's column off to Stowe, Vermont, I note that all four precious metals are still under selling pressure from the high-frequency traders.  Gold volume is over 45,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is just above 10,000 contracts.  The dollar index is still up about the same number of basis points as it was a couple of hours ago.

I'm must admit that I'm not exactly looking forward to what might await me from a price perspective when I check in later this morning.  As you are more than keenly aware, the price action at the moment has nothing to do with supply and demand, as it's all paper trading on the Comex.  You wonder what has to happen to goad the mining companies into action.  If not these engineered prices---and not the multitude of class-action lawsuits against the LBMA---then what, you might ask?  A good question for which there is no answer, as it doesn't appear the executives running these companies have a gonad to share amongst each other---let alone two of them.

See you tomorrow.

Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:21:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Pressure on India to Cut Gold Duty Mounts]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/pressure-on-india-to-cut-gold-duty-mounts/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/pressure-on-india-to-cut-gold-duty-mounts/#When:11:56:00Z "If they really set their HFT foxes amongst the golden pigeons"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

Looking at the Friday trading session in gold as a whole, not much happened.  There was a bit of a selloff starting an hour before London opened---and the subsequent rally that began around 10 a.m. BST lasted less than two hours---and after that the price drifted lower for the rest of the day.  Not much to see here.

Of course, the low and high weren't much to write home about---$1,314.00 and $1,24.20 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Friday session at $1,318.40 spot, up a whole 30 cents on the day.  Volume, net of May, was only 101,000 contracts.

The price chart for silver was virtually the same as gold.  The early morning rally in London took silver back above the $20 spot price mark---and has been the case for nearly every day for the last 14 consecutive days, it was closed back below that price by the end of trading in New York.

The difference between the low and high price ticks looked to be about two bits---and I'm not even going to bother looking them up on the CME's website.

Silver closed in New York yesterday at $19.96 spot, down 7 cents on the day.  Net volume was only 22,500 contracts---and down substantially from Thursday when "da boyz" threw everything they had at the silver price.

Platinum was similar, although it did a bit more flopping and chopping in a ten-dollar price range during the New York trading session---and it closed unchanged.

Palladium was following the same price pattern as the other three precious metals up until shortly before 10 a.m. EDT---and then it blasted off to the upside, only to run into a seller of last resort shortly after it broke above the $800 price mark.  It got sold down hard from there, but managed to finish above $800 spot.  Just as a matter of interest, the low and high ticks in palladium were recorded as $785.15 and $812.50 in the June contract---and heaven only knows how high the price would have gone if that not-for-profit seller hadn't put in an appearance.

The dollar index closed in New York late Thursday afternoon at 79.41---and just sat there until until an hour before the London open.  It chopped around a bit before hitting its 79.54 'high' about 8:30 a.m. EDT---and then gave a bit of that back going into the close.  The index finished the Friday session at 79.49---up 8 whole basis points.  Nothing to see here, either, folks---please move along.

Once again the gold stocks opened in positive territory, but couldn't hold on---and drifted quietly lower as the New York trading session advanced.  The HUI finished just off its low of the day---and down another 1.49%.

Despite the fact that silver was down only 7 cents on the day, the silver equities declined some more, as Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 2.34%.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that xx gold and xx silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.

Another day---and another withdrawal for GLD.  This time it was 57,803 troy ounces.  And as of 7:47 p.m. yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.  I attempted to check the SLV data while I was editing today's column in the wee hours of this morning, but they've changed their website around---and the link I've always used is now inactive.  I hope to have that fixed before Tuesday's column.

There was a tiny sales report from the US Mint for the second day in a row.  They sold 57,500 silver eagles---and that was it.  Month-to-date the mint has sold 17,000 troy ounces of gold eagles---10,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---1,345,500 silver eagles---and 600 platinum eagles.  Based on these figures, the current silver/gold ratio works out to a hair under 50 to 1.

There was no reported in/out activity in gold over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday.  In silver, there was a smallish deposit of 4,958 troy ounces---but a very large 1,179,247 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to the activity in silver is here.

The Commitment of Traders report was a bit of a strange animal.  I'll just hit the highlights and leave the rest to Ted Butler.  Since I didn't know what to expect, I figured that I wouldn't be surprised by what was in it.  But I was, anyway.

In a week where the silver price didn't do much---and the $20 price was miles below any relevant moving average, the Commercial net short position increased by a rather small 463 contracts.  The Commercial net short position now stands at 144.5 million ounces.  The surprise under the hood here, according to Ted, was that JPMorgan increased their net short position by another 2,000 contracts.  They now hold 22,000 Comex short positions [net] in silver, or 110 million  troy ounces.  That represents 76% of the total Commercial net short position I just computed---and a bit over 16.5% of the entire Comex silver market on a net basis.

It's a complete mystery to Ted---and to me, now that I know about it---as to why JPMorgan would be aggressively going shorter at the same time as the raptors [the Commercial traders other than the Big 8] were aggressively adding to their long positions during the same reporting week.  It's a situation Ted doesn't remember ever seeing before, as normally JPM and the raptors are in sync with each other.

It's entirely possible that all the data from the prior reporting week wasn't  reported in a timely manner---and what didn't make it, ended up in this report, which skewed the numbers.  I mentioned that as a possibility earlier this week.

I know that Ted has noticed something else in the COT numbers that came as a surprise to him---and I'll be interested in what he has to say about this in his report to paying subscribers later today.

As different as silver was, the COT for gold was way out there as well.

Just eye-balling the gold chart, it looks like gold was up between 15 and 20 bucks during the reporting week, which isn't a lot.  However, the COT Report in gold showed that the Commercial net short position improved by a massive 12,286 contracts, or 1.23 million ounces of gold.  The Commercial net short position is now down to 10.17 million  troy ounces.  The technical funds pitched about 8,500 long contracts and went short about 3,100 contracts on top of that amount.

But the real under-the-hood surprise according to Ted, was that despite this massive improvement in the headline number, JPMorgan actually sold another 7,000 contracts of their long-side corner during the reporting week.  Their long-side Comex corner in gold is now down to about 36,000 contracts, or 3.6 million ounces.

I suppose that, like silver, there was a lot of carry-over from the previous reporting week, as that's the only explanation that I can come up with.  I also suppose there could have been reporting errors from the CFTC, but not in both metals at once.  As I said in silver, I'll wait for Ted's take on all this, as he's the real authority on this report.

Here's Nick Laird's most excellent "Days of World Production to Cover Comex Short Positions" chart in each physical commodity traded on the Comex.  It shows the short positions of the four and eight largest traders in each one.  Silver is still nailed to the right hand side of this chart---and only the grotesque short position in palladium knocked it out for a few months a year or so ago---but now the grotesque short position in silver is back in top spot once again.

All this chart does is reconfirm what's in the Bank Participation Report every month as well, as "four or less" U.S. bullion banks have massive Comex short positions in all four precious metals.  Gold's two bars in the above chart would look entirely different if JPMorgan was on the short side in gold instead of the long side.  The revised gold position would muscle out cocoa---and the four precious metals would be in the top four positions on this chart.  JPMorgan's 22,000 contract short-side corner in Comex silver represents about 55 days of world silver production.

And while I'm looking at this chart, I now know one of things that Ted is going to talk about in his weekly review later today---and why.  I'll steal his comments about it for Tuesday's column.

I don't have all that many stories for a Saturday---and only a couple that I've been saving for today---so I hope you have enough time in what's left of your weekend to read the ones you like.

¤ Critical Reads

SEC Eyes Test That May Lead to Shift Away from "Dark Pools"

U.S. securities regulators are considering testing a proposed reform that could drive business to major stock exchanges and away from alternative trading venues such as "dark pools" that critics say may be hurting investors by reducing the quality of pricing.

The proposal, which has so far only been discussed among staff involved in policy making at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, could limit how much trading occurs inside brokerages and in dark pools, according to people familiar with the matter.

The measure aims to address a concern among some regulators and academics about the increasing level of trading that happens outside of exchanges.

They say that the amount of trading being done in the "dark" means that publicly quoted prices for stocks on exchanges may no longer properly reflect where the market is, meaning that investors may not be getting the best prices for their trades.

This Reuters story, co-filed from Washington and New York, was posted on their website very early yesterday morning EDT---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for today's first news item.  It's definitely worth reading.

Doug Noland: Financial Stability

So I’m seeing significant confirmation of the bearish thesis – fundamentally and more recently in the marketplace. The global liquidity backdrop has become less bullish. Central bank liquidity has peaked. A strong yen restrains “carry trade” speculative leveraging, while changes in China’s currency management regime reduce the incentive for yuan “carry trades.” Especially with the prospect of Fed balance sheet growth ending later this year, the notion of the Fed as the markets’ liquidity backstop is now in question. From my perspective, the leveraged speculating community will need to adjust to a much less favorable backdrop for risk-taking and leveraging. The marginal operator in the marketplace is evolving from buyer to seller; from risk-taker to risk reducer and hedger; from liquidity provider to liquidity taker.

While I don’t expect market volatility is going away anytime soon, I do see an unfolding backdrop conducive to one tough bear market. Everyone got silly bullish in the face of very serious domestic and global issues. Global securities markets are a problematic “crowded trade.” Marc Faber commented that a 2014 crash could be even worse than 1987. To be sure, today’s incredible backdrop with Trillions upon Trillions of hedge funds, ETFs, derivatives and the like make 1987 portfolio insurance look like itsy bitsy little peanuts. So there are at this point rather conspicuous reasons why Financial Stability has always been and must remain a central bank’s number one priority (whether Dr. Evans appreciates this or not). Just how in the devil was this ever lost on contemporary central bankers?

Doug's most excellent commentary was posted on the prudentbear.com Internet site early yesterday evening---and I thank reader U.D. for sending it our way.

Debt-Laden France Sells Off Lavish Foreign Properties

The official Manhattan residence of France’s ambassador to the United Nations went on sale this week, with French authorities hoping to collect 34.5 million euros ($48 million) for the luxury property.

The sale of the 18-room duplex overlooking Park Avenue – located in the same building that Jackie Kennedy and John D. Rockefeller at one time called home – has been planned for over one year, and it is part of a wider effort by the Foreign Ministry, known in France as the Quai d'Orsay, to slash costs across the globe.

The sale of the Park Avenue apartment was in line with a new “streamlined management of the ministry’s real estate stock,” Dana Purcarescu, spokeswoman for France’s embassy in Washington, told Reuters on Thursday.

While France is still a key player on the global stage, as military interventions in Africa have recently highlighted, it is no secret the former imperial giant has ceded influence to other Western and emerging powers over the years.

This interesting news item appeared on the france24.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for sliding it into my in-box just before I hit the send button on today's column.

Germany Risks EU Fines with Record Current Account Surplus

Germany's current account surplus will smash all records this year, risking a serious political showdown with Brussels and the ultimate sanction of EU fines.

A joint report by the leading German institutes, or "Wise Men", said the country's external surplus would keep rising to a modern-era high of 7.9% of GDP this year, far above the 6% limit set by Brussels under the new Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure.

The Commission warned Germany late last year that it faced possible sanctions if failed to do its "homework", either by boosting consumption at home or by weaning its economy off excess reliance on foreign markets. The threat caused consternation in Germany's press and a vitriolic exchange with Brussels.

Well, dear reader, you have to ask yourself just one question---and that is "How did it come to this?"---penalizing a country for being too successful.  This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard commentary was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site very early Thursday evening BST---and it's the first contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.  It's certainly worth skimming.

EU Taking Putin's Letter on Gas Transit "Seriously" – Merkel

The EU is taking seriously President Vladimir Putin’s letter to 18 European countries, in which he warned that Ukraine’s debt crisis could affect gas transit from Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

"There are many reasons to seriously take into account this message […] and for Europe to deliver a joint European response,” Itar-Tass reported Merkel as saying.

She said the issue would be discussed in a meeting between European Union foreign ministers Monday.

This news item showed up on the Russia Today website early yesterday evening Moscow time---and it's another contribution from Roy Stephens.

Europe Folds as Putin Tells It to Pay Ukraine's Gazprom Bill, or Else

Another day ending in "y" means another day in which Putin plays the G(roup of most insolvent countries)-7 like a fiddle.

The latest: Europe should provide aid to Ukraine to ensure uninterrupted natural-gas deliveries to the region, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said as reported by Bloomberg.

"Russia is the only country helping Ukraine’s economy with energy supplies that are not paid for,"  Dmitry Peskov told reporters today in Moscow,  commenting on President Vladimir Putin’s letter yesterday to 18 European heads of state. “The letter is a call to immediately review this situation, which is absurd on the one hand and critical on the other.

Here's the Zero Hedge take on all this.  This commentary was posted on their website yesterday morning---and I thank reader B.V. for his second contribution to today's column.

Six More Ukraine/Crimea/Russia-Related Stories

1. Ukrainian prime minister offers more power to local regions: UPI  2. Putin to US: It’s bad to read other people’s letters: Russia Today  3. Europe is hard on secessions: Russia Today op-ed  4. Kiev backpedals on referendums after deadline to stop protest expires: Russia Today  5. Voices of Ukraine: "Kiev, people are not cattle!": Russia Today op-ed  6. "Ukraine can't have it both ways"Russia Today op-ed

[The above stories are courtesy of reader B.V.---and Roy Stephens]

All Hail the Draghi Put: The Global Bond Market Is Now Well and Truly Broken

The evil of modern central banking can nowhere better be seen than in this week’s mad stampede into $4 billion of Greek bonds. The fact is, Greece is not creditworthy at nearly any coupon yield, but most certainly not at the 4.75% sticker that was attached to the offering.

After a 20% contraction the Greek economy has been literally eviscerated—with not much left except tourism, yogurt plants and a 27% unemployment rate. It has an impossible debt-to-GDP ratio of 170% and, worse still, almost all of that debt is owned by EC institutions and the IMF. That is, this week’s “winners” stand in line behind the “bail-you-in-first-brigade” that will find some way to crush private investors—-English law indentures or not—when repayment of their own tower of loans comes into question.

And the claim that Greece’s fiscal affairs have turned for the better is really preposterous.  Like Italy and some of the other PIIGS, the Greek government has discovered the trick of off-balance sheet financing by stiffing its vendors. The backlog of “payables” to pharmacies, hospitals, doctors, garbage haulers, road maintenance vendors and countless more, along with deep arrearages in payments to pensioners and other transfer payment beneficiaries, has been manipulated by the finance ministry and their Brussels overseers to a far-thee-well, and now totals in the tens of billions.

This commentary by David Stockman showed up on the Zero Hedge website late yesterday evening---and my thanks go out to reader Harry Grant for sending me this, as he just made it under the wire at 5:18 a.m. EDT.

Seymour M. Hersh: Turkey – The Red Line and the Rat Line

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the U.S. Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the "red line" he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

This essay, a must read for all serious students of the New Great Game, is one of the most serious pieces of investigative journalism that you're likely to see anywhere.  This is what the main stream press used to be like.  The story also falls into two different categories.  The first is, "you can't make this stuff up"---and the second is "the truth is stranger than fiction."  I hope you have time to read it, as it's sure to be a movie script some day.  I thank Casey Research's own Nick Giambruno for sending this my way on Monday, but for obvious reasons, it had to wait for my Saturday column.

Dust Storms Cloud Iran’s Future

Iran is, literally, being blown away. Stifling dust storms frequently now envelop both big cities and rural towns across much of Iran, the world’s 17th-largest country. They threaten to disrupt crucial parts of public and economic life, education, commerce, public health, agriculture, trade and transportation. Swirling clouds of windblown silt, soil, and sediment already affected 23 of Iran’s 31 provinces in 2013, according to Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, head of the country’s Environmental Protection Organization.

Iran’s massive dust storms could also spill well across Iran’s borders, generating serious regional consequences and tensions. Dust clouds veiled Tehran for 117 days of the Iranian year, which ran from March 2012 to March 2013. And blinding sand storms blocked roads across the eastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan last summer, isolating nearly 60 towns and villages.

Dust storms regularly arise in arid and semi-arid regions around the world. Indeed, the Islamic Republic sits in the center of a Northern Hemisphere “dust belt” stretching from the west coast of North Africa, through the Middle East, and across South and Central Asia to China. Winds gusting over the open, level landscape of Iran’s dry plateaus, deserts, and salt flats readily pick up loose soil and sand, lifting bits of dirt and grit into the atmosphere and carrying it tens, hundreds, or even thousands of miles away.

I posted a story on this issue last year, but this two-page essay by David Michael really fleshes it out.  It showed up on the Asia Times website yesterday sometime---and if you don't read it, then you should at least look at the pictures.  I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to our attention.

Global Warming Scare Tactics

If you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime. A trailer for Years of Living Dangerously is terrifying, replete with images of melting glaciers, raging wildfires and rampaging floods. “I don’t think scary is the right word,” intones one voice. “Dangerous, definitely.”

Showtime’s producers undoubtedly have the best of intentions. There are serious long-term risks associated with rising greenhouse gas emissions, ranging from ocean acidification to sea-level rise to decreasing agricultural output.

But there is every reason to believe that efforts to raise public concern about climate change by linking it to natural disasters will backfire. More than a decade’s worth of research suggests that fear-based appeals about climate change inspire denial, fatalism and polarization.

This short op-ed piece showed up on the New York Times website on Tuesday---and because of the content, had to wait for today's column.  It's also courtesy of Roy Stephens.

China Fake Data to Skew More Export Numbers

China's data distortions will muddy analysis of the nation’s trade until at least June, making it harder to assess the strength of the world’s biggest exporter and second-largest economy.

That’s when China will provide figures that compare with what Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc economist Louis Kuijs says are “pretty clean” numbers from May 2013 that followed a crackdown on inflated invoices used to disguise capital inflows. Government data yesterday that showed March exports unexpectedly fell 6.6% from a year earlier marked the peak of distortions, RBS said.

China’s reluctance to revise figures it’s acknowledged were inflated has left the job of explaining why the trade numbers are better than they appear to analysts like Kuijs, as the nation endures its worst economic slowdown since the global financial crisis. The distortions add to investor and analyst concerns that the quality of data from jobs to gross domestic product isn’t good enough for a country that’s driving commodity prices and Asian growth.

This Bloomberg news item, filed from Beijing, was posted on their Internet site Thursday evening Denver time---and I thank Elliot Simon for sharing it with us.

Forex Scandal Hits Singapore Central Bank

A suspended Deutsche Bank trader may have had inappropriate links to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), it emerged yesterday.

London-based sales director Kai Lew was put on leave last month as part of the bank's internal probe into alleged foreign exchange benchmark manipulation.

The action was taken because she had communicated improperly with MAS, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

The revelation means Singapore's central bank joins the Bank of England in having links with the emerging scandal.

This short news item was posted on the kitco.com Internet site yesterday---and it's courtesy of reader B.V.

Three King World News Blogs

1. Egon von Greyerz: "Global Implosion---and Why the IMF Just Lied to the Entire World"  2. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: "2014 Will Be a Year of Reckoning For the U.S."  3. John Hathaway: "Remarkable Events Taking Place As the War in Gold Heats Up".

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

John Hathaway: Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter, First Quarter 2014

We observe that many investors who understand, and may well have been deeply committed to the investment rationale for gaining exposure to potential currency debasement, have been scarred by two extremely difficult years of negative performance and are therefore on the sidelines looking for a comfortable point to reenter the sector. In the meantime, we have witnessed the entry of contrarian value investors whose rationale can be summed up as viewing gold mining shares as an inexpensive way to protect capital in the event of a broad correction in equity and capital markets. It seems highly certain to us that the positive returns generated by equity markets over the past two years have represented a substantial barrier for capital to reenter precious metals. We therefore believe that a bear market in equities would constitute a catalyst to drive gold and precious metals equities sharply higher.

In terms of supply and demand flows, the stage is set in our opinion for higher gold prices. No mining company management in its right mind would commit to a program of mine construction at current prices. Therefore, we believe that mine supply will shrink in the years ahead, especially after 2015. Given the lead times involved in new mine construction and even with a moderately rising trend in gold prices, supply could be constrained through the end of the current decade. The demand picture, especially from Asian consumers and possible central banks, looks robust. The flow of gold into China continues to set records and the all-important consumption by the Indian subcontinent remains solid. The Chinese government, acutely aware to the downside risks of its $4 trillion exposure to the US currency, has almost certainly been surreptitiously accumulating physical gold as a hedge. There has been no update from official sources on central bank holdings since 2009, and if China is still in an accumulation mode, one can be certain that they have taken full advantage of the two year price decline and that their future intentions remain a well-guarded secret.

