I was so wrapped up in yesterday's Commitment of Traders Report, plus the companion Bank Participation Report, that I completely forgot about the job numbers report due out at 8:30 a.m. EST on Friday.
However, JPMorgan et al were kind enough to jog my memory with their usual signature performance, as both gold and silver [along with some spill-over into platinum] got taken out out to the proverbial woodshed.
The gold price didn't do much in Far East trading, hitting its interim low around 9:30 a.m. in London. From there it rallied quietly back to unchanged from Thursday's close by the 8:30 a.m. EST jobs number release. Then gold got smacked for almost twenty bucks, before rolling over and hitting its absolute low at 9:30 a.m. EST. From that point, the price rallied ten bucks in the next couple of hours before trading sideways from about 11:20 a.m. EST into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close in New York.
The CME Group recorded the high and low price ticks as $1,353.20 and $1,326.60 in the April contract.
Gold closed on Friday at $1,339.50 spot, down $10.90 from Thursday. Net volume was 155,000 contracts, which was 40% higher than Thursday's net volume.
The silver price barely moved during Far East trading on their Friday. However, the moment that London open, it got sold down to its interim low at the same time as gold. The subsequent rally didn't quite make it back to Thursday's closing price in New York before the jobs number came out, but it was close. After that, the chart pattern was a virtually carbon copy of what went on in gold.
The high and low prices were recorded as $21.61 and $20.755 in the May contract, an intraday move of more than 4%.
Silver closed in New York yesterday afternoon at $20.885 spot, down 55 cents from Thursday's close. Volume, net of March and April, was very chunky at 66,000 contracts.
The platinum price experienced a mini version of what happened to both gold and silver---and palladium got smacked about 8:30 a.m. GMT in London, and then spent the rest of the day clawing its way back to unchanged on the day. Here are the charts.
Along with gold, silver and platinum---copper really got clobbered, as JPMorgan et al engineered a price decline in that metal that would make your eyes glaze over. Ted Butler pointed this out to me on the phone yesterday---and I just know that he will have much more to say about it in his weekly commentary this afternoon, but I thought I'd just mention it briefly here. Here's the 6-month chart that shows just how ferocious the attack on copper was, as it 'lost' 13.8 cent a pound [4.27%] in one trading session
The dollar index closed late Thursday afternoon in New York at 79.65---and began to develop a slight negative bias starting about an hour before the London open. From there it drifted lower---and then rallied sharply off its 79.45 low tick at the release of the job numbers. The high tick [79.84] came about a minute or so before 9 a.m. in New York---and from there it drifted lower as the Friday trading session drew to a close. The index closed at 79.71, which was up 6 basis points from Thursday's close.
Not surprisingly, the gold shares gapped down at the open, hitting their low of the day around 9:50 a.m. in New York. From that point they rallied a bit until shortly after 10 a.m.---and then chopped sideways for the remainder of the day. The HUI finished down 1.66%.
The silver equities got sold down about 3% at the open---recovered a bit---and then gold sold off again. A tiny rally at the end cut the loses, but Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index still closed down 2.87%.
The CME Daily Delivery Report was surprise, as no contracts were posted for delivery in either gold or silver next Tuesday. According to the CME's preliminary volume/open interest data for the Friday trading day, there are still about 600 silver contracts open in March.
Another surprise was the fact that an authorized participant added some gold to GLD yesterday, as they reported depositing 48,188 troy ounces of the stuff. And as of 9:48 p.m. EST last evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.
Joshua Gibbons, the "Guru of the SLV Bar List," updated his website with SLV's data from the close of trading on Wednesday---and here's what he had to say: "Analysis of the 05 March 2014 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list---1,009,552.5 troy ounces were added (all to Brinks London), 840,890.5 troy oz were removed (all from Brinks London), and 455 bars had a serial number change.
"The bars added were from: Russian State Refineries (0.5M oz), Krasnoyarsk (0.2M oz), JSC (0.1M oz), and 3 others. The bars removed were from: Russian State Refineries (0.4M oz), Krasnoyarsk (0.1M oz), Yunnan Copper (0.1M oz), Britannia Refined Metals (0.1M oz), and 9 others.
"The bars removed were all bars that had been in SLV for quite a few years; the bars added had never been in SLV before. As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 99.8 oz. All daily changes are reflected on the bar list." The link to Joshua's website is here.
