Gold & Silver Daily
 

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

With Friday being the last day for large traders to exit the April gold contract, it was not at all surprising that that price action was subdued.  The low of the day came at the London afternoon gold "fix"---and gold was closed below the $1,200 spot mark.

The high and low ticks aren't worth the effort to look up.

Gold finished the Friday session in New York at $1,198.40 spot, down $5.70 from from Thursday's close.   Gross volume was 329,000 contracts, but it netted out to only 15,000 contracts, which is typical for a day when the last of the large COMEX traders bail at month end, as virtually all of the volume was roll-overs into future months.

The silver price action yesterday had a little more shape to it, but as you can tell from the Kitco chart below, every rally attempt ran into a willing seller---and the silver price finished the day almost back at its Wednesday close---and below $17 spot once again.

The low and high ticks were reported by the CME Group as $16.855 and $17.195 in the May contract.

Gold finished the Friday session at $16.97 spot, down 13 cents from Thursday.  Net volume was pretty decent at 33,500 contracts.

After doing not much of anything through most of the Far East trading session, a willing seller appeared shortly after the Zurich open---and it was pretty much all down hill from there, as platinum closed at $1,136 spot, down 12 bucks from Thursday.

Palladium really got it in the neck with the selling beginning at the same time as the other three precious metals---and by the time the blood was washed from the floor, "da boyz" had that white metal closed down 32 dollars [-3.9%] on the day at $736 spot, with most of the damage coming after the COMEX open in New York.

The dollar index closed late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 97.42---and chopped sideways in a fairly tight range until it blasted higher around 3:20 p.m. Hong Kong time/7:20 a.m. in London.  The 97.92 high tick came minutes before the open of the equity markets in London.  Then it sold down to its 97.10 low at 1 p.m. EDT.  From there the index rallied a bit into the close.

[Note:  The ino.com website says the low tick was actually 96.992---but that's not what the chart shows.]

The gold stocks opened down---and hit their lows a few minutes before 10 a.m. EDT, which probably corresponded with the low in the gold price at the London p.m. gold fix.  From there they rallied into positive territory, hitting their highs at 2 p.m. in New York.  It was all down hill from there, as the HUI closed down 0.71 percent, it's fourth losing session in a row.

It was the same chart pattern for the silver equities, but they never got a sniff of positive territory all day long, as Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down another 1.32 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that one gold and 83 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday.  The two short/issuers in silver were HSBC USA and Credit Suisse with 43 and 40 contracts respectively.  JPMorgan stopped 24 for its in-house [proprietary] trading account, plus another 18 in its client account.

The CME Group stopped 16 silver contracts as well, which represents 80 one-thousand ounce good delivery bars, which they promptly issued to Jefferies in order to satisfy delivery on the 1,000 ounce silver futures contract.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for Friday showed that March open interest in gold dropped by 42 contracts, leaving just 1 contract open for delivery in March---and that was just posted for delivery on Tuesday, as per the previous paragraph.  Silver's March open interest fell from 146 contracts down to 83 contracts open---and those were posted for delivery on Tuesday as well.  You can put a fork in the March 2015 deliveries, as they're done.

There were no changes reported GLD yesterday---and as 7:29 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

Ted and I were talking about the counterintuitive withdrawals from both GLD and SLV during the last week or so as both metals have been rallying.   Metal should be pouring into both these ETFs based on the price action.  Ted feels that some large entity[s] have been tendering their shares and taking physical delivery in order not to exceed the 5 percent threshold for share ownership that would have to be reported to the SEC if they didn't do this.  If that's the case, then we should see physical metal being deposited next week.  We'll see.

I forgot all about Joshua Gibbons in Friday's column, so here's his report today on the in/out activity over at SLV for the reporting week ending on Wednesday.  "Analysis of the 25 March 2015 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list -- 2,008,835.9 troy ounces were removed (all from Brinks London)---and no bars had serial number changes."

"The bars added were from: Handy Harman (0.9M oz), Asarco (0.2M oz, LS-Nikko (0.2M oz), and 16 others."

"As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 75.6 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list."

There was a smallish sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They reported selling 60,000 silver eagles---and that was all.

Month-to-date the mint has sold 39,500 troy ounces of gold eagles---8,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---and 2,915,500 silver eagles.  Based on these sales, the silver/gold ratio works out to just about 61 to 1.

It was another busy day in both gold and silver over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.  There was no gold activity worth mentioning at the usual depositories, but at the new "Gold Kilo Stocks" warehouses, it was a different story once again.  As has been the case since these two new depositories were opened, all the action was at Brink's, Inc.  This time they reported receiving 769 kilobars---and shipped out 4,294 kilobars.  If you want to see the ounces---and the action---the link is here.

It was a very big day for silver once again, as 1,358,254 troy ounces were received---but only 60,775 troy ounces were shipped out.  Almost all of the activity was at Canada's Scotiabank---and the rest was at Brink's, Inc.  The link to that activity is here.

The Commitment of Traders Report, for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday, was [unfortunately] as expected in silver---but the gold numbers were shocking.

In silver, the Commercial net short position blew out by 9,032 contracts, or 45.2 million troy ounces.  Ted was expecting 10,000 contracts maximum, so he was almost right on.  The Commercial net short position in silver now sits at 196.2 million troy ounces.

The big disappointment was that the Big 4 traders [read JPMorgan] added a chunky 2,800 short contracts to their short-side corner in the COMEX silver market.  The '5 through 8' traders added 1,800 short contracts to their short positions---and the rest of the Commercial traders, Ted's raptors, sold 4,400 long contracts.

Ted was hoping that the Big 8 traders weren't going to step in front of last week's silver rally---and that all the selling was going to by the raptors dumping longs for a profit.  As you can see, the raptors only sold 4,400 long contracts--and JPMorgan et al had to step in and go short to the tune of 4,600 contracts, or the silver price would have exploded.  Ted puts JPMorgan's short side corner in the COMEX silver market around the 15,000 contract mark.

Silver was already firmly above its 50-day moving average, so there's no question that the Managed Money traders were heading for the exits---and that "da boyz" were there to take on all comers.