This commentary by John was posted on the tocqueville.com Internet site early yesterday evening---and it's a must read for sure.  It's the same commentary that was posted in the King World News section just above this story, but without the perpetual hyperbole---and with the correct headline.

Sprott Money Weekly Wrap-Up with Rick Rule

This week, Rick Rule discusses the debate between emerging markets and central banks, impact of South African strikes to platinum supply and prices, and differences between Japan and US economies.

This 8:47-minute audio interview was posted on the sprottmoney.com Internet site yesterday---and I'm not in a position to comment on it, as I haven't had the time to listen to it as of yet.

Koos Jansen: New Physical Gold Exchange in Singapore

I was tipped of by one of my readers on a new gold exchange operating in Singapore; Allocated Bullion Solutions Singapore. After taking a look on their website I asked their public relations desk for the details of their business. Websites can be incomplete and I wanted to be sure on what kind of exchange it was. They kindly responded whereupon a comprehensive Q&A followed.

This item was posted on the ingoldwetrust.com Internet site yesterday---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.

Alasdair Macleod: Gold and Bail-Ins

Even allocated gold probably isn't safe in an insolvent bank being restructured under government supervision, GoldMoney research director Alasdair Macleod writes today, especially since Western central banks may no longer have the gold they long have used to rescue bullion banks in trouble.

Alasdair's commentary is headlined Gold and Bail-Ins and it's posted at GoldMoney's Internet site.  This is another item I found on the gata.org Internet site yesterday.

Gold Rush Threatens West Africa's Cocoa Future

A month ago, Bouafu Kouassi dug a neat circular hole in the middle of his one-hectare cocoa plantation in western Ivory Coast, and, sifting through the gravel on his shovel, found the unmistakeable traces of gold dust.

With luck, it could transform his life, but it could just destroy his farm. And as the story repeats across the cocoa heartland of the world's top producer and neighbouring Ghana, the second-largest, it could do lasting damage to the industry.

Today, nearly three dozen vertical shafts plunge down into the soil beneath Kouassi's cocoa trees, branching out into a web of underground tunnels 10 metres below the surface.

This longish, but very interesting Reuters essay---filed from Yoho, Ivory Coast---was posted on their website early yesterday morning BST---and I thank reader B.V. for his final contribution to today's column.  It's worth reading if you have the time---and/or the interest.

Gold Smuggling Arrests Jump 750% YoY in India

While cases of gold smuggling in India have jumped 265% from 40 in 2012-13 to 146 in 2013-14, the number of people arrested has shot up by 750%, from 30 in 2012-13 to 255 in 2013-14, data from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence shows.

"Gold imports through the legal channel have come down considerably. The chorus to decrease import duty is gaining everyday, and the recent trade figures are indicative that things have slumped to a new low," said Manish Kedia, bullion trader.

Data shows that gold smuggling cases at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, have jumped 15 times in the last one year. Around 75% of the gold seized by customs officials at the airport in 2013-14 has been after August 2013, when the Indian government slapped 10% duty on gold imports.

This gold-related news story, filed from Mumbai, was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday sometime.

Pressure on India to Cut Gold Duty Mounts

The stage appears to be set for India to reduce import duty on gold.

Government data released on Friday showed that gold and silver imports have declined 40% to $33.46 billion in 2013-14, as compared to the $55.79 billion in 2012-13. India's exports have jumped a bit, while imports dipped by over 8% narrowing the trade deficit.

A sharp decrease in gold and silver imports has also helped narrow the trade gap to $138.59 billion from $190.33 billion, though crude oil imports continued to surge ahead.

Bimal Jalan, former governor with India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), told newspersons that if India's current account deficit (CAD) "is okay, and it is comfortable just now, there is no reason to control gold imports, particularly if (gold) prices are reasonable."

Here's another story from the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday.  This one was also filed from Mumbai.

Hugely Outnumbered – Western Gold Bears by Asian Gold Enthusiasts

Within an interesting almost hour-long discussion published on Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity website, Alasdair Macleod of Gold Money made the interesting – but in retrospect, patently obvious – comment that gold buyers and sellers in the West are hugely outnumbered by a traditionally gold hoarding community in Asia. And as Asian economies develop, this gold-oriented (carefully chosen word!) community is expanding rapidly as is its purchasing power. Macleod commented thus: “The point is there are 4 billion people in Asia who have got a very old-fashioned view of gold, and they have become wealthy over the last 20 years. And their view is likely to prevail against the ~1 billion of us in North America and Western Europe. I mean it really is as simple as that. It's not a question of Austrian economics, or Keynesian, or whatever. We're outnumbered.” 

This Asian appetite for gold has been expanding. It certainly hit a record last year as seen by the enormous volumes of recorded Chinese imports and gold movements out of the Shanghai Gold Exchange, the anecdotal evidence of a huge amount of gold being smuggled into India to try and circumvent the country’s gold import restrictions, and the massive level of gold trade seen through Dubai – most of which will have been destined for points East. Now even if this gold demand stutters this year given a growth downturn in the Chinese economy, it will still remain at an extremely high level – indeed Hong Kong has already reported record gold export figures to mainland China for the first two months of the year, with these figures supported by data showing big withdrawals of gold through the Shanghai Gold Exchange. With the prospect, perhaps likelihood, of India’s gold import restrictions being reduced, or lifted altogether one suspects that overall Eastern demand will continue to remain strong through the year, easily soaking up new mine supply and any forced sales out of the gold ETFs.

This commentary by Lawrie was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday as well.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

Because silver’s unique dual demand profile makes it fundamentally different from most other metals and commodities, its real production and consumption must be analyzed differently. Whereas one might devote the most attention in evaluating prospective changes in world mine production and industrial consumption in commodities like copper, lead or zinc, such an approach has proven unproductive in silver. None of the price moves over the past 20 years or longer in silver have had much, if anything, to do with real production or industrial consumption. The clearest proof is that silver ran to almost $50 at a time of record high world production and had also lost its leading industrial demand component in the ten years leading up to that high (photography).

Even though industrial demand, combined with all other fabrication demand, makes up close to 90% of the total silver annual production of one billion oz (mine, plus recycling), this demand does not exert a proportionate influence on price. It is the other 10% of silver demand, in the form of investment in 1,000 oz bars that typically moves the price. I think the key to understanding real silver supply and demand is to focus on the 10% investment demand component. After deducting the 900 million oz total silver fabrication demand (industrial, jewelry, the minting of coins, etc.) from the billion ounces of current total production, the remainder of 100 million oz available for investment in the form of 1,000 oz bars will determine the price of silver. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 09 April 2014

Today's pop "blast from the past" features Nat King Cole with his daughter Natalie Cole singing Nat's most famous number.  You'll know it in an instant---and the link is here.

Today's classical "blast from the past" dates from the early 18th century.  It's the second Brandenburg Concerto, BWV 1047, but only the first two movements, as I couldn't find the third movement [Allegro assai] anywhere in the right sidebar over at YouTube.  Too bad, as it's the most famous of the movements.  I don't see his name in the credits anywhere, but it looks like the late Karl Richter is conducting from the harpsichord.  It's a wonderful performance, what there is of it---and the link is here.  Note: I had to dig for it while I was editing this column, but I found the third movement.  However I have no time to rewrite this paragraph, so here it is.

With low volume and little interest in the precious metals [excluding palladium's price action, of course] yesterday, you can consider Friday just another day off the calendar.  But I wasn't happy to watch the precious metal stock prices get it in the neck for the second day in a row.  It's obvious that the decline in stocks on the U.S. exchanges are having a spill-over effect.  The precious metal equities have given up over half their gains of 2014 so far---and the premiums [such as they were] on some of the precious metal mutual funds that I follow on a daily basis, are starting to unwind.

Here are the charts for both gold and silver once again---and updated with yesterday's price performance.

Although we closed above the 50-day moving average in gold for the second day in a row, this loss of momentum---entirely caused by JPMorgan Chase et al---will/could set up the chart pattern for a 'failure' at this moving average.  I stated the same thing in this space yesterday, but with one more data point added, my conviction remains unchanged.  And as Ted said on the phone yesterday, the COT set up is such that "da boyz" could peel $100 off the gold price if they really set their HFT foxes amongst the golden pigeons.

The situation in silver is similar, except for the fact the metal is well below any significant moving average but, like gold, the technical funds are still massively long---and JPMorgan and the raptors could harvest these longs and ring the cash register if they so wished.

But the question concerning "all of the above" is---can they, or will they?  The short answer is the same as the long answer---I don't know, and only time will tell.

Before heading off to bed, I'd like to mention [for the second and final time] the Casey Research production titled Meltdown America.  It runs almost 29 minutes and features the harrowing tales of three people who survived economic and political collapse in Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia, and Argentina… with guest commentators Doug Casey; Jeff Opdyke from Sovereign Society; David Walker, former US Comptroller General; Jane Kokan, former BBC/CNN journalist; Dr. André Gerolymatos, former member of the Canadian Advisory Council on National Security; and Scott Taylor, war correspondent and publisher of Esprit de Corps magazine discussing how these powerful stories of hardship foreshadow what soon could be happening in the US.

This absolute must-watch documentary was posted on the Casey Research website on Tuesday---and the link is here.

That's it for the day---and the week---and I'll see you here on Tuesday.

Sat, 12 Apr 2014 11:56:00 +0000
<![CDATA[U.S. Mined Silver Output Continues to Fall—USGS]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/u.s.-mined-silver-output-continues-to-fall-usgs/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/u.s.-mined-silver-output-continues-to-fall-usgs/#When:09:26:00Z "The sellers of last resort were at battle stations once again"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The price action in gold on Thursday was very similar in most respects to the price action on Tuesday---and you can see that in the Kitco chart below.  There were a couple of short, sharp rallies in Far East trading between the New York open on Wednesday evening, right up until 9 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Thursday morning.  Then the price traded flat until the 8 a.m. BST London open.  The rally continued at that point, as did the efforts of the sellers of last resort.  However it all ended minutes after Comex trading began in New York yesterday morning---and it was all downhill into the close from there.

The low and high ticks were recorded by the CME Group as $1,311.0 and $1,324.90 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Thursday session at $1,318.10 spot, up $5.80 on the day.  Volume, net of May, was 134,000 contracts, with well over a third of that amount occurring before the London a.m. gold fix, as the HFT boyz did what was necessary to prevent the gold price from blowing out to the upside and taking out the 50-day moving average with any kind of authority---which it would have done handily if the not-for-profit sellers hadn't intervened.

It was virtually the same story in silver---and one can only imagine the rather large handle the silver price would have closed at if JPMorgan et al hadn't interfered.

The low and high ticks were recorded as $19.86 and $20.40 in the May contract, an intraday move of almost 3%.

Silver closed the trading day barely above the $20 spot mark at $20.03---up 18.5 cents on the day---but "da boyz" took it back below twenty bucks 45 minutes later, the moment that trading began in the Far East on their Friday.  Gross volume was over 80,000 contracts once again, but it all netted out to around 38,000 contracts, about the same volume as Tuesday.

Platinum and palladium had similar chart patterns, but their prices weren't capped for the final time until noon in New York.  Both closed with very decent gains on the day.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index closed in New York late on Wednesday afternoon at 79.53---and then didn't do much of anything until the equities markets opened in New York yesterday morning.  Then the index dropped down to its 79.35 low around 11:20 a.m. EDT---and from there it rallied a handful of basis points into the close.  The index finished the Thursday session at 79.41---down 12 basis points on the day.

Here's the 6-month dollar index chart---and you can see the damage that has been done during the last five trading sessions.

Although the gold stocks gapped up a bit at the open on the positive gold price action, they probably got caught up in the general sell-off in the U.S. equity markets---and down they went as well.  The HUI finished the day down 1.77%.

It was the same for the silver stocks, as Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index got clocked to the tune of 2.29%.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 46 gold and 20 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Monday.  Credit Suisse was the short/issuer on 45 of the gold contracts---and JPMorgan and Canada's Scotiabank stopped 38 of them.  In silver, Morgan Stanley and JPM were the two issuers---and Canada's Scotiabank stood for delivery on all 20 contracts.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

There was a tiny withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant took out 8,429 troy ounces.  I would guess that this would represent a fee payment of some kind.  And as of 10:05 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

Joshua Gibbons, the "Guru of the SLV Bar List," updated his website with the goings-on over at SLV for the reporting week that ended on Wednesday---and here's his report:  "Analysis of the 09 April 2014 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list---672,916.9 oz were added (all to Brinks London), 145,919.6 oz were removed, no bars had a serial number change."

"The bars added were from: KGHM Poland (0.4M oz), Solar Applied Materials (0.2M oz and 2 others.  The bars removed from were: KCM SA (0.1M oz), and 2 others. As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 39.6 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list."  The link to Joshua's website is here.

The U.S. Mint had sales report yesterday, but it was on the skinny side.  They sold 3,000 troy ounces of gold eagles---25,000 silver eagles---and 300 platinum eagles.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they reported receiving 14,202 troy ounces---and shipped out zip.  All of the gold went into Brink's, Inc.  The link to that 'activity' is here.

Of course it was a lot busier in silver, as a chunky 1,123,832 troy ounces were reported received---and nothing was shipped out.  The link to that action is here.

If you haven't noticed from the CME warehouse report yet---and just as a point of interest---JPMorgan Chase is the top dog in physical silver as well, as their depository now hold 45.49 million troy ounces of the stuff---a couple of million more than does HSBC USA.  One has to wonder how much more silver they may have stashed away, either in other Comex depositories [or elsewhere] in good delivery form that we just don't know about.  Then there's the question of who the mystery buyer is of all those silver eagles that have been sold for the last year or so.  Ted Butler suspects JPMorgan---and I'm not about to argue the point.

I have the usual number of stories for a week-day column---and I hope you find some in here that interest you.

¤ Critical Reads

Marc Faber's dire warning for the market

Marc says that the 2014 crash will be worse than 1987.  This 11:52 minute video clip was posted over at the CNBC website very early yesterday afternoon EDT---and today's first news item is courtesy of reader Ken Hurt.

US Budget Deficit Falls In March To $37 Billion

The U.S. government's budget deficit shrank to just $37 billion in March from $107 billion in the same month last year, the latest sign of improvement in the nation's finances. The deficit was the lowest for the month of March in 14 years.

The deficit fell partly because revenue jumped 16 percent to $216 billion, the Treasury Department said in its monthly budget report Thursday. Individual income and Social Security tax receipts have increased as employers have steadily hired more workers in the past year.

And if you believe that's actually true, then I really do have this bridge I'd like to unload---and you look like the perfect buyer.  This AP story showed up on the kitco.com Internet site at 2 p.m. EDT yesterday---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for bringing it to our attention.

Internet giants to government: We can spy on customers’ data, you shouldn’t

Silicon Valley has been largely speaking out as of late against the United States government’s controversial surveillance programs, but some say the nation’s top cyber firms are scared that their own abilities to collect info could soon be eroded.

Months into the ongoing and always heated debate about the U.S. National Security Agency’s spy operations, President Barack Obama said last December that he had appointed a small panel of experts to assess the NSA programs in question that had been exposed after former contractor Edward Snowden started to disclose classified documents earlier that year. That review group has since presented a few dozen recommendations to the White House, and last month President Obama asked Congress to codify into law changes concerning the way that the US government gets access to certain sensitive records — namely the telephony metadata created by telecommunication companies and currently gathered in bulk by the NSA, as exposed by Mr. Snowden.

In January, however, the president also said a separate group would reach out to privacy experts, technologists and business leaders to inspect the way that “big data” is created, collected and used by both the public and private sector, and “whether we can forge international norms on how to manage this data and how we can continue to promote the free flow of information in ways that are consistent with both privacy and security.”

This article showed up on the Russia Today website late yesterday afternoon Moscow time---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

More than 40,000 signed for 'Alaska Back to Russia' petition

The petition on Alaska going back to Russia, posted on the White House website on March 21st 2014, has since been signed by over 40,000 people. It should be signed by at least 100,000 by April 20th so the US authorities come up with an official response.

The petition points out that those residing in Siberia crossed into Alaska via Bering Strait ages ago.

Russians became the first Europeans to appear in Alaska on August 21st 1732. The actual discoverers are the St. Gabriel ship crew under land surveyor Gvozdev and junior sailing master Fyodorov, who were part of the 1729-1735 Shestakov and Pavlutsky-led expedition.

This rather amusing news item appeared on the Voice of Russia website early yesterday evening Moscow time---and if you're looking for a short history of Alaska before the U.S bought it from the Russians for a song in 1867---this is a must read.  It's the second offering in a row from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.

Draghi Seen Easing Policy by June as ECB Readies Rate Cut

Mario Draghi will probably take action within two months against the threat of deflation, economists said.

Almost two-thirds of respondents in the Bloomberg Monthly Survey predicted the European Central Bank president will ease policy by June. Of those economists, just under half said he may implement multiple measures ranging from interest-rate cuts to asset purchases and long-term loans.

With euro-area inflation at the weakest in more than four years, Draghi says he has “unanimous” backing from policy makers for unconventional measures if needed. Even so, recent comments show officials haven’t yet agreed on which tools to use, setting them up for discussions on whether to take an unprecedented leap into quantitative easing or rely on smaller and more-targeted initiatives.

This Bloomberg article, filed from Frankfurt, was posted on their website in the wee hours of Thursday morning Denver time---and I thank reader Ward Pace for sending it our way.

Christine Lagarde: Huge Government and banks debts risk new financial crash

George Osborne is to tell an audience of free-market campaigners in Washington that the UK's economic turnaround will defy those who say austerity and low wage growth will lead to long-term stagnation. In his first major speech in the US, the chancellor will attempt to demolish claims that a further five years of austerity will restrict growth and hurt workers' living standards.

Osborne will argue at the American Enterprise Institute that low interest rates, the Bank of England's creation of new money through massive bond purchases under its quantitative easing programme and a strengthened banking sector can secure a bright future for the UK.

Osborne's speech comes after head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, issued a warning to world leaders that they need to do more to deal with huge government and bank debts that she said continue to drag down growth and undermine the stability of the financial system. Speaking at the IMF's spring conference, Lagarde said leaders needed to co-operate in their efforts to repair public sector and bank finances to protect against a repeat of the 2008 crash.

This article from The Guardian has had a major headline change, as you'll find out if you click on the link. It now reads a much softer sounding "George Osborne to use first major U.S. speech to rebuke critics of austerity."  It was posted on their website early yesterday afternoon BST---and I thank South African reader B.V. for digging it up on our behalf.

Top economists warn Germany that EMU crisis as dangerous as ever

The eurozone debt crisis is deepening and threatens to re-erupt on a larger scale when the liquidity cycle turns, a leading panel of economists warned in a clash of views with German officials in Berlin.

"Debts above 130pc of GDP for Italy and 170pc for Greece are a recipe for disaster once we go into the next downturn," said Professor Charles Wyplosz, from Geneva University.

"Today's politicians believe the crisis is over and don't want to hear any more about it, but they have not tackled the core issues of fiscal union and public debt," he said, speaking at Euromoney's annual Germany conference.

This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard offering showed up on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site very early on Wednesday evening BST---and I thank Roy Stephens for another contribution to today's column.

Angela Merkel denied access to her NSA file

The U.S. government is refusing to grant Angela Merkel access to her NSA file or answer formal questions from Germany about its surveillance activities, raising the stakes before a crucial visit by the German chancellor to Washington.

Merkel will meet Barack Obama in three weeks, on her first visit to the US capital since documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had been monitoring her phone.

The face-to-face meeting between the two world leaders had been intended as an effort to publicly heal wounds after the controversy, but Germany remains frustrated by the White House's refusal to come clean about its surveillance activities in the country.

This story is from theguardian.com Internet site---and it was posted there very early yesterday evening British Summer Time.  It's certainly worth reading.

Is the U.S. or the World Coming to an End? — Paul Craig Roberts

2014 is shaping up as a year of reckoning for the United States.

Two pressures are building on the US dollar. One pressure comes from the Federal Reserve’s declining ability to rig the price of gold as Western gold supplies shrivel and market knowledge of the Fed’s illegal price rigging spreads. The evidence of massive amounts of naked shorts being dumped into the paper gold futures market at times of day when trading is thin is unequivocal. It has become obvious that the price of gold is being rigged in the futures market in order to protect the dollar’s value from QE.

The other pressure arises from the Obama regime’s foolish threats of sanctions on Russia. Other countries are no longer willing to tolerate Washington’s abuse of the world dollar standard. Washington uses the dollar-based international payments system to inflict damage on the economies of countries that resist Washington’s political hegemony.

