Casey Research Publication
Gold & Silver Daily
"Wonder why palladium and platinum didn't head south at the same time"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

[NOTE: Unless the precious metal markets are open in New York today---and there's something worth reporting if they are---I can absolutely guarantee that I won't have a column tomorrow.]

Gold chopped around the $1,300 price mark for all of the Far East and early London trading sessions yesterday.  The price rallied a bit more convincingly above the $1,300 mark once the noon silver fix in London was in---but that ended an hour later---20 minutes before the Comex open.  It was all downhill from there, with an extra kick in the pants starting at noon in New York.  By 1:10 p.m. EDT, the price was down another $7---and then traded sideways into the close.

The CME Group recorded the high and low ticks at $1,304.40 and $1,292.80 in the June contract.

Gold closed in New York at $1,294.60 spot, down $7.60 from Wednesday.  Volume, net of April and May, wasn't overly heavy at 111,000 contracts.

Not much happened in silver yesterday---and the price action really doesn't merit any comment at all---except for the fact that it was the only precious metal that didn't get kicked in the teeth during the New York lunch hour.  The low and high ticks aren't worth looking up, either.

Silver closed in New York at $19.65 spot, up two cents from Thursday.  Net volume was very light at around 19,500 contracts.

Platinum traded pretty flat up until about 12:30 p.m. in New York---and at that point, the roof caved in.  Platinum finished down $26 on the day.  And I thought for sure that palladium was finally going to close well above the $800 spot price mark, but JPMorgan et al. showed up shortly before 1 p.m. EDT and put an end to that.  Palladium closed down $5---and back below $800 per ounce.

Now there was news on the strike front that Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum had made a "startling" offer to AMCU, but if that was the real reason for the selloffs in both platinum and palladium, why did they occur at different times---and not simultaneously?  Just asking.

The dollar index finished the Wednesday trading session in New York at 79.83---but by 10:45 BST in London, it was down to its 79.59 low.  The subsequent rally took the index back up to 79.84 by 12:30 p.m. EDT---and the index didn't do much after that.  It finished the Thursday session almost where it started---at 79.85.

Once again the gold stocks opened in positive territory---and for the most part remained in the black until the gold price got sold down $5 starting around lunchtime in New York.  Then the shares headed south as well, and the HUI finished down another 0.92%---and on its absolute low of the day.

Despite the fact that silver outperformed gold in the New York trading session---and actually finished up on the day, that didn't affect the silver equities, as they continued to sell off as the Thursday trading session wore on.  Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 1.17%.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that five gold and 20 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.  ABN Amro was the short/issuer on the 20 silver contracts---and Canada's Scotiabank took delivery of all of them.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

Another day---and another withdrawal from GLD.  This time an authorized participant took out 105,965 troy ounces.  And as of 9:10 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

Joshua Gibbons, the "Guru of the SLV Bar List" updated his website with the internal goings-on within SLV for the end of their reporting week on Wednesday---and this is what he had to say:  "Analysis of the 16 April 2014 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list.  No bars were added, removed, or had serial number changes.  As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 39.6 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list."  As you know, dear reader, despite the big decline in the silver price recently, there has been no in/out activity over at SLV worthy of the name---and I'm really starting to wonder why that is.  The link to Joshua's website is here.

There was no sales report from the US Mint.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they showed that only a tiny 353 troy ounces of gold were shipped out---and none was reported received.  I shan't bother with the link.

Of course it was a different story in silver, as it almost always is.  There was nothing reported received---and 802,042 troy ounces were reported shipped out.  It was JPMorgan and Canada's Scotiabank doing the honours---and the link to that activity is here.

Here's a FRED chart that Casey Research's BIG GOLD editor Jeff Clark sent my way yesterday---and it has finally cracked the $4 trillion mark.  Jeff mentioned that "It was $855 billion in April 2008, so that's a 368% increase in six years."

I have the usual number of stories for a weekday column---and I hope you find some you like.  Because of the Good Friday holiday,  I probably won't have a column tomorrow, because all the market are closed, so I've included all the stories that I've been saving for that---and some of them are truly incredible.


¤ Critical Reads

NYT: Rents No Longer "Affordable" for Most Americans

Demand for rental housing has soared over the past seven years, and that has pushed rents higher than many middle-class Americans can afford to pay.

