I wouldn't read too much into yesterday's gold price action if I were you. The only thing that was noteworthy was that gold's thin toe-hold on the $1,200 spot price mark disappeared before the London trading day began---and even the feeblest attempt to get back above that price was turned away.
With Thursday being Thanksgiving in the U.S., we are now in the midst of the final three roll-over days out of the December contract and, not surprisingly, volumes are pretty heavy---with most of it being of the roll-over variety.
With gold trading within a ten dollar price range, the high and low ticks aren't worth the effort of looking up.
Gold finished the Monday session at $1,198.30 spot, down $3.80 from Friday's close. Gross volume was close to a quarter of a million contracts, but once the roll-overs were subtracted out, the volume crashed to only 74,000 contracts---which is a familiar occurrence as we approach every first notice day which, for December, is Friday.
The silver price action had a bit more shape to it---initially down, of course, with the low tick coming shortly before 1 p.m. GMT in London---and about twenty-five minutes before the Comex open. The subsequent rally lasted until around 8:20 a.m. EST---and the was pretty much it for the remainder of the New York session.
The low and high ticks were reported by the CME Group as $16.245 and $16.47 in the December contract.
Silver closed in New York yesterday at $16.465 spot, up 1.5 cents on the day. Gross volume was well north of 90,000 contracts, but the lion's share of that was roll-overs---and it all netted out to 18,500 contracts, which is very light.
The platinum price chopped around unchanged up until shortly before 11 a.m. EST in New York---and on the news that the metal was going to be in a 1.33 million ounce deficit for the 2015 calendar year, some kind soul peeled 20 bucks off the price by noon in New York. The low tick of $1,193 spot came moments before the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading, but it got bid back above the $1,200 spot price mark right at the close. It finished the Monday session at $1,202 spot, down twenty bucks from Friday.
The palladium price did nothing until shortly before 2 p.m. Zurich time---and then began to rally, but got stopped short of the $800 spot price mark in late morning trading in New York. It got sold down to a three dollar loss until around 3 p.m. EST in New York, but managed to rally a bit, closing up a buck. The structural deficit in palladium for 2015 is just as bad as platinum, if not worse.
The dollar index closed late on Friday afternoon in New York at 88.265---and didn't do much during the entire Monday trading session, closing at 89.154---which was down 11 basis points. Nothing to see here.
The gold stocks opened down a bit, but rallied back into positive territory, albeit briefly, with their highs of the day coming just before 10:30 a.m. EST. It was all down hill from there until shortly after 2 p.m.---and from there they chopped sideways, as the HUI closed down 1.33%.
Despite the fact that silver didn't do all that badly yesterday, the silver equities never got a sniff of positive territory---and were down over 3 percent at one point. By the end of the Monday trading session, Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index had shaved its loses to 'only' 2.13%.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 7 gold and 28 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday. Scotiabank was the only long/stopper in both metals---and the only short/issuer in silver was Jefferies. The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
The CME Preliminary Report for the Monday trading session showed that gold open interest in the November contract dropped from 20 to 9 contracts---and silver's o.i. for the same month dropped from 88 down to 30 contracts. Once you subtract out the deliveries in the previous paragraphs, only 2 gold and 2 silver contracts are left in the month.
There were no reported changes in GLD on Monday---and as of 7:53 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either. But when I checked the iShares.com Internet site at 3:06 a.m. EST this morning, I noted that an authorized participant withdrew 1,341,418 troy ounces.
There was a decent sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday. They sold 3,500 troy ounces of gold eagles---500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---an another 426,500 silver eagles.
There wasn't much activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday. No gold was reported received---and only 6,028 troy ounces were shipped out.
In silver, there was 96,672 troy ounces reported received---and 387,118 troy ounces shipped out. The link to that activity is here.
I have a lot of stories today---and I hope you find some that you like.
As we noted before, despite record high stock prices and talking-heads imploring investors to believe CEOs are confident, they are not (consider the clear indication of a lack of economic confidence from tumbling capex and soaring buybacks), That is further confirmed today as Markit's survey of over 6000 firms showed optimism falling sharply in October, dropping to the lowest seen since the survey began five years ago. Hiring and investment plans were also at or near post-crisis lows, while price expectations deteriorated further. More worrying, perhaps, is the US is not decoupled whatsoever, with future expectations of US business activity at the lowest since the financial crisis.
The Markit Global Business Outlook Survey, which looks at expectations for the year ahead across 6,100 companies, showed optimism falling sharply in October, dropping to the lowest seen since the survey began five years ago. Hiring and investment plans were also at or near post-crisis lows, while price expectations deteriorated further.