Russia and China have had enough. As I have reported---and as Peter Koenig reports, Russia and China are disconnecting their international trade from the dollar. Henceforth, Russia will conduct its trade, including the sale of oil and natural gas to Europe, in rubles and in the currencies of its BRICS partners.

This commentary by Paul falls into the must read category as far as I'm concerned, especially for any serious student of the New Great Game.  I thank Luxembourg reader Rudi Staudinger for bringing it to our attention.

Chinese exports and imports fall sharply in March

The country's exports fell by 6.6% in March when compared with the previous year.

Imports dropped by 11.3% in the same month, when compared with the same time last year.

This is the second straight month of falling exports for China. In February, exports dropped by 18.1%.

It is the first time since 2009 that exports have fallen for two months in a row.

This news item showed up on the bbc.com Internet site a few minutes after midnight EDT on Thursday morning---and it's worth reading.  I thank reader B.V. for sending it our way.

Bank of China Sydney branch issues 2 billion yuan bonds

Bank of China's Sydney branch issued 2 billion yuan (325 million U.S. dollars) of yuan bonds on Wednesday, the first yuan bond in Australia, the bank announced on Thursday.

The two-year bonds, with a coupon rate of 3.25 percent, were well-received in the market, oversubscribed 1.45 times.

Some 27.5 percent of the bonds were subscribed by local investors, said the bank.

This short article appeared on the xinhuanet.com Internet site early yesterday evening Beijing time---and I thank reader 'David in California' for sharing it with us.

Five King World News Blogs/Audio Interviews

1. William Kaye [#1]: "Gold Delivery Strains Reappear---and What Might Destroy COMEX"  2. Art Cashin: "Critical Metric is Now Over 1,000 Times Higher Than Normal!"  3. Jean-Marie Eveillard: "U.S. Gold Gone---and What 52 Years in This Business Taught Me"  4. William Kaye [#2]: "The Secret That Has U.S. and Western Leaders Truly Terrified"  5. The audio interview is with Gerald Celente

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

Blythe Masters Under Investigation By Federal Prosecutors

There is much new info in the just released Bloomberg profile on the infamous ex-JPMorganite Blythe Masters, among which the disclosure that she had made it clear that she had wanted to go along with the disposable JPM physical commodities unit (which as was reported recently, was sold to Swiss commodities giant Mercuria) and "and continue as the group's chief", a plan which did not work out as she had planned since she has no plans to "join the unit’s purchaser" (although joining Glencore is another matter entirely, and one which looks increasingly plausible) but what we find most striking is the following revelation: "Masters is under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. That probe was opened following a settlement with regulators that alleged JPMorgan manipulated power markets in the Midwest and California."

This is somewhat ironic because it was none other than Zero Hedge which asked nearly a year ago if "JPMorgan's "Enron" Will Be The End Of Blythe Masters?" Suddenly, the answer appears to be yes.

This very interesting commentary over at Zero Hedge was posted on their website very late yesterday evening EDT---and it's definitely worth reading.  My thanks go out to Elliot Simon for bringing it to my attention---and now to yours.

Pat Heller: U.S. has rigged precious metals markets for 80 years

Writing for Coin Week, Patrick Heller of Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Michigan, provides a brief history of the U.S. government's mechanisms of surreptitious market intervention and headlines his commentary, "The U.S. Government Has Rigged Precious Metals Markets For 80 Years".

I found this article in a GATA release last evening.

Chris Martenson and Alasdair Macleod discuss China's corner on gold

Market analyst Chris Martenson and GoldMoney's Alasdair Macleod discuss China's increasing control of the gold market, anti-gold propaganda in the Western financial news media, the likelihood that Western governments will commandeer the gold of private investors, and other provocative topics in an interview posted this week in audio and text versions at Martenson's Internet site, peakprosperity.com

The audio interview runs for 54:32 minutes, so top up your coffee or blow the froth off a cold one.

U.S. mined silver output continues to fall--USGS

U.S. mines produced 80,900 kilograms (2,600,995 troy ounces) of silver in November 2013, a 14% decrease from the 94,300 kg (3,031,815 oz) produced in November 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Monthly silver production continued on a downward trend that began in June 2013, the USGS observed.

Average daily U.S. silver production in November 2013 was 2,700 kg (86,807 oz), compared with 3,140 kg (100,953 oz) in November 2012.

The Silver State of Nevada led silver production in November 2013 with 19,700 kg (633,369 oz) of output, while the combined total production of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah was 60,900 kg (1,957,980 oz).

Total U.S. silver output from January to November 2013 totaled 956,000 kg (30,736,114 oz), said the Geological Survey.

Wow!  U.S. silver production is even worse than I imagined it to be---only a bit over 33 million ounces per year based on current production rates.  That means that the U.S. Mint has to import about 10 million ounces of silver per year just to meet demand.  One has to wonder how much more has to be imported on a yearly basis to meet the rest of U.S. silver demand.  I would bet that it's a lot.  The above five paragraphs are all there is to this news item that was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site just after midnight Reno time this morning, but it's worth reading a second time if you've already read it.

By the way, here's a link to the Top 10 silver producers in 2013.

Lawrence Williams: Silver being left behind in latest gold price surge – but don’t despair!

Silver investors will have been a little disappointed by the metal’s performance vis-à-vis the gold price following the latter’s gains after the release of the latest U.S. FOMC meeting minutes. The minutes suggested that the low interest rate regime may well continue longer than expected and resulted in a major boost to the stock market and a significant uptick in the gold price. But it had rather less impact on silver which initially remained stuck below the $20 mark, although this morning’s trade has at last see it move up above this mark. Perhaps European investors are less pessimistic about silver’s investment credentials.

Now silver usually moves with gold, but in a more exaggerated manner so the silver investors could have been forgiven for expecting that the near 2% rise in the gold price since Tuesday would be accompanied by an even greater rise in silver in percentage terms. This may yet happen should the gold price continue its latest mini-surge, but silver has been more volatile and indeed the price actually fell back sharply on some adverse comment in the U.S. before recovering quite well in this morning’s trade… But over the same 3 day period that gold rose the 2% mentioned above the silver price was, in effect, following a very sharp temporary dip yesterday.

So why is silver behaving in this manner. Perhaps the short answer is China.

That's not the short answer---and Lawrie knows it.  But why he won't say it in the public domain is beyond me.  Silver analyst Ted Butler says that JPMorgan Chase has a 20,000 contract short-side corner in the Comex futures market in silver---which represents 16% of the total net open interest as of last Friday's Commitment of Traders Report.  They, along with the smaller Commercial traders, run the show in silver---and the other three precious metals as well.  End of story.  If you read this commentary, I would do it for entertainment purposes only.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

My advice, as it has been, is to move to the sidelines while holding large positions in physical silver and gold. Regardless of what the markets do, silver and gold represent eternal wealth, and the bid to sleep undisturbed at night. No amount of money is worth the loss of peace of mind. The power of gold opened the American West and populated Alaska. Men have spent their lives searching for gold. You can own gold by the simple action of swapping Federal Reserve notes for the yellow metal. I advise you to do it. - Richard Russell

It's getting repetitive, so I'm not going to dwell too much on what happened in Far East and early London trading on Thursday except to say that the sellers of last resort were at battle stations once again preventing all four precious metals from doing what they wanted to---and that's move sharply higher.  This was particularly true in gold, as "da boyz" wanted to prevent a major break-out above its 50-day moving average---and they succeeded.

Here, once again, are the 6-month gold and silver charts with yesterday's price action included.

Note that gold closed above its 50-day moving average, but would have closed considerably higher than that if the HFT traders hadn't been involved.

And no matter how well silver performs intraday, it's always sold back down to, or just below, the $20 spot price mark.  Yesterday they had to peel about 40 cents off the price to do it---and looking at the chart, it's a pattern that's obvious over the last 13 consecutive trading days.

In Far East trading on their Friday, the gold price didn't do much, but got sold back down below unchanged an hour before London opened.  And as I mentioned earlier, silver got sold back below the $20 mark the moment that trading began in New York yesterday evening---and every tiny rally attempt above that price mark has been sold off.  Platinum and palladium aren't doing much.  And as I write this paragraph, London has been open 75 minutes---and volumes aren't overly heavy, less than half of what they were yesterday at this time.  Roll-overs out of the May silver contract continue unabated.  The dollar index is comatose.

Today, at 3:30 p.m. EDT, we get the latest Commitment of Traders Report, I'll guess that we might see further deterioration in the Commercial net short position in gold, but that's just a guess based on a quick glance at the gold price action during the reporting week.  I'm neutral on silver, but nothing will surprise me.  The thing that makes me uncertain as to direction is that fact that all the volume from the prior week's COT Report may not have been reported in a 'timely manner'---so we could see some spill-over into today's report.  But whatever the numbers, I'll have them for you tomorrow.

And as I hit the 'send' button on today's column, I note that all four precious metals are below their closing prices in New York yesterday afternoon. Volumes are still nothing special---and the dollar index is now up a small handful of basis points.

Since today is Friday, nothing would surprise me regarding precious metal price action, especially during the New York session.  Gold is now a few dollars above its 50-day moving average---and I'll be interested in seeing if the rally [such as it is] will be allowed to continue, or whether it 'fails' at this point.

That's all I have for today.  Enjoy your weekend, or what's left of it if you live west of the International Date Line---and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Fri, 11 Apr 2014 09:26:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Jay Taylor: Prepare For a Bull Market to Shock Even the Most Ardent Goldbugs]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/jay-taylor-prepare-for-a-bull-market-to-shock-even-the-most-ardent-goldbugs/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/jay-taylor-prepare-for-a-bull-market-to-shock-even-the-most-ardent-goldbugs/#When:09:23:00Z "Silver price came within a few pennies of taking out its March 27 low"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price rallied about five bucks or so during early trading in the Far East on their Wednesday, but then began to sell off a bit starting around 2 p.m. Hong Kong time---an hour before the London open.  Then, at the noon London silver fix, the gold price got sold down another five bucks or so---and then didn't do much until the Fed minutes were released at 2 p.m. EDT.  The subsequent price spike ran into a not-for-profit seller within 30 minutes---and that was pretty much it for the remainder of the day.

The CME recorded the high and low ticks at $1,301.10 and $1,315.50 in the June contract.

The gold price closed in New York on Wednesday at $1,312.30 spot, up $4.30 on the day.  Volume, net of April and May, was fairly decent at 137,000 contracts.

The silver price got sold down back down below the $20 level the moment trading began at 6 p.m. EDT in New York on Tuesday evening---and traded within a dime of that price until noon Hong Kong time.  Then, like gold, the HFT boyz went to work, with the absolute low of the day coming minutes before 9 a.m. in New York.  The subsequent rally didn't get far---and the price spike at 2 p.m. ran into the usual sellers of last resort shortly after that.  From there, the price traded sideways into the close.

The high and low price ticks were reported as $20.095 and $19.60 in the May contract.

Silver closed yesterday in New York at $19.845 spot, down 21.5 cents from Tuesday's close.  Not surprisingly, gross volume was through the roof at almost 90,000 contracts, but netted out to 36,000 contracts---which was more than double the net volumes of both Monday and Tuesday.

The platinum price also rallied a bit in Far East trading yesterday---and also began to sell off about an hour before the London open.  The low tick, like silver, came at 9 a.m. in New York.  The metal rallied a bit after that---and manged to close up a couple of bucks on the day.

Palladium traded ruler flat once again, but popped five bucks or so on the Fed news---and finished up on the day as well.

The dollar index closed at 79.78 on Tuesday afternoon in New York---and then didn't do much until an hour before London opened.  At 10 a.m. BST, the index hit its 79.86 'high' of the day---and then began to fade until about 11:20 a.m. in New York. From there it rallied into the release of the Fed minutes, before getting hit for around 25 basis points when the news actually hit the tape.  After that, the index barely twitched.  The index closed at 79.53 down 25 basis points.

The gold stocks only opened down a percent---and then chopped sideways until 2 p.m.---before blasting skywards on the 'news'.   The rally ended when the seller of last resort showed up in the Comex futures market shortly after 2:30 p.m. EDT, but the stocks finished the day in the plus column, with the HUI up 0.65%.

The silver equities opened down a bit over a percent, but climbed back to unchanged within a couple of hours.  They, too, took off to the upside at 2 p.m.---but gave up a percent of those gains when JPMorgan et al put in an appearance in the Comex futures market around 2:30 p.m.  Considering the fact that silver closed down more than a percent yesterday, Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up a remarkable 1.63%---and well off its high tick to boot!

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 16 gold and 14 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Friday.  Once again, the Issuers and Stoppers Report isn't worth the effort of hyperlinking.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday---and as of 10:07 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.

Yesterday evening, the good folks over at the shortsqueeze.com Internet site updated the short positions of both GLD and SLV as of the end of March.  The short position in SLV declined by 4.77%---and is now down to 12,657,900 ounces/shares, or just under 394 tonnes.  The decline in the short position in GLD was far more substantial, as it dropped by 21.11%.  The short position in that ETF is now down to 1.09 million troy ounces of gold, or just under 34 tonnes.

Over at Switzerland's Zürcher Kantonalbank they reported that both their gold and silver ETFs had withdrawals for the week ending April 4.  Their gold ETF declined by 15,997 troy ounces---and their silver ETF dropped by 100,030 troy ounces.

There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday, as they only sold 1,500 troy ounces of gold eagles.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday, there was pretty big activity in gold.  Precisely 1 metric tonne [32,150.000 troy ounces] was reported received over at Brink's, Inc.---and 148,344 troy ounces were shipped out for parts unknown.  The biggest chunk of it came out of JPMorgan's warehouse.  The link to that activity is here.

In silver, only one good delivery bar was reported received, but a very chunky 1,062,229 troy ounces were reported shipped out.  With the exception of one bar, all of it came out of HSBC USA and Canada's Scotiabank.  The link to that action is here.

I have the usual number of stories for a mid-week column but, once again, I'm a little short of precious metal related news items.

¤ Critical Reads

If this happens, the S&P 500 is in real trouble: Yamada

After two tough sessions for the market, the S&P 500 hit a one-month low on Tuesday morning before turning positive for the day. But technical analyst Louise Yamada says the stock slide isn't over just yet.

"I don't think the pullback is already over," Yamada, of Louise Yamada Technical Research Advisors, said on Tuesday's episode of "Futures Now."  I think that it's an interim pullback, and we've certainly seen what we've expected, in the Internet and biotechs coming off. And I think that although they may bounce, there's probably still a little bit more to go on the downside."

Worse yet, the selling could spread to other sectors, such as aerospace and consumer discretionary stocks.

This CNBC news item was picked up by the finance.yahoo.com Internet site on Tuesday afternoon just before the markets closed in New York.  I thank reader David Ball for today's first story.

Wall Street soars after Fed minutes signal support

U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed a more supportive central bank than investors had previously expected.

All three major U.S. stock indexes ended up more than 1 percent, with eight of the 10 S&P 500 sector indexes closing higher. Internet and biotech stocks were among the day's biggest gainers.

Fed policymakers were unanimous in wanting to ditch the thresholds they had been using to telegraph a policy tightening, according to minutes of a meeting last month that shed little new light on what might prompt an eventual interest-rate rise.

"People are taking solace in the idea that the Fed may be more accommodative than previously thought, for longer than previously thought," said Steve Sosnick, equity-risk manager at Timber Hill/Interactive Brokers Group in Greenwich, Connecticut.

This Reuters story, was also picked up by the yahoo.com Internet site, but this one showed up on their Internet site shortly after the markets closed yesterday.  I found this article on their website when I was checking out today's first story.

BofA to pay $727 million to consumers over credit card practices

Bank of America agreed to pay nearly $800 million in fines and restitution to settle allegations of deceptive marketing and unfair billing involving credit card products, U.S. regulators said on Wednesday.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said they had ordered the bank to pay $727 million in relief to consumers to resolve problems with add-on products providing identity theft and payment protection products.

The bank must also pay fines of $20 million to the bureau $25 million to the OCC.

"We have consistently warned companies about illegal practices related to credit card add-on products," bureau Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. "We will not tolerate such practices and will continue to be vigilant in our pursuit of companies who wrong consumers in this market."

This Reuters story showed up on their Internet site late yesterday afternoon EDT---and I thank Harry Grant for sending it to me just after midnight MDT.

98% of All Consumer Credit in Past Year Was Student and Car Loans

Same sh*t, different month. If last month total consumer credit increased by $13.8 billion, of which $14.0 billion went into student and car loans meaning consumers continued de-leveraging on their credit card statements (some expectation for a recovery there), then February was even worse. The headline number was great: $16.5 billion, well above the $14.0 billion expected. The problem is that of this number well more than 100%, or $18.9 billion was once again slated for car purchases and paying down "student bills" (not really - as has been reported numerous times before Americans increasingly use student loans as a means to pay for everything else but tuition).

In other words, anyone suggesting that the "surge" in household lending is in any way remotely indicative of consumer hope in a recovery is i) an idiot or ii) clueless and won't even be bothered to read the fine print which once again suggests that the only credit Americans will take on is whatever comes implicitly free, and is certainly not meant to be repaid, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Unlike credit cards.

This short commentary, with two excellent charts embedded, was posted on the Zero Hedge website on Monday afternoon EDT---and it's definitely worth reading.  I thank Casey Research's own Dennis Miller for sending it our way.

Triple Whammy Shocker: Goldman Shutting Down Sigma X?

Back on March 21, before the release of Michael Lewis' Flash Boys and before the infamous 60 Minutes interview, when Goldman COO Gary Cohn wrote his infamous WSJ Op-ed bashing HFT, it was clear that something was afoot. That something became promptly clear when it was revealed that Goldman is among the core backers of the pseudo dark-pool IEX exchange popularized as the protagonist in Flash Boys, and juxtaposed to the front-running, and faceless, HFT antagonist that Lewis managed to demonize so well in the span of a few hundred pages, he promptly provoked a renewed investigation by the FBI, the SEC and DOJ into HFT.

A few days later, the shocker became a double whammy when Goldman announced that in addition to turning its back on HFT which had served it so well for years, the firm would also say goodbye to the NYSE and its designated market maker post, the last remaining legacy of its $6.5 billion Spear Ledds & Kellogg acquisition from 2000. That Goldman was asking mere pennies on the dollar for the residual assets also showed just how "highly" Goldman valued said legacy operation.

Moments ago we got the third and final "shocker" in this series of stunning disclosures by Goldman, this time involving Goldman's own "unlit" venue - one involving its own Dark Pool - the infamous, and market dominant Sigma X, which according to the WSJ, is about to be shut down!

This very interesting Zero Hedge article was posted on their website late on Tuesday evening EDT---and it's definitely worth reading.  I thank reader Bryan Cooke for digging it up for us.

Florida’s orange production is declining

This year’s Florida orange crop is approaching the fruit’s lowest harvest in decades, and experts say a deadly bacteria that’s infecting the trees is to blame.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday released its citrus production forecast and the news isn’t good. The 2013-2014 orange forecast is 110 million boxes, down 4 percent from last month, and 18 percent less than last season’s final production figure.

Orange harvesting ends in June, and if the crop doesn’t decline further, it will barely exceed the 110.2 million orange boxes harvested in 1989-90 following the worst freeze in Florida citrus history.

Andrew Meadows, a spokesman for the Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Mutual, said that citrus greening disease is the reason for the crop decline.

This very interesting news item, filed from St. Petersburg in Florida, was posted on The Washington Post's website yesterday afternoon---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sharing it with us.

Snowden: NSA lies about me not trying to spur internal investigation

The United States National Security Agency was well aware that Edward Snowden was troubled by the spy office’s activities, the intelligence contractor-turned-leaker tells Vanity Fair, and that evidence exists to confirm that claim.

Ahead of a 20,000-word article on the former NSA analyst expected to be published later this week, the US-based magazine has released excerpts from an interview with Snowden in which he specifically calls for the intelligence agency to come clean about allegations concerning any complaints he may have made before he began to leak classified documents to the press.

Snowden, 30, said last month in testimony delivered to the European Parliament that he spoke up to "more than 10 distinct officials” about his concerns regarding the NSA’s activities, but was eventually driven to leak documents about those programs due to the lack of response he received. He is currently in Russia after being granted asylum there, and is wanted in the US for disclosing classified documents.

This is the first of many stories from the Russia Today website---and the first of many stories that are courtesy of Roy Stephens.  This one was posted on their Internet site yesterday afternoon Moscow time.