A rule of thumb is that households shouldn't pay more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities.

But now half of U.S. renters devote more than 30% of their income to housing, up from 38% in 2000, revealed a report from Harvard University.

Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan has called this "the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has ever known."

The story from The New York Times showed up on the Internet site early Wednesday afternoon EDT---and today's first news item is courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.


IHS Economist: "Living Standards Will Suffer" as Food Prices Surge

Food prices are registering sharp gains, climbing 0.4% in both February and March and threatening to put a damper on the economy.

What's happening is that wholesalers have raised the prices they charge grocers, and grocers in turn have passed along the increases to their customers, USA Today reports. That obviously creates a hardship for consumers, who account for about 70% of GDP.

"Living standards will suffer, as a larger percentage of household budgets are spent on grocery store bills, leaving less for discretionary spending," Chris Christopher, an economist at IHS Global Insight, told USA Today.

The bad news may not be over. California's drought will probably push prices upward this year for fruits and vegetables, including avocados, lettuce and berries, Timothy Richards, a professor at Arizona State University's business school, told the paper.

This short article from USA Today on Thursday, was also picked up by the Internet site---and it's also courtesy of Elliot Simon.


Hedge Funds Post Worst First-Quarter Results Since 2008

It’s time again for another installment of “Hedge Funds Are a Ripoff,” our long-running series chronicling the asset class’s habit of underperforming far less exotic investments while charging more and limiting clients’ access to their own money.

Hedge funds posted their worst first-quarter results since 2008, according to financial data service Preqin, whose “All Hedge Fund Strategies” index shows a gain of 1.2% since the start of the year. That compares with a 1.8% total return for the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index through March 31. Hedge funds have badly trailed plain-vanilla equities over the past 12 months, gaining 8.53% vs. 19.32% for the S&P. In 2013, the gap between hedge funds and stocks was the widest since 2005.

Defenders of hedge funds often get exasperated when the asset class gets compared with stocks: The investments are not supposed to outperform equities when the market is on a tear, this argument goes—they operate complicated strategies that hedge against lots of contingencies, so that they do well in all types of weather. Well, nobody would call 2014 a bull market, and hedge funds aren’t exactly shining now, either.

This piece appeared on the Internet site on Wednesday---and I found it in yesterday's edition of the King Report.


Matt Taibbi: The SuperRich in America Have Become "Untouchables" Who Don't Go to Prison

Earlier this month, attorney James Kidney, who was retiring from the Securities and Exchange Commission, gave a widely reported speech at his retirement party. He said that his bosses were too "tentative and fearful" to hold Wall Street accountable for the 2008 economic meltdown. Kidney, who joined the SEC in 1986, had tried and failed to bring charges against more executives in the agency’s 2010 case against Goldman Sachs. He said the SEC has become "an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors. ... Tough enforcement, risky enforcement, is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening," he said.

Well, for more, we turn to our guest Matt Taibbi, award-winning journalist formerly with Rolling Stone magazine, now with First Look Media. His new book is called The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

Matt, we welcome you back to Democracy Now! It’s a remarkable, important, certainly needed book in this day and age. Talk about the thesis. What is the divide?

This interview/book review was posted on the website on Tuesday---and for content and length reasons, had to wait for today's column.  It's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.  This will be on my must-read pile for the weekend.


After Success on Iran, US Treasury's Sanctions Team Faces New Challenges

This is what the modern American war room looks like: the clocks on the wall show the times in Kabul, Tehran and Bogota. The faces around the conference table are mostly young. There is talk of targets, and of middle-of-the-night calls to Europe.

But the meeting one recent morning convened deep within the Treasury Department, not the Pentagon. The weapons at hand were not drones or cruise missiles, but financial sanctions, aimed with similar precision at U.S. rivals' economic interests.

Before discussing possible next steps against Russia over its annexation of Crimea, Adam Szubin, the slim, boyish-looking director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, thanked his team for putting in a string of sleepless nights to devise sanctions against senior Russian officials and associates of President Vladimir Putin.

The measures, rolled out in three executive orders signed by President Barack Obama in March, included blocking the Russians and Bank Rossiya, Russia's 17th-largest bank, from access to the U.S. financial system and freezing their U.S. assets.