There was no legitimate hedging going on here.  This was the 'Big 8' traders capping the price, pure and simple.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, the technical funds in the Managed Money category reduced their short position in silver by 5,137 contracts, plus added 2,976 long contracts as well.  This action by the brain-dead technical funds was as a predictable as a Pavlovian dog.

And now for gold---and I really don't want to go here, because the numbers are so outrageous, I'm not sure if they're correct or not.  Ted had a plausible explanation involving the 50-day moving average not being broken to the upside during the reporting week---and a few other things as well.  But I was born in Missouri in another life---and as a "doubting Thomas" of the first order of magnitude, I want more proof.  I have to see those nail holes for myself.

Anyway, Ted was hoping/praying that the Commercial net short position wasn't going to more than 40,000 contracts on the negative side---and based on the rally size during the reporting week, that number was certainly doable.  I was hoping/praying for something less than that.

But what we actually got was an improvement in the Commercial net short position in gold!

The Commercial net short position in gold declined by 3,565 contracts, or 356,500 troy ounces.  The new and improved Commercial net short position now stands at 5.29 million troy ounces.

According to the Legacy COT Report, the Big 4 traders covered 300 short contracts, the '5 through 8' traders added 2,000 contracts to their short positions---and the small Commercial traders, Ted's raptors, added 5,300 contracts to their long positions.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report the technical funds in the Managed Money category added a huge 8,726 contracts to their already prodigious short position.  What?  Ted says that these technical funds now a hold a record high short position in gold, at least 10 percent higher than their old record high amount.  These same traders also added 937 contracts to their long position as well.

If the "unblinking" non-technical fund long holders hiding in the Managed Money category were active during the reporting week, that fact was well hidden by the activities of the technical traders in both silver and gold.

Are these technical funds that are massively short gold being set up to get their heads chopped off?  I suppose, because Ted's careful calculations indicate that may be the case.  And despite the fact that 9,000 contracts of technical fund/Managed Money price fire-power in silver were erased during the reporting week, they still hold a monstrous short position in that metal as well.

We're still "locked and loaded" for an upside move of biblical proportions in both silver and gold, but looking at the price action in both metals for the last few days, along with the punk price action in their associated equities over the same period of time, if this is a set up to blast higher, it's certainly been meticulously crafted---and extremely well hidden.

I'll only believe it when I see it.

So we wait some more.

Since it's my Saturday column, I have lots of stories, including a fair number that' I've been saving just for today.

 

¤ Critical Reads

Final Q4 GDP Unchanged at 2.2%, Below Expectations; Corporate Profits Tumble

So much for the "self-sustaining escape-velocity" recovery---again.

After rising at an annualized pace of 4.6% and 5.0% in Q2 and Q3, the final Q4 GDP estimate (a number which will still be revised at least 3-4 times in the coming years), slid more than half to 2.2%, the same as the second estimate from a month ago, and below the consensus Wall Street estimate of 2.4%.

The worst news was the following: For the year 2014, profits from current production decreased $17.1 billion, in contrast to an increase of $84.1 billion in 2013. Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased, and profits of domestic non-financial corporations increased. The rest-of-the-world component of profits decreased $9.0 billion in 2014, in contrast to an increase of $1.3 billion in 2013---and the fact that profits are now declining is not what those advocating EPS growth would like to see.

In short: a number which confirms the U.S. economy is once again slowing down, and will hit the breaks when in one month the BEA reports that Q1 GDP was at or below 1.0%, with snow in the winter getting the bulk of the ridiculous blame once again.

This news item was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 8:41 a.m. EDT on Friday morning---and today's first story is courtesy of reader M.A.

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UMich Consumer Sentiment Drops For 2nd Month in a Row, First Time Since Oct 2013

For the first time since October 2013, UMich Consumer Sentiment dropped for consecutive months (printing a final 93.0 for March down from 95.4 in Feb, but above the flash print earlier in the month). Under the surface there are concerns with an increasing number of respondents noting that household finance are worse than 5 years ago, and an increasing number of people seeing now as a "bad time to buy" a house or car.

This tiny Zero Hedge story, complete with an excellent chart, is worth thirty seconds of your time---and it's the first offering of the day from Dan Lazicki.

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Santelli Stunned as Janet Yellen Admits "Cash is Not a Store of Value"

Intended warning or unintended slip? After Alan Greenspan's confessional admission that "Gold is a currency. It is still, by all evidence, a premier currency. No fiat currency, including the dollar, can match it,"---we found it remarkable that during the Q&A after her speech today that Janet Yellen, when asked about negative rates, admitted that "cash in not a very convenient store of value," seemingly hinting at Bernanke's helicopter and that there will be no deflation in The U.S. ever...

Rick Santelli then sums it all up perfectly..."deflation is clearly the boogeyman... and the only thing that will save the middle class."

These two brief video clips appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 5:30 p.m. EDT yesterday afternoon---and it's the second contribution of the day from reader M.A.

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John Crudele: Stock market rigging is no longer a ‘conspiracy theory’

The stock market is rigged.  When I started making that claim years ago — and provided solid evidence — people scoffed. Some called it a conspiracy theory, tinfoil hats and that sort of stuff. Most people just ignored me.

But that’s not happening anymore. The dirty secret is out.

With stock prices rushing far ahead of economic reality over the last six or so years, more experts in the financial markets are coming to the same conclusion — even if they don’t fully understand how it’s being rigged or the consequences.

Ed Yardeni, a longtime Wall Street guru who isn’t one of the clowns of the bunch, said flat out last week that the market was being propped up. “These markets are all rigged, and I don’t say that critically. I just say that factually,” he asserted on CNBC.

This commentary by John appeared on the nypost.com Internet site late Wednesday evening---and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it our way.

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Yemen "Gulf Intervention" Premium Erased, WTI Tumbles Back Below $49

Well that was a quick geopolitical event.

On the heels of what was set to be crude's best week since July 2013, Stratfor clarifying little risk of disruption to crude supplies, Goldman confirming negligible impact from Yemen and more to Iran, and reports from Saudi Arabia that "this [Yemen] operation will not go on for long, I think it will be days," WTI crude has tumbled back to the $48 handle and erased all the "gulf intervention" premium - refocusing on domestic storage concerns.