This article appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 9:48 p.m. EST yesterday evening---and today's first news item is courtesy of Manitoba reader U.M.
Senate Banking Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., Nov. 21, 2014.
"Improving Financial Institution Supervision: Examining and Addressing Regulatory Capture"
Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection
“I don’t think anyone should question our motives or what we are attempting to accomplish.” William Dudley
"Change has to come from the top. Either you need to fix it Mr. Dudley or we have to get someone who will." Sen. Elizabeth Warren
What a greasy little slime ball this Bill Dudley is, but he's no match for Senator Warren. This 9:30 minute youtube.com video clip was posted there last Friday---and I thank Toronto reader 'MichaelG' for sending it along.
The NY Fed and Goldman have combined again to produce fingers scraping on a moral blackboard. The story is – not – told coherently in a New York Times piece.
I’ll comment on only two aspects of the incoherent story. First, contrary to the NYT portrayal of the story, there is typically no ambiguity about whether regulatory information is confidential and there was no ambiguity about the particular information that we read (albeit, not in the NYT) that the NY Fed employee leaked to his former colleague after he joined Goldman Sachs.
Second, the NY Fed’s head, William Dudley’s, response to the latest scandal was “I don’t think anyone should question our motives.” I will argue that given the NY Fed’s intolerable institutional conflicts of interest, and the defense of continuing that conflict by the NY Fed’s leadership, e.g., Dudley, everyone should the regional Feds’ motives.
The NYT article revealed that a former NY Fed employee “Rohit Bansal, the 29-year-old former New York Fed regulator, was [hired by Goldman]. At the time he left the Fed, Mr. Bansal was the “central point of contact” for certain banks.” You have to read two-thirds of the story before you learn Bansal’s name and reading the entire story doesn’t tell you his positions and duties at the NY Fed or Goldman.
William K. Black carves Dudley a new one in this article that appeared on the neweconomicperspectives.org Internet site last Thursday---and it's definitely worth reading.
Q: David, can you explain how the ‘Fed put’ works on the stock markets and bond markets? How exactly does it translate into artificially higher stock prices and lower interest rates?
A: The Fed injects massive amounts of liquidity into Wall Street through the dealer system – that is, the 21 authorized treasury-bond dealers. The liquidity comes in the form of new credits to their bank accounts supplied by the Fed in return for the governments bonds, notes and bills, and even the GSE (Government-sponsored entity) obligations that it buys from them. The credit that the Fed supplies to the dealers is manufactured out of thin air; therefore it expands total credits and liquidity in the system. The dealers use it to buy other types of securities – stocks, bonds, derivatives positions and so forth.
Historically, the purpose of the Fed’s open-market intervention in this form was to encourage the banking system to extend credit to the business and household sectors, thereby stimulating economic growth, as predicated by the Keynesian model. That was always a one-time parlor trick, however, because with each cycle of easing leverage ratios in the business and household sectors were ratcheted steadily higher. Household debt ratios, for example, went from 80 percent of wage and salary income prior to 1975 to 220 percent by 2007.
The problem today is that we have reached ‘peak debt.’ The household sector has $13.3 trillion of debts, even after the modest post- crisis deleveraging; the ratio is still sky-high at 180 percent of wage and salary income.
Consequently, the household sector has been unable to borrow more money, no matter how much credit the Fed has injected through the dealers. That’s very different from where this whole Keynesian financial bubble started 40 years ago when we had, more or less, clean household balance sheets.
This interview was posted on the sprottglobal.com Internet site yesterday sometime.
Police and security services will get new powers as the U.K. faces a terror threat "perhaps greater than it has ever been", the home secretary says.
Unveiling a new counter-terrorism bill, Theresa May said the U.K. faced a security struggle "on many fronts".
Schools, universities and councils will be required to take steps to counter radicalisation.
Internet providers will have to retain Internet Protocol address data to identify individual users.
This article appeared on the bbc.com Internet site at 9:22 a.m. EST on Monday morning---and I thank International Man Senior Editor Nick Giambruno for passing it around.
Fiscal hawks and doves within the E.U. commission and member states continue to disagree on how to deal with France's budget deficit, seen as a credibility test for the E.U..
A meeting of heads of cabinets of E.U. commissioners over the weekend ended without a clear decision on possible sanctions for Paris for having again missed the three-percent deficit target for next year.
France has a projected deficit of 4.3 percent of GDP in 2015 and has announced it will meet the deficit target only in 2017.