This longish Reuters story, filed from Washington, was posted on their website late Monday afternoon EDT---and it's another news item that had to wait for today's column.  It's definitely worth reading---and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard touches on it in the story from The Telegraph posted below this one.  I thank senior editor Nick Giambruno for bringing it to our attention.


US Financial Showdown with Russia Is More Dangerous Than It Looks, for Both Sides

The United States has constructed a financial neutron bomb. For the past 12 years an elite cell at the US Treasury has been sharpening the tools of economic warfare, designing ways to bring almost any country to its knees without firing a shot

The strategy relies on hegemonic control over the global banking system, buttressed by a network of allies and the reluctant acquiescence of neutral states. Let us call this the Manhattan Project of the early 21st century.

"It is a new kind of war, like a creeping financial insurgency, intended to constrict our enemies' financial lifeblood, unprecedented in its reach and effectiveness," says Juan Zarate, the Treasury and White House official who helped spearhead policy after 9/11.

“The new geo-economic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive,” he writes in his book Treasury's War: the Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.

This absolute must read Ambrose Evans-Pritchard commentary showed up on the Internet site very early Wednesday evening BST---and I found it in yesterday's edition of the King Report.


Runaway Spy Snowden Is Surprise Guest on Putin Phone-In

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of U.S. intelligence eavesdropping, made a surprise appearance on a TV phone-in hosted by Vladimir Putin on Thursday, asking the Russian president if his country also tapped the communications of millions.

The exchange was the first known direct contact between Putin and Snowden since Russia gave the American refuge last summer after he disclosed widespread monitoring of telephone and internet data by the United States and fled the country.

Snowden was not in the studio with Putin, who angered U.S. President Barack Obama by refusing to send the American home to face espionage charges. He submitted his question in a video clip that a lawyer said had been pre-recorded.

Snowden, 30, wearing a jacket and open-collar shirt and speaking before a dark background, asked Putin: "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?"

This must-read Reuters story, filed from Moscow, was posted on their Web site late on Thursday morning EDT---and it's the second contribution to today's column from Roy Stephens.


Putin Says it's Impossible for Europe to Stop Buying Russian Gas

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday it would not be possible for Europe, which is trying to cut its reliance on Russian energy, to completely stop buying Russian gas.

Putin also said that the transit via Ukraine is the most dangerous element in Europe's gas supply system, and that he was hopeful a deal could be reached with Ukraine on gas supplies.

Russia meets around 30% of Europe's natural gas needs. Moscow's actions in Ukraine have spurred attempts by the continent to reduce its dependency on oil and gas supplies from the former Cold War foe.

"Of course, everyone is taking care about supply diversification. There, in Europe, they talk about increasing independence from the Russian supplier," said Putin.

This is another story that's courtesy of Elliot Simon.  It was posted on their Internet site later in the morning EDT.


Opinion: Putin's Q&A Session Was Brilliant, Sincere, Warm, and Compassionate

The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin conducted his yearly question-and-answer session with the public and citizens of Russia, this time spending approximately three hours and fifty minutes answering a wide range of questions in an impressive manner never once faltering or at a loss and citing facts, figures and details on everything from assisting a disabled man to obtain a home to the aggressive expansion of NATO to the East. This year the Kremlin added a the possibility of sending in video for those who wanted to ask the president questions, as well as text messages, e-mails, regular post, phone calls and submissions through the Internet.

This very interesting commentary, which is worth reading, showed up on the Internet site early on Thursday evening Moscow time---and it's the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.


Saudi Spy Chief Ousted Under US Pressure: Experts

The exit of Saudi's spy chief was the result of US pressure over his stance on Syria but does not signal a shift in Riyadh's goal of toppling the Damascus regime, experts say.

Riyadh, as is usual, did not elaborate on its statement this week that Prince Bandar bin Sultan was being replaced, saying only that the veteran diplomat had asked to step down.

But a Saudi expert said that Washington -- irritated for some time by Prince Bandar's handling of the Syria dossier -- had in December demanded his removal.

This news item showed up on the Internet site later in the afternoon Europe time---and it's certainly a must read for all students of the New Great Game.