As Reuters reports, The Arab military campaign against Yemen's Houthi militia is likely to last days rather than weeks, Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen told Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television on Friday.

In answer to a question about whether he thought the Saudi-led operation, which began on Thursday, would last days or weeks or more, Yaseen replied: "I expect that this operation will not go on for long, I think it will be days."

This tiny Zero Hedge story has an excellent WTI chart embedded in it---and it appeared on their Internet site at 2:36 p.m. EDT on Friday afternoon---and the 'click to enlarge' feature is a must to view the graph.  I thank Dan Lazicki for sending it our way.

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North American Railroads Caught by Speed of Crude-Oil Collapse

The slowdown that North American railroad companies had been bracing for in crude oil shipments has turned into a rout, with volumes falling faster than executives had predicted.

With energy companies scaling back drilling after prices for the commodity fell about 50 percent since July, industry executives and analysts anticipated that demand for hauling crude and extraction materials such as frac sand and pipes would slow after a four-year surge. They didn’t expect it to slow this much this fast.

“The impact is occurring more quickly than the rails originally projected to investors,” said Matt Troy, an analyst with Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York. “The consensus view was that very high double-digit growth would moderate to low double digits, and as we have seen in recent weeks we’ve broken that floor and in some cases gone negative.”

Rail stocks and tank-car leasing are reflecting the dwindling traffic. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Railroads Index posted its biggest weekly decline since October and lessors’ rates for oil cars have fallen by about a third in the last six months, Cowen & Co. said in a report on Friday.

This Bloomberg article, filed from Dallas, appeared on their Internet site at 6:22 p.m. Denver time on Thursday evening---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for finding it for us.

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Doug Noland: A Progressively Maladjusted “Economic Sphere”

These days, a momentous change in economic doctrine has policymakers openly targeting rising securities prices. It is believed that central bank Credit-induced wealth effects will stimulate spending, system-wide Credit expansion and, eventually, a steady 2% increase in the general price level. What began with the free-market advocate Alan Greenspan in the nineties (stealthily) nurturing U.S. non-bank Credit expansion, has regressed to open global government manipulation of sovereign bond, corporate debt, equities and currency markets.

There are serious flaws in today’s New Age doctrine that ensure spectacular failure. Generally speaking, global policy is pro-Bubble – pro-Credit Bubble, pro-securities market Bubbles, pro-wealth redistribution and pro-global Bubble-induced financial and economic maladjustment. It is pro unsustainable divergence between inflating securities prices and deflating economic prospects.

Fundamentally, market-based Credit is unstable, with this era’s great experiment requiring progressive government intervention and manipulation. Providing robust incentives for leveraged speculation ensures mispriced Credit, loose Credit Availability and boom and bust dynamics. It also ensures an inflating pool of trend-following and performance-chasing finance. Incentivizing flows to the risk markets as opposed to savings only exacerbates the proclivity of markets toward destabilizing speculative excess. As we’ve witnessed over the years, mounting market distortions and associated fragilities have been met with only more aggressive policy measures. A breakdown in market pricing mechanisms is celebrated as a historic “bull market.”

Importantly, it has reached the point where the risks associated with a bursting global Bubble overshadow policy discussions and objectives. Policymakers now endeavor to completely repress market self-adjusting and correcting mechanisms (i.e. “quasi-Capitalism”). Bear markets and recessions have become completely unacceptable, as this historic Bubble’s “Terminal Phase” runs its regrettable course.

Doug's weekly Credit Bubble Bulletin appeared on his Internet site on Friday evening sometime and, as usual, I thank reader U.D for sending it our way.

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Judge Andrew Napolitano: The State Is Spying On You Right Now. Where’s The Outrage?

Here is a short pop quiz: When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress earlier this month about the parameters of the secret negotiations between the United States and Iran over nuclear weapons and economic sanctions, how did he know what the negotiators were considering? Israel is not a party to those negotiations, yet the prime minister presented them in detail.

When Hillary Clinton learned that a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives had subpoenaed her e-mails as secretary of state and she promptly destroyed half of them—about 33,000—how did she know she could get away with it? Destruction of evidence, particularly government records, constitutes the crime of obstruction of justice.

When Gen. Michael Hayden, the director of both the CIA and the NSA in the George W. Bush administration and the architect of the government’s massive suspicionless spying program, was recently publicly challenged to deny that the feds have the ability to turn on your computer, cellphone, or mobile device in your home and elsewhere, and use your own devices to spy on you, why did he remain silent? The audience at the venue where he was challenged rationally concluded that his silence was his consent.

The common themes here are government spying and lawlessness. We now know that the Israelis spied on Secretary of State John Kerry, and so Netanyahu knew of what he spoke. We know that the Clintons believe there is a set of laws for them and another for the rest of us, and so Mrs. Clinton could credibly believe that her deception and destruction would go unpunished.

This commentary appeared on the Paul Craig Roberts website on Friday sometime---and it's worth reading.

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WikiLeaks Exposes Most Controversial Part of Obama-Led Trade Agreement

The leaked proposal, published on Wikileaks, comes from the ongoing secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal negotiations and outlines the intent to grant multinational corporations with the opportunity to sue foreign governments if their laws and regulations interfere with claimed future profits.

The whistleblower organization, Wikileaks, published a 56-page draft chapter dated January 20 from the secretive negotiations over a deal that has become the cornerstone of Obama’s economic agenda. The chapter, entitled “Investment”, proposes empowering multinational corporations to sue foreign governments.

Under the agreement, corporations may challenge foreign government’s laws and regulations if they interfere with “distinct, reasonable investment-backed expectations”, and they can do so before tribunals under the World Bank or the United Nations. This process is known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), and while it has existed in the past, the large scope of the TPP has prompted some serious concerns.

TPP negotiations have been kept tightly under wraps, with only select officials reviewing the documents in secured reading rooms. The leaked chapter would mark the first disclosure of the accord to the public since an early version leaked in 2012. Opponents of the TPP have voiced concerns about the secrecy of the deal, saying it allows governments to push forward provisions disliked by their constituents. The Obama administration, along with other TPP opponents have argued that the secrecy is necessary for a smooth negotiation.

