The gold price hit its high just minutes after 8:00 a.m. in Tokyo on their Monday morning...and by the time that London opened, the gold price was down a couple of bucks from Friday's New York close.
Then the serious selling began...and by shortly before 10:00 a.m. GMT, gold was down another fifteen bucks. From there it traded sideways until shortly after 12:00 o'clock noon local time in London.
The subsequent rally just about got gold back to Friday's closing price...but shortly before the equity markets opened in New York, another not-for-profit seller spiked the gold price down to its Monday low of $1,692.80 spot. The gold price recovered back above the $1,700 price level before the close of electronic trading at 5:15 p.m. Eastern time.
Gold closed at $1,706.40 spot...down $4.60 on the day. Net volume [a lot of which was of the HFT variety] was pretty heavy at 147,000 contracts.
Silver followed virtually the same path as gold right up until 11:30 a.m. in New York. From there, silver really got it in the neck. During the next hour and forty-five minutes, silver got sold down to its low of the day [$33.44 spot] about fifteen minutes before the close of Comex trading at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.
From that low, silver gained back 56 cents...and closed the trading day at precisely $34.00 spot, down 73 cents on the day. Net volume was pretty chunky at 46,000 contracts.
Platinum got hit pretty hard as well. It closed down 2.01%...and silver closed down 2.10%...both gold and palladium finished down less than a percent each.
The dollar index did almost nothing from its Monday morning open in the Far East on Monday...and just eye-balling the chart, I'd say that the index closed down about 10 basis points after trading mostly flat all day.
The gold stocks gapped down at the open...and despite the up and down gyrations of the gold price that followed, the stocks continued to decline in a mostly linear fashion until about 2:45 p.m. Eastern...and then rallied a bit into the close. The HUI finished down 1.96% on the day.
Of course it almost goes without saying that the silver stocks did poorly...and Nick Laird's Silver Sentiment Index got hit by 3.18%.
(Click on image to enlarge)
It was relatively quiet on the delivery front yesterday. The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 5 gold and 105 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Wednesday. In silver it was "déjà vu all over again" as Jefferies was the big short/issuer with all 105 contracts...and JPMorgan was the largest of the long/stoppers with 87 contracts. The link to the Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
Ted Butler and I both agreed that what the GLD and SLV ETFs showed on Monday would be the acid test for last Wednesday's crucifixion in both these metals. Would there finally be big withdrawals...or not? Well, GLD showed unchanged...and I had to triple check the SLV numbers, as they showed that an authorized participant deposited 1,360,080 troy ounces of silver. That was the second addition to SLV since last Wednesday's take-down. I was ecstatic, as unchanged was the best I was hoping for!
This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt...if any further proof were required...that last week's Leap Year Massacre was a 100% paper affair on the Comex...and had zero to do with actual physical supply and demand. And you safely bet that the CME, CFTC...and the mining companies you own shares in, will not lift a finger to stop this "crime in progress".
Of course, the odd silver company has taken baby steps in that direction...and another one that took it's first step yesterday was First Majestic Silver. They reported in their 2011 financial statements that they "Invested US$10 million into Sprott Physical Silver Trust, "US:PSLV", after year end." A noble start, to be sure, but they...and all the rest of them...have to do more, and the sooner the better. What management and the board of directors forget sometimes is that those companies they run don't belong to them...they belong to us.
There was a small sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday, as they reported selling 3,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes...and 180,000 silver eagles. The month-to-date sales are not worth posting.
The Comex-approved depositories reported that 622,535 troy ounces of silver were deposited on Friday...and only 26,466 ounces were shipped out the door. The link to that action is here.
I've stolen a couple of paragraphs from silver analyst Ted Butler's weekend column to his paying subscribers...and they're definitely worth reading...