Death from Above: How American Drone Strikes Are Devastating Yemen

The people of Yemen can hear destruction before it arrives. In cities, towns and villages across this country, which hangs off the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, the air buzzes with the sound of American drones flying overhead. The sound is a constant and terrible reminder: a robot plane, acting on secret intelligence, may calculate that the man across from you at the coffee shop, or the acquaintance with whom you've shared a passing word on the street, is an Al Qaeda operative. This intelligence may be accurate or it may not, but it doesn't matter. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the chaotic buzzing above sharpens into the death-herald of an incoming missile.

Such quite literal existential uncertainty is coming at a deep psychological cost for the Yemeni people. For Americans, this military campaign is an abstraction. The drone strikes don't require U.S. troops on the ground, and thus are easy to keep out of sight and out of mind. Over half of Yemen's 24.8 million citizens – militants and civilians alike – are impacted every day. A war is happening, and one of the unforeseen casualties is the Yemeni mind.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma and anxiety are becoming rampant in the different corners of the country where drones are active. "Drones hover over an area for hours, sometimes days and weeks," said Rooj Alwazir, a Yemeni-American anti-drone activist and co-founder of Support Yemen, a media collective raising awareness about issues afflicting the country. Yemenis widely describe suffering from constant sleeplessness, anxiety, short-tempers, an inability to concentrate and, unsurprisingly, paranoia.

Ah, yes!  America bringing "democracy" to all countries of the world.  This two-page essay showed up on the Rolling Stone Web site on Monday---and is another news item that had to wait for today's column.  It's also another offering from Roy Stephens.


America's Coup Machine: Destroying Democracy Since 1953

Soon after the 2004 U.S. coup to depose President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, I heard Aristide's lawyer Ira Kurzban speaking in Miami.  He began his talk with a riddle: "Why has there never been a coup in Washington D.C.?"  The answer: "Because there is no U.S. Embassy in Washington D.C."  This introduction was greeted with wild applause by a mostly Haitian-American audience who understood it only too well.

Ukraine's former security chief, Aleksandr Yakimenko, has reported that the coup-plotters who overthrew the elected government in Ukraine "basically lived in the (U.S.) Embassy.  They were there every day."  We also know from a leaked Russian intercept that they were in close contact with Ambassador Pyatt and the senior U.S. official in charge of the coup, former Dick Cheney aide Victoria Nuland, officially the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.  And we can assume that many of their days in the Embassy were spent in strategy and training sessions with their individual CIA case officers.

To place the coup in Ukraine in historical context, this is at least the 80th time the United States has organized a coup or a failed coup in a foreign country since 1953.  That was when President Eisenhower discovered in Iran that the CIA could overthrow elected governments who refused to sacrifice the future of their people to Western commercial and geopolitical interests.  Most U.S. coups have led to severe repression, disappearances, extrajudicial executions, torture, corruption, extreme poverty and inequality, and prolonged setbacks for the democratic aspirations of people in the countries affected.  The plutocratic and ultra-conservative nature of the forces the U.S. has brought to power in Ukraine make it unlikely to be an exception.

If I had to pick just one story for you to ready today---this would be it.  And if you want to hear about these sorts of things from the inside, John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, was an operative for the U.S. in some of these situations.  This longish essay showed up on the Web site on April 8---and it's another contribution from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.


Japan Population Drops for Third Year Straight; 25% Are Elderly

Japan’s population has shrunk for the third year running, with the elderly making up a quarter of the total for the first time, government data showed Tuesday.

The number of people in the world’s third-largest economy dropped by 0.17% or 217,000 people, to 127,298,000 as of last Oct. 1, the data said. This figure includes long-staying foreigners.

The number of people aged 65 or over rose by 1.1 million to 31.9 million, accounting for 25.1% of the population, it said.

With its low birthrate and long life expectancy, Japan is rapidly graying and already has one of the world’s highest proportions of elderly people.

This very interesting story is definitely worth reading.  It was posted on the Internet site on Tuesday sometime---and it's another story I found in yesterday's edition of the King Report.


Japan Bond Market Liquidity Dries Up as BoJ Holding Crosses ¥200 Trillion

The Bank of Japan’s massive purchases of government debt hit a milestone this week, sucking liquidity out of the market to such an extent that the benchmark 10-year bond went untraded for more than a day, the first time in 13 years.

Data from the BoJ late on Monday showed its holding of Japanese government bonds topped ¥200tn ($1.96tn), or about 20% of outstanding issuance – up by more than half from ¥125tn about a year ago.