NSA monitors WiFi on US planes ‘in violation’ of privacy laws

Companies that provide WiFi on US domestic flights are handing over their data to the NSA, adapting their technology to allow security services new powers to spy on passengers. In doing so, they may be in violation of privacy laws.

In a letter leaked to Wired, Gogo, the leading provider of inflight WiFi in the US, admitted to violating the requirements of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The act is part of a wiretapping law passed in 1994 that requires telecoms carriers to provide law enforcement with a backdoor in their systems to monitor telephone and broadband communications.

Gogo states in the letter to the Federal Communications Commission that it added new capabilities to its service that go beyond CALEA, at the behest of law enforcement agencies.

This incredible story showed up in my in-box long after I'd filed today's column, but Julie over at Casey Research was kind enough to add it to today's column---and I thank South African reader B.V. for finding it for us.  It's a must read.

German Minister: 'U.S. Operating Without any Kind of Boundaries'

SPIEGEL: Minister de Maizière, nine weeks ago at the Munich Security Conference you demanded that the United States provide detailed information about its spying activities in Germany. Have you received anything from them yet?

De Maizière: The information we have received thus far is insufficient. That remains my opinion. The US' surveillance measures are largely a result of its security needs, but they are being implemented in an excessive, boundless fashion.

SPIEGEL: How did you come to this conclusion?

De Maizière: If even two-thirds of what Edward Snowden has presented or what has been presented with his name cited as the source is true, then I would conclude that the USA is operating without any kind of boundaries.

SPIEGEL: Are you hopeful that anything will change in the near future -- perhaps when Chancellor Angela Merkel visits President Barack Obama in May?

De Maizière: I have low expectations that further talks will prove to be successful. But of course these talks are continuing.

SPIEGEL: So you don't expect a no-spy agreement to result from these discussions?

De Maizière: Going by everything that I've heard, that's the case.

As I've been saying for years, dear reader---the U.S.A. has gone rogue.  This interview showed up on the German website spiegel.de at noon Europe time yesterday---and it's the second offering in a row from Roy Stephens.

How Western Is Germany? Russia Crisis Spurs Identity Conflict

Many Germans feel a special bond to Russia. This makes the Ukraine crisis particularly dangerous for Berlin because it raises important questions about the very nature of German identity. Are we as deeply rooted in the West as most believe?

Right up to this day, Germans and Russians maintain a special relationship. There is no other country and no other people with which Germans' relations are as emotional and as contradictory. The connection reaches deep into German family history, shaped by two world wars and the 40-year existence of East Germany. German families still share stories of cruel, but also kindhearted and soulful Russians. We disdain the Russians' primitiveness, while treasuring their culture and the Russian soul.

Our relationship to the Russians is as ambivalent as our perception of their character. "When it comes to the relations between the Germans and Russians, there is a tug-of-war between profound affection and total aversion," says German novelist Ingo Schulze, author of the critically acclaimed "Simple Stories," a novel that deals with East German identity and German reunification. Russians are sometimes perceived as Ivan the Terrible, as foreign entities, as Asians. Russians scare us, but we also see them as hospitable people. They have an enormous territory, a deep soul and culture -- their country is the country of Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy.

This very interesting, but longish op-ed/essay is another contribution from Roy Stephens---and it's another posting from the spiegel.de Internet site---this one from early yesterday evening

U.S. and E.U. prepare to strike Russian banks, energy firms

The U.S. and E.U. are preparing to strike at Russian banks, energy and minerals firms if Russia invades mainland Ukraine.

Speaking to U.S. senators in Washington on Tuesday (8 April) secretary of state John Kerry used blunt terms to describe events in Ukraine's Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions in recent days.

“Everything that we’ve seen in the last 48 hours from Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine tells us that they’ve been sent there determined to create chaos … These efforts are as ham-handed as they are transparent,” he said.

“No one should be fooled, and believe me, no one is fooled by what could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea.”

Trying to make mountains out of molehills.  There's no way on God's green earth that Russia will every move militarily against the Ukraine.  This news item, filed from Brussels, was posted on the euobserver.com Internet site yesterday morning Europe time---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.

NATO commander says U.S. troops may be deployed to Europe over Ukrainian crisis

The United States Air Force commander in charge of the NATO alliance’s military presence in Europe said on Wednesday this week that U.S. troops may soon be deployed to the region as tensions continue to worsen near the border between Ukraine and Russia.

In an interview with the Associated Press, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said that forthcoming plans intended to ensure stability in Europe for the NATO partners in the area could involve the mobilizing of American troops.

Representatives from the 28 countries involved in the multinational organization have asked Breedlove — a four-star general who has since last year served as the supreme allied commander of NATO’s European operations — to have a plan ready by early next week, according to the AP’s John-Thor Dahlburg, to reassure partners in the region “that other alliance countries have their back.”

This is insanity---and you can read all about it in this Russia Today news item that was posted on their website late Wednesday evening Moscow time.  It's also another offering from Roy Stephens.

Kiev threatens force against eastern Ukraine protesters

Ukraine’s acting Interior Minister is threatening to resolve “in 48 hours” the situation in eastern regions where administrations of at least two cities are controlled by protesters demanding a nationwide referendum on the state structure.

Arsen Avakov told journalists on Wednesday that the coup-imposed government is ready to use force in the mutinous eastern regions.

"There are two solutions: a political one through negotiations or through force,” the minister said on the margins of a government meeting.

“For those who want dialogue, we propose talks and a political solution. For the minority who want conflict they will get a forceful answer from the Ukrainian authorities,” he said as quoted by Reuters, adding that in his opinion a “solution to the crisis could be found within 48 hours.”

A wonderful way to start a civil war, don't you think?  This news item showed up on the Russia Today website early yesterday afternoon Moscow time---and once again my thanks go out to Roy Stephens for sending it our way.

Russia can’t support Ukrainian economy forever- Putin

Russia can’t continue to prop up Ukraine’s faltering economy, and this responsibility should fall on the US and EU, which have recognized the authorities in Kiev but not yet given one dollar to support the economy, President Putin has said.

“The situation is - to put it kindly, strange. It’s known our partners in Europe have recognized the legitimacy of the government in Kiev, yet have done nothing to support Ukraine – not even one dollar or one euro,” Putin said at a meeting with government officials at his residence outside of Moscow.

“The Russian Federation doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of the authorities in Kiev, but it keeps providing economic support and subsidizing the economy of Ukraine with hundreds of millions and billions of dollars. This situation can’t last indefinitely,” Putin said.

You couldn't make this stuff up, dear reader.  This must read story was posted on the Russia Today website early yesterday afternoon Moscow time---and once again I thank Roy S. for sharing it with us.

Putin turns up economic heat before Ukraine talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin turned up the heat on Ukraine on Wednesday by threatening to demand advance payment for gas supplies, a move designed to exert economic pressure as Ukraine confronts possible bankruptcy, a mutiny by pro-Russian separatists in the east and a Russian military buildup across the border.

NATO's top commander in Europe warned that the alliance could respond to the Russian military threat against Ukraine by deploying U.S. troops to Eastern Europe, but Putin's latest tactics suggest he may be aiming to secure Russia's clout with its neighbor without invading.

Speaking at a Cabinet session, the Russian leader voiced hope that diplomatic efforts to ease the Ukrainian crisis would yield "positive results," an apparent reference to talks set for next week that will bring together the U.S., the European Union, Russia and Ukraine for the first time.

This AP story, filed from Moscow, was posted on the news.yahoo.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank Elliot Simon for his second offering in today's column.

Ukraine’s Rust Belt Fears Ruin as Putin Threatens Imports

For Pavel Cesnek, the future of his sprawling locomotive maker in eastern Ukraine lies in the balance and its fate will be sealed across the Russian border.

The head of Luganskteplovoz in the city of Luhansk rules over a communist-era factory and workforce of 6,500 that builds trains primarily for state-run OAO Russian Railways. Like many local businessmen, he fears the pro-European government in Kiev will antagonize the Kremlin into unleashing trade restrictions that could wipe out industry across Ukraine’s rust belt.

“Trade ties with Russia are an existential question -- to be or not to be,” said the 40-year-old Czech. “Without Russia, there’d be a total collapse for me, my workers and my owner.”

This very interesting news item was posted on the Bloomberg website yesterday afternoon Denver time---and once again my thanks go out to Roy Stephens.

De-invest from the West: Russia urges companies to return assets to the motherland

As the US and Europe escalate talks of sanctions, Russia is recommending companies unregister abroad and bring their shares to the Moscow Exchange to protect from possible future sanctions and provide economic security.

“Companies that have listed shares on the New York Stock Exchange, London need to seriously reconsider,” Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday.

Sanctions by the West have ramped up over the geopolitical action in Ukraine, and Russian business and politicians have been the target of asset freezes and visa bans.

The government will not force companies to delist and return to Russia, but Shuvalov said the Russian state and the Moscow Exchange will work together to create “attractive conditions” for companies to make the switch.

This is another Russia Today news item.  This one showed up on their Internet site during the Moscow lunch hour yesterday---and its the second last offering of the day from Roy.

Spanish parliament rejects Catalan independence bid

Spain’s parliament on Tuesday (8 April) overwhelmingly rejected Catalonia’s bid to call for a referendum on independence.

There were 299 votes against a proposal by Catalan leader Artur Mas to have an independence poll. Only 47 MPs from the Catalan and Basque nationalist parties voted in favour of the petition. One MP abstained.

Centre-right Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told the deputies before the vote that he could not “conceive of Spain without Catalonia nor of Catalonia outside of Spain and Europe.”

This story, filed from Brussels, was posted on the euobserver.com Internet site yesterday morning Europe time---and it's the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

Three King World News Blogs

1. Gerald Celente: "This Disastrous Event is Going to Shock the World"  2. Rick Rule: "Silver---and a Golden Opportunity For Investors"  3. David P.: "Shocking Charts Show Silver Set For a Staggering $70 Surge"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

Perth Mint: Monthly Sales for March 2014

According to Bron Suchecki over at The Perth Mint: "The chart below shows our sales of minted bars and coins, with gold down and silver up on last month. However, minted products are only about 10% by volume, with our cast bar sales usually over 600,000 oz/ a month, mostly in the form kilobars into China – premiums have come off and back to normal. Perth Mint Depository is stable with a lot of buying and selling by clients."

This tiny blog, with an excellent chart, is worth a few seconds of your time---and I thank Bron for sending it our way.

Platinum prices stagnant given supply - for now

Michael Kavanagh, Noah Capital Markets metals and mining analyst, told Mineweb that if the platinum price hasn't moved, then it means there is no shortage in supply. “It looks like the buyers of the product in the open market have all the platinum they need," Kavanagh said. "And at the end of the day, the price goes up if there is a need of metals. So clearly there is no fear that they (markets) will not get it in the near future."

Ryan Seaborne, an equity analyst at 36one Asset Management, said out of the three major producers of platinum, Anglo American Platinum had the most on ground stock, while Lonmin stock was nearly depleted and Impala Platinum's was nearing its end. Amplats stock can last towards the middle of the year, Seaborne estimated. On price, he said it was stagnant - so far- because there had been no supply response. But if the unions held out the platinum price could go higher. He also claimed all three companies made a gentleman’s agreement to help each other in meeting contractual obligations. “Amplats will most likely assist with helping the others reach their (contractual) obligations and if the strike ends soon there is no risk to supply,” he said.

What no serious precious metal analysts knows, or will admit to if they do, is that 3 or 4 U.S. bullion banks, probably led by JPMorgan, hold a 19% short-side corner in the Comex platinum market, along with a 23% short-side corner in the palladium market---according to last week's Bank Participation Report.  In such tiny and illiquid markets, the price will go nowhere if the dominant players won't allow them to.  This tiny article, filed from Johannesburg, was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday.

Jay Taylor: Prepare for bull market to shock even most ardent goldbugs

This interview with Jay by The Gold Report showed up on the mineweb.com Internet site earlier this morning British Summer Time---and it's a must read.  I've known Jay for about ten years---and with the possible exception of Leonard Melman---a nicer man you could never hope to meet.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something that’s larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the storytellers — by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him, and make the running the man did, live forever. - James Brian Hellwig: The Ultimate Warrior

The attempt to sell gold back below the $1,300 spot price mark didn't pan out---and I was happy to see gold jump back into positive territory on the Fed minutes news.  Silver, of course, was another matter entirely, as JPMorgan et al kept pounding away at the price---causing more technical fund selling of long positions, along with new short positions being added.  JPMorgan et al happily took the other side of all these technical fund trades---ringing the cash register in the process.  This was the reason that silver's volume was through the roof yesterday---and none of this price/volume activity will show up in tomorrow's Commitment of Traders Report, as it happened the day after the cut-off.

Here are the 6-month gold and silver charts once again.

The gold price closed right at its 50-day moving average again---and would have handily closed above it after the Fed news at 2 p.m. EDT yesterday, but a seller of last resort was on hand to ensure that didn't happen.

The silver price came within a few pennies of taking out its March 27 low yesterday---and is about a buck away from taking out its late-December 2013 low as well.  Could JPMorgan et al pull that off?  You betcha---and in a New York minute if desired.  All they have to do is turn their HFT boyz loose like they did yesterday---and the combination of long contract selling and new shorting by the technical funds would take care of that.  "Da boyz" have painted the silver chart to perfection for just such an event.  The only question remaining is---will they, or not?

I was happy to see the gold stocks do as well as they did yesterday, even before the Fed news, as they were already hanging on to tiny gains before the announcement.  But the real surprise was in the silver equities.  Despite the fact that the metal itself got pounded, there were buyers in the market picking up every silver stock that was being sold in a panic, plus a lot more.  Silver closed down more than a percent, but Nick's chart was up nicely on the day.

As I write this paragraph at 3:47 a.m. EDT, the market in London has been open about 45 minutes---and since the open last night in New York, gold has spent almost the entire Thursday trading session in the black---and rallied a bit more during the early going in London as well.

The silver price did nothing until around 8 a.m. Hong Kong time---and it's attempt to rally above the $20 spot price mark met with the usual selling pressure.  However, it really took off at the London open, but ran into very heavy selling pressure once again as it broke above $20.20 spot---and is now back at $20.12 as I type this sentence.

Platinum also spent most of the Far East trading session in positive territory as well---and it, along with palladium are back in rally mode as of the London open.

Gold and silver volumes, which had been more or less 'normal' going into the London open, have both blown out considerably, so it's obvious that JPMorgan et al are at battle stations in all four precious metals once again.  If/when they put these rally fires out, it will be of interest to see how much Comex paper they had to throw at them to get them to behave.  Right now, gold volume is north of 33,000 contracts---and 99.9% of that is in the current front month.  In silver, the gross volume is already north of 13,000 contracts---and a bit over 10 percent of that is roll-overs---and all of the remaining volume is the current front month as well.  Based on that, it's easy to see that the lion's share [and then some] of the current volume is all HFT price management.

And to give you some idea of how tiny the platinum market is, as of this writing at 4 a.m. EDT, there have been 1,701 platinum contracts traded on the Comex so far today---and all but one of those contracts is in the current front month, which is July.  It's even more ridiculous in palladium.  Only 525 contracts have been traded so far on Thursday---and all except one is the current front month, which is June.

As of last Friday's Bank Participation Report---'4 or less' U.S. bullion banks in platinum---and '3 or less' bullion banks in palladium, were net short 19.2% and 23.5% of the platinum and palladium markets respectively.  And to put it in real perspective, the '4 or less' U.S. bullion banks were net short a stunning 12,828 Comex platinum contracts---and '3 or less' U.S. bullion banks were net short 9,653 Comex contracts in palladium.

It should be obvious to all except the willfully blind, that there's a very good reason why platinum and palladium prices are going nowhere.

If you want to review the Bank Participation Report data in my Saturday column, the link is here---and you have to scroll down a bit to find it.

And as I fire this off to Stowe, Vermont at 5:25 a.m. EDT, I note that all four precious metals continue to struggle higher---and are obviously still being met with heavy selling pressure, as the not-for-profit sellers pull out all the stops. Gold volume is approaching 45,000 contracts---and silver's gross volume is a hair under 20,000 contracts.  I forgot to mention what the dollar index was doing---and it has remained almost unchanged from it's open in early Far East trading on their Thursday.

Using the past as prologue, I'll stick my neck out here and surmise that we may have already seen the highs for both silver and gold today.  However, I'd be delighted to be proven wrong, as I'd dearly love to see JPMorgan et al get over run at this point.  And they just might if Russia and maybe China decide to move the battlefield onto the Comex futures market.

That's more than enough for one day.  I hope your Thursday goes well---and if you live west of the International Date Line, I hope you have a good weekend.

See you here tomorrow.

Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:23:00 +0000
<![CDATA[China Gold Demand Fell in the Last Week of March, But Remains High]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/china-gold-demand-fell-in-the-last-week-of-march-but-remains-high/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/china-gold-demand-fell-in-the-last-week-of-march-but-remains-high/#When:09:13:00Z "Another day where JPMorgan et al had to step in front of rallies"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

Gold added three bucks to its price during the first several hours of Far East trading on their Tuesday morning---but flat-lined at $1,300 the ounce until about 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time.  Then the gold price added another eight bucks or so in pretty short order---and added about the same amount shortly after the London open as the gold price rose into the 10:30 a.m. BST London a.m. gold "fix". Volumes were enormous, as the not-for-profit sellers were everywhere. That was its high tick of the day---and from there it chopped quietly lower into the 5:15 p.m. EDT electronic close in New York.

The CME Group recorded the high and low ticks at $1,134.70 and $1,296.80 in the June contract.

Gold closed the Tuesday session at $1,308.00 spot, up $11.10 on the day---but well of its high tick.  Volume, net of April and May, was around 129,000 contracts---with more than a third of that coming before the London a.m. fix, as JPMorgan et al were the short sellers of last resort right from the moment that the price break-out started, throwing everything they had at it to prevent the price from closing about its 50-day moving average---which it broke through handily at the London morning gold fix.

With some minor exceptions, the silver price followed a similar price as gold's, with the high tick coming at the London a.m. gold fix as well.  After that it chopped lower into the close.

The CME recorded the high and low as $20.175 and $19.85 in the May contract.  Silver's volume on that early rally wasn't overly heavy---and there were no moving averages involved, so "da boyz" had a pretty easy time of it as far as price management was concerned.

Silver closed in New York at $20.06 spot, up 19.5 cents on the day.  Volume, net of roll-over, was only 14,500 contracts, which was a thousand contracts less than Monday's net volume.   Silver's gross volume on that early rally wasn't overly heavy---and there were no moving averages involved, so "da boyz" had a pretty easy time of it as far as price management was concerned.  After the price got capped, roll-over action really picked up.

Platinum traded unsteadily higher on Tuesday, with its high coming at noon in New York.  After that, the price didn't do much.

Palladium also rallied, but that rally ended at 9 a.m. in London---and the price traded sideways in a very tight range for the remainder of the Tuesday session---gaining back 2 of the 3 percentage points it got docked in Monday's trading.  It's high tick came at noon EDT as well.

The dollar index closed late on Monday afternoon at 80.22---and then traded ruler flat until around 2:45 p.m. Hong Kong time on their Tuesday.  Then the decline began---and the 79.72 bottom was painted just a few minutes after 2:30 p.m. EDT.  From there the index rallied a handful of basis points into the close.  The index finished the Tuesday trading session at 79.78---down 44 basis points on the day.

The gold stocks gapped up a bit more than 2% at the open---and then faded a bit, hitting its low tick around 11:35 a.m. EDT.  After that, the stocks rallied slowly but steadily into the close---and finished the day nearly on their high tick.  The HUI finished up 2.35%.

The silver equities gapped up as well, but put their low in much earlier in the day---and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up a very decent 2.11%.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 137 gold and 2 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday.  The only short/issuer in gold was Jefferies---and the two biggest long/stoppers were JPMorgan and Canada's Scotiabank, as they will take delivery of 105 contracts between them.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

There was another withdrawal from GLD yesterday.  This time it was 86,707 troy ounces that was withdrawn by an authorized participant.  And as of 10:02 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

The U.S. Mint had a small sales report.  They sold 308,500 silver eagles.

There wasn't a lot of in/out activity in either gold or silver on Monday over at the Comex-approved depositories.  As a matter of fact, there was no in/out activity in gold at all---and in silver, there was 39,185 troy ounces reported received---and 125,273 troy ounces shipped out.  The link to that activity is here.