"The big news this past week was the price drubbing on Wednesday on the highest volume seen in quite some time. At intraday extremes, the price of gold fell by more than $100 and silver by more than $3. I don’t want to spend much time describing how this was a manipulative move lower; orchestrated by the commercials on the COMEX, because it was so obvious that was the case. The manipulative price smash that day had its origins in the recent buildup in the total commercial short position over the past two months, as I have tried to chronicle on a continuing basis. Given the growth of the COMEX commercial short positions in gold and silver, I hope no one was completely surprised by the deliberate takedown. You have every right to be outraged, as this represents a clear violation of US commodity law, but that is different than being completely surprised. In fact, I am encouraged by the general reaction to the sell-off, as many more observers and commentators see the mechanics of the COMEX manipulation than ever before. That certainly doesn’t make the sting of temporary loss instantly vanish, but it bodes well for the future. Importantly, the high volume sell-off on Wednesday has improved the market structure greatly."
"There was extraordinarily high trading volume in each ETF on Wednesday, so maybe there is yet to be some metal withdrawn from each; but usually such withdrawals would be made by now (in keeping with the requirements of the prospectus). My sense is that there was additional short covering in the shares of both ETFs, in keeping with recent trends and that might explain why no metal was removed in both GLD and SLV. If true, that’s bullish. My main point is that last week’s action proves again that the COMEX paper market is dictating prices to the world of real metal, as clear a violation of commodity law as is possible. Please forgive me for repeating this to you so frequently, as I know that you “get it.” Unfortunately, it is the regulators who don’t appear to get it, no matter how clear it should be to them."
I've got a couple of charts for you now. The first one is courtesy of Nick Laird over at sharelynx.com...and really doesn't need much of an introduction. But what it shows for February is that, in dollar terms, silver eagles outsold gold eagles once again.
(Click on image to enlarge)
If you're a "peak oil" groupie...here's a table of numbers that Australian reader Wesley Legrand sent me yesterday. If this doesn't scare the hell out of you, nothing will.
As is normal for a Tuesday column, I have lots of stories for you today...and quite a few of them fall into the must read/listen category. I hope you have time for them all.
STOP your bellyaching.
That was the message delivered last Thursday to Americans who today make almost nothing on the savings in their bank accounts.
It came from Sarah Bloom Raskin, an insider at the Federal Reserve. Ms. Raskin, one of the governors on the Fed board, made the usual disclaimer that her comments reflected her own thinking. But Fed watchers said her remarks probably mirrored views inside the central bank.
The issue — as anyone looking for income-producing investments knows — is that the Fed drove down interest rates to almost zero to shore up big banks and an economy that those banks helped drive off a cliff. Now savers, who did nothing to create the financial crisis, are being punished.
This story was posted in The New York Times on Saturday...and is worth reading. It showed up in a GATA release on the weekend...and that's where I stole it from. The link is here.
The inability of U.S. regulators to agree on guidelines for the international reach of the Dodd- Frank Act may disrupt the $708 trillion global swaps market, said Jill E. Sommers, a Republican member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
“I’m deeply concerned that there has not been adequate coordination” with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and non-U.S. regulators, she said today in a speech at an Institute of International Bankers conference in Washington. “Of even greater concern to me is that the commission appears to be considering a piecemeal approach,” she said of the CFTC.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS) have argued that the Dodd-Frank proposal threatens to hurt the competitiveness of Wall Street banks compared with their non-U.S. rivals. Michel Barnier, the European Union financial markets commissioner, has urged U.S. regulators to better coordinate Dodd-Frank rules with counterparts in other nations that are also writing new regulations following the 2008 credit crisis.
This story was posted on the Bloomberg website yesterday afternoon...and I thank Washington state reader S.A. for sending it along. The link is here.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asserted on Monday that it is lawful for the government to kill American citizens if officials deem them to be operational leaders of Al Qaeda who are planning attacks on the United States and if capturing them alive is not feasible.
“Given the nature of how terrorists act and where they tend to hide, it may not always be feasible to capture a United States citizen terrorist who presents an imminent threat of violent attack,” Mr. Holder said in a speech at Northwestern University’s law school. “In that case, our government has the clear authority to defend the United States with lethal force.”
