Gold did almost nothing in Far East or early London trading on their Thursday...and spent the entire time period within about three bucks of the $1,680 mark...which was Wednesday's New York close. Then at exactly 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, ten minutes after the Comex open, the gold price got sold down around $17...with the low of the day [$1,665.90 spot] coming at precisely 9:00 a.m.
From there, gold rallied back about five bucks going into the London p.m. gold fix...and once that was out of the way, the price really took off, only to run into a not-for-profit seller within about fifteen minutes.
Gold traded mostly sideways from there, but popped a bit just minutes before 1:00 p.m. Eastern, before getting hammered flat before it could break through the $1,700 spot price mark. That proved to be the high tick of the day...$1,698.80 spot. Not surprisingly, the gold price got sold off right into the close of electronic trading. If you check the Kitco chart below, you'll note that this has been the late-day trading pattern for the last three days running.
Gold closed at $1,687.10 spot...up $7.10...and obviously would have finished far higher than this if not for the obvious presence of JPMorgan et al. Net volume was monstrous...around 175,000 contracts, so "da boyz" had their hands full keeping the gold market under control yesterday.
Here's the New York Spot Gold [Bid] chart on it's own, so you can see the New York price action in more detail. Note the exact 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. time periods where gold got hit...and then rallied. There was nothing free market about this...or much of anything else that happened during yesterday's Comex trading day.
The Far East trading day in silver had a bit more structure to it than gold. The low tick in silver during their trading day came shortly before lunch in Hong Kong on their Thursday...and then rallied back to almost unchanged by the Comex open before suffering the same fate as gold...and at precisely the same times.
After that, silver followed the same price path as its yellow cousin...with its low of the day occurring at precisely 9:00 a.m. Eastern...and Kitco recorded that at $30.97 spot...and the high minutes before 1:00 p.m. was $32.03 spot.
Silver finished the Thursday trading session at $31.73 spot...up 24 cents. Volume was chunky...around 58,000 contracts.
And here's the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart on its own...
The dollar index opened at 79.81...and then chopped sideways in a very tight range. This state of affairs lasted until just before the London open. From there the index declined a bit over 20 basis points...and then gained a big chunk of that back between the 8:20 a.m. Comex open...and about 9:10 a.m. The index didn't do much from there...and closed at 79.71...down 10 basis points from Wednesday.
Good luck trying to hang yesterday's gold and silver price action on what was happening in the foreign exchange markets yesterday.
The share price action was lousy on Thursday...and even the post-London p.m. gold fix price rally could only get the shares back to barely above unchanged. From there they traded sideways...and the HUI closed down 0.42% on the day. Considering the fact that the Dow did well yesterday...and the gold price finished well into positive territory...this was terrible price action.
John Embry called me yesterday morning...and we talked about the price management in the mining shares...and I'd consider yesterday a typical example of that activity.
Almost the same thing can be said about the silver stocks...as they finished mixed...and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index eked out a tiny gain of 0.09%.
(Click on image to enlarge)
The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 64 gold and 13 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday from within the Comex-approved depositories.
The GLD had its ninth withdrawal in a row yesterday, as an authorized participant withdrew another 58,093 troy ounces of the stuff. There were no reported changes in SLV...so it appears that the 18.4 million ounces deposited on Wednesday was legitimate.
Joshua Gibbons, the proprietor over at about.ag/SLV, had this to about Wednesday's big surprise deposit..."I'm still trying to figure out who is holding the $500 million new shares of SLV created by that deposit. This 18.3 Moz deposit into SLV yesterday was the largest in the two years I've been tracking SLV...the second largest was 10 Moz on May 9, 2011...with only four other daily deposits greater than 5 Moz."
And as I said in this space yesterday, if that silver is being used to pay down the short position in SLV, then things could get interesting going forward. But because that silver was deposited in SLV after the middle of the month, the data on it from the shortsqueeze.com Internet site won't be available until sometime around February 10th.