Handelsblatt reports that a eurozone finance ministers meeting scheduled for next Monday (1 December) to discuss the E.U. commission's verdicts on the nationals budgets is likely to be postponed.
This story, filed from Brussels, showed up on the euobserver.com Internet site at 9:22 a.m. Europe time on their Monday morning---and I thank Roy Stephens for his first offering of the day.
The head of Germany's Bundesbank cautioned the European Central Bank on Monday about the legal hurdles it would face in embarking on money printing to buy government bonds, underlining its opposition to such a move.
The remarks from Jens Weidmann, who also sits on the ECB's Governing Council, raise a further question mark over ECB President Mario Draghi's ability to deliver after Draghi threw the door open for further measures to bolster the euro zone.
Draghi's comments last week were interpreted by some as meaning that buying government bonds with new money, a policy known as quantitative easing, could come as soon as early 2015. But he faces stiff opposition from Germany.
This Reuters story, filed from Madrid, put in an appearance on their website at 11:42 a.m. EST yesterday---and I thank Manitoba reader U.M. for her first contribution to today's column.
Just over a year ago, thousands of Ukrainians took to Kiev's main square, angry at oligarchs and corruption. But instead of “Europe” and prosperity, they got a coup, more oligarchy, and war.
During the three-month “people power” spectacle in Kiev's Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) that began on November 21, 2013, one of the protesters' favorite chants was “Who doesn't jump is a Moskal” (a derogatory term for Russians). After three months of “jumping” - which involved attacking the police, attempting to storm government buildings, and cheering US and European officials who came to support them, the protesters overthrew the legally elected president and establish their own government on February 22, 2014. It has been nine months since then – and a whole year since the “Maidan” protests began; let's try to see what they've been “jumping” for.
Much like the 2004 “Orange Revolution,” the Maidan protest was an exercise in perception management. Officially, the reason the protesters gathered was the government's balking at signing the EU accession treaty. A TV, internet and social media campaign – the very name “EuroMaidan” was a Twitter hashtag coined by some clever PR professional – got the people riled up against the government presented as corrupt, incompetent and selfish.
Was this so? Part of the problem with the E.U. treaty was that it demanded Ukraine restructure its entire apparatus of state and society to the Union's standards, which would have cost something like $19 billion a year for the next decade (per The Telegraph). But Brussels was willing to offer a paltry $750 million (€610 million) in loans. Ukraine needed much more just to stay solvent. It was, by all metrics, a bad deal for Ukraine.
This very interesting op-edge was posted on the Russia Today website at 2:28 p.m. Moscow time on their Monday afternoon, which was 6:28 a.m. EST in New York. I thank Roy Stephens for sending it---and it's definitely worth reading if you have the time or the interest, that is.
One year ago, negotiations over a Ukraine association agreement with the European Union collapsed. The result has been a standoff with Russia and war in the Donbass. It was an historical failure, and one that German Chancellor Angela Merkel contributed to.
Only six meters separated German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych as they sat across from each other in the festively adorned knight's hall of the former Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. In truth, though, they were worlds apart.
Yanukovych had just spoken. In meandering sentences, he tried to explain why the European Union's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius was more useful than it might have appeared at that moment, why it made sense to continue negotiating and how he would remain engaged in efforts towards a common future, just as he had previously been. "We need several billion euros in aid very quickly," Yanukovych said.
Then the chancellor wanted to have her say. Merkel peered into the circle of the 28 leaders of EU member states who had gathered in Vilnius that evening. What followed was a sentence dripping with disapproval and cool sarcasm aimed directly at the Ukrainian president. "I feel like I'm at a wedding where the groom has suddenly issued new, last minute stipulations."
The EU and Ukraine had spent years negotiating an association agreement. They had signed letters of intent, obtained agreement from cabinets and parliaments, completed countless diplomatic visits and exchanged objections. But in the end, on the evening of Nov. 28, 2014 in the old palace in Vilnius, it became clear that it had all been a wasted effort. It was an historical earthquake.
This long essay, which is also definitely worth reading, appeared on the German website spiegel.de at 7:00 p.m. Europe time yesterday evening---and it's also courtesy of Roy Stephens.
Suspension of coal supplies from Russia will entail serious energy shortages in Ukraine, a Ukrainian expert said on Monday.
“It is a very dangerous signal: if we receive no coal from Russia we have little chance to find other sources to substitute for it,” Dmitry Marunich, a co-chairman of the Ukrainian Energy Strategies Fund, told the 112 Ukraine television channel. “We will simply have no time and money to sign coal contracts with other suppliers in other countries. We must not let it happen. It will trigger a serious shortage in electricity supplies and rotating power cuts will be inevitable.”