There was a smallish sales report from the U.S. Mint on Friday, as they reported selling another 140,500 silver eagles---and that was all.
Month-to-date the mint has sold 2,000 ounces of gold eagles---4,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---and 1,100,000 silver eagles. Based on these sales, the silver/gold sales ratio checks in at 183 to 1. Year-to-date this sales ratio is 53 to 1---which is an amazing in its own right. Ted will have a lot to say about this in his column today as well.
Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday, they reported receiving 100 kilobars of gold and shipped out 3 kilobars---all from the Scotia Mocatta warehouse. The link to that activity is here.
There was much more activity in silver, as 392,443 troy ounces were received---and 1,304,799 troy ounces were reported shipped out. The bulk of the in/out activity was at Scotia Mocatta as well---and the link to that action is here.
After expecting the worst with this week's Commitment of Traders Report, I ended up getting something quite a bit less than that. Yes, there was deterioration in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver, but not was bad as I was expecting.
In silver, the Commercial net short position declined by only 784 contracts, or 3.9 million ounces of silver. The total Commercial net short positions now sits at 198.8 million ounces, which is miles off its December 2013 low. Ted Butler said that the raptors [the Commercial traders other than the Big 8] sold 2,200 of their long positions---and surprisingly enough, JPMorgan bought back about 500 contracts of its short-side corner in the Comex silver market, which Ted says is down to 18,000 contracts---still an outrageous number.
In gold, the Commercial net short position increased by only 4,486 contracts, or 448,600 troy ounces. The Commercial net short position in gold currently sits at 12.1 million troy ounces.
Ted says that JPMorgan sold 5,000 contracts of their long-side corner in the Comex gold market---which is now down to 53,000 contracts, or 5.3 million ounces.
Although I was relieved that the report wasn't as bad as I was expecting, it still doesn't change the fact that JPMorgan et al have been aggressive sellers of last resort as these rallies have unfolded, particularly since both gold and silver crossed their respective 200-day moving averages.
As I've been saying for the last few weeks, "da boyz" could pull the plug on these rallies at any time---and ring the cash register while they're at it. But, on the other hand, they could let them run for as long as they want by just putting their hands in their pockets and not selling long positions or buying short positions as aggressively as they have. But just looking at the 1-year gold and silver charts, it appears that the tops of these current rallies are already in.
However, with things the way they are in the world right now, it may not be as easy for them this time around---but as I said in The Wrap yesterday---I'm always on the lookout for "in your ear." So should you.
The March Bank Participation Report [BPR] couldn't have been much worse than it was---and as I go through it, please don't forget that because the BPR data is extracted from the above COT Report, for this one day a month we can compare the data from one report directly with the other.
In gold, 4 U.S. banks reduced their net long position by 18,118 Comex contracts---and is now down to 2.56 million ounces. Since Ted says that JPMorgan's long position [from the above COT Report] in gold is about 5.3 million ounces, this means that the other 3 U.S. banks have to hold a collective net short position or 2.74 million ounces of gold in the Comex futures market.
Also in gold, 22 non-U.S. banks increased their net short position by 6,751 Comex contracts in the March BPR. Their collective net short position now sits at 3.69 million ounces. I suspect that a decent chunk of that is owned by Canada's Scotiabank---so when you divide up what's left of that 3.69 million ounces between the other 21 non-U.S. banks, their respective short positions don't amount to much---and border on immaterial.
Here's Nick's BPR chart for gold. The "click to enlarge" feature really helps. Charts 1 and 2 are self-explanatory---but it's charts 3, 4 and 5 that contain the data I refer to above. In Chart 5 it's also easy to see where JPMorgan switched from being net short the Comex gold market, to being net long. The data showed up in the June BPR, so the actual event happened in May.
In silver, 3 or less U.S. banks increased their net short position in Comex silver by 4,672 contracts since the February BPR. The net short position held by the '3 or less' banks is back up to 18,748 contracts, or 93.7 million ounces. As Ted mentioned in his comments in the COT Report above, JPMorgan's short position in Comex silver is about 18,000 contracts, so it's obvious that if 2 other U.S. banks hold any short positions in Comex silver at all, their positions are immaterial---and it's entirely possible that there is only one U.S. bank holding short positions in the Comex silver market---and that's JPMorgan Chase.