I know for sure that Ted Butler will have lots to say about this in his weekend commentary to his paying subscribers tomorrow...and if I'm wrong about the date, Ted will set me straight...and I'll let you know on Tuesday.
After taking a day off, the U.S. Mint had another sales report yesterday. They sold 8,500 ounces of gold eagles...and a very chunky 875,000 silver eagles. Silver eagles sales just made it over the six million coin mark yesterday at 6,007,000. Not too shabby for less than two weeks sales.
The U.S. Mint has advised their authorized dealers that they are sold out of 2013 silver eagles for the moment...and there won't be any more available for sale until at least the week of January 28th. I have the must read story on that further down, but if you just can't wait that long...the link is here.
It was another busy day over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday. They received 800,622 troy ounces of silver...and shipped 1,058,428 ounces of the stuff out the door. The link to that activity is here.
Yesterday I mentioned that I would be adding a new weekly feature to this part of the column...and this is what I said...
"Slaving away in virtual total obscurity over at the about.ag/SLV Internet site is a chap by the name of Joshua Gibbons. Apparently his calling in life is to keep a detailed account of every silver bar that's ever been deposited or withdrawn from the SLV ETF since it started. I've been following his site on weekly basis for quite some time...ever since Ted Butler provided me with the link. Now you can too. This is what he had to say in his latest weekly commentary posted on his website."
The data I posted from his website yesterday was from Wednesday, January 9th. Now he has updated it with a week's worth of data...and his latest short commentary for January 16th was posted on his Internet site yesterday. This is what he had to say...
"Analysis of the 16 Jan 2013 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list....677,588.0 oz were added (all to Brinks London), no bars were removed or had serial changes. The bars added were from: Solar Applied Materials (0.3 Moz), Nippon Mining (0.1 Moz), Krasnoyarsk (0.1 Moz), and 5 others. As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was over-allocated 599.7 oz."
[Please note that the big 18.4 million ounce deposit into SLV yesterday...January 17th...won't be reported until next week at this time. - Ed]
You can read what else Joshua has to say at the about.ag/SLV Internet site...and that link is here.
Here's a chart that Australian chartist Nick Laird sent my way yesterday...and it's certainly worth sharing. But, as I've said countless times in the past, this breakout will only occur if it is allowed to occur...and how high and how fast we get there if we do break out, is still 100% up to JPMorgan et al.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Also from the "land down under" is this 5.5 kg. gold nugget that was dug in Oz the other day. The story is posted in the 'Critical Reads' section below.
I have the usual number of stories for a weekday column...and I hope you can at least find the time to skim the 'cut and paste' portions of each story.
Planners of President Barack Obama's second inauguration are soliciting high-dollar contributions up to $1 million to help pay for the celebration in exchange for special access.
The changes are part of a continuing erosion of Obama's pledge to keep donors and special interests at arm's length of his presidency. He has abandoned the policy from his first inauguration to accept donations up to only $50,000 from individuals, announcing last month that he would take unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations.
A fundraising appeal obtained by The Associated Press shows the Presidential Inaugural Committee is going far beyond Obama's previous self-imposed limits and is looking to blow away modern American presidential inauguration fundraising records by offering donors four VIP packages named after the country's founding fathers.
Wow! Long live the new Emperor! This AP story from ten days ago was picked up by the yahoo.com news service...and I thank reader Tom Fiske for today's first story. The link is here.
U.S. authorities should break up the country's largest banks to protect against the risk of institutions that are "too big to fail" and that would saddle ordinary Americans with the cost of a bailout the next time they get into trouble, a senior Federal Reserve official said on Wednesday.
"We recommend that TBTF (too big to fail) financial institutions be restructured into multiple business entities," Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, said in remarks prepared for delivery at the National Press Club in Washington.
Lawmakers passed sweeping changes to financial regulation in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 financial crisis in legislation led by Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank.