Earlier on Monday, Ukraine’s Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yury Prodan confirmed reports that Russian companies had suspended exports of steam coal to Ukraine.
“According to information I have received from DTEK and Centrenergo, Russian companies have suspended coal export to Ukraine,” he told the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper. “I do not know why but I can say that the reasons are not economic. Both DTEK and Centrenergo pay for coal in due time.”
This very interesting news item, filed from Kiev, appeared on the itar.tass.com Internet site at 10:06 p.m. Moscow time on their Monday evening---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.
As Kiev continues to amass its forces in eastern Ukraine despite the ceasefire and use radical nationalist groups as armed battalions, Moscow is concerned about possible ethnic cleansing there, Russian President Vladimir Putin told ARD in an interview.
Speaking with Hubert Seipel of the German channel ARD ahead of the G20 summit, Putin warned of catastrophic consequences for Ukraine if the Kiev government continues to nurture radical nationalism and Russophobia, including in the ranks of its military and National Guard units that are still being sent as reinforcements to the country’s troubled east.
“Frankly speaking, we are very concerned about any possible ethnic cleansings and Ukraine ending up as a neo-Nazi state. What are we supposed to think if people are bearing swastikas on their sleeves? Or what about the SS emblems that we see on the helmets of some military units now fighting in eastern Ukraine? If it is a civilized state, where are the authorities looking? At least they could get rid of this uniform, they could make the nationalists remove these emblems,” Putin said.
This article showed up on the Russia Today website eight days ago---and it's also courtesy of reader M.A.
The foreign ministers of the European Union discussed the situation in Ukraine and their turbulent relations with Moscow agreeing that there is no point to enhance sanctions against Russia.
The meeting in Brussels came on the heels of G20 summit in Brisbane and was followed by German Foreign Minister visit to Moscow in a clear sign that all sides are not ready to prolong the standoff and strive to find the solution to the crisis in Ukraine.
Studio guest Ernest Sultanov, expert from MIR-initiative, an independent think-tank in Moscow, Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, the Founder and President of World Security Network Foundation, Horvath Gabor, Foreign Editor of Népszabadság newspaper, Budapest, and Soren Liborious, Spokesman, Head of Press and Information Delegation of the European Union to Russia, shared their opinions with Radio Sputnik.
No sanctions were imposed on Russia following the talks in Brussels. Don’t you have a feeling that Europe doesn’t have stomach for sanctions?
Ernest Sultanov: The sanctions are really bad for both sides. So, I don’t think they don’t have stomach to impose the sanctions, I think both sides have to find some other solutions to resolve the issues between them.
This interview was posted on the sputniknews.com Internet site at 12 o'clock noon Moscow time on Saturday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for finding it for us.
The fine arts auctions house Christie's has sold Valentin Serov's painting Portrait of Maria Zetlin for $14,511 million during bidding in London, setting a record for a piece of Russian art sold at auction.
Serov's work was put up for auction by Israeli city Ramat Gan's administration. Christie's had initially estimated the painting's price at $2.3-$3.9 million.
"The Portrait of Maria Zetlin is without doubts, Serov's most unique work, which I had the honor of holding in my hands during a long history of my work at Christie's," International director of Christie's Russian Art Department Alexei Tizengauzen said ahead of the auction.
This interesting news story, filed from Moscow, showed up on their Internet site at 8:45 p.m. Moscow time yesterday evening local time---and I thank reader M.A. for finding it for us.
It wouldn’t be the first time that a meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has taken place in an atmosphere of deep division, bordering on outright hatred. In 1976, Saudi Arabia’s former oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani stormed out of the OPEC gathering early when other members of the cartel wouldn’t agree to the wishes of his new master, King Khaled.
The 166th meeting of the group in Vienna next week is looking like it could end in a similarly acrimonious fashion with Saudi Arabia and several other members at loggerheads over what to do about falling oil prices.
Whatever action OPEC agrees to take next week to halt the sharp decline in the value of crude, experts agree that one thing is clear: the world is entering into an era of lower oil prices that the group is almost powerless to change.
This new energy paradigm may result in oil trading at much lower levels than the $100 (£64) per barrel that consumers have grown used to paying over the last decade and reshape the entire global economy.
This article appeared on The Telegraph's website at 1 p.m. GMT on Saturday---and it's another contribution from reader B.V.