It's no accident that this is all being done in secret.  This must read news item put in an appearance on the sputniknews.com website at 10:13 p.m. Moscow time on their Friday evening, which was 2:13 p.m. in Washington.

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Mark Carney: next interest rate move will be up, not down

Britain's record low inflation is unlikely to force the Bank of England to cut rates below their already rock-bottom levels, its governor has said, underscoring a fracturing of views between the top policymakers at Threadneedle Street.

Mark Carney said the Bank's next move in interest rates would be an increase rather than a cut, putting him at loggerheads with his chief economist, Andrew Haldane.

"We're still in a position where our message is... that the next move in interest rates is going to be up," Mr Carney said during a panel discussion at a Bundesbank conference in Frankfurt.

Mr Haldane surprised investors last week when he said a recent sharp slowdown in inflation meant the bank was as likely as not to cut rates - a view that had been previously rejected by Mr Carney.

This article appeared on The Telegraph's website at 3:50 p.m. GMT on their Friday afternoon---and it's the first contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Max Keiser: Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll

Max Keiser is outspoken to say the least.

He hosts the Keiser Report, his show for Russian English-language channel RT, alongside his wife and producer Stacy Herbert, and is known for his angry outbursts against those he calls the “banksters”.

He was a Wall Street stockbroker in the 1980s, an experience he often draws on to guide viewers through the otherwise impenetrable jargon of global finance.

Now, though, he is based in the heart of London, which he says is the centre of the world when it comes to financial misconduct.

This absolute must read interview with Max appeared on theepochtimes.com Internet site back on March 18---and for obvious reasons had to wait for today's column.  It's Max doing what he does best---telling it like it really is.  I thank reader Jules Mounteer for bringing it to our attention.

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Brussels wants to end geo-blocking of online content

Tony Rooke, in an act of civil disobedience, refused to pay the mandatory £130 TV license fee claiming it violates Section 15 of the Terrorism Act. Rooke’s accusation was aimed at the BBC who reported the collapse of WTC 7 over 20 minutes before it actually fell, and the judge accepted Rooke’s argument. While it was not a public inquiry into 9/11, the recognition of the BBC’s actions on September 11th are considered a small victory, one that was never reported in the U.S.

“Today was an historic day for the 9/11 truth movement,” Peter Drew of AE911Truth UK told Digital Journal, “with over 100 members of the public attending, including numerous journalists from around the U.K. as well as from across other parts of Europe.”

Well, dear reader, it's been a well-known fact from the outset that this case is one of the many major monkey wrenches in the Fantasyland story surrounding the actual events of 9/11.  It falls into the absolute must read/watch category---and for obvious reasons it had to wait for my Saturday column.  The first reader through the door with it was Dan Lazicki.

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'The Fourth Reich': What Some Europeans See When They Look at Germany

The European Commission has said it wants to abolish geo-blocking, the practice of limiting access to online services based on a user's location.

The EU’s internal market and geo-blocking “cannot coexist", the EU's commissioner for digital single market, Andrus Ansip, said Wednesday (25 March).

He listed a set of goals to feature in the digital strategy he will publish in May.  These include: “Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services; Shaping the environment for digital networks and services to flourish; and Creating a European Digital Economy and Society with long-term growth potential”.

“Consumers and companies in Europe are digitally grounded. They cannot choose or move freely. In the 21st century, this is absurd,“ said the former prime minister of Estonia, one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world.

This interesting article showed up on the euobserver.com website on Wednesday---and is another story that had to wait for today's column.  This one is courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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Greek Bank Deposits Plunge to 10-Year Low as E.U. Patience Frays

May 30, 1941 was the day when Manolis Glezos made a fool of Adolf Hitler. He and a friend snuck up to a flag pole on the Acropolis in Athens on which a gigantic swastika flag was flying. The Germans had raised the banner four weeks earlier when they occupied the country, but Glezos took down the hated flag and ripped it up. The deed turned both him and his friend into heroes.

Back then, Glezos was a resistance fighter. Today, the soon-to-be 93-year-old is a member of the European Parliament for the Greek governing party Syriza. Sitting in his Brussels office on the third floor of the Willy Brandt Building, he is telling the story of his fight against the Nazis of old and about his current fight against the Germans of today. Glezos' white hair is wild and unkempt, making him look like an aging Che Guevara; his wrinkled face carries the traces of a European century.

Initially, he fought against the Italian fascists, later he took up arms against the German Wehrmacht, as the country's Nazi-era military was known. He then did battle against the Greek military dictatorship. He was sent to prison frequently, spending a total of almost 12 years behind bars, time he spent writing poetry. When he was let out, he would rejoin the fight. "That era is still very alive in me," he says.

Glezos knows what it can mean when Germans strive for predominance in Europe and says that's what is happening again now. This time, though, it isn't soldiers who have a choke hold on Greece, he says, but business leaders and politicians. "German capital dominates Europe and it profits from the misery in Greece," Glezos says. "But we don't need your money."

In his eyes, the German present is directly connected to its horrible past, though he emphasizes that he doesn't mean the German people but the country's ruling classes. Germany for him is once again an aggressor today: "Its relationship with Greece is comparable to that between a tyrant and his slaves."

This longish essay appeared on the German website spiegel.de on Monday---and is the third article in a row that had to wait for Saturday's column.  It's worth reading if you have the interest---and it's the second offering in a row from Roy Stephens.  It now sports the above headline, but the original read "German Power in the Age of the Euro Crisis".

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Ukraines's $3 billion debt to Russia puts mult-ibillion dollar IMF package at risk

Ukraine’s $3 billion debt to Russia could undermine the IMF’s four-year multibillion dollar bailout program. If the debt is considered official, it will breach the terms of providing financial assistance, said IMF spokesperson William Murray.

The Ukraine debt includes $3 billion in Eurobonds lent by Russia to the country’s previous government in December 2013. IMF rules say a bailout cannot be provided to a country if it defaulted on a loan from a state institution.

"We have a non-tolerance policy," William Murray told reporters at a news conference on Thursday, adding that Ukraine's debt to Russia should be considered state debt.

"If I'm not mistaken, the $3 billion Eurobond comes from the Russian sovereign wealth fund, so it's official debt," he said.