The fall in market liquidity looks set to intensify as the BoJ has vowed to continue its aggressive buying for at least another year, with market players expecting it to expand its easing some time later this year.

“Everybody thinks the market is not going to move for the time being because of the purchase by our dear customer, the BoJ,” said a trader at a major Japanese brokerage.

This Reuters story from Tuesday found a home over at the Internet site---and I thank reader 'David in California' for sending it around yesterday.


Five King World News Blogs

1. David P: "One of the Greatest Opportunities In More Than a Decade"  2. Art Cashin: "Unprecedented $5 Trillion Liquidity Monster to Be Unleashed"  3. Keith Barron: "The Elites Fear What Will Crash the Global Financial System"  4. Richard Russell: "Silver---and the Greatest Mistake My Father Made"  5. "Pippa" Malmgren: "Western Default, China---and Gold"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]


Paper Gold Falls in West, but Premium for Real Metal Jumps in India

Hawala Premium Crosses 4% as Akshay Tritiya Boosts Demand; Spot Delivery Premium also Doubles

The premium for getting spot delivery for gold in the Indian market jumped to $70 an ounce from $35 a couple of days earlier, with a sudden scarcity.

While the trade is facing a scarcity of gold in official channels due to lower imports by private banks, the increase in demand in the unofficial market resulted in the hawala market premium crossing four per cent from 2.75-3% a few days earlier and 2-2.25% a month before, said a source in the Kolkata market, where smuggled gold inflow is said to be higher.

Recently, gold spot premiums were on a downward trajectory due to permission to five private banks to import gold. However as the new financial year had begun, a private bank bullion desk official said quarterly and yearly targets were being fixed, which is why their import was limited.

This gold-related news item, filed from Mumbai, showed up on the Business Standard Web site late on Wednesday evening IST---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.


Asia Takes Every Ounce West Unloads, but Gold Will Fall for Two Years, GFMS Says

A lack of investment interest in gold is starting to take its toll on the price, with an average of $1,225/oz forecast for 2014 and heading lower in 2015, GFMS said Thursday in its Gold Survey 2014.

The price forecast is 13% lower than the 2013 average of $1,411.23/oz.

"The price is expected to post 2014 lows in mid-year, with a fundamentally driven rally thereafter, but this is likely to peter out in early 2015," the Thomson Reuters/GFMS survey read.

Despite the "heavy visible sales from Exchange Traded Funds, driving a 25% price fall in the second quarter [of 2013], OTC investors were net buyers in 2013, notably in East Asia and the Middle East," the report read.

This story showed up on the Internet site midmorning in London yesterday---and it's another gold-related news item I found in a GATA release.  By the way, I'd take anything that GMFS says with a big grains of salt.  But it's worth reading nonetheless.


Platinum Shortfall to Take Four Years to Fix - Morgan Stanley

A labor dispute that all but shut platinum mines in South Africa since January is extending the longest shortfall in global production since 2005, which Morgan Stanley predicts will take at least four years to fix.

For a third straight year, makers of auto parts and jewelry will use more of the metal than is mined. Credit Suisse Group AG on March 31 raised its deficit forecast for this year by 25% to 836,000 ounces, after concluding the strike in South Africa, the world’s top producer, will prevent more than 1 million ounces from being retrieved in 2014.

Workers who normally earn 5,000 rand ($474) a month have gotten nothing since the walkout began, forcing some to sell belongings as union leaders renew demands for higher pay. Mine owners including Lonmin Plc say they are losing $15 million a day and may buy metal to meet supply commitments. Hedge funds more than doubled their bets on higher prices this year, and holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by platinum are up 68% from a year ago.

This longish Bloomberg story, co-filed from Johannesburg and New York, was picked up by the Internet site yesterday---and represents the final offering of the day from Elliot Simon.  It's certainly worth reading.


Platinum Producers Capitulate on Union Pay Demand

Saying they could "ill afford" it, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum made a startling offer to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) on Thursday in a bid to end a 13-week long strike that has shut down much of South Africa's platinum sector.

Both Anglo American and Impala issued press releases stating they would agree to pay entry-level underground workers a minimum of R12,500 a month in pay by July 2017.

The offer appears to substantially meet the AMCU's strike demand on pay that Anglo American, Impala and Lonmin had long maintained was impossible.