China's leadership and central bank are ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions, concerned that falling prices could trigger a surge in debt defaults, business failures and job losses, said sources involved in policy-making.
Friday's surprise cut in rates, the first in more than two years, reflects a change of course by Beijing and the central bank, which had persisted with modest stimulus measures before finally deciding last week that a bold monetary policy step was required to stabilize the world's second-largest economy.
Economic growth has slowed to 7.3 percent in the third quarter and policymakers feared it was on the verge of dipping below 7 percent - a rate not seen since the global financial crisis. Producer prices, charged at the factory gate, have been falling for almost three years, piling pressure on manufacturers, and consumer inflation is also weak. "Top leaders have changed their views," said a senior economist at a government think-tank involved in internal policy discussions.
This Reuters article, filed from Beijing, appeared on their Internet site at 10:49 p.m. EST on Sunday evening---and I found it posted on the gata.org Internet site.
China's Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICBC) signed a pact with the Los Angeles city government to promote cross-border yuan trade and set up an offshore renminbi center in California, the bank said on Saturday.
The move to create an offshore RMB center in the largest state in the United States would lay the foundations for greater yuan trade with China, ICBC said in a statement.
The agreement comes at a time when many other countries are ahead of the United States in establishing cross-border trade in yuan.
This Reuters piece, filed from Beijing, was posted on their website at 3:37 a.m. EST on Saturday morning---and reader 'David in California' was the first person through the door with it on Sunday.
Dave and I got together on Sunday afternoon over at all-talk radio WAAM-1600FM out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. We spoke about the dire straits that the world economy is in---but most of it was about precious metals.
The audio interview posted on the davejanda.com Internet site---and it runs for about twenty-five minutes.
The heavy involvement of investment banks in commodity trading creates the potential for market manipulation and conflicts of interest in the gold market, and exchange-traded gold funds may be mechanisms of market manipulation contrary to the basics of supply and demand, according to the 396-page report published last week by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
GATA's friend J.H. points out these findings on Page 38 of the report:
"Possible conflicts of interest permeate virtually every type of commodity activity. If the bank's affiliate leases an electrical power plant, the bank may attempt to use regional pricing conventions to boost its profits, even at the expense of clients that pay the higher electricity costs. If the bank's affiliate mines coal while the bank trades coal swaps, the bank may ask its affiliate to store the coal rather than sell it to help restrict supplies, and benefit from long swap positions, while causing its counterparties to incur losses. If the bank's affiliate operates a commodity-based exchange-traded fund backed by gold, the bank may ask the affiliate to release some of the gold into the marketplace and lower gold prices, so that the bank can profit from a short position in gold futures or swaps, even if some clients hold long positions.
"A fourth problem with mixing banking and commerce is that, in the context of physical commodities, it invites market manipulation and excessive speculation in commodity prices. If a bank's affiliate owns or controls a metals warehouse, oil pipeline, a coal-shipping operation, refinery, grain elevator, or exchange-traded fund backed by physical commodities, the bank has the means to affect the marginal supply of a commodity and can use those means to benefit the bank's physical or financial commodities trading positions. If a bank's affiliate controls a power plant, the bank can 'manipulate the availability of energy for advantage' or to obtain higher profits."
This commentary, along with a link to the Senate report, is posted in this GATA release from Sunday.
Platinum and palladium supply probably will fall short of demand for a fourth year in 2015 as more usage in vehicles helps compensate for rebounding South African mine output, according to Johnson Matthey Plc.
Platinum demand will outpace supply by 1.13 million ounces this year and palladium’s deficit will be 1.62 million ounces, according to a presentation of London-based Johnson Matthey’s platinum-group metals report. They would be the biggest shortfalls ever, based on data going back more than three decades for the metals.
A five-month mine strike that ended in June cut output from South Africa, the largest platinum producer and second-biggest for palladium. Supply shortages should continue next year partly as car demand strengthens in North America and China and stricter legislation requires more of the metals to be used in devices that curb harmful emissions.
“All things being equal, we would expect to see a good bounce back in South African supplies for both platinum and palladium,” Rupen Raithatha, research manager at Johnson Matthey, said by phone from Royston, England before the company presented the data today. “The auto side is going to be good.”
This Bloomberg article showed up on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday---and it's courtesy of reader U.M. Reader B.V. sent me the same story on this from the bulliondesk.com Internet site---and it's headlined "Platinum seen in record 1.33 million oz. deficit in ’14 – Johnson Matthey".