Here's a chart that Nick Laird slid into my in-box just after midnight Denver time.  It's the updated "Monthly Chinese Gold Net Imports from Hong Kong" graph and, as always, it's a sight to behold.

I have the usual number of stories for you today, but I'm very light on anything regarding precious metals, as there wasn't much news of that sort on the Internet yesterday.  As I've said before, it's always "feast or famine" in my Wednesday column, as most of the really big stories show up over the weekend, or on Monday.  However, there are still quite a few other stories worthy of your attention.

¤ Critical Reads

High-Frequency Trading Falls in the Cracks of Criminal Law

Words like “rigged” and “scam,” which have been used to describe how high-frequency trading firms make money in the markets, usually indicate something illegal has occurred. The attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., added to that perception when he confirmed at a congressional hearing on Friday that the Justice Department was investigating high-frequency trading “to determine whether it violates insider trading laws.”

Federal prosecutors will join with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, both of which have been scrutinizing high-frequency trading for some time. The investigations are sure to pick up steam on the heels of the publicity surrounding Michael Lewis’s new book, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.”

Mr. Lewis portrays how firms use the advantage of just a few milliseconds to trade ahead of the rest of the investing world to reap profits by snatching the best prices for stocks. This plays into what New York State’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has called “Insider Trading 2.0,” a call for greater regulation of trading to level the investment playing field.

This story was posted on The New York Times website just before noon EDT yesterday---and I thank reader Dan Lazicki for today's first story.

Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading

Fears that high-speed traders have been rigging the U.S. stock market went mainstream last week thanks to allegations in a book by financial author Michael Lewis, but there may be a more serious threat to investors: the increasing amount of trading that happens outside of exchanges.

Some former regulators and academics say so much trading is now happening away from exchanges that publicly quoted prices for stocks on exchanges may no longer properly reflect where the market is. And this problem could cost investors far more money than any shenanigans related to high frequency trading.

When the average investor, or even a big portfolio manager, tries to buy or sell shares now, the trade is often matched up with another order by a dealer in a so-called "dark pool," or another alternative to exchanges.

Those whose trade never makes it to an exchange can benefit as the broker avoids paying an exchange trading fee, taking cost out of the process. Investors with large orders can also more easily disguise what they are doing, reducing the danger that others will hear what they are doing and take advantage of them.

This Reuters article was posted on their Internet site in the wee hours of yesterday morning, but because I was already 'full up' in Tuesday's column already, it had to wait until today.  I thank reader Harry Grant for sending it along.

SEC Goldman Lawyer Says Agency Too Timid on Wall Street Misdeeds

A trial attorney from the Securities and Exchange Commission said his bosses were too “tentative and fearful” to bring many Wall Street leaders to heel after the 2008 credit crisis, echoing the regulator’s outside critics.

James Kidney, who joined the SEC in 1986 and retired this month, offered the critique in a speech at his goodbye party. His remarks hit home with many in the crowd of SEC lawyers and alumni thanks to a part of his resume not publicly known: He had campaigned internally to bring charges against more executives in the agency’s 2010 case against Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The SEC has become “an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors,” Kidney said, according to a copy of his remarks obtained by Bloomberg News. “On the rare occasions when enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount. Tough enforcement, risky enforcement, is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening.”

This Bloomberg news item appeared on their website late Monday evening MDT---and my thanks go out to U.A.E. reader Laurent-Patrick Gally.

John Crudele: Did Goldman use HFT to rig markets for the U.S. government?

Yep, the stock market is rigged.

I've been explaining this to you for nearly 20 years. But thanks to best-selling author 'Michael Lewis intriguing book "Flash Boys," which comes to the same conclusion, a much wider slice of America is talking about it now.

But Lewis' book -- as well-written and riveting as his best-seller "Moneyball" -- touched on only one way the stock market was rigged: through high-frequency trading (HFT).

And the book deals only with how manipulation has been occurring in recent years.

This must read story by John was posted on The New York Post website just before midnight on Monday evening EDT---and I found it in a GATA release last night.

How the CIA Made Dr. Zhivago Into a Weapon — Paul Craig Roberts

When Soviet authorities refused to publish prominent Soviet writer Boris Pasternak’s masterpiece, Dr. Zhivago, the CIA turned it into a propaganda coup. An Italian journalist and Communist Party member learned of the suppressed manuscript and offered to take the manuscript to the Italian communist publisher in Milan, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, who published the book in Italian over Soviet objections in 1957. Feltrinelli believed that Dr. Zhivago was a masterpiece and that the Soviet government was foolish not to take credit for the accomplishment of its greatest writer. Instead, a dogmatic and inflexible Kremlin played into the CIA’s hands.

The Soviets made such a stink about the book that the controversy raised the book’s profile. According to recently declassified CIA documents, the CIA saw the book as an opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder why a novel by such a prominent Russian writer was only available abroad.

The CIA arranged for a Russian language edition to be published and distributed to Soviet citizens at the World Fair in Brussels in 1958. The propaganda coup was complete when Pasternak received the Nobel Prize for literature in October 1958.

The use of Pasternak’s novel to undermine Soviet citizens’ belief in their government continued as late as 1961. That year I was a member of the US/USSR student exchange program. We were encouraged to take with us copies of Dr. Zhivago. We were advised that it was unlikely Soviet customs inspectors would know English and be able to recognize book titles. If asked, we were to reply “travel reading.” If the copies were recognized and confiscated, no worry. The copies were too valuable to be destroyed. The custom officials would first read the books themselves and then sell them on the black market, an efficient way to spread the distribution.

This amazing, but obviously very true story showed up on Paul's website yesterday---and my thanks go out to South African reader B.V. for bringing it to our attention.  It's a short and fascinating read.

No legal means exist to challenge mass surveillance - Snowden

No legal means exist to challenge mass surveillance, said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, testifying to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

A former NSA contractor, Snowden was speaking to the PACE session in Strasbourg via a video link-up from Moscow.

Wanted in the US on treason charges, he sparked a huge international scandal last year he leaked to the media classified evidence of American government spying programs.

This is an unprecedented form of political interference that I don’t believe can be seen elsewhere in western governments,” he went on. “But no legal means currently exist to challenge such activities or to see penalties for such abuses,” he said.

This Russia Today story was posted on their website during the Tuesday lunch hour in Moscow---and it's the first of many offerings from Roy Stephens.

E.U. court scraps data surveillance law

The E.U. court in Luxembourg has struck down a law on internet and phone surveillance, saying its loose wording opens the door to untoward snooping on private lives.

It said in its verdict on Tuesday (8 April) the “data retention directive” constitutes a “particularly serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data” in Europe.

It also said Europeans are likely to feel “their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance” if the bill is left intact.

The directive, passed in 2006, has already been transcribed into national law in most member states.

The article, filed from Brussels, was posted on the euobserver.com Internet site late yesterday morning Europe time---and it's the second contribution in a row to today's column from Roy Stephens.

Euro-Catch 22: Mario Draghi’s woes over Q.E.

Actually, Super Mario faces an incredible dilemma - damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. To work, Q.E. must trickle into the real economy. Even in U.K./U.S. schemes, often the cash has remained stubbornly within the investment world chasing paper assets as opposed to invigorating the manufacturing and service economy.

Within the E.U. the problem is not just this trickle down aspect. Rather vital issues with the banks themselves have not been addressed. Put simply: the political class remain in denial at the extent of banks’ problems. Many EU banks may fail the autumn round of stress tests. Gutless eurozone governments have palpably failed to take control of the economic situation, wrapping bandages around vast festering wounds.

Thus throughout the eurozone, there are many zombie banks, de facto insolvent entities being protected by stubborn (scared) politicians. These walking dead institutions are not merely in the depressed Mediterranean nations with rampant unemployment, they even exist in Angela Merkel’s otherwise prosperous German hinterlands. Given how she has sought to ‘punish’ incompetent governments, her hypocrisy in punishing other citizens (e.g. in Ireland) to protect her banks is rather incredible. It also threatens the long-term survival of the euro, let alone the EU.

This op-ed piece appeared on the Russia Today Internet site early yesterday morning Moscow time---and it's the third offering in a row from Roy.

Moscow warns Kiev against using military, mercenaries in southeastern Ukraine

The Russian Foreign Ministry has voiced concerns over the buildup of Ukrainian forces and US mercenaries in the southeastern part of the country, calling on Kiev to immediately cease military preparations which could lead to a civil war.

As parts of Ukraine push for greater autonomy – with Donetsk and Kharkov declaring independence on Monday – the self-imposed government in Kiev is reportedly dispatching additional forces in turbulent regions to avoid potential disobedience by local law enforcements.

“We are particularly concerned that the operation involves some 150 American mercenaries from a private company Greystone Ltd., dressed in the uniform of the [Ukrainian] special task police unit Sokol,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Organizers and participants of such incitement are assuming a huge responsibility for threatening upon the rights, freedoms and lives of Ukrainian citizens as well as the stability of Ukraine.”

This must read news item showed up on the Russia Today website in the very wee hours of yesterday morning Moscow time---and this story is the second story of the day from reader B.V.

Russian F.M. calls on Kiev, Washington to recognize interests of all Ukraine regions

Moscow is urging to provide for Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions to take part in the upcoming talks with Kiev, Russia, the US, and EU on the current crisis, says FM Sergey Lavrov.

“We are ready for multilateral talks with the US, EU and Ukraine,” said Lavrov during a news conference in Moscow with his Angolan counterpart, Georges Rebelo Chicoti. Though the particular date of the talks has not been set up, Russia is ready to start negotiations within 10 days, Lavrov said.

The southeastern regions of Ukraine should also take part in the negotiations, he said. Following the coup in Kiev, Ukraine’s southeast saw a wave of anti-Maidan, and in many cases also pro-Russian, rallies. In cities such as Kharkov and Donetsk, activists went as far as attempts to proclaim independence.

This Russia Today story posted on their website yesterday morning Moscow time, is also worth reading---especially if you're a student of the New Great Game.  There was a similar story on the euobserver.com Internet site yesterday morning as well---and both stories are courtesy of Roy Stephens.


U.S. reportedly starts supplying Syrian rebels with anti-tank weapons

Rebels embattled against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad have reportedly come into possession of high-powered anti-tank weaponry, the likes of which may have been supplied by the United States.

Images of rebels equipped with heavy arms have begun to circulate in recent days, and at least one news site has claimed that the source responsible is the US government.

On Monday, Israel’s Debkafile website reported that two moderate Syrian rebel militias — the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Revolutionary Front — have been supplied with advanced US weapons, including armor-piercing, optically-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles, thanks to the Pentagon.

This news item, also from the Russia Today website, was posted there late Monday afternoon Moscow time---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens as well.

U.S. supply of heavy weapons to Syria will ‘escalate slaughter’

The sudden shipment of anti-tank missiles to Syrian rebels from the US, which has so far been reluctant to supply any heavy weapons, is Washington's way of getting back at Russia by hitting the Assad government, political analyst Chris Bambery told RT.

On Monday, Israel’s Debkafile website reported that two moderate Syrian rebel militias, the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Revolutionary Front, have been supplied with advanced US weapons — including armor-piercing, optically-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles.

RT: The US has been apparently reluctant since the start to send heavy weapons to Syria. Why would Washington be changing its mind now, if that is the case?

Chris Bambery: I think the answer is because of the cold war which is taking place between Russia and the United states over the whole question of Ukraine and Crimea, and I think once again the Americans see hitting the Assad regime as a way of getting back at Russia. So I think that’s a simple answer. I have to say I find it strange that we are hearing reports of these anti-armor weapons being given to these groups in Syria.

This is a follow-up story to the one posted above.  It's also from the Russia Today Internet site---and this one showed up in the very wee hours of yesterday morning Moscow time.  It also represents the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

Two King World News Blogs

1. The first interview is with Dr. Stephen Leeb---and it's headlined "Collapse of the United States---and a New Economic World Order"  2. The second commentary is with Sean Boyd, the CEO of Agnico Eagle.  It's entitled "Stunning Reasons for Gold to Smash Through $2,000"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

U.K.’s Royal Mint strikes special shipwreck silver coin

More than 70 years after the Royal Mint ordered silver supplies from India after England’s silver stocks were depleted due to war, the Royal Mint has announced it is offering a silver coin made from the sunken merchant ship, S.S. Gairsoppa.

The ship was carrying a large shipment of silver bullion, pig iron and tea and was sailing under the protection of naval convoys when a storm forced the S.S. Gairsoppa to break free and head for the safety of Galway Harbor off the coast of western Ireland.

The ship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat on February 17, 1941; only one person ultimately survived after it sank within 20 minutes and crew members took refuge in a rubber raft.

Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration finally located the ship 300 miles off the Irish coast at a depth of three miles in September 2011. Odyssey recovered 2,792 silver ingots, or more than 99% of the insured silver reported to be aboard the S.S. Gairsoppa when she sank.

This very interesting story appeared on the mineweb.com Internet site on Monday.

Koos Jansen: China gold demand fell in last week of March but remains high

Updating the Chinese gold demand figures, gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen reports that demand for the last full week in March declined a bit over the year-to-date weekly average, but remained high.

This commentary was posted on the Jansen's website ingoldwetrust.ch yesterday---and it's the second item of the day that I found embedded in a GATA release.

Turkey's gold imports nosedive amid graft scrutiny

Turkey's gold trade boomed for over a year while Ankara was paying Iran in gold for natural gas and oil imports.

The Turkish government found it easier to import large amounts of gold and then send these to Tehran as payments for natural gas and oil purchases from Iran.

In the first three months of this year, however, Turkey's gold imports declined by 80 percent to 9.3 tons, data from Borsa İstanbul shows. Observers said the decline is largely due to the government suspending its gold-for-oil trade. The gold-for-oil strategy has come under close scrutiny by the opposition and prosecutors following a corruption probe that went public in Turkey on Dec. 17 last year. The probe saw a number of prominent businesspeople and politicians close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) being accused of corruption -- including export fraud, forgery of documents and gold smuggling. The investigation alleges that Iranian-Azerbaijani businessman Reza Zarrab and certain bureaucrats collaborated with Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani -- who has been blacklisted by both the E.U. and the U.S. government -- to smuggle gold into Iran.

This very short story, filed from Istanbul, was posted on the todayszaman.com Internet site yesterday---and I found it on the Sharps Pixley website.  It's definitely worth reading.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

I know many are fed up, tired and worn out with the long-running silver manipulation, particularly with the price events over the past three years. So am I. Many are reaching the conclusion that the manipulation is so well entrenched (and government supported) that it will continue indefinitely. However, I do have the advantage of studying silver intensely for almost 30 years, so I can’t help but see things in a different perspective than someone with a much shorter time frame. I also have the advantage of experiencing along the way enough instances of confirmation for what were originally “kooky” ideas of mine (such as the whole premise of a COMEX silver manipulation in the first place) that I “know” that the manipulation must end. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 05 April 2014

It was another day where JPMorgan et al had to step in front of rallies in all four precious metals, or watch them explode to the upside and, for the most part, they had the deed done by the London a.m. gold "fix".  Despite the fact that there are ongoing investigations into insider trading at the gold fixes, "da boyz" appear to be unfazed---and are just as in-your-face as they've always been.

Here are the gold and silver charts updated with yesterday's price data.

As you can see from the chart---and as I mentioned further up in the column---the gold price was prevented from closing above its 50-day moving average.  It will be interesting to see if we rally from there, or have another price "failure" at this point.

Silver's rally wasn't allowed to get far, either---but as Ted Butler mentioned on the phone yesterday, there weren't any major moving averages broken to the upside, so there was no incentive for the technical funds to come back into the market on the long side, so JPMorgan et al had a pretty easy time of it in silver yesterday.  And as I mentioned further up, volume during that big rally very early yesterday morning wasn't overly heavy to begin with, at least not compared to gold.  But the early volume, just like in gold, was virtually all of the HFT variety.

However, one thing I have noticed, is the heavy roll-over volume in silver during the first two trading days of the week.  May is a delivery month in silver, but I don't remember seeing the Comex futures holders in silver exiting the delivery month so far in advance of options and futures expiry.  But then again, maybe I'm just imagining things, but it will be something that I'll keep an eye on over the next few days.

And as I write this paragraph, London has been open about 10 minutes.  Gold rallied about five bucks or so in Far East trading, but has been sold back down a bit going into the London open.  I wouldn't read much into this.  Silver's sojourn above the $20 spot price mark didn't last long---and has been sold down about 15 cents from yesterday's close---and back below the $20 mark.  Gold volume is about average for this time of day---and is all of the HFT variety.  Gross volume in silver is already north of 17,000 contracts, which is enormous.  A lot of that is roll-overs out of the May contract, but I can tell you that this roll-over activity is highly unusual for this time of day---so maybe I'm not "imagining things" as I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Platinum prices are up a bit---and palladium prices have been comatose since trading began in New York at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening.  The dollar index isn't doing much of anything, either.

Today, at the close of Comex trading, is the cut-off for this Friday's COT Report so, hopefully, all of the reporting week's data, including everything that happens today, will be in it.

If you took the time to read the King World News interview with Agnico Eagle CEO Sean Boyd, you'll note that right up front he admits that the price of gold is being actively "managed".  He, along with every other precious metal miner on Planet Earth knows exactly the same thing---and quite a large number of them have admitted to in private---and it's nice to see Sean state the obvious.

But will he or any other precious metal mining company do anything about it?  No, they won't do a thing.  But what about their fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders you might ask---and rightfully so.  As I've said countless times over the years---the miners don't give a flying #%&$ about their shareholders---and that would be all of us.  And as I've also said, when gold and silver prices finally do rise to some sort of free-market price, or as high as I think that JPMorgan et al will allow them to rise, I'll be selling every one of my precious metal stocks---and I'll never own one again as long as I live.

And as I hit the send button at 5:15 a.m. EDT, I note that both gold and platinum have given back what little gains they had now that London has been trading a bit more than two hours.  Silver is now down 20 cents---and palladium is still trading flat.   Volumes in both gold and silver have dropped off to just about nothing---and all is quiet at the moment. The dollar index isn't showing any signs of life, either.

Gold and silver prices could go either way from here, but after gold's "failure" to break above its 50-day moving average yesterday, a down-side move going forward wouldn't surprise me in the slightest, even though I'm hoping for the alternative.

Before heading off to bed, I'd like to mention the Casey Researchproduction entitled "Meltdown America: Exclusive Documentary World Premiere.  It runs almost 29 minutes and features the harrowing tales of three people who survived economic and political collapse in Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia, and Argentina… with guest commentators, Doug Casey; Jeff Opdyke from Sovereign Society; David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller; Jane Kokan, former BBC/CNN journalist; Dr. André Gerolymatos, former member of the Canadian Advisory Council on National Security; and Scott Taylor, war correspondent and Publisher, Esprit de Corps magazine---discussing how these powerful stories of hardship foreshadow what soon could be happening in the U.S.

This absolute must watch documentary was posted on the Casey Research website yesterday---and the link is here.

I hope your day goes well---and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Wed, 9 Apr 2014 09:13:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Lawrence Williams: Gold Manipulation—ex U.S. Treasury Top Gun Tells Us How and Why]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/lawrence-williams-gold-manipulation-ex-u.s.-treasury-top-gun-tells-us-how-a/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/lawrence-williams-gold-manipulation-ex-u.s.-treasury-top-gun-tells-us-how-a/#When:09:38:00Z "No one is going to lift a finger to stop them, or utter a word in protest"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price did little of anything up until noon Hong Kong time---and after that it quietly sold off to just under the $1,300 mark.  The two attempts to break back above that price got sold down almost immediately---and after the second sell-off that came just after the London close, gold traded flat for the remainder of the New York session.

The high and down price ticks aren't worth the trouble of looking up.

Gold closed the Monday session at $1,296.90 spot, down $5.40 from Friday's close.  Volume, net of April and May, was extremely light at 88,000 contracts.

Silver got sold off about 15 cents within the first 15 minutes of trading at the Sunday night open in New York.  The subsequent 'rally' latest until 10 a.m. Hong Kong time---and then it got sold down [unsteadily] to it's low of the day which came at the noon silver fix in London.  The subsequent rally got capped the moment that it hit the $20 spot price mark---shortly after the London close as well---and that was it for the day.

The high and low tick were reported by the CME Group as $20.015 and $19.775 in the May contract.

Silver finished the day at $19.865 spot, down 9 cents from Friday's close.  Net volume was fumes and vapours at 15,500 contracts.