While Mr. Holder is not the first administration official to address the targeted killing of citizens — the Pentagon’s general counsel, Jeh Johnson, did so last month at Yale Law School, for example — it was notable for the nation’s top law enforcement official to declare that it is constitutional for the government to kill citizens without any judicial review under certain circumstances. Mr. Holder’s remarks about the targeted killing of United States citizens were a centerpiece of a speech describing legal principles behind the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies.
The 'thought police' at The New York Times has the changed the title from what it was above, to a somewhat more friendly "U.S. Law May Allow Killings, Holder says". Casey Research's own Dave Galland, who had read the article earlier in the day, had this to say about it..."due process" is pretty much whatever the U.S. government decides it should be. If Holder is not fired...and Obama does not lose the election over this, then we have entered the last phase of the advent of the totalitarian state. Seriously."
I thank Washington state reader S.A. for his second contribution in a row...and the link is here.
There have been many analogies drawn between the United States and Rome. We think that to be historically inaccurate. The new Roman equivalent is a strip of discontinuous land stretching roughly from Charlotte, North Carolina to New York City on the Eastern coast of the Continental United States.
Rome in the days of the Republic was a city-state, not an empire. Their army was comprised of citizen-soldiers, called to duty in times of peril. The afterglow of their system of government can be seen incorporated into the founding documents of the United States such as the Constitution, particularly the checks and balances. The Romans biggest fear was a dictator, although they ironically allowed for one when there was extreme danger.
In the early days of the Empire, Emperor Nero created a particularly nasty estate tax. He was rumored to have burned down wooden Rome to replace it in his own image and one made of marble. As he ran out of money, he raided the temples and the churches. He still needed more, so he created the Roman version of Legalzoom.com. He required everyone to write a simple will leaving wealth to him. An epidemic of “premature” deaths ensued, particularly those with large sums of wealth. These “proscriptions” might sound familiar to some taxpayers in the current era.
This short, must read blog, was posted over at the King World News website yesterday...and the link is here.
China expanded a trial of yuan settlement for exports to all companies qualified for foreign trade from a list of designated participants, the nation's central bank said on its website yesterday.
The change is aimed at promoting trade and the Chinese currency's cross-border use, the People's Bank of China said, citing a combined directive with the ministries of finance and commerce, the customs and taxation bureaus, and the China Banking Regulatory Commission. A circular on the new policy attached to the announcement is dated Feb. 3.
Premier Wen Jiabao is encouraging the wider use of the yuan in international trade and investment to curb reliance on the U.S. dollar while maintaining some controls on funds flowing in and out of China. Officials have said they want to gradually achieve the yuan's full convertibility under the capital account by 2015.
This Bloomberg story was posted on their website on Friday...and it's another story that I 'borrowed' from a GATA release. The link is here.
So we have a remarkable situation. China alone will be adding 125m cars to its roads over the next five years, with auto production targets of 30m annually by 2016. India is spending $1 trillion on infrastructure projects over the next five years.
Two billion people in the emerging world are joining the global economy and competing toe-to-toe for scare resources with the West. Their rising demand - not our declining demand - will set oil prices.
“Between 2008 and 2011 we saw a decrease in demand from mature economies of 2m bpd, while the China increased by 2m bpd in the same period. As an oil exporting country, we are watching very closely,” said Mohammed Al Sabban from the Saudi petroleum ministry, at the Jeddah Economic Forum over the weekend.
The West has the disquieting experience of watching crude soar even as we languish in stagnation. This never used to happen. If we faltered, energy costs would fall too, acting as a stabilizer. This harsh new reality is going to become uncomfortable when the emerging world enters a new cycle of growth, leaving us behind.
This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard offering was posted in The Telegraph on Sunday...and I thank Chris Powell for bringing it to my attention. The link is here.