But critics say Dodd-Frank did not go far enough, including several Fed officials who, like Fisher, want the biggest banks broken up. Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo argued in October that Congress could think about new laws to cap the size of big banks relative to their share of U.S. gross domestic product.
This article was posted on the moneynews.com Internet site early on Wednesday evening...and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for bringing it to our attention. The link is here.
Barclays' new boss has told staff they should leave if they do not want to sign up to a set of standards aimed at rebuilding the British bank's reputation after a string of scandals.
Antony Jenkins, who took over as chief executive at the end of August after the bank was rocked by an interest rate rigging scandal, said bonuses and performance would be assessed against a new "purpose and values" blueprint.
"I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of you…will enthusiastically support this move. But there might be some who don't feel they can fully buy into an approach which so squarely links performance to the upholding of our values," Jenkins said in a memo to his 140,000 staff on Thursday.
Well, I wonder what the company's "values" are? Do they include honest dealings with their clients...or is it business as usual at their proprietary trading desk? This story was posted on The Guardian website shortly after 11 a.m. GMT yesterday morning...and it's courtesy of U.K. reader Tariq Khan. The link is here.
Today, Cameron is set to give a long-awaited address on Britain's future in the EU. He is expected to call for a looser relationship, and announce a national referendum on a "new deal" with Brussels. In doing so, he is seeking to appease the EU opponents in his own party, for whom the power of the eurocrats has long been a point of contention.
But it doesn't look as if the speech will have the hoped for liberating effect. On the contrary, it may merely mark the beginning of the debate over Europe in Britain. In recent days, the opponents and proponents of the EU have been positioning themselves for a fight.
Cameron is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one side, the euroskeptic majority of his party's parliamentary faction is making noises about finally taking powers back to London from Brussels. On the other, a broad alliance is emerging of pro-European diplomats, executives and representatives of business, banks and literally all Western leaders, who warn that Britain will face isolation and economic consequences if it turns its back on the EU.
This article appeared on the German website spiegel.de yesterday...and it's the first of many in a row from Roy Stephens. The link is here.
Germany is eager to prove it is a reliable ally, particularly after it snubbed France and stayed out of Libya. Wary of getting pulled into the violence in Mali, it has instead offered two planes to transport troops.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is an extremely disciplined politician. Even when speaking off the record, she weighs her words carefully and avoids strong language. But a few weeks ago, during a classified meeting of the Federal Security Council, Gerhard Schindler, head of Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), gave a presentation on the situation in Mali. The chancellor exclaimed: "What a crap region."
Her assessment likely hasn't changed in recent days. Since France began taking an active role last Friday in an attempt to prevent Islamists in the northern part of the country from moving south, Mali has suddenly become an outsized item on her government's agenda. Originally, Berlin had intended to send a few trainers as part of a European Union mission to help local soldiers prepare for hostilities against the Muslim extremists. But now, following a call for help from the Malian president, the West is right in the middle of the fight, with France leading the way.
This is another story from the spiegel.de Internet site yesterday...and another that's courtesy of Roy Stephens. The link is here.
With energy costs escalating, more Germans are turning to wood burning stoves for heat. That, though, has also led to a rise in tree theft in the country's forests. Woodsmen have become more watchful.
With snow blanketing the ground, it's the perfect time of year to snuggle up in front of a fireplace. That, though, makes German foresters nervous. When the mercury falls, the theft of wood in the country's woodlands goes up as people turn to cheaper ways to heat their homes.
"The forest is open for everyone to enter and people just think they can help themselves, but they can't!" says Enno Rosenthal, head of the forest farmers association in the northeastern German state of Brandenburg. "Naturally, those log piles belong to someone and there is a lot of money and work that goes into them."