Like gold and silver, platinum and palladium were under selling pressure for virtually the entire day, with most of the selling pressure really getting started around noon Hong Kong time.  Then platinum got hit for $20---and palladium got smoked for over 3% starting shortly after the London close---about the same time as gold and silver got sold down.  After the spikes down in their respective prices, they didn't recover much.

The dollar index closed on Friday at 80.43.  It traded pretty flat until around 12:30 p.m Hong Kong time---and then began to head south, hitting its 80.20 low just before 12 o'clock noon in New York.  After that it traded almost ruler flat into the close, finishing the Monday session at 80.22---down 21 basis points on the day.

The interesting thing to note is that virtually all of the major price declines in all four precious metals occurred between noon in Hong Kong and noon in New York yesterday.  It's a pretty safe call to say that there was absolutely no correlation between the dollar index and precious metal prices yesterday.

With the gold price, along with the general equity markets, both in the red yesterday, it was a bit of a surprise to see the gold stocks in the green.  Of course, once the gold price got smacked back below the $1,300 spot price mark after the London close, down went the gold stocks as well.  But, despite that, they continued to rally after that---and closed virtually unchanged---down 0.07%.

The silver shares followed a similar price/chart pattern, but Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down a somewhat more substantial 1.18%.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 8 gold and 3 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories tomorrow.  The Issuers and Stoppers Report isn't worth linking.

I note that there are about 1,300 gold contracts still open in the April delivery month, along with a tiny handful of silver contracts.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday---and as of 10:36 p.m. yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.

There was a decent sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 1,500 troy ounces of gold eagles---3,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---and 659,500 silver eagles.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday, they reported receiving 37,779 troy ounces of gold, most of which went into the depositories over at HSBC USA.  Only 291 troy ounces were reported shipped out.  The link to that activity is here.

In silver, there was 498,354 troy ounces reported received---and all of it disappeared into the Delaware depository.  39,020 troy ounces shipped out.  The link to that action is here.

I have a decent number of stories for you today---and I'll leave the final edit up to you.

¤ Critical Reads

U.S. Consumer Borrowing up $16.5 Billion in February

Consumers increased their borrowing in February on autos and student loans by the largest amount in a year. But for a second straight month, they cut back on their credit card use.

Consumer borrowing climbed $16.5 billion in February, up from a $13.5 billion gain in January, the Federal Reserve reported Monday.

The category that includes credit cards fell $2.4 billion after a $241 million drop in January. But this decline was offset by an $18.9 billion increase in borrowing in the category that covers autos and student loans, the biggest one-month gain since February 2013.

The overall increase in consumer debt pushed total borrowing to a record $3.13 trillion.

This short AP story was picked up by the abcnews.go.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for today's first story.

Citigroup to Pay $1.13B to Settle Investor Claims

Citigroup has agreed to pay $1.13 billion to settle claims by investors seeking that the lender buy back billions in residential mortgage-backed securities.

The New York-based investment bank said Monday that the pact it reached with 18 institutional investors calls for Citigroup to make a binding offer to the trustees of 68 Citi-sponsored trusts that bundled some $59.4 billion in home loans into securities from 2005 to 2008.

The settlement offer, which must be approved by the trustees and the court, would release Citi from having to buy back mortgages sold to the trusts.

But the lender would remain vulnerable to other types of investor claims, including misrepresentations in the offering documents associated with the securities. It could also face potential actions by regulators.

This is barely a licensing fee, dear reader.  This is another AP story posted at the abcnews.go.com Internet site yesterday---and it's the second offering in a row from Elliot Simon.

Fed gives banks extra time for compliance with Volcker Rule

The Federal Reserve granted a fresh concession to banks that are subject to the Volcker rule on Monday, giving them two more years to offload their holdings in collateralised loan obligations to comply with the measure.

The Volcker rule, aimed at banning proprietary trading, would have forced banks to divest their CLO investments, resulting in billions of dollars in losses.

This is the second extension that the banks have received---and it probably won't be the last---as the CLOs/CDOs are worthless.  At the moment they are "marked to fantasy"---but "mark to market" would sink the "too big to fail" banks immediately.  The above two paragraphs are all there is to this story that's posted in the clear.  The balance is contained on the Financial Times website.  I found this bit in a GATA release last evening.

Sprott's Thoughts: Some Kind of Financial Calamity is Inevitable: Jim Rickards

This very longish interview with Jim was conducted by Teko Da Silva over at Sprott Asset Management the other day.  Teko was mentioned by name in Jim's book, so I think Jim had more to say to him than most of the people who interviewed him.  Jim has been going out of his way during the last ten days to deny that the U.S. government had any involvement with 9/11---but he sort of got caught with his pants down on this subject in his interview with Max Keiser last week.

U.S. blasts Europe’s plan for anti-snooping network as 'unfair advantage'

US officials on Friday slammed plans to construct an EU-centric communication system, designed to prevent emails and phone calls from being swept up by the NSA, warning that such a move is a violation of trade laws.

Calling Europe’s proposal to build its own integrated communication system “draconian,” the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said American tech companies, which are worth an estimated $8 trillion per year, would take a financial hit if Brussels gives the initiative the green light.

"Recent proposals from countries within the European Union to create a Europe-only electronic network (dubbed a 'Schengen cloud' by advocates) or to create national-only electronic networks could potentially lead to effective exclusion or discrimination against foreign service suppliers that are directly offering network services, or dependent on them," the USTR said in its annual report.

You couldn't make this stuff up.  This Russia Today story showed up on their website late on Friday morning Moscow time---and it's courtesy of South African reader B.V.  It's worth skimming.

Germany opens NSA spy probe amid calls to deliver Snowden to testify

Parliamentary hearings into the scandal involving NSA spying on Germany have started. Some members of the investigative committee have suggested bringing in the document leaker Edward Snowden himself to testify. Some expect this to anger Washington.

The Bundestag presented the evidence on Thursday, as German public anger over America’s blatant violations of German sovereignty vents steam. But some are already speculating what the result of the hearings will mean in practical terms, for German-US relations. And what political fallout will ensue by inviting Snowden to Berlin?

Fresh revelations regarding the NSA’s activities in Germany continue to pour in amid outcries from the German people. Der Spiegel magazine has published further Snowden leaks recently, among them the revelation that the Americans compiled a comprehensive dossier on Merkel, which included over 300 intelligence reports. Apparently, the NSA database contains information obtained during surveillance of over a hundred world leaders.

What’s more, the magazine detailed how British secret services also played a part in all this, by hacking into German internet companies.

This is another story from the Russia Today website during the lunch hour in Moscow on Friday---and it's the second contribution in a row from reader B.V.

Metadata monitoring more intrusive than eavesdropping - Snowden and Greenwald

Whistleblower Edward Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald joined forces via video link at an Amnesty International event in the US to speak to a packed hotel ballroom about the dangers of government metadata collection.

Both Snowden and Greenwald stated that governmental collection of metadata – that is, monitoring timings of calls, to whom calls were made, and how long they lasted – is much more intrusive than listening in on calls directly.

Metadata is what allows an actual enumerated understanding, a precise record of all the private activities in all of our lives. It shows our associations, our political affiliations and our actual activities,” Snowden told the 1,000-strong crowd in Chicago.

Both Snowden and Greenwald received rounds of applause for their appearances, while Snowden’s ‘appearance’ prompted a standing ovation.

This is the third Russia Today commentary in a row from South African reader B.V.---and this one was posted on their website minutes before midnight on Sunday evening Moscow time.

‘U.S. annexed the whole world through global spying' – Assange

The media has been overwhelmed by talk of Crimea joining Russia, but all are ignoring the fact that the 'Five Eyes' intelligence alliance, principally the US, has annexed the whole world through their spying, said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Speaking at the WHD.global conference on Wednesday, Assange – who has been living under asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012 – pointed out that there is a need for independent internet infrastructure for countries to maintain sovereignty to resist US control over the majority of communications. The annual conference is dedicated to global surveillance and privacy matters.

“To a degree this is a matter of national sovereignty. The news is all flush with talk about how Russia has annexed the Crimea, but the reality is, the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, principally the United States, have annexed the whole world as a result of annexing the computer systems and communications technology that is used to run the modern world,” Assange said.

This is another Russia Today story---and the fourth in a row from South African reader B.V.  This one was posted on their Internet site in the wee hours of Monday morning Moscow time.

McDonald's quits Crimea as fears of trade clash grow

McDonald's announced on Friday it had closed its restaurants in Crimea, prompting fears of a backlash as a prominent Moscow politician called for all the U.S. fast food chain's outlets in Russia to be shut.

Crimea's annexation by Russia, which Ukraine and the West do not acknowledge, has worried companies with assets in the Black Sea peninsula as it is unclear how the change may impact their business.

While McDonald's did not mention the political situation in its statement, its decision to leave the region is likely to be seen as emblematic of the rift in Western-Russian relations, now at their lowest ebb since the end of the Cold War.

"Due to operational reasons beyond our control, McDonald's has taken the decision to temporarily close our three restaurants in Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta," a spokeswoman said.

This Reuters story, filed from Kiev, appeared on their website on Friday afternoon EDT---and I thank Casey Research's own Nick Giambruno for sending it our way.

Crimea 2.0: Donetsk Activists Declare Kiev Independence, Request "Temporary Peacekeeping" Support From Putin

Less than a month after the Crimean referendum which pulled the region away from Ukraine and ceded it to Russia, another east Ukraine regional city, Donetsk, has just declared its independence from Kiev following the previously reported mini coup yesterday in which pro-Russia activists seized the government building in the city, as well as the other two regional capitals. Specifically, as RT reports, today at 12:20 local time, a session of the people's Council of Donbass (Donetsk region) took place in the main hall of the Regional Council and without the police (whose allegiance to Kiev also appears to be non-existent) intervening, unanimously voted on a declaration to form a new independent state: the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

Sure enough, promptly thereafter the Council of the new republic issued an address to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for deployment of a temporary peacekeeping force to the region. Just like Crimea.

And so another city pulls away from Ukraine and gives Russia the go ahead to create a toehold in East Ukraine, just according to Putin's plan.

I doubt very much that this will amount to much, but it's symptomatic of all the problems that overhang the Ukraine now that the Crimea has returned to Mother Russia from whence it came.  This Zero Hedge piece was posted on their Internet site early yesterday morning EDT---and it's a piece that Casey Research's own Bud Conrad passed around yesterday.

Searching for Deterrence: Ukraine Crisis Exposes Gaps Between Berlin and NATO

Once the Cold War ended, Western militaries reduced their focus on military deterrence in Europe. As a consequence, the Ukraine crisis has caught NATO flat-footed as it rushes to find an adequate response to Russia. Germany has been reluctant to go along.

Prior to the fall of communism and the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact, deterrence was based on the destructive potential of atomic weapons, hundreds of thousands of soldiers posted in Europe, heavy weaponry and tanks. The West German army alone had some 495,000 troops, 4,100 Leopard battle tanks and 600 warplanes. The soldiers were the core of an Allied defensive force defending the border between the two power blocks -- a frontier that ran right through Germany.

The alliance's cooperation with Russia -- which took years to build up -- has been on ice since last week. And Moscow is no longer seen as a partner, but as an adversary.

Already, preparations have begun for the next NATO summit of alliance heads of state and government in September. Thus far, there is only one item on the agenda: a new strategy for NATO. Berlin is skeptical. And concerned.

This article appeared on the German website spiegel.de yesterday---and it's the only offering of the day from Roy Stephens.  It's worth reading, especially if you're a student of the New Great Game.

Obama issues threats to Russia, NATO

The Obama regime has issued simultaneous threats to the enemy it is making out of Russia and to its European NATO allies on which Washington is relying to support sanctions on Russia. This cannot end well.

As even Americans living in a controlled media environment are aware, Europeans, South Americans, and Chinese are infuriated that the National Stasi Agency is spying on their communications. NSA’s affront to legality, the US Constitution, and international diplomatic norms is unprecedented. Yet, the spying continues, while Congress sits sucking its thumb and betraying its oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.

In Washington mumbo-jumbo from the executive branch about “national security” suffices to negate statutory law and Constitutional requirements. Western Europe, seeing that the White House, Congress and the Federal Courts are impotent and unable to rein-in the Stasi Police State, has decided to create a European communication system that excludes US companies in order to protect the privacy of European citizens and government communications from the Washington Stasi.

The Obama regime, desperate that no individual and no country escape its spy net, denounced Western Europe’s intention to protect the privacy of its communications as “a violation of trade laws.”

This Paul Craig Roberts commentary showed up on the presstv.ir Internet site yesterday---and I thank U.K. reader Tariq Khan for bringing it to our attention.  But, like the previous story, it's a must read for any serious student of the New Great Game.

Greek labour costs now half eurozone average

Greece's hourly labour costs are now rank 16th out of 28 countries: in Greece, it costs on average €13.60 to employ someone per hour, half of the European Union average of €23.70.

Labour costs in Greece fell by almost a fifth from 2008 and 2013, the biggest fall in the entire European Union, figures released on Thursday showed.

The data from Eurostat, the EU's statistical arm, found that the labour cost per hour in Greece fell from €16.70 in 2008 to €13.60 in 2013, a decrease of 18.6%. That puts the labour costs in Greece far below the eurozone average of €28.20 and more than half of EU average of €23.70.

This short story, with some excellent embedded charts, was posted on the enetenglich.gr website almost two weeks ago---and it's courtesy of reader Harry Grant.

U.S. warns China over currency depreciation

The United States warned Beijing on Monday that the recent depreciation of the Chinese currency could raise "serious concerns" if it signaled a policy shift away from allowing market-determined exchange rates.

Washington has been pressing China for years to allow its currency to trade at stronger values. A weak yuan makes Chinese exports cheaper for U.S. consumers at the expense of U.S. producers. A weaker yuan also makes Chinese consumers less able to buy foreign goods.

Last month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew welcomed a decision by China to allow its currency to vary more against the dollar in daily trading.

Monday's comments by a senior official from the Treasury Department suggested the United States was not completely sold on China's intention to reduce authorities' interventions in exchange markets.

This Reuters article, filed from Washington, was posted on the finance.yahoo.com Internet site late last night EDT---and it's another offering from Elliot Simon.


Financial typhoon warning for Hong Kong

The city is showing worrying signs of being at the centre of the next financial crisis.

The restaurants are fully booked, the shops are packed, the financial markets are booming. For Hong Kong things have, on the face of it, never been so good.

“One country, two systems” has proved to be a good deal for the former British island colony that today has become a financial centre, not just to rival its old ruler but to eclipse it.

“Hong Kong is in the path of the typhoon developing on the mainland,” says Sharmila Whelan, an analyst at Asianomics.

“A nasty downturn in China and a sudden sharp correction in the Hong Kong property market would severely buffet the territory’s economy. China’s problems have become insurmountable and the likelihood that 2014 will prove the year of reckoning is growing,” says Whelan.

This news item was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site late on Saturday evening BST---and it's courtesy of reader Clive Sutherland.

Chuck Hagel reaffirms U.S. 'strong commitment' to protect Japan

U.S. defence secretary's fourth trip to region comes as China, Japan and other nations are locked in bitter territorial disputes.

Against the backdrop of Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimean region, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Saturday that a key message he will deliver to leaders in Tokyo this weekend is that the US is strongly committed to protecting Japan's security.

Hagel said it was understandable for nations to be concerned as they watch the events unfold in Ukraine, where Russian troops are still massed along the border. The issue reverberates in Asia where China, Japan and other nations are locked in bitter territorial disputes, including over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

"It's a pretty predictable, I think, reaction, not just of nations of this area and this region but all over the world," Hagel told reporters traveling with him to Tokyo. "I think anytime you have a nation, Russia in this case, try to impose its will to refine and define international boundaries and violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a nation by force, all of the world takes note of that."

This article showed up on theguardian.com Internet site early Saturday afternoon BST---and I thank reader Richard Cashmore for finding it for us.

Doug Casey on the Continuing Debasement of Money, Language and Banking in the Modern Age

This excellent interview with Doug was conducted by Anthony Wile of The Daily Bell---and it ended up being posted on the lewrockwell.com Internet site yesterday.  It's definitely worth reading---and once again I thank Casey Research's own Nick Giambruno for bringing this item to my attention, and now to yours.

Nine King World News Blogs/Audio Interviews

1. James Turk: "Record-Breaking Gold Backwardation, Shocking Banks...and Shorts"  2.  John Embry: "This is Horrifying For the West and Will Bring the U.S. to its Knees"  3. Michael Pento: "Coming Mega-Chaos to Dwarf the Terror of 2008 Collapse"  4. Egon von Greyerz: "Terrifying Worldwide Meltdown to Devastate the Entire Globe"  5. David P.: "Despite Pullback, Gold May Be Set For Remarkable 177% Surge "  6. Robert Fitzwilson: "Totally Corrupt West---and a Possible Kill Shot on the Dollar"  7.  Richard Russell: "Silver---and the Nastiest Stock Market in History"  8. The first audio interview is with Dr. Marc Faber---and the second audio interview is with Egon von Greyerz

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

Hugo Salinas Price: "We Have Seen This Play Before"

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in “The Telegraph” is quite worried about deflation in the Eurozone; he says it may become entrenched, which would lead to economic disaster for Europe.

What we are seeing is a repeat performance, on the world stage, of a previous failed experiment with fiat money, as documented by Andrew Dickson White, in his classic book: “Fiat Money Inflation in France 1790 -1797”, reprinted in 1933, when a great believer in monetary tinkering was just getting started.

In Revolutionary France, the French National Assembly gathered together the best and brightest men in France. They were the leading lights of the time. As worshipers of the goddess Reason, they could not for the life of them understand why human reason should not be able to devise an artificial money which would make the French economy function to perfection.

At the time, there were opponents to the idea of floating a new, artificial currency, to be named the “Assignat”. They pointed out the disastrous consequences of the prior French experiment with artificial money, launched in 1720 by the highly intelligent Scottish adventurer, John Law. But like those of us today, who are convinced that the present monetary dispensation will end in a huge world disaster, they were out-debated by those who represented the dominant spirit of the time.

This excellent commentary by Hugo was posted on the plata.com.mx website last Friday---and I thank reader B.V. for his final offering in today's column.  It's definitely worth reading.

Hedge Funds Get Gold Timing Wrong on Rebound: Commodities

Hedge funds and other speculators misjudged gold prices for a second time in three weeks.

Just after the investors sold bullion holdings for a second consecutive week, a disappointing U.S. jobs report sparked the biggest rally in prices since mid-March. Their funds fared better in the five preceding weeks, correctly adjusting wagers 80 percent of the time.

Investors who were anticipating gold’s 2014 rebound would fizzle had reason to be confident at the start of last week. As U.S. equities surged to a record, bullion slid to a seven-week low on April 1 as fewer traders saw the appeal of the haven asset. Three days later, the payrolls data drove shares lower and bullion prices 1.5 percent higher to $1,303.50 an ounce, the biggest gain since March 12.

This Bloomberg story, filed from Chicago, was posted on their website early yesterday afternoon Denver time---and as Elliot Simon said in his comments in his covering e-mail: "No they don't.  They're being played like a fiddle by JPM."  Elliot understands the situation perfectly---as do you, dear reader.  It's worth skimming.

Tocqueville's Hathaway says London probe could scare off investors

Investigations into the London gold fix could scare institutional investors away from the metal, according the head of one of the world's largest investors in gold and precious metals mining shares.

"We as money managers in the space have been hurt more not by the price action but by the feeling among investors that [London pricing] is just too weird, too inexplicable," said John Hathaway, who oversees $2 billion in gold investments for Tocqueville Asset Management.

“Prices have to go up and down but if it’s a rigged game, then you’re not going to get big pension funds etc. getting involved. They’ll say, ‘Boy this thing is too spooky for us to invest in,’” Mr. Hathaway told The Wall Street Journal at the Dubai Precious Metals Conference, one of the world’s largest gatherings of gold investors.

John doesn't come out and say that the precious metal markets are rigged, but he does say that "many people" believe they are---and he would be one of them---and that was his way saying it without uttering the words himself.  This article showed up on the blogs.wsj.com Internet site during the New York lunch hour yesterday---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.  It's not overly long---and it's worth your time.

'$75 billion gold traded through Dubai in 2013'

The Dubai Precious Metals Conference 2014 (‘DPMC 2014’), hosted by DMCC, in association with Foretell and title sponsor Standard Bank, was officially opened in the presence of Maryam Buti Al Suwaidi, Deputy CEO, Securities & Commodities Authority, with DMCC Executive Chairman, Ahmed Bin Sulayem announcing that $75 billion of gold was traded through Dubai in 2013, further cementing the Emirate’s global position as the global bullion hub.