The first is headlined "U.S. oil sanctions against Iran backfires big time"...and the second is entitled "Iran oil embargo questioned". Both are courtesy of Roy Stephens...and both were posted in the print edition of the Tehran Times yesterday.
Once it was clear that his victory was overwhelming, Vladimir Putin appeared before the public. Dmitry Medvedev, the outgoing Russian president, stood by his side, but the cheers of the around 100,000 people who had gathered in front of the Kremlin were just for Putin. "I thank all those who have said 'yes' to a strong Russia," said Putin, who will now serve a third term as Russian president after winning Sunday's election.
The appearance before his supporters on election night only lasted a few minutes. Putin, 59, used the occasion to draw a line under the last three months. During the weeks since the parliamentary election in December, which was marked by allegations of fraud, the opposition received increasing support on the streets of Moscow. At times, Putin seemed like a relic from another era. "Russia's Incredible Shrinking Prime Minister" was the title of a Time magazine cover story. But Putin's victory on Sunday was so massive that even he seemed overwhelmed.
Standing on stage, with the Red Square and Kremlin behind him and tens of thousands of cheering people in front of him, tears flowed down his cheeks. Vladimir Putin, famous for his macho posturing, was crying.
This story was posted on the German website spiegel.de yesterday...and is also courtesy of Roy Stephens. I consider it a must read...and the link is here.
International monitors have said that the video monitoring system tested at Russian presidential polling stations exceeds everything they saw in their home countries – or anywhere else in the world.
At a Moscow press conference soon after the last polling station closed in Western Russia, monitors agreed that the elections were held in a normal mode and without serious violations, but the web camera system that allowed anyone to personally check the situation at polling stations got the foreign specialists especially excited.
The web-based monitoring system was tested for the first time on Sunday. Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin suggested the unprecedented measure after allegations of widespread ballot-rigging were made following December's parliamentary poll. Election officials said that over two million people registered online to watch the live transmissions from the stations. Additionally, a special screen was set up in the information center for covering the elections – so that journalists and foreign observers could also watch the broadcast.
This story was posted over at the Russia Today website on Sunday evening. It's a short read...and a must read as well. I thank Roy Stephens once again...and the link is here.
The Spanish rebellion has begun, sooner and more dramatically than I expected...and as many readers will already have seen, Premier Mariano Rajoy has refused point blank to comply with the austerity demands of the European Commission and the European Council (hijacked by Merkozy).
Taking what he called a "sovereign decision", he simply announced that he intends to ignore the EU deficit target of 4.4pc of GDP for this year, setting his own target of 5.8pc instead (down from 8.5pc in 2011).
In the twenty years or so that I have been following EU affairs closely, I cannot remember such a bold and open act of defiance by any state. Usually such matters are fudged. Countries stretch the line, but do not actually cross it.
With condign symbolism, Mr Rajoy dropped his bombshell in Brussels after the EU summit, without first notifying the commission or fellow EU leaders. Indeed, he seemed to relish the fact that he was tearing up the rule book and disavowing the whole EU machinery of budgetary control.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has a field day with this must read story that was posted in The Telegraph yesterday. It's another Roy Stephens offering...and the link is here.
European leaders are braced for the eurozone’s first ever sovereign default this week as Greece’s efforts to secure a €206bn (£172bn) “voluntary” bond swap looks increasingly unlikely.
Authorities in Athens are ready to enforce the controversial collective action clauses, or CACs, to impose the restructuring deal on all bondholders as the number of voluntary agreements look set to fall short of the required amount.
Credit rating agencies have warned they will declare Athens to be in default if the CACs are triggered which would be a dramatic culmination to a three-year rollercoaster ride for Athens, the eurozone and global markets.
This is another story from The Telegraph...this one from the Saturday edition. It is, of course, another Roy Stephens offering...and it's certainly worth skimming. The link is here.
Greece expects bondholders to accept a one-time offer to write off about 100 billion euros ($140 billion) of Greek debt and is ready to force them to participate if necessary, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said.
