The gold price chopped around slightly above the unchanged mark until just after 1 p.m. in Hong Kong and then began to head lower, with the low tick coming minutes after 9 a.m. EDT. It rallied a bit going into the London p.m. gold 'fix'---and from there it didn't do a lot.
The high and lows were reported by the CME Group as $1,212.40 and $1,200.80 in the June contract.
Gold closed in New York yesterday at $1,206.80 spot, down an even three dollars from Wednesday's close. Net volume was very light at only 89,000 contracts.
It was virtually the same price pattern in silver---and with the metal trading in a twenty cent range all of yesterday, the high and low ticks aren't worth the effort to look up.
Silver finished the Thursday session at $17.13 spot, up 5.5 cents from Wednesday---and net volume was exceedingly light as well, only 19,500 contracts.
Platinum chopped around unchanged all through Far East and most of Zurich trading, but began to head south shortly before 2 p.m. Zurich time. Like gold and silver, the low tick came a couple of minutes after 9 a.m. in New York. From there it rallied back to almost unchanged, closing at $1,154 spot, down a buck from Wednesday.
Palladium chopped around five dollars either side of unchanged all day yesterday---and closed up 4 bucks at $779 spot.
The dollar index closed late on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 95.59. It dropped 20 basis points in early Far East trading, but gained it all back---plus a few basis points more---by 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, and thirty minutes before the London open. From there it began to head south, with the 95.01 low tick coming minutes after 11 a.m. BST in London. But by shortly before 9 a.m. EDT, the index was back to 95.43---and after another 20 basis point up/down move, closed the Thursday session at 95.40---down 19 basis points on the day.
The gold stocks opened flat, but headed into negative territory to stay by 10:20 a.m. EDT. Their lows came around 2:15 p.m.---and they struggled higher into the close. The HUI finished down 0.36 percent---it's fifth losing session in the last six trading days.
The silver equities traded in a similar pattern---and almost managed to squeeze a positive close, but got sold back into the red about fifteen minutes before the equity markets closed. Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 0.25 percent.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 30 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday. JPMorgan stopped 17 of them---8 for its client account and 9 for itself. The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that gold open interest for May fell 42 contracts, leaving 82 still open. Silver o.i. for May was unchanged at 289 contracts---less the 30 mentioned in the prior paragraph.
There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday---and as of 9:33 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.
Since yesterday was Thursday, Joshua Gibbons, the Guru of the SLV Bar List, updated his website with the goings-on at the iShares.com Internet site as of the close of business on Wednesday---and here is what he had to report.
Analysis of the 20 May 2015 bar list---and comparison to the previous week's list: 5,519,099.8 troy ounces were removed (almost all from Brinks London)---787,993.3oz were added---and none had serial number changes.
The bars removed were from: Henan Yuguang (1.7M oz), Inner Mongolia Qiankun (0.9M oz), Korea Zinc (0.6M oz), and 21 others.
The bars added were from: Kazzinc (0.3M oz), Solar Applied Materials (0.2M oz), and 4 others.
As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 420.8oz. All daily changes are reflected on the bar list.
After two days in a row of no sales, the U.S. Mint finally had something to say for itself. They reported selling 6,000 troy ounces of gold eagles---2,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---and 340,000 silver eagles.
Over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday, there was hardly any gold activity worth mentioning, as only 500 troy ounces were received---and nothing was shipped out. It was virtually the same in silver. Nothing was received---and only 146,602 troy ounces were shipped out the door.
It was another monster day over at the gold kilo warehouses in Hong Kong on their Wednesday. At Brink's, Inc. they reported receiving an eye-watering 24,015 kilobars---and shipped out an equally impressive 17,331 kilobars. There was a small deposit at the Malca-Amit Far East Ltd. depository, as they took in 220 kilobars. The link to all that activity, in troy ounces, is here.
I have the usual number of stories for a week-day column---and I hope there are a few in here that you consider worth reading.