During his keynote address, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC, said: “Dubai has quickly emerged as the leading global hub for the precious metals trade. As a result of DMCC’s continuous efforts to realise the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Emirate has risen as the destination for global precious metals trading. In 2013 almost 40 per cent of the world’s physical gold trade came through Dubai and the value of total gold traded through Dubai grew to $75 billion, compared to $6 billion in 2003.

“Dubai also saw an annual trade volume increase of 73 per cent accounting for 2,250 tonnes of gold. This market has proven to be resilient under all conditions; even on a year where total global demand fell by 15 per cent, Dubai gained from near-record consumption demand growth. These figures represent a significant shift in the balance of global demand flows with Dubai positioned as one of the global market leaders."

This news item showed up on the emirates247.com Internet site on Sunday---and my thanks go out to Casey Research's own Jeff Clark for digging this story up on our behalf.

Platinum holdings of largest ETF tops 1 million ounces

Holdings of the world's largest platinum-backed exchange-traded fund, Johannesburg's NewPlat ETF, breached 1 million ounces for the first time last week, data from the fund showed, as a strike in the South African platinum sector prompted new buying.

NewPlat, launched less than a year ago by Absa Capital, grew within four months into the largest ETF of its kind as concerns over labour issues in the republic and the appeal of a rand-denominated fund fuelled buying from South African investors.

It currently holds nearly twice as much platinum as the second largest fund, New York-listed ETFS Physical Platinum.

This very interesting Reuters story, filed from London, was picked up by the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday---and it's definitely worth your time.

March gold imports jump to 10-month high in India

India’s gold imports in March rose to nearly 50 tonnes, the highest since the Reserve Bank of India’s import curbs came into force in May last year, according an estimate by the the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, an organisation that caters to more than 300,000 jewellers. Last month, Indian imported around 25 tonnes of gold, despite the curbs on the precious metal.

With India's central bank allowing more private banks to bring in the metal, importers had rushed in with their orders, he added. Moreover, with prices moderating in the local market, amidst expectations that the curbs might be lifted any time soon, traders said gold imports could stay high for some more time.

Finance minister P Chidambaram has indicated that the government could further ease restrictions on gold imports, and that the relaxations made a few days ago when more banks were allowed to import gold, was the first in a series of measures unrolled by the government to relax curbs.

This article, filed from Mumbai, was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday sometime.

Koos Jansen: January India Silver Import 462 Metric Tonnes

Gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen today takes a close look at gold and silver demand in India, where silver demand has been breaking records because of the government's tighter restrictions on gold imports.

This commentary, along with a slew of excellent charts, was posted on the ingoldwetrust.ch Internet site yesterday---and is definitely worth reading.

Gold Bullion Stored In Singapore Is Safest - Marc Faber

This 36:38 minute audio interview with the good doctor was conducted by Mark O'Byrne from the goldcore.com Internet site.  The audio quality isn't that great, because it sounds like it was done on Skype.  I haven't had the time to listen to it yet, so I'm not sure if it's worth your while or not.

It was posted on youtube.com last Friday---and I thank reader Ken Hurt for sharing it with us.

Lawrence Williams: Gold manipulation---ex U.S. Treasury top gun tells us how and why

In an era when the general consensus is that ALL markets are manipulated in some way or another – and usually by the financial elite who have the monetary and political backing to be able to do so with virtual impunity – it seems unlikely that gold should be immune, despite denials by some who should perhaps know better, or maybe have their own agenda in muddying the waters. Indeed this kind of manipulation does not only apply to markets, with government issued statistics massaged, and goalposts moved, to present them in the best possible light. This era of state and financial misrepresentations, once the preserve of totalitarian states and their elites, but now seemingly prevalent across all political and financial spectra, may convince some (perhaps the majority) of the people most of the time that everything in the world is coming up roses. But it is an inherently dishonest concept imposed on the general populace by the global elite and in truth there seems to be little one can do to prevent it. Even honest politicians (if that is not a contradiction of terms) eventually get sucked in and have to make major compromises if they want to try and put their own agendas across. 

But back to gold. Former Reagan era ex U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary, Paul Craig Roberts, has just published an interesting article on his website which not only states categorically that the gold price is indeed manipulated by the U.S. Fed and its bullion banking allies, but how the price control is achieved, together with illustrative charts. Now Roberts may have his own agenda to push, but as a former U.S. Treasury insider – even if of a different era - he should indeed know what he is talking about and his words should be taken seriously by gold bull and bear alike as his views are relevant to those in all gold-related camps. To read his article - The Federal Reserve has no integrity - click here.

There's nothing really new in the Roberts/Kranzler piece, as this scenario has been discussed at length by Ted Butler and myself---along with others---for months [if not years] now, so I suppose it's only because of who is saying it that makes it worth posting---and commenting on.  But it still falls into the must read category---and Lawrie's comments, along with the embedded Roberts/Kranzler essay, showed up on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

It’s important to remember that the Mint is producing and selling Silver Eagles at record capacity this year, yet is still, in effect, unable to keep up with demand. This is a familiar circumstance with Silver Eagles over the past few years, a circumstance not witnessed with Gold Eagles in general. Along with the highly unique movements in COMEX warehouse inventories, this is another decidedly physical factor specific to silver.  While I don’t know who the big buyer of Silver Eagles may be, certainly we can conclude that the buyer strongly expects higher silver prices in time (no one buys anything investment related with the expectation of lower prices).

A subscriber passed along a thought that was already in the back of my mind, namely, that buying Silver Eagles from the Mint might be a way for a big buyer to accumulate physical silver with very little impact on price. I can’t help but think that the COMEX silver warehouse shuffling and extraordinary Silver Eagle sales are two big factors in a developing silver physical story that could [and should] end in pronounced shortage. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 05 April 2014

Even though volumes in both gold and silver were very light on Monday, it was obvious that there was a seller there to make sure that gold closed below $1,300---and silver below $20 spot.  Why platinum got hit---and palladium hammered---certainly had nothing to do with any real-world supply/demand fundamentals that I'm aware of.  But, like they are in gold and silver, JPMorgan et al can do pretty much as they please in the precious metal arena, as no one is going to life a finger to stop them, or utter a word in protest.  Yesterday's price action in all four precious metals had their boot prints all over it.

Here are the 6-month charts for both gold and silver once again.  Nothing has changed as far as Ted's [and my] opinion of the situation, as the technical set up still indicates that "da boyz" could peel another $100 off the gold price---and a more than a buck off silver.  We could also blast off from here as well---and I certainly don't want to say "This time it's different"---as that will be the kiss of death for sure.

As I said on several occasion last week, the latest being Saturday, that all we can do is wait this out and see what develops.

In Far East trading on their Tuesday, all was quiet once again, although prices developed a positive bias right from the open in early morning trading---and volumes were very light, although not quite as light as they were on Monday.  That all changed in gold and silver around 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, as gold spiked above $1,300 the ounce and silver above $20 the ounce.  Platinum and palladium were up a decent amount as well, but their rallies were much more subdued.

And as I type this paragraph, London has been open about 35 minutes---and it's obvious that the prices of both gold and silver are being actively capped, as volumes have exploded---and are up more that 100% from what they were before the price spikes occurred.  So it's obvious that JPMorgan et al are throwing a blizzard of Comex paper at both metal to kill these rallies.  The dollar index, which had been trading as flat as the proverbial pancake for most of the Far East trading session, began to head south around 2:45 p.m. Hong Kong time---about 15 minutes before the London open.

This is what the Kitco gold chart looked like at 5:25 a.m. EDT.

And as I hit the 'send' button on today's efforts at 5:28 a.m. EDT, all four precious metals continue to struggle higher as JPMorgan et al throw everything they can at their prices.  Gold volume is almost triple what it was about three hours ago.  Silver is still above the $20 spot price mark, but struggling. Volume is well over double what it was before this rally started, but still very low all things considered---around 8,300 contracts.  The volumes in both silver and gold are almost all confined to their respective current front months---so it's obvious that the HFT boyz are out in force.  Platinum and palladium are still up, but have made little upwards progress since London opened, as even the tiniest rally is being sold down.  The dollar index is now a hair below the 80.00 mark---and currently down about 25 basis points from Monday's close in New York.

I haven't the foggiest idea what price scenarios will greet me when I power up my computer later this morning, but the one thing that is obvious, is that JPMorgan et al have no intentions of letting precious metal prices rise at the moment, as they have obviously drawn a line in the sand here.  Could they get over run?  Sure, but if they do, it will be---as Ted Butler is wont to say from time to time---the first time it has ever happened.  So the odds aren't lookin' good.

But one of these days it will be different.

I'm off to bed.  See you here tomorrow.

Tue, 8 Apr 2014 09:38:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Chris Martenson: The Screaming Fundamentals For Owning Gold]]> http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/chris-martenson-the-screaming-fundamentals-for-owning-gold/ http://www.caseyresearch.com/gsd/edition/chris-martenson-the-screaming-fundamentals-for-owning-gold/#When:12:20:00Z ""Da boyz" were a no-show at the release of the jobs number yesterday"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price didn't do a thing in Far East trading on their Friday---and as I stated in The Wrap section of yesterday's column, volume up until the London open was lower than I could ever remember seeing it.

But shortly after trading began in London, some positive price action got underway, with higher ticks at both the 12 noon BST silver fix---and again at the Comex open in New York.  The usual smash down at the release of the jobs numbers failed to materialize.  But the serious price rally that began when London closed at 11 a.m. EDT in New York, ran into the usual not-for-profit sellers within 15 minutes---and that was it for the remainder of the day.

The CME Group reported the low and high price ticks as $1,284.40 and $1,307.50 in the June contract.

Gold finished the trading day in New York at $1,302.30 spot, up $15.50 on the day.  Not surprisingly volume, net of April and May, was pretty decent at 156,000 contracts.

Here's the New York Spot Gold [Bid] chart so you can see the Comex trading session in more detail---particularly the price capping shortly after London closed.

Silver did nothing in Far East trading as well, with the total volume under 2,000 contracts at the London open.  But once silver began to rally, it was obvious that there numerous times where a seller of last resort put in an appearance before prices got too far out of hand to the upside, especially in New York trading.  And, true to form, not only did JPMorgan et al cap the rally, but the also sold silver back down below $20 the ounce while they were at it.

The low and high ticks were reported as $19.785 and $20.23 in the May contract.  Silver finished the Friday session at $19.955 spot, up only 14 cents on the day---and it should have been obvious to all except the willfully blind, that it would have closed materially higher if allowed to do so.  Net volume was only 30,500 contracts, so "da boyz" had a pretty easy time keeping the price under wraps.

Platinum hit its low of the day shortly before London opened---and then rallied quietly until just about lunchtime in New York.  From there it traded sideways into the close.  Palladium didn't do much.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index closed late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 80.46---and then chopped sideways until around 8 a.m. EDT.  The index jumped around either side of unchanged for the next three hours before sliding a hair into the close.  The index finished the day on Friday at 80.43---virtually unchanged on the day.

The gold stocks jumped a bit over 2% at the open---and then hung in there until shortly after 11 a.m. when the gold price got capped.  After that the stocks quietly sold down for the remainder of the day, but managed to close just off their low.  The HUI barely finished in positive territory, up 0.67%.  I'm sure that the sell-off in the general equity markets was a factor in the gold stock's poor performance.

And as underwhelming as the performance of the gold stocks were, the silver stock did even worse, with Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closing up a tiny 0.15%.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 84 gold and 11 silver stocks were posted for delivery on Tuesday within the Comex-approved depositories.  JPMorgan and Canada's Scotiabank took delivery of most of the gold contracts.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

There was another withdrawal from GLD yesterday.  This time an authorized participant withdrew 57,807 troy ounces.  And as of 8:11 p.m. EDT, there were no reported changes in SLV.

I forgot about Joshua Gibbons' updated SLV bar list in yesterday's column, so here it is now.  "Analysis of the 02 April 2014 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list: 1,538,108.2 oz. were added (all to Brinks London), no bars were removed or had a serial number change.  As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 28.8 oz.  145,922.1 oz. were removed Wednesday, but not yet reflected on the bar list."  The link to Joshua's website is here.

The U.S. Mint had a tiny sales report yesterday.  They sold 4,500 troy ounces of gold eagles---500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---100 platinum eagles---and zero silver eagles.  Week/month-to-date the U.S. Mint has sold 11,000 troy ounces of gold eagles---7,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---293,000 silver eagles----and 300 platinum eagles.  Based on these numbers, the silver/gold sales ratio is only 16 to 1.  However, I don't expect this low sales ratio to last too long, as the next big silver eagles sales report will change everything.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday, there wasn't much in/out activity in gold, as only 16,274 troy ounces were reported received---and 199 troy ounces were shipped out.  Most of what was received went into JPMorgan's vault.  The link to that activity is here.

But it was a horse of an entirely different colour in silver---and by the time they parked the forklifts for the day, they reported receiving 1,243,515 troy ounces---and had shipped out an eye-watering 2,304,448 troy ounces of the stuff.  That action is definitely worth a quick look---and the link is here.

As far as yesterday's Commitment of Traders Report goes---as I was expecting, there was improvement in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver yesterday.

In silver, the Commercial net short position [total long positions minus total short positions in that category] declined by 3,313 contracts, or 16.6 million ounces---and the Commercial net short position now stands at 142.2 million troy ounces.

Ted Butler said that the raptors [the Commercial traders other than the Big 8] purchased about 4,100 new long contracts that the technical funds puked up as JPMorgan et al engineered the price lower.  But to add insult to injury, Ted also said that JPMorgan added 1,000 new short contracts to their already grotesque short-side corner---and their short position now sits at an even 20,000 contracts, or 100 million ounces. [Make note of that number, as it resurfaces in my discussion on the Bank Participation Report.]

In gold, the Commercial net short position declined by 13,592 contracts, or 1.36 million troy ounces.  The current net short position is now down to 11.40 million troy ounces.

Ted said that the decline in the Commercial category was virtually all raptor buying of the long contracts [13,400 in total] that the technical funds in the Non-Commercial category were forced to sell.  That number included the 3 or 4,000 contracts that JPMorgan added to their long-side corner in the Comex gold market---and their current long position stands at 43,000 contracts, or 4.3 million troy ounces. Remember that number for later as well.

As wonderful as the COT Report was, I was hoping for more, as the current net short positions in both gold and silver are nowhere near their record lows of late December.  Based on the price action of the last week, I'm not sure if we're going to revisit those lows again in this cycle or not.

As I said in this space yesterday, the numbers in the companion April Bank Participation Report [BPR] are extracted directly from the numbers in the COT Report, so we can compare apples to apples for this one day a month and discover what the world's bullion banks were up to during the last month.  The cut-off for both reports was at the Comex close on Tuesday.

I'll start with silver---and during the reporting month, the price of silver declined by about $1.75---but despite that fact, '3 or less' U.S. banks increased their short position in that metal by 1,852 contracts---and is now up to 20,600 contracts.  But from the COT Report above, Ted said that JPMorgan's net short position was an even 20,000 contracts.  So it appears that virtually the entire net short position in Comex silver held by all U.S. banks [3 or less according to the BPR] is, in fact, only held by one U.S. bank---and that's JPMorgan.  If two other U.S. banks [and they would be Citi and HSBC USA] actually held short positions in Comex silver, they would only be a few hundred contracts at most.  But a safe bet is that JPMorgan Chase is the only U.S. bank with a short position in silver---and the other two U.S. banks are now net long the Comex silver market.

Also in silver, 13 non-U.S. banks---and that's a minimum number--- decreased their net short position in Comex silver by 2,714 contracts.  These non-U.S. banks now hold 14,721 Comex silver contracts net short---and it's always been my opinion [since the October 2012 BPR came out] that Canada's Scotiabank holds well over half of that short position all by itself.  So if you take 8,000 of those 14,721 contracts and assign them to Scotiabank, the remaining 7,000-odd contracts or so divided up between the 12 [minimum] remaining non-U.S. banks become pretty much immaterial in the grand scheme of things.

Here's Nick's most excellent chart showing every Bank Participation Report in silver going back to the turn of the century---and the 'click to enlarge' feature works wonders here.  It's charts 4 and 5 that you should spend the most time on.  And as I say in conjunction with the silver BPR chart every month---note the August 2008 increase in the U.S. banks' short position.  That's when JPMorgan officially took over the silver short position from Bear Stearns.  And also note the blow-out in the Commercial net short position in the non-U.S. banks in October 2012.  That's when Canada's Scotiabank was outed---and had to report their Comex positions as a bank---and could no longer hide behind the skirts of their wholly-owned subsidiary Scotia Mocatta.

In round numbers, gold was down about $70 during the reporting month, however you'd never know that by the way the banks, both U.S. and foreign, reacted during that time.

In gold, '4 or less' U.S. banks that hold Comex contracts actually decreased their net long position by 11,039 contracts---and their net long position now sits at 14,565 contracts---and all of that decrease came from JPMorgan's long position.  Ted mentioned in the COT Report above that JPMorgan has a net long-side corner in Comex gold of 43,000 contracts on its own, so that means that the other 3 U.S. banks must hold a combined net short position of about 28,500 Comex contracts to make the numbers in the BPR balance out.  As to why JPMorgan holds a long-side corner in the Comex gold market---and the other 3 U.S. bullion banks are massively short---is still a mystery to me, but that's the way it's been for about a year now.

Also in gold, 21 non-U.S. banks also went shorter in gold during the reporting month, despite the price decline.  They increased their net short positions by a smallish 2,118 contracts---and their net short position now sits at 38,977 Comex contracts.  It's my opinion that a decent chunk of that is also held by Canada's Scotia Mocatta---at least a third, or around 13,000 contracts.  So the remaining 26,000-odd Comex contracts, once divided up between the other 20 non-U.S. bullion banks are, like in silver, basically immaterial.

In platinum, 4 U.S. bullion banks were short 12,828 Comex contracts, a decline of 2,525 contracts from the March BPR.  These four banks are net short 19.2% of the entire Comex platinum market---and it's a good bet that JPMorgan holds the lion's share of this grotesque short position.

Also in platinum, 13 non-U.S. banks decreased their net short position by 1,336 Comex contracts---and their combined net short positions now sits at 4,928 Comex contracts.  All together, these 13 banks are net short 7.4% of the entire Comex platinum market.  And as you can already tell, divided up between all 13 banks, their positions are immaterial.

In palladium, '3 or less' U.S. bullion banks increased their net short position in this metal to 9,653 contracts in the April BPR.  That's an increase of 1,205 contracts from the March BPR.  These '3 or less' U.S. banks---most likely dominated by JPMorgan as well---are net short 23.5% of the entire Comex palladium market.

Also in palladium, '13 or more' non-U.S. banks decreased their net short position in this metal down to 3,640 contracts, a decline of 773 contracts from the prior reporting month.  These '13 or more' non-U.S. banks are short 8.8% of the entire Comex palladium market---and even without doing the division, their individual positions are immaterial as well.

In a nutshell, JPMorgan went shorter in both silver and gold during the reporting month, even though prices were well down from a month earlier---and even the non-U.S. banks got into the act in gold as well, as they increased their net short position in the face of declining prices.  It's madness.

As I say every month, the precious metals price management scheme is 100% "Made in the U.S.A." with JPMorgan Chase as the capo di tutti capi---with Canada's Scotiabank thrown in for a little international "spice" in silver and gold.

I have a decent number of stories for you today, so I hope you have time over what's left of your weekend to read the ones that interest you.

¤ Critical Reads

Top investors press Allianz to step up oversight of Pimco

Several of the biggest investors in Allianz are pressing the German insurer to step up oversight of its California asset management unit Pimco and one is considering the unusual step of going public with its concerns at a shareholder meeting in May.

Reuters contacted the 10 top investors in Allianz as well as smaller shareholders to gauge their views on Pimco, the bond powerhouse whose reputation has been tarnished by a run of poor returns and the departure of CEO Mohamed El-Erian amid a row with co-founder Bill Gross.

Six of the biggest shareholders declined to comment ahead of the Allianz annual general meeting (AGM), scheduled to take place on May 7. One expressed confidence that the German firm was addressing the management and performance issues at Pimco.

This Reuters news item, filed from Frankfurt, was posted on their website very early yesterday morning EDT---and I thank Elliot Simon for today's first story.

Doug Noland: HFT, Rigged Markets and The Man

“The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is reviewing futures markets to ensure high-speed trading isn’t violating the law, acting CFTC Chairman Mark P. Wetjen told reporters… ‘I don’t have the impression at the moment that futures markets are rigged,’ Wetjen said… He was responding to comments by Michael Lewis, author of the book ‘Flash Boys,’ that investors are being robbed by traders using advanced computers to jump ahead of their trades.”