Also in silver---and assuming that there are 3 U.S. banks holding Comex silver contracts---there are 12 non U.S. banks that hold Comex silver contracts. Their net short position increased by exactly 3,300 contracts from the February BPR---and currently totals 17,437 Comex contracts, or 87.2 million troy ounces. It's my opinion that well over 50% of that 87.2 million ounces is held by Canada's Scotiabank, so if you divide the remaining ounces up between the 11 remaining non-U.S. banks, their positions are immaterial as well, especially when you consider the fact that somewhere between 90 and 100% of the 18,748 contracts held by the '3 or less' U.S. banks are held by just one U.S. bank.
Here's the Bank Participation Report in silver---and it reads the same as the one for gold. Two things of note here in Charts 4 and 5---and the first is the blow-out of the U.S. banks' short position back in August 2008 when the Comex short positions held by Bear Stearns were taken over by JPMorgan Chase---and the October 2012 blow-out of the non-U.S. banks' short position in silver when Canada's Scotiabank was forced to report Scotia Mocatta's Comex silver [and gold] short positions to the CFTC for the first time. Both events stand out like the proverbial sore thumbs that they are.
In platinum, three or less U.S. banks increased their net short position by 2,055 Comex contracts in the March BPR. They are now short 15,353 Comex contracts in this metal, which represents 23.3% of the entire Comex platinum market. I would bet some serious money that, like silver, JPMorgan holds virtually the entire position on its own. This is called a 'concentrated short position'.
Also in platinum, 13 non-U.S. banks [that's a minimum number] increased their short position in that metal by a chunky 2,639 contracts in the March BPR. These 13 non-U.S. banks now hold 6,264 Comex contracts between them---and unless they're all concentrated in one or two banks, these positions, when divided up more or less equally, are immaterial compared to the Comex short positions held by the 3 or less collusive U.S. banks.
Also note the immaterial Comex platinum long positions [Chart 5] held by the 3 or less U.S. banks. This would indicate that the short positions they hold are for price-controlling purposes as short sellers of last resort.
In palladium, 3 or less U.S. banks are short 8,448 Comex contracts, a decline of 484 contracts since the February BPR. This short position still represents 20.9% of the entire Comex futures market in palladium. These '3 or less' U.S. banks don't hold a single long contract between them, as every Comex contract they own is on the short side.
Also in palladium, 14 non-U.S. banks [and that's a minimum number as well] increased their net short position in Comex palladium futures by a chunky 1,929 contracts. These 14 [minimum] non-U.S. banks currently hold 4,413 Comex contracts net short in palladium. And, like platinum, unless they're concentrated in one or two banks, the positions of most of the non-U.S. banks are immaterial as well.
As I say every month at this time, the price management scheme in all four precious metals is virtually 100% "Made in the U.S.A."---with a little international flavour thrown in from Canada's Scotiabank. And the amazing part about it is that, as Ted Butler says, you don't have to make this stuff up, as the COT Report and the Bank Participation Report provide all the evidence one needs!
The above four charts, along with the two charts I posted in The Wrap section of yesterday's column, would be just about enough to convince any judge and/or jury that JPMorgan et al are guilty as charged in the precious metal price management scheme.
Before heading into the list of today's reading material, here's a FRED chart courtesy of Elliot Simon. This is the Money Multiplier Chart---and with a ratio of under 1.0---it has deflation written all over it.
I have a decent number of stories for you today, including all the ones about the current situation in the Ukraine---and I hope you have enough time in what's left of your weekend to read all the ones that interest you.
The American economy stirred to life last month, creating more jobs than in the previous two winter months and raising hopes that momentum in the labor market would gradually pick up as the cold weather in many parts of the country eases with the arrival of spring.
The report from the Labor Department for February, which came on Friday after job figures for December and January that were much weaker than the underlying trend, eased fear that the economy was downshifting to a slower pace. The data led some experts to conclude that weather, not a fundamental slowdown, was a major factor behind the recent shortfalls.
With employers hiring 175,000 workers, the payroll gain in February was hardly cause for celebration — it was still well short of the pace needed to return the economy to full employment in the next few years. But it was twice the number added in December, when the cold and snow arrived.