Consumer Comfort is now the lowest it has been since Dec 2014 as Bloomberg's sentiment index continues to track the pain of higher gas prices better than the gain of higher stock prices. This is the biggest 6-week plunge in sentiment since Oct 2013. What is more worrisome is 'hope' is plunging. Economic Expectations fell by the most since Oct 2013 - the government shutdown - having fallen for 3 straight months. It appears the trickle-down popularity of seeing a Green Dow print every night on the news does not make the average Joe feel any better about the world after all???
This 2-chart Zero Hedge piece from 10:07 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning is worth thirty seconds of your time---and I thank Dan Lazicki for today's first story.
SUMMING IT ALL UP FIRST - WE HIT RECORD HIGHS TODAY ON THE LOWEST VOLUME OF THE YEAR AS GLOBAL MACRO DATA MISSED EN MASSE... that is all
In the last 12 hours - China PMI Miss/Drop, Japan All Activity Index Miss/Drop, France Services PMI Miss, German Manufacturing & Services PMI Miss/Drop, Eurozone Composite PMI Miss/Drop, Chicago Fed National Activity Index Miss/Drop, Initial Jobless Claims Miss/Drop, U.S. Manufacturing PMI Miss/Drop, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Plunge, Philly Fed Miss/Drop, E.U. Consumer Confidence Miss/Drop, Existing Home Sales Miss/Drop, Kansas City Fed Collapsed... and Stocks Surge...
This Zero Hedge piece appeared on their website about thirty-five minutes after the markets closed yesterday---and if you're a chart junkie, this story is for you. It's the second offering in a row from reader Dan Lazicki.
David Stockman explains why the stock and bond market could be on the verge of a collapse.
This 3:33 minute CNBC video clip was posted on their website about noon on Thursday---and it's the third contribution in a row from Dan L.
A surge in bank repossessions of properties last month pushed overall foreclosure activity across the United States to an 18-month high, according to a report by industry firm RealtyTrac released on Thursday.
Overall, 125,875 homes across the country were at some point in the foreclosure process in April, a 3 percent jump from March. The increase drove foreclosure activity up 9 percent from year-ago levels, RealtyTrac said.
April's jump in foreclosure activity, which includes foreclosure notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions was mainly driven by a 25 percent rise in repossessions.
A total of 45,168 homes were reclaimed by banks in April, up 50 percent from a year ago, bringing bank repossessions to their highest levels in 27 months.
This news item was posted on the newsmax.com Internet site at 10:23 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning--and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sending it along.
Investors yawned at the news Wednesday that five of the world’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., agreed to plead guilty in a currency-rigging probe. They’re among six banks that will pay $5.8 billion in fines.
Barely more than a year ago, criminal charges against major U.S. banks were considered unthinkable, with lawyers and analysts viewing felony convictions as a death sentence and a threat to the financial system. Now, by granting waivers allowing lenders to keep operating even after a felony plea, the government has managed to punish firms while protecting them from fatal consequences.
“This is the first time you had Citigroup, JPMorgan or any U.S. bank plead guilty essentially to criminal conduct -- this is a bad day for American finance,” Mike Mayo, an analyst at CLSA Ltd., said in a televised interview with Bloomberg. “Having said that, this is more backward-looking than forward-looking.”
Like I said yesterday, dear reader, until the guys in the corner suites and the boardrooms are looking at large numbers of years in orange jump suits at the Crowbar Hilton, nothing will change. These are just licensing fees---felony convictions or not. This news item appeared on the Bloomberg Internet site at 3:30 p.m. Denver time Thursday afternoon---and it's the second offering in a row from Elliot Simon.
After more than 200 years of operation, yesterday JPMorgan Chase became an admitted felon. That action for foreign currency rigging came less than two years after the bank was charged with two felony counts and given a deferred prosecution agreement for aiding and abetting Bernie Madoff in the largest Ponzi fraud in history. The felony counts came amid three years of non-stop charges against JPMorgan Chase for unthinkable frauds: from rigging electric markets to ripping off veterans to charging credit card customers for fictitious credit monitoring and manipulating the Libor interest rate benchmark.