Charles Schwab stated that “High-frequency trading is a growing cancer that needs to be addressed… High-frequency traders are gaming the system, reaping billions in the process and undermining investor confidence in the fairness of the markets.”

I’m definitely no fan of high-frequency trading (HFT). Still, it’s difficult for me to get all that worked up on this particular issue. I guess I’ve seen too much during my going on 25 years in the financial markets. This week Michael Lewis created a firestorm with his assertion that markets are “rigged.” Are they rigged? There is clearly a prevailing “rigging” element, yet the high-frequency traders are bit players. HFT is symptomatic. They’re not the “cancer.”

Credit is inherently unstable. Always has been. History has also clearly demonstrated that stock markets are prone to destabilizing bouts of exuberance, intense speculation and spectacular boom and bust cycles. Nurture a Credit system dominated by marketable instruments and you’ve created a highly unstable Credit mechanism. Allow marketable securities to inflate to 400% of GDP and you’ve created highly unstable financial and economic systems. Push everyone into a securities market Bubble and then you’re really trapped. Policymaker rationalizations and justifications even foster the delusion that rigging markets is good and reasonable policy.

Doug's weekly Credit Bubble Bulletin, posted on the prudentbear.com Internet site yesterday evening, falls into the must read category every week---at least for me.

Bond yields to hit fresh lows as world recovery wilts, growls Saxo bear

If you thought I was gloomy about the state of the global economy, try Steen Jakobsen from Saxo Bank. There will be no further recovery. We have already enjoyed the good times for this cycle. It is downhill from now on, or at least very soon.

The rise in average 1-year rates from 1.50pc to 1.95pc in the G10 economies over the last year has already been enough to push the whole fragile edifice over the edge once again – albeit with a lag. “The world is in depression. There is no way it can survive higher rates,” he said.

US 10-year Treasury yields will soon roll over and slowly drop to all-time lows beneath 1.50pc by mid-2015.

The S&P 500 index of stocks on Wall Street will give up all of the QE3 gains, sliding down by almost a quarter to 1,400 in a year-long bear market.

This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard blog showed up on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site yesterday sometime---and it's worth reading.  I thank Roy Stephens for his first contribution to today's column.

Upside down: America’s war on globalization?

Who would have thought a unitary superpower on Earth would accelerate a return to regionalism in place of globalization?

For all those who deem ‘Financial Innovation’ to be an oxymoron, that brilliant invention the credit card springs to mind. It probably would never have made sense to a focus group, but from humble beginnings as a monthly account with the Diners Club enabling restaurateurs to welcome guests cashlessly, it is difficult nowadays to envisage life without MasterCard or Visa.

Being empowered to shop around the world thanks to a bit of embossed plastic is a cornerstone of modern globalization for travellers and online shoppers alike. Frustrated by the Crimean referendum, President Obama imposed sanctions against Russian financial institutions in an effort to squeeze Russia out of the global market, forcing U.S. card services halt some of their operations in Russia.

Sanctions remain a blunt and questionable instrument for resolving any dispute. However, given the prancing pouts passing for American government, sanctions exemplify the economic illiteracy which dogs the Obama Presidency.

This very interesting op-ed piece showed up on the Russia Today website early Friday morning Moscow time---and I thank South African reader B.V. for sending it our way.

Relax and do some yoga, Moscow tells sanctions-waving U.S. leaders

Russia’s barrage of sarcastic comments to the Obama administration, which is seeking to impose sanctions to change Moscow’s stance on Ukraine, has been enriched with a piece of advice to relax and look for inner tranquility.

The comments came from Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, who was speaking with Interfax news agency about the worst period of tension between Russia and the US over the past two decades.

“The American leadership is apparently stuck, and they just can’t accept the new situation, which arose to a great degree as a result of the deliberate effort of the US and their European allies to bring anti-Russian forces to power in Ukraine,” the diplomat stated.

“What can we advise our American colleagues to do? Spend more time outdoors, do some yoga, have healthy food, probably, watch more comedy series on TV. That would be better than working yourselves and others up, knowing that the train is already departed and that no tantrums, crying and hysterics can help,” he added.

This short story, of which you've already read half, showed up on the Russia Today website yesterday afternoon Moscow time---and it's the second offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

The Expandables: How NATO 'conquered' Europe

On the 65th anniversary of NATO, the debate over the organization’s expansion remains highly contentious, with some viewing it as a broken promise to Russia after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

NATO, an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty, was signed on April 4, 1949 when the US, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland joined the members of the Treaty of Brussels to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The idea of the alliance was to provide defense against a prospective Soviet invasion. In the early 1950s, the focus of the communism vs. capitalism fight shifted to Asia, where a series of bloody proxy wars played a major role in convincing Europeans that the Soviet Union and its allies were extremely dangerous and had to be contained at all costs.

Since the reunification of Germany, NATO has almost doubled in size – from 16 member states in 1990 to 28 currently.

This is another story from the Russia Today Internet site.  This one was posted there in the wee hours of Friday morning Moscow time---and once again I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.  It's worth reading if you're a student of the New Great Game.

Pepe Escobar: The U.S.-Russia Ukrainian deal

By the time you read this Russia will have invaded Ukraine. Well, that's what the Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, is spinning. Breedlove Supreme says the Russians are "ready to go" and could easily take over eastern Ukraine. Western corporate media have already dusted off their Kevlar vests.

Now compare Breedlove Supreme with a grown-up diplomat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who has called on NATO to please de-escalate the "unreasonable" warmongering rhetoric, which also includes officially ending all civilian and military cooperation with Russia and planning more military moves in Eastern Europe.

While NATO - shorthand for the Pentagon's European division - freaks out, especially via its outgoing secretary-general, Danish patsy Anders Fogh Rasmussen, let's see where we really stand on the ground, based on leaks from both Lavrov's and US Secretary of State John Kerry's camps.

The heart of the matter - obscured by a rainbow bridge of hysteria - is that neither Washington nor Moscow want Ukraine to become a festering wound. Moscow told Washington, officially, it has no intention of "invading" Ukraine. And Washington told Moscow that, for all the demented rhetoric, it does not want to expand NATO to either Ukraine or Georgia.

This commentary by Pepe is worth reading---and was written before the events that occurred in the next two stories in today's column, became public---but it's still worth your while, regardless, especially for all serious students of the New Great Game.  I thank reader M.A. for sharing it with us.

U.S. Threatens Russia Over Petrodollar-Busting Deal

On the heels of Russia's potential "holy grail" gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil "barter" deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar


We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness.

This must read commentary showed up on the Zero Hedge website early yesterday afternoon EDT---and it's the second offering of the day from reader M.A.

Timing the Collapse: Ron Paul Says Watch the Petrodollar

"The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or euros. The sooner the better." ~ Ron Paul

What Ron Paul is referring to here is the petrodollar system. It's one of the main pillars that's been holding up the US dollar's status as the world's premier reserve currency since the breakdown of Bretton Woods.

Paul is essentially saying that, if we want to better understand the answer to the elusive question of "When will the fiat US dollar collapse?", we have to watch the petrodollar system and the factors affecting it.

This timely commentary was posted on the internationalman.com Internet site back in late November of last year---and I thought I'd dust it off in light of the previous story.  I thank Nick Giambruno for bringing it to my attention---and now to yours.

Why Turkey Was Planning a False Flag Operation in Syria

You’ve probably heard about the recent leaked conversations involving Turkey.

It was stunning to hear the highest-ranking Turks causally discussing how to provoke a false flag incident that would justify a large military intervention in Syria.

This is a big deal because Turkish troops in Syria opens the door to NATO troops in Syria, which drastically expands the conflict.

As someone who has spent a number of years living and working in the Middle East, and having been to Syria multiple times, I was encouraged by my colleagues at Casey Research to share my perspective on this.

I posted a story on this Turkey/Syria false flag operation either earlier this week, or late last week, but International Man senior editor Nick Giambruno does a much better job in this piece from late this week.  It, too, falls into the must read category.

Kerry hints Middle East peace talks are close to collapse as U.S. reassesses role

US secretary of state John Kerry, who has made it a personal mission to breathe life into the long-stalled peace talks between Palestine and Israel, hinted on Friday that the negotiations are on the brink of collapse and said the Obama administration would reassess its participation in the process.

In the most pessimistic remarks since he launched the talks last July, Kerry told reporters it was “reality-check time” for all involved in the discussions. “It is regrettable that in the last few days both sides have taken steps that are not helpful and that's evident to everybody,” he told reporters in Morocco.

On Thursday, Israel scrapped the scheduled release of a group of Palestinian prisoners and called for the entire US-sponsored negotiations to be reviewed.

Kerry appeared to express frustration with the failure of both sides to make progress. “They say they want to continue,” he said of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. “But we are not going to sit there indefinitely. This is not an open-ended effort. It's reality-check time.”

This news item was posted on The Guardian's website later in the afternoon on Friday BST---and it's another contribution from reader M.A.

Manila files South China Sea claim

After a year of futile diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the South China Sea disputes, the Philippines has risked permanent estrangement with China by pressing ahead this week with an unprecedented arbitration case before a United Nations court at The Hague, while ironing out a new security pact with the United States.

The primary goal of the Philippines' latest maneuver is to put maximum pressure on China amid an intensifying territorial dispute, which has raised fears of direct military conflict. Manila has been alarmed by the increasing assertiveness of Chinese paramilitary vessels, which have reportedly harassed Filipino fishermen straddling the South China Sea as well as threatened

Filipino troops stationed across varying disputed features in the area.

In the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, for instance, recent weeks saw Chinese paramilitary forces imposing a tightening siege on Filipino troops, who have struggled to receive supply materials from their military command headquarters in the Philippines.

This essay appeared on the Asia Times website on Thursday---and had to wait for a spot in today's column.  Once again I thank Roy Stephens for finding it for us.

China Slowdown Adds to Emerging-Market Growth Hurdles, IMF Says

Emerging markets, increasingly dependent on China for their own growth, may suffer as the world’s second-largest economy decelerates, the International Monetary Fund said.

“China’s transition into a slower, if more sustainable, pace of growth will also reduce growth in many other emerging market economies, at least temporarily,” the IMF said in part of its latest World Economic Outlook report released today.

The market turbulence in mid-2013 as the U.S. Federal Reserve weighed the tapering of its bond-buying program also showed that emerging markets will suffer if access to capital abroad is harder to obtain, the IMF said. Growth forecasts in the report are scheduled to be released April 8.

“Emerging markets are facing a more complex growth environment than in the period before the crisis,” the IMF said. “Mounting external financing pressure without any improvement in global economic growth will harm emerging markets’ growth.”

This short Bloomberg news item, filed from Washington, was posted on their Internet site early yesterday morning Denver time---and it's the second contribution of the day from Elliot Simon.

China to shut down 2,000 coal mines this year

China will shut down roughly 2,000 small coal mines this year, with a total capacity of 117.48 million tonnes, as part of the Beijing’s ongoing plan to reduce the alarming rates of air pollution and reduce the nation’s dependency on the fossil fuel.

According to the National Energy Administration (NEA), the first small-scale mines to go will be those old and depleting ones, in the east of the country. The government will also consolidate production from operations located in remote parts, including the vast northwestern regions of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, Reuters reports.

The idea of closing down mines is nothing new to China, which accounts for about 50% of the world's coal consumption. In 2012 alone Beijing shut down 628 medium-sized coal mines, improved technological processes of 622 mines, merged 388 mines and phased out 97.8 million tons of outdated production facilities.

Last October, the Chinese government vowed to close at least 2,000 small coal mines by 2015 over safety concerns. The news came only a month after it said it wouldn’t allow more coal-fuelled installations near Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, in an effort to curb air pollution in the country’s most industrial regions.

This very short article, along with two excellent charts, showed up on the mining.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank reader M.A. for his final offering in today's column.

Three King World News Blogs

1. Egon von Greyerz: "$12,000 Gold, $50,000 Gold---and the Trade of the Decade"  2. Dr. Marc Faber [#1]: "The Horrific Plan of the Elites---and the Crooked IMF"  3. Dr. Marc Faber [#2]: "The Shocking Moves Marc Faber is Making With His Money"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

Secret Service launches probe of O.C. coin dealer Tulving Co.

The Secret Service has opened an investigation into the Tulving Co., an Orange County precious-metals coin dealer under fire for allegedly taking customers’ money but failing to fulfill their orders.

Agency spokesman Max Milien confirmed the probe Tuesday but would not provide specifics, citing an ongoing investigation. In addition to providing security to current and former U.S. leaders and their families, the Secret Service also looks into financial crimes, from major fraud to counterfeit currency.

Meanwhile, the Tulving Co., which many in the industry called a major player, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Costa Mesa-based business reportedly owes $1 million to $10 million to as many as 49 creditors, according to a bankruptcy document filed last month.

This is an update on an old news item---and it was posted on the Orange County Register website late yesterday morning PDT.  I thank Elliot Simon for his last contribution to today's column.

Alasdair Macleod: Renewed estimates of Chinese gold demand

I have been revisiting estimates of the quantities of gold being absorbed by China, and yet again I have had to revise them upwards. Analysis of the detail discovered in historic information in the context of China's gold strategy has allowed me for the first time to make reasonable estimates of vaulted gold, comprised of gold accounts at commercial banks, mine output and scrap. There is also compelling evidence mine output and scrap are being accumulated by the government in its own vaults, and not being delivered to satisfy public demand.

The impact of these revelations on estimates of total identified demand and the drain on bullion stocks from outside China is likely to be dramatic, but confirms what some of us have suspected but been unable to prove. Western analysts have always lagged in their understanding of Chinese demand and there is now evidence China is deliberately concealing the scale of it from us. Instead, China is happy to let us accept the lower estimates of western analysts, which by identifying gold demand from the retail end of the supply chain give significantly lower figures.

Before 2012 the Shanghai Gold Exchange was keen to advertise its ambitions to become a major gold trading hub. This is no longer the case. The last SGE Annual Report in English was for 2010, and the last Gold Market Report was for 2011. 2013 was a watershed year. Following the Cyprus debacle, western central banks, seemingly unaware of latent Chinese demand embarked on a policy of supplying large quantities of bullion to break the bull market and suppress the price. The resulting expansion in both global and Chinese demand was so rapid that analysts in western capital markets have been caught unawares.

This very long commentary by Alasdair is your big read of the day---and it's worth your time, if you have it.  I found it embedded in a GATA release yesterday.

Lawrence Williams: Union intransigence will put thousands of platinum miners out of work - permanently

Firstly let me say that I used to work underground in the South African platinum mines, albeit a long time ago, but things have not changed much at many of them anyway. Although equipment has been improved substantially, the mines have become deeper, and with the high rock temperature gradients prevalent in the Bushveld Igneous Complex geology working conditions will probably not have improved much – indeed they may even have deteriorated at the working face. Tunnel driving will be easier and better with modern mechanised equipment, but actual stoping – the final stage in preparing the ore for blasting at the face and cleaning it out when it has been broken – is very difficult to improve and involves biggish teams of miners working in incredibly narrow (sometimes as narrow as 75 cm) shallow dipping, and increasingly hot, working areas.

Because of the narrowness of the actual platinum bearing horizons (a few centimetres), mining this has proved extremely difficult to mechanise without substantially increasing the stoping widths and thus creating an enormous amount of ore dilution, which in most cases has more than negated any beneficial advantages of mechanisation. If mechanisation can be implemented, this in any case would also reduce the labour complements substantially, which is something the miners, unions and government may not want to see.

This first rate commentary by Lawrie was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site on Friday sometime---and it's definitely worth reading.

Rick Rule: Platinum, Palladium Supply Squeeze Will Turn Ugly

Strikes at South African mines have caused a massive drop in platinum and palladium production. And the world’s palladium supply could decline by 41% overnight if the West imposes export sanctions on Russia.  Speculators are betting that these events will reduce supply of the metals and drive up prices.

Rick Rule, Chairman and Founder of Sprott Global Resource Investments Ltd., recently weighed in. He believes platinum and palladium could go lower in the near-term, as fears of a sudden crunch dissipate.

The real reason platinum and palladium should rise over the coming years has nothing to do with geopolitics or labor issues, he believes.

Of course Rick will never admit that it's the '3 or less' U.S. bullion banks running the show in the platinum and palladium markets as well---just as he'll never admit the JPMorgan-run price management in scheme in gold and silver.  This edition of Sprott's Thoughts was posted on the sprottglobal.com Internet site yesterday.

Sprott Money Weekly Wrap Up With Rick Rule

This 8:25 minute audio interview was posted on the Sprott Money website yesterday afternoon sometime---and it's probably worth listening to, but I haven't had the time as of yet.

Chris Martenson: The Screaming Fundamentals For Owning Gold

Before I took a look at this article by Chris, I had assumed that Alasdair Macleod's essay was the big read of the day.  I was wrong---as this piece is---although there are a lot of charts that probably makes it appear longer.  Whether it's worth reading or not, I'll leave up to you, as I haven't had the time to read it yet.  However,  I was less than impressed with what he had to say about silver---and my hope is that he knows more about gold.

I found this longish essay in a GATA release yesterday.

Deposit Insurance System Will Increase Physical Gold Demand in China

Within 2014 the State Council aims to implement a new deposit insurance system for its banks. While one might think this is meant to lower systemic risk, it’s actually meant as a step to shift risk from the government to its citizens. Handing the people the opportunity to be more responsible for their own financial health, introducing more laissez-faire.

The defensive nature of gold in the face of defaults is highlighted. This article concerns depositors, but we should be on the watch for signs that banks themselves are encouraged to hold gold as hedge against financial risks: for this hedge to be effective, the value of gold must rise by a large magnitude to make up for any such systemic losses – if official bailouts are to be avoided. This would mean that a large rise in the price of gold is implied in the policy!

This very interesting article showed up on the ingoldwetrust.ch Internet site yesterday---and it's definitely worth reading.  I found this embedded in a GATA release as well.

¤ The Funnies

¤ The Wrap

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means. ~ Albert Einstein 

Today's pop "blast from the past" is from 51 years ago---and don't ask me what happened to all that intervening time.  He was an American singer-songwriter who was a teen idol when I was in my teens in early-to-mid 1960s.  His music was not only popular in North America, he was one of the few American recording artists to enjoy fame on both sides of the Atlantic.  It's been quite a number of years since I've posted it---and it's time for a revisit---and the link is here.

Today's classical blast from the past is an old chestnut by Peter I. Tchaikovsky.  It took him less than a month to compose his classic violin concerto in D major---but what work it was---and it's considered to be among the most technically difficult of all the violin concertos to play, but Dutch violinist Janine Jansen has no problems with it at all, as she and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra toss it off in this 19 April 2013 recording posted over at youtube.com Internet site---and the link is here.  Watch it full screen---and turn the sound way up.

I was happy to see that "da boyz" were a no-show at the release of the jobs number yesterday, but it was equally as obvious that JPMorgan et al weren't going to let things get out of hand, either.

Here are the 6-month charts for both gold and silver.  As you can see, the gold price broke back above the 200-day moving average, but got stopped at the 50-day moving average.

Silver has quite a ways to go before it gets anywhere near its 50 and 200-day moving averages---and it could take awhile if the powers that be continue to hold silver under the $20 spot price mark.

The new situation that has arisen around Russia and the petrodollar could certainly develop into something, as a move away from the dollar in oil payments would certainly not be good news for the U.S. dollar---and we'll have to wait and see how this develops.

It's getting harder to believe that the powers that be can keep the current economic and financial system afloat much longer in the face of what is happening in the world today.  As I said yesterday, if push really becomes shove, then it's my opinion that Russia and China together could end the price management scheme in all four precious metals, but the side effects of that would be pretty enormous---and not all of them positive, at least not in the short term, as the upheaval would be felt world-wide.

But one thing it would end is the fortunes of all the world's rich commodity-producing countries that Chris Powell says "insist on being poor"---and that would change the economic, financial monetary situation in pretty short order.  You have to wonder whether Russia and/or China would chance it, but the fact of that matter is that the current financial order is on its last legs anyway---and it only remains to be seen whether these two countries will be proactive with this---rather than reactive.

Time will tell, I suppose---but how much time is impossible to know.  So we wait.

I'm done for the day---and the week.

Enjoy what's left of your weekend---and I'll see you here on Tuesday.

Sat, 5 Apr 2014 12:20:00 +0000