Interviewed by the German financial journalist Lars Schall for Matterhorn Asset Management's Gold Switzerland, Singapore fund manager and "Things That Make You Go Hmmm..." letter editor Grant Williams says there's no doubt that the gold market is manipulated, that the only question is how much, and that because of central bank intervention there's not much left to free markets.
Schall and Williams cover other subjects, including the nature of money, the abuse of money creation and credit, the likelihood of returning to a gold standard, and the Swiss Gold Initiative. The interview is an hour long and can be heard at the goldswitzerland.com Internet site.
I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the above paragraphs of introduction---and I must admit that I haven't had the time to listen to it.
As the debate regarding whether or not Switzerland should keep the bulk of its gold reserves at home on Swiss soil reaches it's climax - the referendum takes place on Sunday - it is telling that the Dutch announced on Friday that they have just secretly repatriated 122 tonnes of their sovereign gold reserves from New York back to Amsterdam.
The repatriation movement has been driven by suspicion that the Federal Reserve and other central banks may have leased or sold gold it was holding on behalf of other countries to bullion banks and that this gold may have been used in order to suppress the price of gold in recent years. Bizarrely, the Federal Reserve’s gold holdings have not been audited in over 50 years.
Questions are already being asked about how the Dutch were able to repatriate such a sizeable volume of gold when Germany's request was brushed aside. It may be that by taking a discreet approach the Dutch allowed the Federal Reserve room to manoeuvre - allowing them to harvest the metal from the open market. Skeptical analysts have suggested that the fall in the ETF gold holdings may have come in handy for the New York Federal Reserve.
Although the German Central Bank has stated that it trusts the Americans as custodians of it's gold reserves - despite being denied access to vaults in New York to view their own gold - the campaign for repatriation of Germany’s gold remains strong.
This must read commentary by Mark O'Byrne appeared on the goldcore.com Internet site on Monday.
From Deutsche bank Behavioral Finance: Daily Metals Outlook
Although gold market operators are currently preoccupied with the prospect of the SNB finding itself obliged by referendum to buy large quantities of bullion, another central bank raised the same possibility yesterday: the ECB. As odd as it sounds, given the contentious internal debate this year over asset purchases in general, ECB board member, Yves Mersch, reminded journalists that the Bank could in theory buy any asset within a QE program. This could mean government debt, equities, ETFs, or even gold. Indeed, within an effective asset purchase program it matters not so much what the asset is, than who the seller is. Given that the eurozone banking system still appears to be a bottleneck in the monetary transmission mechanism, there might be some wisdom in bypassing it. Banks do not hold gold. However, this ‘theoretical’ possibility would quickly run into practical constraints, not least the volume limitations and the problem of having to pick winners and losers.
However, the idea of gold purchases has merit because of the possible sellers. Much gold is held in private households, especially in countries like Germany. In some cases these are unwanted remnants of crisis-driven investments five years ago. A program that targeted these holdings would liberate dormant liquidity, some of which might even flow into consumption.
This very interesting article appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 3:19 p.m. EST on Monday afternoon---and I thank reader 'David in California' for sending it our way.
A week after we reported that the head of the Ukraine central bank admitted in an unofficial, informal interview that Ukraine's gold is gone, all gone, moments ago the Central Bank revealed that, sure enough, the gold holdings in the civil war-torn country have tumbled, as a result of a decision in September to "increase the share of U.S. dollars in a reserve basket", or in other words, to sell the gold. Just don't call it that: in fact, as of today we have a brand new buzzword for gold liquidations: "optimization of international reserves."
From the central bank: National Bank of Ukraine has optimized the structure of international reserves. This is due to timing structure of international reserves and the external position of the country. National Bank of Ukraine decided in September 2014 to increase the share of U.S. dollar in a reserve basket, because the structure of the trade balance of the country is 70.3% in US dollars, 15% in euros. 77.7% of gross foreign debt denominated in Ukraine USD in EUR - 11.2% in SDR - 5.8%.
Recently, there was a significant volatility in global currency markets associated with the strengthening of the US dollar against other world currencies. Therefore, the National Bank of Ukraine decided to reduce the share of gold in foreign exchange reserves to 8%. To this end, the international markets has sold 0.46 million. Troy ounces of gold in US dollars, respectively proportion of gold in international reserves declined to 7.9%.
It appears from this story the Ukraine's central bank that they didn't sell all their gold. This news item put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 10:16 a.m. EST on Monday morning---and reader M.A. was the first person through the door with it.
Central bankers reached a new low overnight when Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan warned of "disastrous consequences" from a pulpit in a church on a historic hill in the town of Uster, Switzerland.