Against this backdrop of a serial crime spree on the part of employees on multiple continents and coast to coast in the United States, JPMorgan released a statement yesterday regarding the bank pleading guilty to a felony charge for engaging in the rigging of foreign currency trading, calling it “principally attributable to a single trader.” In the statement, Dimon says the bank has a “historically strong culture.”
Dimon is, if nothing else, a master of the grand illusion.
This short essay put in an appearance on the wallstreetonparade.com Internet site yesterday sometime---and I thank Richard O'Mara for bringing it to our attention.
While soaring stock prices do nothing to boost the economy, because as 7 years of hard facts have shown, the only thing "trickle down" QE has done is forced economists to jump the shark and demand not one but two seasonal adjustments to goal seek collapsing economic data, the S&P hitting new all time highs on a daily basis has certainly succeeded in one thing: pushing inequality around the globe, and especially in the US, to new record highs.
And earlier today the latest OECD report confirmed just that, when it reported that gap between the rich and poor in most of the world's advanced economies is at record levels.
In most of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development the income gap is at its highest level in three decades, with the richest 10 percent of the population earning 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 percent.
In the 1980s this ratio stood at 7 to 1, the OECD said in a report.
This longish article, also from the Zero Hedge website yesterday morning, is also courtesy of Dan Lazicki.
“Sometimes ISDAfix is manipulated.”
Those words, taken from an e-mail written by a Barclays Plc options trader, came back to haunt the bank Wednesday as it settled U.S. government allegations that it attempted over five years to rig one of the world’s most important rate benchmarks.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission released some of the more than 1 million e-mails and recorded phone calls gathered during its nearly three-year investigation to show how the attempted manipulation worked.
It was a simple process, according to the CFTC: Barclays traders told their brokers to buy or sell as many interest-rate swaps as needed just before 11 a.m. New York time to push the benchmark in the desired direction.
This Bloomberg article appeared on their website at 2:59 p.m. Mountain Daylight time on Wednesday afternoon---and my thanks go out to Howard Wiener for finding it for us.
Europe's creditor powers have started to wobble. Berlin, Paris and Brussels are coming to the grim conclusion that Greece may not capitulate as expected, and time is running out fast.
Athens is now warning openly that the "moment of truth" will come on June 5, when the country faces default on a €300m payment to the International Monetary Fund, unless the EU authorities hand over the next tranche of bail-out cash.
It would be hazardous to bet the integrity of monetary union on the assumption that this is just a bluff.
This must read Ambrose Evans-Pritchard commentary appeared on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 9:30 p.m. BST on Wednesday evening---and I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us.
Foreign corporations from countries including Germany, China and Russia are lining up to buy Greek state assets as the country struggles to pay its European creditors.
The sell-off includes major parts of Greece's infrastructure such as airports, ports, motorways and utilities., The website of the agency leading the government's privatisation drive details a host of real estate ready to be sold off, with deals listed as either 'in progress', 'rolling ahead' or 'completed'.
The move marks a U-turn from the ruling Left-wing Syriza party, who had previously resisted the privatisation programme imposed as part of the conditions attached to Greece's €245bn bailout from the so-called troika of the IMF, European Central Bank (ECB) and European Commission.
This story appeared on the europe.newsweek.com Internet site at at 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday. No time zone was stated, so it can be assumed that it's EDT. A reader who wishes to remain anonymous sent it our way yesterday.
Greece has revealed it’s been asked by the U.S. to prolong anti-Russia sanctions. However, Athens stressed Russia is a strategic ally and the ‘sanction war’ is causing it an estimated loss of €4 billion a year.
