The gold price was under gentle selling pressure for most of Far East and London trading on Wednesday. Two new intraday lows were set...the first at 1:00 p.m. Hong Kong time...the second at 11:00 a.m. in London...but the absolute low price tick [$1,577.40 spot] came about 8:50 a.m. in New York..and from there rallied to its high of the day [$1,597.00 spot] at 11:45 a.m. about three hours later.
Once that high was in, the price slid into the close of electronic trading at 5:15 p.m. Eastern. Gold ended the day at $1,589.40 spot...down $15.40. Net volume was enormous for the second day in a row at 185,000 contracts...and only 9,000 contracts less than Tuesday.
Silver's price path on Wednesday was very similar to gold's, except for the fact that silver hit its low price tick at $28.54 spot just moments after the Comex open at 8:20 a.m. Eastern.
Once the high was in at 11:45 a.m. in New York...$29.44 spot...the silver price retested the $29.00 spot mark to the downside before recovering back almost to its previous high. From there it traded sideways into the close.
Silver finished the Wednesday trading day at $29.27 spot...down 20 cents on the day. Net volume...43,000 contracts...was 1,000 contracts higher than what it was on Tuesday.
The dollar index continued it's rather unsteady rally for the third day running. It's peak on Wednesday was around the 80.27 mark at 10:20 a.m. in New York...but declined right after to just above the 80.00 mark...and as of this writing at 11:51 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday night, it's still trading sideways at that level.
The gold stocks gapped down at the open again, but once the London p.m. gold fix was in at 10:00 a.m. in New York, the gold price and their associated stocks took off to the upside. The precious metal stocks peaked out around 12:30 p.m...and then drifted lower along with the gold price. Considering the fact that gold finished down fifteen bucks on the day, the HUI turned in a stellar performance...and finished up 1.86%.
The silver stocks, which had been doing quite well earlier in the trading session on Wednesday, faded a bit into the close and finished mixed. Nick Laird's Silver Sentiment Index closed down a smallish 0.27%.
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The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 109 gold and 38 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Friday. The link to the Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday...but it was a different story over at the SLV ETF, as an authorized participant withdrew an eye-watering 3,882,296 troy ounces.
Well, the new short interest figures were posted over at shortsqueeze.com last night...and I wasn't impressed. It showed that the short position in SLV increased by 13.54%...or 1,522,300 shares/ounces. The SLV short interest is now up 12,766,500 troy ounces/shares...which is in the neighbourhood of 397 tonnes...more than six days of world silver production.
And if you think I wasn't impressed with the increase in short position in SLV...I was gobsmacked by the change I found over at GLD. Its short position increased by 42.76%...or 5,360,700 shares. GLD is now short 1.79 million ounces of gold, about 56 tonnes of the stuff, which is not an insignificant amount.
Of course these numbers don't include what happened to silver and gold during the last couple of weeks....and I would suspect that there have been major reductions in these short positions in both SLV and GLD since then, but they won't show up in the above mentioned report until May 23rd.
All of these short positions have no physical metal backing them...and is one of the reasons that I wouldn't touch either of these 'investment' vehicles with a 10-foot cattle prod.
The U.S. Mint reported selling another 4,500 ounces of gold eagles and 25,000 silver eagles.
The Comex-approved depositories reported receiving 247,865 troy ounces of silver on Tuesday...and also that 678,610 ounces were withdrawn. The link to that activity is here.
I have the usual number of stories today...and I hope you have the time to read the ones that interest you the most.
The United States Postal Service said Wednesday that it would keep hundreds of small post offices open by reducing business hours or offering stamps and packaging in grocery stores, whittling down its ambitious plan to streamline its services and balance its books by closing thousands of post offices.
Giving Congress more time to pass legislation to overhaul the financially struggling agency, the service held back from the wholesale closings of mostly rural post offices that it had proposed last year. The Postal Service’s hope is that Congress, given more time, will come up with a plan to overhaul the agency. But Wednesday’s action signals that the Postal Service needs to move forward with staffing cuts.