I posted a story on this particular issue in yesterday's column, but this one showed on the Russia Today Internet site at 10:22 a.m. Moscow time on their Friday morning.  It's worth skimming---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.

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Russia supplies 300 million cubic meters of gas to Ukraine’s Donbas — Energy Minister

Russia has already supplied 300 mln cubic meters of natural gas to Ukraine’s Donbas region, Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters on Friday.

"Most likely it is slightly more than 300 million cubic meters", he said.

In late February, Naftogaz of Ukraine refused to supply gas to Donbas. Kiev said it was impossible because the gas transportation system delivering gas to the east of Ukraine had been destroyed.

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom agreed to discuss gas supplies to Donbas outside the trilateral gas talks between Russia, Ukraine and the E.U.

The above four paragraphs are all there is to this brief article that appeared on the tass.ru Internet site at 7:54 p.m. Moscow time on their Friday evening, which was 11:54 a.m. EDT in Washington.

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John Batchelor Interviews Stephen F. Cohen: 24 March 2015

Well, its semi official, Minsk 2 is dead because Kiev has decided  that the Eastern territories have to surrender first to Kiev before they will carry through with the rest of the political rearrangement terms of this agreement. And, of course this is absurd.  Usually the vanquished, Kiev in this case, surrenders to the winner, which is clearly the Donbass rebels, and so Cohen understandably describes this period of relative calm as a pause to the next offensive. Cohen considers this political absurdity is direction from Washington interests. And with Washington's additional vandalism through NATO spokespersons and congressional support to send lethal weapons, Obama is being hard pressed to keep to his "give the Minsk 2 agreement a chance". Unfortunately, at present he is being very quiet about all this and one is inclined to suspect an element of disingenuousness (or even indifference) on the president's part. Cohen by now is even more convinced that there must be a regime change in Kiev in order for this terrible war to be resolved. And, of course, these events are "to sabotage Merkel and Minsk 2," and her efforts to resolve this with "no military solution". So far Washington is succeeding and Cohen believes that the United States and Russia are closer to war due to these latest events.

Meanwhile the IMF is beginning to send funds to the beleaguered regime - and Cohen points out that a 1/3 of it was from "private sources". This amounts to $40billion in total and is understood to be part of "war aid" to Kiev.

But Stephen Cohen is mildly encouraged that 48 members, 6% of Congress, opposed the bill to supply lethal aid to Kiev. There are also cracks showing in the politics of the oligarchs involved in Kiev's parliament. Purges of supporters of the previous governments are also starting. These are showing up in the form of 6 (and counting) "suicides" that so far involve the use of window exits of taller buildings; special mention is also made of one of the leading political competitors with his own "pocket army", one Ihor Kolomoiskii, was told to disarm his "troops" and there was almost an armed standoff with the government. That suggests that the government is breaking down through a process of squabbling fiefdoms. He has since been "fired" by Poroshenko as governor of a province. There is no rule of law in the government of Kiev is Cohen's very astute conclusion, and it should be to the shame of the United States that we support it.

But with Europe increasingly cool towards continuing this crisis and the trends of new relationships between Russia and the East, Cohen is increasingly seeing this process as a break down of Washington's power with the potential for the dissolution of NATO. Again, this broadcast excels in details of events that see the course of history changing in profound ways right before our eyes.

This 39:47 minute audio interview was posted on the John's website on Tuesday---and for length reasons had to wait for today's column.  I thank Larry Galearis for bringing it to my attention---and now to yours.  If you have the interest, it's definitely worth your time.

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Turkey Devolves Into a Full Police State: Law Grants Unlimited Powers to Weaponized Police Force

While a source of much schadenfreude by its neighbors and casual onlookers, Turkey has become a glaring example of what happens to a formerly respectable nation as it devolves entirely into a banana republic with not only authoritarian overtones but a police state to boot. And earlier today, Turkey's conversion to a full blown police state was complete when, after weeks of heated debates and brawls in parliament, Turkey’s government passed a security package expanding police powers, along with an online surveillance law and a discretionary fund for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to fund covert operations.

In other words, president Erdogan has just voted himself quasi-dictatorial powers with a private police force to defend him.

As Bloomberg details, the parliament voted to approve security laws that allow police to conduct searches and arrests without immediate court orders and use firearms against militants. The law separately empowered government-appointed governors to order police or paramilitary forces to conduct searches and detain suspects for up to 48 hours without immediate court orders, state-run Anadolu Agency said.

This Zero Hedge spin on a Bloomberg story put in an appearance on the ZH website at  8 a.m. EDT yesterday morning---and it's another contribution from reader M.A., for which I thank him.

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With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S.

Saudi Arabia kept some key details of its military action in Yemen from Washington until the last moment, U.S. officials said, as the kingdom takes a more assertive regional role to compensate for perceived U.S. disengagement.

The Middle East's top oil power told the United States weeks ago it was weighing action in Yemen but only informed Washington of the exact details just before Thursday's unprecedented air strikes against Iran-allied Houthi rebels, the officials said.

Although the Saudis spoke with top U.S. officials as they debated an air assault in support of embattled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, U.S. officials acknowledged gaps in their knowledge of the kingdom’s battle plans and objectives.

Asked when he was told by Saudi Arabia that it would take military action in Yemen, General Lloyd Austin, the head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, told a Senate hearing on Thursday he spoke with Saudi Arabia’s chief of defense "right before they took action."  He added that he couldn't assess the likelihood of the campaign succeeding because he didn't know the "specific goals and objectives."

This Reuters article, filed from Washington, was posted on their Internet site at 9:25 p.m. EDT on Thursday evening---and it's the third contribution of the day from Elliot Simon.

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Justin Raimondo: Leave the Houthis Alone!

Saudi Arabia‘s U.S.-backed aggression against the sovereignty of Yemen is a textbook example of how local conflicts are internationalized – and become tripwires for regional wars and even global conflagrations.

Like Libya, Yemen is yet another Middle Eastern country that doesn’t really exist: it is actually at least two separate countries, perhaps three – the southern provinces, which are primarily Sunni, the northern tribes, who adhere mostly to the Zaydi form of Shi’ite Islam, and the area around Sa’na, the capital, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth, where all Yemen’s clashing cultural, political, and religious factions meet.