"I was asked to support the prolongation of the sanctions, particularly in connection with Crimea. I explained the Ukrainian issue was very sensitive for Greece as some 300,000 Greeks live in Mariupol and its neighborhood, and they feel safe next to the Orthodox Church, " Defense Minister Panos Kammenos is cited as saying on the Ministry of National Defense website on Wednesday.
Russia is Greece's ally and a friendly country, our countries have "unbreakable ties" of common religion, and we have economic ties as well, the Minister told the Deputy US Defense Secretary Christine Wormuth during their meeting in Washington.
This story showed up on the Russia Today website at 1:51 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday afternoon, which was 6:51 a.m. EDT in Washington.
On Sunday, following days of heavy fighting against Iraqi government forces, ISIL took control of the Sunni-dominated provincial capital of Ramadi, some 70 miles west of Baghdad.
“No, I don’t think we’re losing,” Obama said in the interview. “There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time.”
The U.S. president attributed the fall of Ramadi to lack of Iraqi military training and command-and-control structures in Sunni areas of the country.
Hundreds of Iraqi security forces were killed and many more fled, prompting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to call in Shiite militias to the outskirts of Ramadi to protect the capital and Shiite cities to the south.
This news item, filed from Washington, showed up on the sputniknews.com Internet site at 8:03 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday evening, which was 1:03 p.m. in Washington. It's courtesy of reader M.A.
Just hours after ISIS scored a significant victory in Iraq when it captured the town of Ramadi over the weekend, the first Iraqi town that had been actively defended by the US as opposed to just Iraqi troops, overnight ISIS also captured the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, which the mainstream media promptly concludes was proof that the Islamic State's momentum was growing.
Around a third of the 200,000 people living in Palmyra may have fled in the past few days during fighting between government forces and Islamic State militants, the U.N. human rights office said on Thursday.
That's not all: according to Reuters, "extending its reach in the region, fighters loyal to the Sunni Muslim group have also consolidated their grip on the Libyan city of Sirte, hometown of former leader Muammar Gaddafi."
"ISIL has reportedly been carrying out door-to-door searches in the city, looking for people affiliated with the government. At least 14 civilians are reported to have been executed by ISIL in Palmyra this week," Shamdasani said in e-mailed comments.
This Zero Hedge article showed up on their website at 3:53 p.m. on Thursday afternoon---and it's the second contribution in a row from reader M.A.
China and Brazil have unveiled multi-billion dollar trade, finance and investment deals as Premier Li Keqiang kicked off his first official trip in Latin America this week.
Landing first in Brazil, Li saw a raft of agreements signed, ranging from a $1 billion purchase of passenger jets made by Brazil’s Embraer to the lifting of an import ban on Brazilian beef. Infrastructure investment plans also include a controversial project to build a railroad that would slice across the Amazon and the Andes mountain range.
“A new road to Asia will open for Brazil, reducing distances and costs, a road that will take us directly to the ports of Peru and, across the Pacific Ocean, China,” President Dilma Rousseff said in reference to the rail link, inviting Chinese companies to build it.
“China wants to build the railway equivalent of the Panama Canal in the region,” Jean-François Dufour, president of the DCA Chine-Analyse consulting company, told FRANCE 24.
This news item was posted on the france24.com Internet site on Wednesday sometime---and my thanks go out to Roy Stephens for his final offering in today's column.
This audio interview with Jim runs for 57 minutes. It's his monthly chat with the folks over at the Physical Gold Fund. It was recorded on Monday---and I thank Harold Jacobsen for sending it along yesterday.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is developing a European gold futures contract to serve customers in London, three sources familiar with matter said, which could present a direct challenge to London's traditional cash market.
The contract would mirror existing futures traded on CME's New York COMEX platform, which has a 100-ounce contract size and typically trades volumes of between 15 million and 20 million ounces daily.
That is the world's most liquid gold contract, essentially setting the benchmark for bullion futures globally.