This story showed up in The New York Times yesterday...and I thank Phil Barlett for sending it along. The link is here.
Just how unpopular is President Obama in some parts of the country? Enough that a man in a Texas prison received four out of 10 votes in West Virginia's Democratic presidential primary.
Inmate Keith Judd, 53, is serving 17 years for extortion at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution. He was sentenced in 1999 for making threats against the University of New Mexico and is due to be released on June 24 next year.
With 93 per cent of precincts reporting, Obama was receiving just under 60 per cent of the vote to Judd's 40 per cent.
This story was posted on the dailymail.co.uk website yesterday...and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sharing it with us. The link is here.
Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Bill Gross and Jan Hatzius at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. say investors should prepare for additional bond purchases by the Federal Reserve to combat a slowing U.S. economy.
A decision to buy more debt is “getting closer,” Gross, who runs Pimco's Total Return Fund, the world’s largest mutual fund, wrote on Twitter yesterday. Hatzius, the chief economist at New York-based Goldman Sachs, predicted in a report the same day that the Fed will announce additional monetary easing when it meets in June.
Prospects for a third round of central bank asset purchases, known as quantitative easing, or QE, increased after a Labor Department report May 4 showed U.S. employers added 115,000 jobs in April, the smallest gain in six months.
This story was posted on the Bloomberg website early yesterday morning...and I thank reader Scott Pluschau for bringing it to our attention. The link is here.
China Investment Corp. has stopped buying European government debt because of an economic crisis on the continent, though it continues to look for new investments there, said CIC President Gao Xiqing.
"What is happening in Europe right now is of course of concern," Gao said yesterday in an interview in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the World Economic Forum on Africa. "We still have our people looking at opportunities in Europe, even though we don't want to buy any government bonds."
European leaders are struggling to contain a debt crisis that has entered its third year and led to bailouts of Greece, Portugal, and Ireland. Officials have pledged to tighten fiscal frameworks amid concern the situation would envelop Italy and Spain, the euro region's third- and fourth-biggest economies.
I plucked this Bloomberg story from a GATA release last night...and the link is here.
Italian banks’ borrowings from the European Central Bank reached a record high in April, as the country’s lenders took up almost one-fourth of the funds offered to lenders amid revived concerns about Europe’s debt crisis.
Total borrowing by Italian banks rose to 271 billion euros ($353 billion) from 270 billion euros in March, the Bank of Italy said on its website today.
Most of the funding, about 268.4 billion euros, was from longer-term refinancing operations, while 2.6 billion euros came from the main refinancing operations, the data show. Lenders in the entire euro area borrowed about 1.13 trillion euros from the ECB, according to the central bank.
This Bloomberg story was filed from Milan early yesterday morning...and I borrowed it from yesterday's King Report...and the link is here.
After several failed efforts to restore confidence in their sickly banks, European governments face growing pressure to change course and give the European Union more power to shore up the region’s shakier lenders.
Calls for a reassessment of current policy have been prompted by a new crisis in Spain, where the government late Wednesday took a controlling stake in Bankia, the country’s third-largest bank by assets, just as it confronted the country’s second recession in three years and continuing pressure from hostile bond markets.
But the growing clamor for action has raised a familiar issue: are national governments ready to surrender more power to the European Union or its agencies to salvage the euro?
This story was posted in The New York Times yesterday...and is another offering from Phil Barlett. The link is here.
As Europe's largest economy, Germany has contributed the biggest share of the financial guarantees under Greece's bailout, which is paid out in installments on the condition that Athens meets specific savings goals.
"The agreements must be respected. I don't think we can or should renegotiate," said Martin Schulz, a German politician and president of the European Parliament, on a visit to Berlin.
Gerda Hasselfeldt, a senior member of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), echoed Schulz in warning Greece against any backsliding. "Our position is unchanged. Aid can only flow if the conditions are met," Hasselfeldt told reporters.
This Reuters story was posted on their website on Tuesday...and is another story that I borrowed from yesterday's King Report. The link is here.