The problem has been compounded this winter by rising energy costs. The Germany's Renters Association estimates the heating costs will go up 22 percent this winter alone. A side effect is an increasing number of people turning to wood-burning stoves for warmth. Germans bought 400,000 such stoves in 2011, the German magazine FOCUS reported this week. It marks the continuation of a trend: The number of Germans buying heating devices that burn wood and coal has grown steadily since 2005, according to consumer research company GfK Group.
This is another interesting read from the spiegel.de Internet site yesterday...and Roy Stephens' third offering in a row. The link is here.
Japan's once and current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is determined to restore his country to its former greatness. Apart from focusing on its ailing economy, the nationalist leader is talking tough with its much stronger neighbors.
Before Japan's newly elected prime minister took office, he made a pilgrimage to the graves of his ancestors in Yamaguchi Prefecture, in southwestern Japan. He lit incense sticks and pressed his hands together in front of his chest. Then he told his supporters what he had pledged to the dead: "This time, I am determined to fulfill the mission."
With his solemn promise in late December, Shinzo Abe wasn't exactly suggesting that his first attempt as prime minister had failed miserably. Indeed, he resigned in September 2007 after a number of failures and owing to his poor health. Instead, the 58-year-old was invoking the political legacy of his father and grandfather precisely because that is his platform.
The premier wants to return Japan to its former position as a "beautiful country," which is also the title of a book in which he describes his vision for the nation's future. He wants this new Japan to re-embrace the values promoted by his father, former Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe (1924-1991), and practiced by his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi (1896-1987), whom he admires.
This short spiegel.de story falls into the absolute must read category...and once again I thank Roy Stephens for digging it up on our behalf. The link is here.
The Bank of Japan will consider making an open-ended commitment next week to buy government bonds and other assets until 2 percent inflation is in sight and the economy is on a more solid footing, according to sources familiar with its thinking.
The central bank will also consider scrapping interest it pays on banks' reserves, the sources added.
Faced with relentless pressure from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to do more to pull Japan out of deflation, the BOJ is expected to double its inflation target and possibly boost its long-running asset-buying scheme at a two-day policy review that ends on Tuesday.
If I was a Japanese citizen, I'd be buying gold bullion with both hands. I found this story in a GATA release yesterday...and the link is here.
What is the trigger for a revolution? Sometimes it a brutal act of repression. Sometimes it a lost war, or a natural catastrophe, that exposes the failings of a regime.
But more often than not, it is soaring food prices.
The easiest prediction to make for 2013 is that everything we eat will once again rise sharply in price. So where will the revolutions start this year? Keep an eye on Algeria and Greece — and if you want to feel very nervous, Russia and China. And if you are smart, keep your money out of those countries as well.
This Market Watch story was filed from London early on Wednesday morning Eastern time...and it's well worth the read. I thank Elliot Simon for sending it...and the link is here.
We are two weeks into the new year and China continues its march towards clean energy dominance. The Asian giant is aiming to have up to 10 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity this year.
According to PV Magazine, if successful, will more than double its total capacity currently at 7GW.
Meanwhile the country envisions having a total of 21GW by 2015.
Well, dear reader, this short, but very silver-friendly story was posted on the greenunite.com Internet site on Wednesday...and I thank reader Bill Busser for digging it up on our behalf. The link is here.
The first blog is with James Turk. It's entitled "Germany's Gold is Being Held Hostage". The next interview is with Citi analyst Tom Fitzpatrick...and it bears the title "Gold May Now be Poised for a Staggering $600+ Surge". The last blog is with Ron Rosen...and it's headlined "Expect Stunning $233 for Silver as it Begins to Soar".
An amateur prospector in the Australian state of Victoria has astonished experts by unearthing a gold nugget weighing 5.5 kg (177 ounces).
The unidentified man, using a handheld metal detector, found the nugget on Wednesday, lying 60 cm underground near the town of Ballarat.
Its value has been estimated at more than A$300,000 ($315,000: £197,000).
Local gold experts say gold has been prospected in the area for decades, but no such discovery had been made before.