"The CME has been working on a loco (deliverable in) London futures contract for a while," one source familiar with the matter said. "Comex futures are deliverable at Comex warehouses, but instead with London futures you would take delivery at your London vault. Potentially they would see a lot more futures being delivered if customers could have London gold."
I must admit that I wasn't happy to see this story, so I fired it off to Ted Butler----and here is his response---"A little known fact is that the vast majority of al the new contracts introduced by the CME fail miserably. I would put this contract in that category, but time will tell." This Reuters piece, filed from London, appeared on their website at 4:23 p.m. BST yesterday afternoon London time--and I found it embedded in a GATA release.
Gold buying was slow this week in Asia even as global benchmark prices dropped from a three-month high, with the Chinese hooked on surging equities while demand in India stayed weak and was unlikely to pick up as the wedding season cools.
Premiums for bullion over international spot prices dropped in Hong Kong while prices in India were on par with the global benchmark.
"Demand is extremely slow. Customers are focusing on equity markets and aren't really interested in gold for the time being," said Dick Poon, general manager at Heraeus Precious Metals in Hong Kong.
Gold premiums in Hong Kong dropped to around 50 cents an ounce, he said, from over a dollar last week.
Considering the frantic pace that gold is being imported into both India and China, one wonders how seriously this story should be taken. This Reuters article, filed from Singapore, appeared on their website at 11:06 a.m. IST on their Friday morning---and it's something I found on the Sharps Pixley Internet site at 2 a.m. EDT.
Gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen outlines the arguments for and against thinking that the People's Bank of China obtains gold through the Shanghai Gold Exchange, a determination critical to estimating how much metal has been brought into the country's gold reserves.
Jansen is inclined to think that the central bank is obtaining its gold outside the exchange and outside "visible" channels, since government purchases of gold can be the most sensitive state secrets. Jansen's very long commentary is headlined "PBOC Gold Purchases: Separating Facts from Speculation" and it was posted on the bullionstar.com Internet site yesterday. I thank Chris Powell for the introductory paragraphs above.
This fellow is a red-necked grebe---and is very common through most of northern North America, some parts of Europe---and Russia. And like most grebes, it's only see from a distance. But if you sit very still for long enough, eventually they forget you're there---and you get photos like these. This is the male. The female was sitting on the nest some distance away.
Avnel Gold (TSX:AVK) is a gold mining, exploration, and development company with operations in south-western Mali. The Company’s focus is to develop its 80%-owned Kalana Main Project into a low-cost, open-pit mining operation.
In Q1-2014, the Company reported the results of a PEA based upon a Mineable Resource of 1.58 million ounces at a diluted grade of 3.1 g/t. The PEA outlines a 14-year mine life recovering 1.46 million ounces at an average “AISC” of $577/oz with a capex of $149 million. At $1,110/oz and a 10% discount rate, the NPV was $194 million after-tax and imputed interest with an IRR of 53% on a 100% project basis. Similarly, at a 5% discount rate and at $1,300/oz, the NPV was $424 million with an IRR of 74%. Since the PEA, the open-pit diluted Indicated Resource has increased to 2.2 million ounces at a diluted grade of 3.06 g/t.
Avnel plans to complete its fully-funded 141-hole, 23,500-metre drill program in mid-2015, which is expected to provide for a steady flow of news over the coming months. This drilling will be form the basis for an updated Resource Estimate in Q3-2015 and DFS that is scheduled to be completed in Q1-2016.Please contact Jeremy Link with questions or for more information.
As I’ve written previously, there was no way that JPMorgan or anyone else could have acquired the equivalent of 350 million ounces or more in silver in the form of COMEX silver futures contracts. Enough observers and market participants now monitor the COT data (I think I’ve had some influence in this) that it would be impossible for a 70,000 contract net long position to go unnoticed, to say nothing about it being far above any position limits that the CFTC might ever institute. As it stands now, the concentrated net position of the four largest long traders in COMEX silver has rarely been above 25,000 contracts, so an individual trader holding 70,000 long contracts would seem impossible.