The north/south division dates back to the nineteenth century British colonization, when, in 1839, the British seized the port city of Aden and administered it as a subset of the Indian Viceroyalty. It became a major trading center after the opening of the Suez canal, and the Brits pushed outward, extending their influence throughout what had been a land perpetually divided between the Ottoman Empire and local imams, including the distinctive Zaydis in the north. In 1911, the Zaydis rose up against the British and their local collaborators, abolished the north/south division negotiated by the British Foreign Office, and established the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen under Imam Yahya. Yahya’s dream was to recreate the ancient Qasamid dynasty, founded in the seventeenth century: a "Greater Yemen" extending into what is today Saudi Arabia as well as the whole of modern Yemen.

This essay by Justin appeared on the antiwar.com Internet site on Friday sometime---and it's courtesy of Dan Lazicki.  I haven't read it yet, but it's on my 'to do' list for this weekend.

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Lee Kuan Yew's Bad Prescription for India

Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore who died this week at 91, had a lot to say about India. He never sugar-coated his remarks, nor did he resort to the many clichés used by thinkers both in the West and in India.

In 2000, Lee published "From Third World to First," an account of the rise of Singapore beginning in 1965. It contains a long section on India’s flaws, both as a civilization -- Lee believed the caste system was inimical to meritocracy, which is the foundation of economic development -- and as a new nation-state that he said couldn't transcend its native introversion and its (democratic) directionlessness.

Reading these pages is a bit like reading V.S. Naipaul on India, only from the viewpoint of a rigorously pragmatic, clear-sighted and technocratic statesman. Five Indian prime ministers across five decades -- Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao -- are one after the other allowed one or two kind sentences for their idealism, good intentions and unpromising circumstances. Then their personal frailties and flaws in economic management, leadership and foreign policy are ruthlessly, and very persuasively, dissected.

This very interesting commentary put in an appearance on the bloomberg.com Internet site at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening EDT---and I thank Dan Lazicki for sharing it with us.  It's another one of those articles that had to wait for my Saturday column.

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China stocks may be in serious bubble

Some say that when the average “mom-and-pop” retail investors get back into the stock market, it could be time to get out. But what about when even teenagers start buying?

China has entered a new stock frenzy, like something out of America in the Roaring 20s or the dottiest days of the dot-com bubble, with trading volumes continuing to push to new record highs.

On Wednesday, combined trading on the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets hit 1.24 trillion yuan ($198 billion), the seventh straight session in which turnover surpassed the 1 trillion yuan mark. By comparison, the New York Stock Exchange typically saw $40 billion-$50 billion a day in trading during the first two months of this year.

The lure of flush times on the Shanghai market is sweeping in unlikely investors by the hundreds of thousands. This week, both the China Securities Daily and the Beijing Morning Post had dueling reports about recent college graduates and, yes, teenagers buying shares.

This news item appeared on the marketwatch.com Internet site at 11:45 p.m. EDT on Thursday evening---and I thank Roy Stephens for digging it up for us over at David Stockman's website.

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That Ain't No Margin Debt: THIS Is Margin Debt

We find it amusing how many people try to read into the tea leaves when looking at the NYSE margin debt (especially since the real leverage long ago left the CNBC TV studio in downtown Manhattan, as explained before), when the real action is half way around the world. Because, in the immortal words of Crocodile Dundee, "That is not margin debt. This is margin debt."

The brief Zero Hedge story has an embedded chart showing the margin purchases on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges---and they're over the moon.  The chart is worth the trip---and I thank Dan Lazicki for sending it to me on Thursday.  I didn't post it in yesterday's column, but it fits perfectly with the previous story on the bubble dynamics in China's equity markets.

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Sprott Money Weekly Wrap Up With Eric Sprott

Listen to Eric Sprott share his thoughts on negative trends in the economy, economic ramifications of global geopolitical unrest, the movement in precious metals this week, and his opinion on the newly implemented electronically-based London Gold Fix.

This 10:27 minute audio interview with Eric was conducted by Geoff Rutherford on Friday---and posted on the sprottmoney.com Internet site yesterday.  It's worth your while.

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Inquiry Launched into New Zealand Mass Surveillance

New Zealand’s spy agency watchdog is launching an investigation into the scope of the country’s secret surveillance operations following a series of reports from The Intercept and its partners.

On Thursday, Cheryl Gwyn, New Zealand’s inspector-general of intelligence and security, announced that she would be opening an inquiry after receiving complaints about spying being conducted in the South Pacific by eavesdropping agency Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB.

In a press release, Gwyn’s office said: “The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data.”

This month, The Intercept has shined a light on the GCSB’s surveillance with investigative reports produced in partnership with the New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, and Sunday-Star-Times.

I knew that the Hobbits of the Shire wouldn't be pleased with what Saruman was doing in their midst---and if they're smart, they and the Ents, should make the trip to Isengard just outside Blenheim---and do what they have to do to the white domes of Orthanc.  When they're done, they can celebrate with a few cases of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc.  This short article was posted on the firstlook.org Internet site on Thursday sometime---and it's the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.

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Former BIS official who admitted gold price suppression comes out for free markets

Hinde Capital in London, in cooperation with the free-market advocates of the Cobden Centre, this week published the first part of an interview with former Bank for International Settlements official William R. White, who in a speech in June 2005 to a BIS conference confessed on behalf of the bank to the international central bank gold price suppression scheme.

White is now chairman of the Economic and Development Review Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and in the Cobden Centre interview he expresses skepticism about "quantitative easing," contends that the biggest problem of the world financial system is excessive debt, argues that much of this debt will have to default and be written off, and laments that free markets are being impaired by central bank interest rate-suppression policies that are propping up uneconomic businesses.

Of course gold price suppression is a prerequisite of interest rate suppression and is just as antithetical to free markets, so it would have been nice if White was questioned about that, especially since his former employer, the BIS, remains the broker for surreptitious central bank interventions in the gold market.

This GATA release, that Chris Powell filed from the Philippines yesterday, has some very interesting embedded links---along with the link to the Hinde Capital interview.  This commentary is definitely worth your while.