This BBC article went viral on the Internet starting early yesterday morning...and the first reader through the door with this story was Ursula Haigh. The photo alone is worth the trip...and the link is here.
The gun, estimated to be worth more than $50,000 (£30,000), is believed to belong to drug traffickers.
Following a tip-off, police also found a number of weapons, along with other military equipment and passports.
Honduran authorities said the gold-plated rifle had an engraving associated with the Malverde drug gang - which is allegedly connected to Mexico's Zetas cartel.
This BBC news story is from way back on January 7th...and I thank Phil Barlett for finding it. The link is here.
The United States Mint has informed authorized purchasers that 2013 American Silver Eagle bullion coins are temporarily sold out. This follows intense demand for the silver bullion coins since the initial release on January 7, 2013.
The frenzied pace of orders for 2013 Silver Eagles has been driven by the typical rush to acquire the most recently dated coins, as well as pent up demand following three weeks of unavailability. The US Mint had unexpectedly sold out of the 2012-dated coins on December 17, 2012 with no coins available to order until the launch of the 2013-dated coins.
The US Mint expects the temporary sell out of the 2013-dated coins to last until on or about the week of January 28, 2013. At that point, sales will be resumed under an allocation process. During previous periods of strong demand for gold and silver bullion coins, the Mint has used an allocation process to ration available supplies amongst their primary distributors.
"Allocation" means standing in line, dear reader. Last week I mentioned that one of the U.S.'s largest private mints was telling us that 1-ounce silver rounds were on a 30-day delivery. Now the delivery problem extends into other areas. I do hope that you are getting your share. This story showed up on the coinupdate.com Internet site yesterday...and I thank Matthew Nel for being the first one through the door with it. The link is here.
Yesterday evening Jim Sinclair wrote that Thursday's smash-down of gold, quickly reversed, was the tactic of some big trader trying to look like the U.S. government. If the smash-down really had been undertaken by the U.S. government, Sinclair writes, it would not have been reversed so quickly.
I borrowed all of the above from a GATA release yesterday. Sinclair's commentary is posted on the jsmineset.com Internet site...and the link is here.
Business Insider today quotes UBS market director Art Cashin, a frequent analyst on CNBC, as ridiculing the idea of gold revaluation to improve the financial position of the U.S. government.
Cashin is quoted as writing in his daily market note: "The Platinum Coin Meets Goldfinger: The thesis that the Treasury could mint a trillion-dollar coin to avoid the debt ceiling may have collided with the conspiracy theories around the German repatriating of gold bullion reserves."
"Out in the Lewis Carroll land of the blogosphere, the alchemists are at again -- well, sort of. A new theory says that if the Treasury marked up its gold reserve to current market value (circa $1,600), it would create enough of a windfall to allow the Treasury to keep spending despite the ceiling. Some folks clearly have too much time on their hands."
Chris Powell has much more to say in this GATA release from yesterday...and I'll let him do the talking from hereon in. It's well worth reading...and it was posted on the gata.org Internet site yesterday morning Eastern time. The link is here.
Germany's gold reserves were scattered around the globe after World War II to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Soviet Union. Now much of the treasure trove will come home, the country's central bank announced Wednesday.
After months of heated debate, stoked by fears about Europe's economic crisis and criticism that the central bank was not keeping careful enough watch over its gold bars abroad, a top banker said Wednesday that his country would bring home $34.7 billion worth of shiny ingots.
The decision caps a discussion in which top German policymakers questioned whether they could believe the New York Federal Reserve's promises that it had 122,597 bars of high-quality German bullion in its basement. Some German lawmakers had said they wanted to bring home the entire reserve, arguing that in a time of instability and fears over the future of Europe's shared euro currency, keeping all the treasure locked up in German vaults would be prudent.
I snatched this story from a GATA release yesterday...and it was posted over at the washingtonpost.com Internet site on Wednesday. The further you read into this story, the more interesting it gets. It certainly falls into the must read category...and the link is here.