More to the point, it just isn’t conceivable that the potential selling and short selling capacity necessary to accommodate any trader to create and hold a 70,000 contract long position exists. In other words, if JPMorgan did make the decision four years ago to accumulate a massive long position in silver that I believe it did make, this bank was smart enough to know it couldn’t be done via COMEX silver futures. The only possible alternative was for the bank to acquire physical silver, which it did in spades. Not coincidentally, holding physical silver is the same best suggested way of holding silver that I (and many others) have long advocated. Admittedly, it is somewhat bittersweet to see JPMorgan adopt that advice. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 20 May 2015
It was another down day yesterday, but volume was so light, not much should be read into the price action, although "da boyz" took another tiny slice off the gold salami. And as much as I don't want to see it, I'm expecting more of this sort of price action in the future. As I said the other day, the only thing we don't know is how low in price---and how long JPMorgan et al will take to get the job done.
Of course the critical 50-day moving averages are pretty close in both gold and silver, so the price pain shouldn't be all that great. However, as Ted has drilled into me over the years, it's not the final price that's important, but the number of contracts involved.
Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals---and you can see the tiny slice in gold for yourself, as we made a new low for this current move down.
And as I write this paragraph, the London open is about ten minutes away. Prices are marginally higher at the moment in gold, silver and platinum. Palladium is unchanged. Net gold volume is a bit over 10,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is only 2,700 contracts. Based on these tiny volumes, nothing should be read into the current price action. The dollar index has been sliding throughout all of Far East trading on their Friday---and bounced off the 95.00 level for the second time in less than twenty-four hours. It's currently down 35 basis points.
Today we get the Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday---and as I said before, there should be massive deterioration in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver. But these number will be somewhat tempered by the engineered price declines on Tuesday. The other unknown is just how much of Tuesday's price/volume numbers will be in today's report, as not all the data may be reported in a timely manner.
Here's more of what Ted had to say about Tuesday's engineered price decline in his Wednesday commentary---and it's effect on today's COT Report...
"So what about the big price smash on Tuesday? It looked like the same old HFT and spoofing bookie scam as always. The way it works is first the commercial bookies rig prices up thru the key moving averages and then the Pavlovian technical funds respond by buying futures contracts at the higher prices levels, as they did from last Wednesday thru Monday. Then the commercial bookies fix the game to the downside below the moving averages and the technical funds sell at the lower prices. That’s the essence of the COMEX silver and gold scam."
"What was somewhat different this time is that the move up and down was so compressed in the reporting week, that the COT report covering the turnaround won’t be published until Friday, thus resulting in the inability to rely on the COT report this time. I don’t think this was accidental, but rather deliberate. Considering that there had been significant managed money buying in COMEX gold and silver on the sharp move up last week, accompanied by equally significant commercial bookie selling, the current price weakness makes it clear that the bookies are inducing the technical funds to sell. This is what the CME crime syndicate is all about."
And as I file today's column at 5:15 a.m. EDT, I note that the prices of gold, silver and platinum spiked a bit very shortly after London opened. Of course the not-for-profit sellers were there soon after---and are attempting to hammer these rallies flat, although the jury is still out on whether they'll be able to accomplish that. Palladium isn't doing a thing.
Net gold volume is a bit over 22,000 contracts at the moment, which is more than double what it was ten minutes before London opened---and silver's net volume is sitting at 6,100 contracts net, also more than double what it was the last time I reported on it more than two hours ago.
The dollar index bounced off the 95.00 level once again---and it appears that "gentle hands" are at work here. Right now the index is down 38 basis points.
Since today is Friday, all bets are off as to how precious metal prices perform, or will be allowed to perform---and, as usual, nothing will surprise me when I check the charts later this morning.
Enjoy your weekend, or what's left of it---and I'll see here tomorrow.