“This is the best offer,” Venizelos said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Nicole Itano in Athens today. “This is the best offer because this is the only one, the only existing offer.”
The Greek government has set a 75 percent participation rate as a threshold for proceeding with the transaction, in which investors will forgive 53.5 percent of their principal and exchange their remaining holdings for new Greek government bonds and notes from the European Financial Stability Facility. Euro- area finance ministers last week authorized the EFSF to issue bonds for the swap.
This Bloomberg story was filed from Athens yesterday...and I thank Washington state reader S.A. for sending it along. The link is here.
Ireland is likely to need a second bailout when its current aid program ends, rating agency Moody’s warned today.
In its weekly credit outlook report, Moody’s also warned a No vote in the upcoming fiscal treaty referendum would bar Ireland from receiving further funds under the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
The agency predicted the Government would have to rely on the ESM for additional funding after the existing bailout program expires in 2014.
This story was posted on the irishtimes.com website yesterday...and I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us. The link is here.
Iceland's former prime minister will appear in court to answer charges over his role in the 2008 financial crisis.
Geir Haarde became a symbol of the get-rich bubble for Icelanders, many of whom lost their jobs and homes after the country's main commercial bank collapsed, sending inflation soaring and its currency into a nosedive. Haarde is accused of negligence in failing to prevent the financial implosion from which the island country is still struggling to emerge.
Haarde's trial – the culmination of a long fight by the politician to avoid prosecution – marks a new chapter in the aftermath of the meltdown: accountability. The former prime minister has rejected the charges, calling them "political persecution" and insisting he will be vindicated when he appears at the Landsdómur, a special court convened for the first time in Iceland's history to try him.
This story was posted in The Guardian yesterday...and I thank Swiss reader B.G. for bringing it to our attention. The link is here.
MineWeb's Lawrence Williams writes that gold market manipulation was proven by last week's smash-down of gold by the dumping of paper gold, futures contracts. Williams' commentary is headlined "Sentiment Hit Hard by Big Gold Selloff -- Could Be More Falls to Come".
This is another story that I found in a GATA release yesterday...and I thank Chris Powell for writing the introduction for me. It's posted over at the mineweb.com...and is an absolute must read. The link is here.
Central bank intervention against gold last week aimed to get control of a "desperate" situation amid monetary debasement, GoldMoney founder and GATA consultant James Turk told King World News yesterday. Turk says there have been many such interventions in recent years and this one won't succeed any longer than the others did.
I thank Chris Powell for providing this introduction as well...and the James Turk blog is posted over at the KWN website. The link is here.
Writing for GoldMoney, economist and former banker Alasdair Macleod finds in speculation about the disposition of Greece's gold reserve a reminder that the gold may not even exist if it is stored outside the country with other central banks or the Bank for International Settlements, which may have dumped it into their fractional-reserve gold banking systems. Macleod writes:
"As central bankers mull the point over, they may well conclude that among all their troubles there is one more that must be avoided at all costs: the possibility of a gold run by the smaller central banks on their larger peers in the major bullion trading centers. It would be a consequence of the deepening crisis involving fiat money and credit, and if this is allowed to occur, all confidence in paper money itself would be at risk."
I thank Chris Powell once again for wordsmithing the preamble to another must read story. It's posted over at the goldmoney.com website...and the link is here.
Here is a rather lengthy interview with Marc Faber that's posted over at the mineweb.com. In it, Marc says that "The big rally into Sept. 6, 2011, took the gold price to $1,922/ounce (oz) and then it dropped until the end of the year, touching $1,522/oz on Dec. 29. It has rallied, and is now above $1,700 again, but I don't think the correction is entirely over. Corrections of 40% are nothing unusual in a bull market."
I've got $100 that says that the worst of this correction is already over...and if it's not, there's no way on God's green earth that we'll ever see the gold price that low again. But, if it does get that low, I'll load up my clear title home with the biggest equity take-out that the bank will allow...and then back up the truck at my bullion dealer's store.