The world is moving step by step towards a de facto Gold Standard, without any meetings of G20 leaders to announce the idea or bless the project.
Some readers will already have seen the GFMS Gold Survey for 2012 which reported that central banks around the world bought more bullion last year in terms of tonnage than at any time in almost half a century.
They added a net 536 tonnes in 2012 as they diversified fresh reserves away from the four fiat suspects: dollar, euro, sterling, and yen.
The Washington Accord, where Britain, Spain, Holland, South Africa, Switzerland, and others sold a chunk of their gold each year, already seems another era – the Gordon Brown era, you might call it.
This absolute must read commentary from Ambrose was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site yesterday...and it's Roy Stephens final contribution to today's column. The link is here.
Aben Resources (TSX.V: ABN) is a Canadian gold and silver exploration company with a focus on developing properties in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The Company owns a 100% interest in the 18,314 acre Justin Gold Project located in SE Yukon. A 2,020 metre diamond drill program was carried out in 2011 to test never before drilled zones. Aben made a significant new greenfields gold discovery when it intercepted 60m of 1.19 g/t Au in hole JN11009 at the POW Zone. Additionally, a new high grade silver-copper zone was discovered at the Kangas Zone with hole JN11003 returning 1.07m of 7320 g/t Ag (234 oz/ton) and 3.52% Cu. Aben carried out an aggressive exploration and drill program in 2012 to follow up on the initial discoveries. The first drill hole in 2012, JN12011, returned 46.4m of 1.49 g/t Au and extended the gold mineralization at the discovery zone 85 metres laterally. The Company has four other prospective Yukon and NWT projects in its portfolio along with a seasoned management and geological team. Aben’s chairman, Ron Netolitzky, is credited with exploration success on numerous properties including three Western Canadian gold and silver projects which became producing mines. Please visit our website to learn more about the company and request information.
A politician thinks of the next election...a statesman, of the next generation. - James Freeman Clarke
If you thought yesterday's price activity in gold and silver was the free market in action, please click here...and don't come back. Most markets that matter...and the U.S. financial system can control...are rigged seven ways to heaven...and this certainly includes the precious metals, with yesterday's price action being another case in point.
I have no idea as to when all this madness will end, but I would think that we'll find out sometime after the presidential inauguration coming up on Monday.
The way that gold and silver bullion are flying off the shelves at the U.S. Mint is only one of many canaries in the coal mine that are singing their lungs out at the moment. "Currency Wars" is another. And as I've said on many occasions, one of the first things that the powers that be can do to instill higher inflationary expectations in the general population, would be to allow the precious metals to run up a significant amount. Time will tell whether my thoughts are anywhere close to the mark.
I'm off to the Vancouver Investment Conference later this morning...and I can tell you right now that both my Saturday and Tuesday columns will be as short as I can possibly make them. So if you detect a slide in quantity and quality from my next two tomes...well, that will be the reason, as I have lots on my plate during the four days that I'll be in attendance.
All four precious metals didn't do much during the Far East trading session on their Friday...and all are up a bit now that London has been trading for a couple of hours. Volumes are average for this time of day...and the lack of roll-overs out of the February delivery month in gold indicates to me that virtually all of this volume is high-frequency trading related. The dollar index is dead.
As Doug Casey pointed out in Friday's column last week, the precious metal stocks have never been this cheap versus the price of gold itself. So I'd like to remind you one more time that there's still an opportunity to either readjust your portfolio, or get fully invested in the continuing major up-leg of this bull market in both silver and gold...and I respectfully suggest that you take out a trial subscription to either Casey Research's International Speculator [junior gold and silver exploration companies], or BIG GOLD [large producers], with all our best [and current] recommendations...as well as the archives. Don't forget that our 90-day guarantee of satisfaction is in effect for both publications.
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.