Just weeks ago, the idea that Greece would leave the euro zone was almost unthinkable. Now, with Greece’s newly empowered political parties refusing to abide by the terms of the country’s international loan agreement and Europe’s leaders talking tough, that outcome is looking increasingly likely.
Germany’s devotion to the euro and the European Union runs extremely deep and cuts across the political spectrum. But the frustration with Greece here is undeniable. There is a growing conviction that it is up to Greece to follow through on its commitments, that Europe is done negotiating.
“Germans are now predominantly of the opinion that they would be better off if Greece left the euro zone,” said Carsten Hefeker, a professor of economics and an expert on the euro at the University of Siegen. “If the country really is continuing on the path they are taking now, it would be hard to justify keeping them in. How do you deal with a country that says we don’t want to keep any of the commitments we have made?”
This New York Times story was posted on their website on Tuesday...and I thank Phil Barlett for digging it up on our behalf. The link is here.
The first headline reads "Turk ups Iran oil imports to 270,000 bpd in March". The second story is entitled "India studying preferential trade pact with Iran". And lastly is this item headlined "Iran will not give up nuclear rights: Judiciary chief"
Interviewed by Louis James of Casey Research, Tocqueville Gold Fund manager John Hathaway called the bottom in the gold market yesterday. That's the headline on the interview, complete with video -- "John Hathaway Calls a Market Bottom" -- and it's posted at the Casey Research Internet site. The link is here.
Michael Kosares of Centennial Precious Metals in Denver reflects that the market axiom "Don't fight the tape" has yielded to "Don't fight the algorithm," whose proprietors now have nearly unlimited cash to run paper rather than physical trades in a market without much connection to reality. The old "madness of crowds," Kosares writes, has been replaced by the madness of machines, but it won't end any better.
I stole this must read story, plus the above introductory paragraph, from a GATA release yesterday...and the link is here.
The first blog is with Stephen Leeb. It's headlined "We Will Now See a Gold Standard Imposed in Europe". The second is with Tocqueville Gold Fund manager John Hathaway. It's entitled "Complete Flush in Gold & Savers to Get Screwed"...and it's definitely a must read. And lastly is this blog with Peter Schiff headlined "These Stocks Can Go Up Over 100% in 12 Months"
Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, made waves last week when he aired his thoughts on gold: "I think gold is a great thing to sew into your garments if you're a Jewish family in Vienna in 1939, but I think civilized people don't buy gold. They invest in productive businesses."
Some might be stung by the hypocrisy of this statement: Warren Buffett -- Munger's business partner at Berkshire Hathaway -- once bought a third of the world's silver supplies when he thought the metal was underpriced. But I can think of a man who would have taken ideological issue with Munger's comments: Warren Buffett's dad.
The late-Congressman Howard Buffett is a posthumous pillar of the Libertarian party, the anti-war movement and asset-backed currency -- the "Ron Paul of his day," according to Philip Klein. And on the subject of gold, Buffett Sr. may have penned the best-ever essay in support of a gold standard: "Human Freedom Rests on Gold-Redeemable Money."
I came very close to zapping this story before I'd read the whole thing, but I'm glad I persevered, as it was definitely worth reading. I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us. It's posted over at thestreet.com website...and the link is here.
Especially at times of price pressure like now, it can be reassuring to know how the game is being played. I’m not speaking of the day-to-day price movements, but of the dominant forces that generally cause both short term and long term price movements. The price of world silver and gold is mostly set on the COMEX. Over the longer term, of course, other things will influence the price, such as production and consumption and investment demand. But these longer term influences don’t change radically from day to day and it is usually unproductive to link those influences to short term prices. And sometimes, like now, world events would strongly favor a rush towards precious metals were it not for price-setting on the COMEX.