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Peak Gold? Goldman Calculates There Is Only 20 Years Of Gold Supply Left

Late last year, when looking at a Goldcorp slideshow, we noticed something surprising: the gold miner had forecast that 2015 would be the year when gold production would peak among the mining industry.

According to a report issued by Goldman's Eugene King looking at commodity scarcity, the chart below "shows that there are only 20 years of known mineable reserves of gold and diamonds."

Of course, this analysis is meaningless in a vacuum: if the "known reserves" of gold plunge in the coming decade, no matter how many gold futures and GLD short sales are conducted by the BIS, the price will have to go up, and it will go up high enough to where a new surge of gold miners will come online and find thousands of new tons of gold reserves around the globe.

Unless they don't, and Goldman is correct that "peak gold" may have arrived. This will be even more true if over the coming years the long overdue fiat economic panic finally washes over the globe, and a revulsion toward central bank policies forces a scramble into gold whose value (if not price since fiat currencies will be redundant) soars.

The answer is unclear, but what is certain is that like the price of oil over the past decade and until last fall when price discovery finally became somewhat credible, what happens in the physical realm has absolutely zero marginal impact on the price of commodity which has about 100 ounces in deliverable paper contracts for every ounce in underlying. It will be only after the gold price distortions via the derivative market are eliminated that such trivial price-formation forces as supply and demand are once again relevant.

Of course this 20-year projection goes out the window if the gold price rises many orders of magnitude higher than it is now, as marginal deposits will become major ore bodies overnight.  But as this Zero Hedge article from yesterday states, JPMorgan et al will have to release their iron grip in the COMEX futures market before anything else happens.  This article is definitely worth your while---and I thank Dan Lazicki for his final contribution to today's column.

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Lawrence Williams: WGC cautions against common gold wisdoms

The market would seem to believe that there is a direct inverse relationship between dollar strength and the gold price and also, in the current environment of negative interest rates that any rise in these rates stimulated by the U.S. Federal Reserve or perhaps the ECB or elsewhere, will be gold price negative. Indeed any hint of these generally accepted maxims does indeed tend to move the gold market in something of a knee jerk reaction.

But, a new report out from the World Gold Council (WGC) authored by Juan Carlos Artigas, the WGC’s director for Investment Research, points out that these common gold wisdoms are not entirely accurate and that following the way the gold market has acted under these scenarios shows that the bland acceptance of these norms as fact rather misses out on gold’s real world performance.

Regarding the inverse relationship with the strength of the dollar – while this in essence is correct, Artigas points out that this relationship is a very asymmetric one – and indeed does not always occur at all – as witness some of the gold price’s upwards movement when the dollar has been particularly strong. Indeed the WGC research has shown that the gold price increases more when the dollar weakens than it falls when the dollar strengthens. To make the point the report notes that at the time it was prepared (March 20) the dollar index had risen by 20% since the beginning of 2014, yet gold had only fallen by 1.2% over the same period. But obviously such statistics are a little dangerous – if one chooses one’s dates carefully one could probably come up with some totally different ratios.

Of course this new report from the World Gold Council doesn't breath a word about the short positions held by the Big 8 trader in the COMEX futures market.  Their actions along---and nothing else---determines the gold price, along with the prices of the other three precious metals.  That's all there is, there ain't no more.  This commentary by Lawrie appeared on the mineweb.com Internet site at 4:37 p.m. GMT yesterday.

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Lawrence Williams: Red rag to gold bulls – JPMorgan added to LBMA Gold Price banks

A visit today to the website of ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA), which now runs the new London gold benchmarking process on behalf of the LBMA, confirms there are now seven Direct Participants in the LBMA Gold Price with JP Morgan now joining Barclays, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Scotiabank, SocGen, and UBS in the setting of the twice daily gold benchmark. Talk about ‘The Usual Suspects’!

If any bank selection could be guaranteed to inflame those within the gold bull community who preach gold price manipulation, it would be the addition of JP Morgan, following that of Goldman Sachs and UBS, over the original four members of the old London Gold Fixing panel. A cynic might suggest the LBMA and ICE might have made the selection of the participants to deliberately rile GATA and its supporters, as all the above banks are those widely reckoned by the gold price manipulation theorists to be controlling the gold price for their own ends and for those of some allied central banks. Manna for the conspiracy theorists!

And still there are no Chinese banks involved. Will there ever be? Until the benchmarking process participants are widened to include entities from outside the Western banking elite, the process will remain suspect in the eyes of those who feel that there are no level playing fields in the global financial markets – if indeed there ever were!

The above three paragraphs are all there is to this brief commentary that appeared on the mineweb.com Internet site at 4:58 p.m. GMT yesterday---and Lawrie's comments are spot on.  It's a must read.

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Miners' gold forward sales surged 103 tonnes last year, most since 1999

The volume of gold sold forward by mining companies rose by 103 t last year, the biggest annual increase since 1999, an industry report showed on Friday.

That far outstrips an estimate given late last year of 42 t to 52 t, after Mexican gold and silver miner Fresnillo said it was hedging 47 tonnes of output over five years.

In their quarterly Global Hedge Book Analysis, Societe Generale and GFMS analysts at Thomson Reuters said the bulk of the rise in the global gold hedge book last year was driven by Fresnillo and Russia's Polyus Gold, which announced a major hedging deal in July.

"Of the growth in the book in 2014, the majority (85 t) came from these two companies. Together they now account for half of the outstanding global hedging," the report said.

This is much ado about nothing once again, dear reader, as these amounts are piddling compared to what they were almost 20 years ago.  It was a situation that I remember all too well---and so do the miners.  This Reuters gold-related news story appeared on the miningweekly.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for digging it up for us.

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When Will China Disclose Its True Official Gold Reserves and How Much Is It?

As most readers who are interested in gold will know, China’s official gold reserves are small in proportion to the size of their economy and their foreign exchange reserves. This disproportionate position has been difficult for China to escape from. Any slight move from their immense stock of U.S. dollars into gold could disrupt the gold market, and thus the U.S. dollar, spoiling the party for everybody.