“The initiative is dangerous because it would weaken the SNB,” he said yesterday regarding proposals to increase the Swiss gold reserves, at a memorial service in a church which Bloomberg dubbed the 'sermon on the hill.'
The separation of church and state was one of the great achievement of recent years. It looks like we need to see a proper separation of central banking from the state. States and sovereign nations should be in control of central banks, rather than the other way around.
Central bankers and their dogmatic Keynesian money printing creed would like to see themselves and their policies as infallible. Despite, such policies having an abysmal track record throughout history and indeed in recent years.
Banks are turning out to be like lawyers. What won't they stoop to if they have to??? It reminds me of the joke about what the difference was between a lawyer and rat---and the answer was that "there are some things that rats just won't do." This Zero Hedge piece appeared on their website at 4:51 p.m. EST on Monday---and I thank reader Harry Grant for pointing it out. It's worth reading.
The Swiss will vote on a referendum on November 30th that would ban the Swiss National Bank (SNB) from selling current and future gold reserves, repatriate foreign stored gold holdings to Switzerland, and mandate that gold must comprise a minimum of 20% of central bank assets. The SNB does not usually comment on political referendums. However, in this case it has done so quite vocally.
Why has the central bank decided to step into the political fray and oppose this initiative? What are its concerns? Are they valid or motivated by other factors?
The SNB’s primary objections to the gold initiative are three fold. 1) It claims that gold is “one of the most volatile and riskiest investments”, 2) that a 20% gold requirement will lower the “distributions to the confederation and the cantons” since gold does not pay interest like bonds and dividend paying stocks, and 3) that the 20% gold holding requirement will interfere with its ability to conduct monetary policy and complicate efforts to maintain “the minimum exchange rate”, the “temporary” policy of pegging the Swiss franc (CHF) to the Euro (EUR) it initiated in 2011 and continues to enforce to this day.
The first two concerns can quickly be addressed and discounted. Gold is indeed a volatile asset at times but so are bonds and equities. In recent years Greek, Spanish, Italian, Irish and other European bonds have been far more volatile than gold. The SMI, the Swiss stock index, lost over 50% of its value on two separate occasions between 2000 and 2009 while gold steadily rose at an annual rate of 8.50% over the same period.
This very thoughtful article was written by Eric Schreiber, independent asset manager, former head of commodities UBP, former head of precious metals Credit Suisse Zurich. All views expressed are his and may not reflect those of his former employers. This falls into the absolute must read category---and appeared on the goldsilverworlds.com Internet site yesterday.
Rajesh Exports, the leading Indian gold exporter, announced that it has bagged a massive export order from UAE-based jeweler. The company has reportedly secured an export order worth Rs 1,350 crore from Al Sultan Jewellery, UAE. According to the deal, Rajesh Exports will supply designer range of gold and diamond studded jewelry and medallions.
The order is to be executed by end-February next year. According to the company, the execution of the order will contribute significantly to the bottom line of the company. The Bangalore facility will be responsible to meet the order in time. The company expressed confidence that it will be able to complete the order well within the time frame. Incidentally, the Banglaore manufacturing facility, with a built-up area of 500,000 square feet is the world’s largest jewelry manufacturing facility.
Earlier in July this year, the company had secured an export order worth Rs 1,260 crores of designer range of gold and diamond studded jewelry and medallions from Al Jameelat Jewellery, UAE. The company had successfully executed the order within the stipulated deadline of 30 September 2014.
This gold-related article showed up on the resourceinvestor.com Internet site sometime yesterday---and it's the final offering of the day from Manitoba reader U.M.
China's government and private gold reserves likely total almost 16,000 tonnes, Bullion Star market analyst and GATA consultant Koos Jansen figures, calling attention to a Deutsche Bank report estimating that the People's Bank of China is accumulating gold at a rate of 500 tonnes per year.
Jansen's commentary is posted at the bullionstar.com Internet site yesterday---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.
Bayfield Ventures Corp. (TSX-V: BYV) is exploring for gold and silver in the Rainy River District of northwestern Ontario.
The Burns Block is surrounded by New Gold's (TSX: NGD) Rainy River project and adjoins the immediate east of New Gold's multi-million ounce ODM17 gold-silver deposit and adjoins the immediate west of New Gold's expanding Intrepid gold-silver zone.