So how is the price of silver and gold set on the COMEX? The price is set as a result of the continuous competition between what are called commercial traders and speculators (aka non-commercials). However, the term commercial trader is a misnomer for the most part as these traders are usually just speculating. The way US futures markets are supposed to work is that hedgers (real producers and consumers) transfer price risk to speculators. In reality, it hardly works that way at all. Very few silver miners hedge production. Additionally, real hedgers don’t trade excessively on a short term basis and such short term trading makes up over 90% of daily trading volume in silver and gold on the COMEX (and in other markets). Therefore, the trading is between two competing speculative groups, one being called commercials.
Ted Butler's mid-week commentary was posted in the clear on the Internet yesterday...and for very good reason. It's an absolute must read...and it's posted over at Peter Spina's silverseek.com website. The link is here.
CNBC's "Fast Money" program today interviewed Sprott Asset Management's Eric Sprott and didn't pull the plug when he started to talk about efforts by central banks and bullion banks to suppress the gold price with paper gold as the rest of the financial world blows up. Thus the gold price manipulation story continues to creep into polite company.
I borrowed the headline and introduction from a GATA release yesterday. The excerpt from the interview is posted at CNBC's Internet site...and is 10 minutes long. It's a must watch for sure...and the link is here.
Corvus Gold Inc. (TSX: KOR, OTCQX: CORVF) is engaged in the exploration and development of gold-related mineral properties located in Nevada, Alaska and Canada through a mix of internal and partner funded work. Corvus Gold’s emerging producer potential is highlighted by its 100% North Bullfrog project in Nevada with a current resource of 1.6M oz. gold. A preliminary economic assessment of the project shows the potential for an annual output of 57,700 ounces of gold over 12.8 years with an initial total capex of $68.8M. The project is shown to have a high leverage to gold prices with an NPV (5%) of $338M, an IRR of 69.7% and a 1.2 year payback at $1,700/oz. gold. Recent step out drilling success shows the potential of significant resource expansion and will be further addressed in the 2012 exploration program. Please visit our site to learn more about the projects or request information through email@example.com.
The paper money disease has been a pleasant habit thus far and will not he dropped voluntarily any more than a dope user will without a struggle give up narcotics. - Howard Buffett
I would say without too much reservation that the bottom is in for all the precious metals. I alluded to that in this space yesterday, but now that Wednesday's trading is in the history books, it's a pretty easy call.
We may see a bit more 'backing and filling' for a while...but if we didn't see the absolute lows yesterday, they're only a chip shot away. I'm hedging my bets a bit here, because if you look at the 6-month gold and silver charts posted below, you'll note that the first penetration of the RSI index into oversold territory in mid-December did not turn out to be the bottom of the price cycle. That came about two weeks later in the thinly-traded market between Christmas and New Years...so that sort of 'in your ear' scenario is still a possibility going forward.
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Here's the corresponding silver chart...
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Now we just have to wait for the subsequent rallies in all the precious metals to see what 'da boyz' will do. That's the key to how high and how far we go from here. We are a long way below the 50-day moving averages in all four precious metals...and miles below their respective 200-day moving averages, so we won't see much new technical fund long buying until we at least get to the 50-day moving average. Although, as Ted Butler has pointed out, the penetration of the 20-day moving average to the upside in gold is a buy point for some technical funds...and even that moving average is fifty bucks higher than we stand as of 4:05 a.m. Eastern time this morning.
So without all those technical funds going long, it's entirely possible that the prices for all the precious metals could wander around below these moving averages for quite some time...maybe even all summer. But that's pure speculation on my part.
It's unfortunate that Wednesday's price action in all the precious metals won't be in tomorrow's Commitment of Traders Report, as Tuesday was the cut-off. If it was, then we'd certainly have a snapshot of what a bottom in the precious metals market looks like.
In Thursday trading in the Far East and London, gold and silver prices didn't do much of anything...and volumes in both metals are back to 'normal'...whatever that means in the high-frequency trading world at the moment. The dollar index is basically unchanged from its close in New York late yesterday...and as I hit the 'send' button on today column at 5:15 a.m. Eastern time, gold is up a buck...and silver is down about a dime.
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I hope your Thursday goes well...and I'll see you here tomorrow.