China is forced to buy in secret. The latest update on the size of their official gold pile was in April 2009, when they disclosed to have 1,054 tonnes, up 454 tonnes from 600 tonnes, which they claimed to have since 2003. Common sense indicates the PBOC did not buy 454 tonnes in a few months; most likely they bought this amount in secret spread over six years (2003 – 2009). More common sense suggests they continued to buy in secret since 2009 and they hold at least twice the weight they currently claim.

Last week I reported it’s very likely the renminbi will be adopted into the SDR basket this year and before inclusion China will announce their true gold reserves. All arrows point in the same direction, IMF chief Lagarde stated: China’s yuan [renminbi] at some point would be incorporated in the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Right (SDR) currency basket, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said, …”It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when,”

As I said in my column yesterday, I would be rather disappointed if they didn't have north of 5,000 tonnes in their reserves when they do announce.  This must read commentary by Koos Jansen, which includes his thoughts on the withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange for the week ending on March 20, was posted on the Singapore-based website bullionstar.com yesterday sometime.

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¤ The Funnies

Here are three shots of a fiery-throated hummingbird, which is to be found in Costa Rica and Panama.  As you can tell, their iridescence is entirely dependent on the quality and direction of the light source---and whether they're "on display" or not, as the "fire" in the males is mostly in the gorget feathers.

Drilling Intersects 102 Meters of 1.97 gpt Gold at Columbus Gold’s Paul Isnard Gold Project; Drilling Confirms Depth Extension of Gold Mineralization

Columbus Gold Corporation (CGT: TSX-V) (“Columbus Gold”) is pleased to announce results of the initial five (5) core drill holes at its Paul Isnard gold project in French Guiana. The holes confirm depth extension of gold mineralization below shallow holes drilled on the 43-101 compliant 1.9 million ounce Montagne d’Or inferred gold deposit at Paul Isnard in the 1990’s and support the current program of resource expansion through offsetting open-ended gold mineralization indicated by the earlier holes.

Robert Giustra, CEO of Columbus Gold, commented: “These drill results validate Columbus Gold’s approach to adding ounces with a lower-risk drilling program designed to infill and to extend the mineralized zones to 200 m vertical depth from surface; a depth amenable to open pit mining.”

Fourteen (14) holes have been completed (assays pending) by Columbus Gold in the current program and drilling is progressing at the rate of about 3,000 meters per month with one drill-rig on a 24 hour basis. Columbus Gold plans to accelerate the current program by engaging a second drill-rig as soon as one can be obtained.

Please visit our website for more information about the project.

 

¤ The Wrap

Looking back on what has transpired over these past four years and JPMorgan’s role in gold and silver, I can’t help but feel it solidifies many of my previous beliefs. Of course, JPM didn’t let gold rip to the upside back in 2013 as I expected when it held a long market corner in COMEX gold futures; but I think I understand the reason now – JPMorgan’s prime interest was in securing physical silver and it wasn’t finished with its silver accumulation at the time it held a long market corner in COMEX gold futures. Because letting gold rip to the upside then would have likely caused silver to jump in price as well, causing JPM to pay up for physical silver, JPM instead capped the price of gold to assist it in keeping silver prices low for further accumulation.

I firmly believe that JPMorgan made the conscious decision to amass a great hoard of physical silver as a result of its near death experience on the short side into early 2011. That market realities dictated that it could only do so in physicals and not in COMEX silver futures must be one of the greatest ironies ever. Still, the choice between paper or physical, as well as the choice between silver or gold is made clear in what JPMorgan has pulled off. If I am correct in my speculation that JPMorgan has acquired 300 million ounces or so of physical silver over the past four years, this would confirm many of the points about gold and silver that I’ve made in the past.Silver analyst Ted Butler: 25 March 2015

Today's pop 'blast from the past' comes from 1966---which was the year I graduated from high school---and this American rock band was tearing up the charts.  This was one of their biggest hits.  The link is here.

Today's classical "blast from the past" is one I know that I haven't posted before.  It's Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 in E minor---"From the New World"---which he composed in 1893 when he was working in America.   Neil Armstrong took a recording of the New World Symphony to the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission, the first Moon landing, in 1969.

This youtube.com recording is from 1991---and the musicianship is first rate, but the tempo is much slower than I've heard it performed before---and I haven't yet decided whether I like it or not.  But it's the best video I could find---and the audio quality is terrific.  I was going to post the von Karajan recording, but the sound quality was terrible, so I'm stuck with this.  The link is here.

With the large traders having to exit the April gold contract by the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close, the lack of price action was not surprising on Friday---and was pretty much as expected.  I must admit that I was somewhat taken aback by the shellacking that platinum and palladium got---especially palladium---and looking at the four precious metal charts below, it would appear that that gold and silver prices are about to head in that direction as well.

Of course the Commitment of Traders Report is still configured bullishly in all four precious metals, although I'm still more than wary of the gold numbers.  I hope that Ted's read of the situation is correct---and I'll certainly be looking forward to what he has to say in his weekly commentary to his paying subscribers this afternoon.  I'll steal what I can for Tuesday's column.

What a mess the world is.  Pick a country. Pick a market.  Pick a currency.  Everything seems to be circling the drain at an ever-faster pace.  How long can the powers-that-be keep everything propped up that wants to crash and burn---and suppress the price of everything that wants to explode to the moon and stars?  That certainly applies to the precious metals at the moment---and as a result, the rest of the commodity complex is being held in check as well.  The real economy is being hammered into the dirt so that the international Ponzi scheme of a finance system can thrive.

The prudent have been sacrificed on the altar of the wanton.

But sooner or later something has to give in the precious metals.  Since they're so tightly controlled by JPMorgan et al, I would guess that prices will rise when they're given instructions to stand aside.  This is a fact that I've stated so many times over the years that I'm getting tired of saying it, just as I would presume you're getting tired of hearing it.

But these are the facts of the case---and nothing else matters.

On Monday the rest of the traders that aren't standing for delivery in the April gold contract have to be out---and Tuesday is First Notice Day.  Once we get past these events, we'll see what the lay of the land is like at that point---and I look forward to the Sunday evening open in New York with some interest.

I'm done for the day---and the week.

See you Tuesday.

Ed Steer