I linked this story further up when I was discussing the strange timing of the selloffs in both platinum and palladium in New York trading yesterday, but here it is again if you missed it.  It was filed from Johannesburg---and posted on the Internet site yesterday sometime---and it's worth reading as well.



¤ The Funnies

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¤ The Wrap

The additional commonality is that the silver, platinum and palladium concentrated short position is dominated by a U.S. bank or banks, according to the latest Bank Participation Report of April 4. I know Ed Steer has raised this issue before, but as I said, I wasn’t interested in delving into palladium and platinum. Now, it’s hard not to. The Bank Participation Report leads me to conclude that JPMorgan, in addition to being the big short in Comex silver, is also the big short in Nymex platinum and palladium. (There is no big U.S. bank short position in cocoa).

What I believe this means is that JPMorgan is the prime manipulator of all five major Comex/Nymex metals; silver, platinum and palladium on the short side, gold and copper on the long side. The one sure thing you can say about a concentrated position is that if it did not exist, the price of the commodity in question would be markedly different because it would need to be replaced by many other traders responding to current prices. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 16 April 2014

Since I won't have a column tomorrow---here's your pop "blast from the past."  It's by a Canadian pop group from back in the mid to late 1970s---and this was one of their biggest hits.  I heard it on the radio earlier this week---and couldn't get it out of my head, so now you have to put up with it. The link is here---and if you wish to listen to others by this group, they're in the right sidebar.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra [Memories of the Alhambra] is a classical guitar piece composed in 1896 in Granada by Spanish composer and guitarist Francisco Tárrega. It uses the classical guitar tremolo technique often performed by advanced players.

The piece showcases the challenging guitar technique known as tremolo, wherein a single melody note is plucked consecutively by the ring, middle and index fingers in such rapid succession that the result is an illusion of one long sustained tone. The thumb plays a counter-melody on the bass between melodic attacks. Many who hear this piece initially in a non-live setting can mistake it for a duet, rather than the challenging solo effort it actually is.

South Korean classical guitarist Kyuhee Park does the honours---and she's fantastic.  I thank reader U.D. for bringing this recording to my attention earlier this week---and the link is here.  Enjoy!

It was a pretty quiet trading day in the precious metals up until noon in New York.  Then the gold price got docked $5---and at 12:30 EDT the platinum price got hit hard---and at 1 p.m. it was palladium's turn.  You have to wonder why palladium and platinum didn't head south at the same time on the news out of South Africa---and it's for that reason alone that the declines in these two precious metals look "engineered" to me.

Here are the updated six-month gold and silver charts.

Gold closed below its 200-day moving average once again---and it will be interesting to see how it "performs" at the open in New York on Sunday evening.  Silver is well below any of its moving averages---and has been for many weeks, so the technical funds will be in no rush to cover short positions, or go long in a big way until one or both are broken to the upside.  At that point it will be interesting to see if JPMorgan increases its already grotesque short position in that metal as a seller of last resort.

Ted mentioned the April 4, 2014 Bank Participation Report in his quote above---and I thought I should post Nick Laird's famous charts from that report once more.  They're for all four precious metals---and show the Comex short and long contracts held by the the US banks---and also the non-US banks.  JPMorgan's long position in gold stands out, as do its short positions in the other three precious metals as well.  The "click to enlarge" feature is useful here---and all eyes should be on Charts 4 and 5 in each one, along with a quick glance at Chart #3.

As I say every month when this report comes out, the precious metals price management scheme is 100% "Made in the U.S.A." with JPMorgan Chase as the capo di tutti capi---with Canada's Scotiabank thrown in for a little international "spice" in silver and gold.

I don't know how much more obvious the price management scheme in the precious metals can get.

And here is Nick Laird's "Days of World Production to Cover Comex Short Positions" chart.  It's a week old, because this week's COT Report doesn't come out until later today---and with the exception of gold---it's looked like this for years.

That's all I have for today.  I understand that the new Commitment of Trader Report will be posted on the CFTC's website, but the play-by-play on that will have to wait until my Tuesday column.  And, as I said at the top of today's column, unless the precious metal markets are open in New York today---and there's something significant to report---I can absolutely guarantee that I won't have a column on Saturday.

Enjoy your long weekend, if you get one---and I'll see you on Tuesday.