This mineweb.com interview is Roy Stephens final offering in today's column...and the link is here.
"Somehow a long gold, short euro barbell looks really good here. Bernanke, after all, now seems reluctant to embark on QE3 barring a renewed economic turndown while the ECB is moving further away from the role of a traditional central bank to take on the role of quasi fiscal policymaking, The German central bank, after all, is responsible for 25% of any losses that would ever be incurred by the massive Draghi balance sheet expansion."
"Why would anyone want to be long a currency representing a region with a 10.7% unemployment rate, rising inflation rates and free money? Mind you — the same can be said for the US (where U-6 jobless rate is even higher), which is why the best currency may be physical gold."
This zerohedge.com story was posted on their website on Saturday...and I thank reader Phil Barlett for sending it along. The link is here.
Here's someone you don't hear from every day...and he's right up there with the likes of Eric Sprott and John Embry.
This audio interview from last Friday is an absolute must listen. It runs just under 30 minutes...and the one question that he gets asked at the end is well worth hearing out...as is the answer the caller gets.
I thank Ted Butler for bringing this interview to my attention. To tell you the truth, I don't know how long this particular interview will be posted, so I'd listen to it pretty quick, as it may disappear by Friday. It's posted over at the bellwebcasting.ca website...and the link is here.
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All government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. - Jonathan Swift
I must admit that yesterday's price action wasn't much of a surprise in some respects. The beating that 'da boyz' laid on silver was pretty much as expected...but I was somewhat surprised that their attempts to close the gold price below the $1,700 mark, failed. They either weren't trying hard enough, or the physical buyers overwhelmed them...and which it was, is hard to say...although I'm rooting for the latter.
Of course, it still may happen...and how long JPMorgan et al keep this up is anyone's guess. Today is the cut-off for Friday's Commitment of Traders Report and, as Ted Butler mentioned on the phone yesterday, it's the cut-off for this month's Bank Participation Report as well...so I'll have lots to talk about in Saturday's column.
As I mentioned in Saturday's column, the obvious market shenanigans in the precious metals last Wednesday woke up even the most die-hard skeptic to the fact that the precious metals markets are rigged seven ways to heaven...and it could also have resulted in a 'crossing of the Rubicon' moment, as all market participants are now alerted to their presence. Hopefully we at GATA [and Ted Butler in silver] will hear no more of this 'conspiracy theorist' b.s. that we've had to endure since the day we all started on this quest...GATA for 13 years...and Ted Butler for 26+ years.
Of course there are still card-carrying members of the Flat Earth Society around...but most of them fall into the 'lunatic fringe' category such as Jon Nadler over at Kitco...and Jeff Christian at CPM Group. And there are still others that will never admit to it, even it was carved onto two stone tablets and brought down off a mountain by a man named Moses. Those would be the executives and boards of directors at the large cap silver mining companies...and as John Embry has said many times over the last decade: "They're either ignorant, naïve, or complicit."
You can decide which category they fall into, dear reader. I know the answer already.
Maybe the events of last week [and this week] will help change their minds...but I'm not holding my breath.
In Far East trading on Tuesday, the gold price spiked up a bit the moment that the TOCOM opened at 8:00 a.m. in Japan...just like on Monday morning...and then got slowly sold off. But now that London has been open a couple of hours, both metals are getting sold down hard.
Volume, which had been relatively light up until the London open, is now huge in both metals...so it's obvious that it could be another ugly day, as JPMorgan et al force more leveraged longs to sell. As I hit the 'send' button at 5:19 a.m...gold is down about $17...and silver is down 75 cents.
That's pretty much all I have for today. As I mentioned further up in 'The Wrap'...today is the cut-off for both of Friday's big reports, so nothing will surprise me regarding the price action for the rest of the Tuesday trading day...and, as usual, I await the Comex open with great interest.
See you on Wednesday.