Bayfield Ventures has planned an exploration and drill program on its 100% owned Burns Block and "B" Block gold-silver projects located in the Rainy River district of north-western Ontario. The Company's planned exploration and drill program will follow report recommendations contained in the recently completed Independent Mineral Resource Estimate entitled "BURNS BLOCK NATIONAL INSTRUMENT 43-101 COMPLIANT TECHNICAL REPORT," dated January 14, 2014 prepared by Riverbend Geological Services Inc. and a Technical Report entitled ""B" BLOCK NATIONAL INSTRUMENT 43-101 COMPLIANT TECHNICAL REPORT," dated Feb. 14, 2014.test. Please visit our website for more information.
At current prices, there is $6.6 trillion worth of gold in the world and a little over $16 billion worth of silver. In other words, on a dollar (or any other currency) basis, there is more than 400 times more gold in the world than silver. Expressed differently, all the silver in the world is worth only one-quarter of one percent (0.25%) of what all the world’s gold is worth. Even by doubling the amount of silver by including coins and small bars (most of which will never be converted into 1,000 oz bars), one would still end up with the gold being worth 200 times what the silver is worth or silver being worth 0.5% of what the gold is worth. These are the most extreme valuation differences ever.
Like investors in everything else, precious metals investors seek out the best relative value available. Investors everywhere want the best value, lowest risk and biggest bang for their buck. Due to an increasingly obvious price manipulation on the COMEX, silver has reached a degree of undervaluation relative to gold that is so extreme as to be almost unbelievable, even when expressed in simple arithmetic terms. And because gold is so cheap compared to other asset classes, that automatically means silver is even cheaper compared to every other asset. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 22 November 2014
As I mentioned in my gold commentary at the top of the column, there wasn't much in the way of price activity now that we're in the throes of options and futures expiry. The last day to be out of December is Thursday---and with that day being Thanksgiving in the U.S., I expect that the rest of the big volume will come today and tomorrow, as New York will be closed on that day, although I get the impression that the gold market may still be open.
Here are the 6-month charts for the six key commodities, plus natural gas.
As I said on Saturday, gold touched its 50-day moving average in Friday trading---and hasn't been anywhere near it since, as every rally attempt above the $1,200 spot price mark has been turned back. If you carefully note the gold chart above, you'll see that we had what was most likely an engineered price failure at the 50-day moving average back in the third week of October---and I'm wondering out loud if we could be looking at a similar set-up right here.
Time will tell---and not too much time, either.
And as I write this paragraph, the London open is thirty minutes away. There wasn't much activity in gold as far as price was concerned in Far East trading on their Tuesday, although it should be noted that both times gold broke through, or came close to the $1,200 spot price mark, there was a willing seller there to make sure that those rally attempts got no further---the last time coming at 3 p.m. Hong Kong time. Gold's gross volume is 19,000 contracts at the moment, with about 30 percent of that amount consisting of roll-overs out of December and into the new front month, which is February.
Both spike rallies in silver, which occurred at the same time as gold's, met the same fate. Silver's gross volume is 8,000 contracts, with almost half of that being roll-overs out of December and into March, the new front month once December goes off the board.
Platinum is up a few dollars---and the palladium price is flat. The dollar index is chopping sideways in a very tight range.
As Ted Butler said on the phone yesterday, we're still 'locked and loaded' for a big up-move in the 'Big 6' commodities. If this move is in the cards, only the 'when' is still unknown---as is how far JPMorgan et al will let prices run this time around. If the central banks of the world are looking for inflation---commodity inflation is a sure-fire way of doing the job, as making up money out of thin air [QE] is now a spent force.
And as I send this out the door at 5:15 a.m. EST this morning, all four precious metals are jumping around a bit. Another attempt by gold to rally above $1,200 spot got sold down immediately---as did the respective rallies in the the other three precious metals, but all are rallying anew as I hit the send button. All four are above their respective closing prices in New York yesterday---and platinum is doing particularly well after its vicious sell-off in New York late Monday morning, as is silver at the moment.
Here's the Kitco silver chart as of 5:28 a.m. EST---and gross volume is now over 17,000 contracts.
Gross gold volume is 45,000 contracts, with 50 percent of that being roll-overs, so net volume isn't overly heavy. Silver's gross volume is 16,000 contracts with 60 percent of that being roll-overs out of the December contract as well. The dollar index isn't doing a lot---and is basically unchanged from yesterday's New York close.
I'm not expecting much in the way of fireworks for the remainder of the week, but with the supply/demand fundamentals in all four precious metals so far out of whack, you just never know.
That's all I have for today's column, which is more than enough---and I'll certainly be interested in what the charts show when I power up my computer later this morning.
See you tomorrow.