It's a good bet that the numbers were massaged to perfection before the public ever saw them. This story was posted on The New York Times website yesterday---and I thank Ken Hurt for today's first story. [I noted when I was editing this column at 5:54 a.m. EST, that this story now sports a new and more up-beat headlined "As Job Creation Increases in February, Economists See Signs of a Spring Thaw."]
Bill Gross, the co-founder and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co, has accused departing CEO Mohamed El-Erian of seeking to "undermine" him by talking to The Wall Street Journal about deepening tensions between the two executives who have been jointly running the world's largest bond house.
Gross told Reuters that he had "evidence" that El-Erian "wrote" a February 24 article in the Journal, which described the worsening relationship between the two men as Pimco's performance deteriorated last year, including a showdown in which they squared off against each other in front of more than a dozen colleagues at the firm's Newport Beach, California headquarters.
Gross, who oversaw more than $1.91 trillion in assets as of the end of last year and who is known on Wall Street as the 'Bond King', said in a phone call to Reuters last Friday: "I'm so sick of Mohamed trying to undermine me."
When asked if Reuters could see the evidence about El-Erian and the allegation he was involved in the article, Gross said: "You're on his side. Great, he's got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger."
This interesting Reuters story was posted on their website yesterday afternoon EST---and it's courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.
I fear that the unfolding Ukrainian crisis and rising tensions between China and Japan are no mere coincidence. I have no reason to believe that Russian and Chinese officials are coordinating their geopolitical thinking, maneuvers or strategies. I do, however, sense that the changing global financial and economic backdrop is altering incentives, disincentives and the calculus of cooperation, coordination and confrontation.
The world is indeed changing, but certainly not in the manner those seduced by inflating securities prices behold. Sure, central bank liquidity is still expanding and the global debt mountain just keeps rising to the stars, increasingly unhinged from real economic wealth. Yet the global economic pie has begun to decay. I fully expect mounting domestic economic and global political pressures to increasingly dictate a much more aggressive stance with respect to “geopolitics.”
I’ll further add that I don’t believe the ongoing melt-up in U.S. stocks and the rapidly deteriorating geopolitical backdrop are coincidental. Again, from my analytical framework, both are creatures of historic monetary inflation. Serious (faltering Bubble) stress at the “periphery” now dictates erratic behavior many would view (from the old world view) as irrational. Meanwhile, liquidity flooding into the “core” feeds a historic speculative Bubble. The Russians might very well see it in their relative best interest to dig uncompromisingly in for the long hall, believing the West actually has more to lose. The backdrop would seem to ensure we’re entering a period of extraordinary uncertainty, although over-liquefied securities markets remain priced for extraordinarily low risk.
Doug's weekly Credit Bubble Bulletin is always a must read---and I pulled it off the prudentbear.com Internet site before reader U.D. got around to sending it to me.
Thousands of Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN)’s U.S. clients still don’t know whether tax authorities will learn their identities as prosecutors work to conclude a three-year probe of how the bank helped them evade taxes.
U.S. senators last week faulted the Justice Department for securing names for only 238 of 22,000 Americans with Credit Suisse accounts, saying the bank helped them hide as much as $10 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.
The pressure of a subcommittee report and hearings will force prosecutors to act more aggressively as they negotiate a settlement with Credit Suisse to end the probe and get more names, said Jeffrey Neiman, a former federal prosecutor.
This Bloomberg story was posted on their Internet site yesterday morning Denver time---and I thank Ulrike Marx for her first contribution to today's column.
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden answered questions before the European Parliament on Friday, saying that the United States spy agency pressures its allies to take steps towards further enabling widespread and indiscriminate surveillance.
“One of the foremost activities of the NSA's FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance,” Snowden said in a testimony delivered remotely from Russia. “Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK's GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers.”
“These efforts to interpret new powers out of vague laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public opposition and lawmakers’ insistence that legal limits be respected,” Snowden added.
This very interesting commentary was posted on the Russia Today website late yesterday afternoon Moscow time---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.
1. Ukraine standoff intensifies, Russia says sanctions will 'boomerang': Reuters 2. Steeped in Its Bloody History, Again Embracing Resistance: The New York Times 3. Russia supports Crimean parliament's request to join Federation: UPI 4. Pro-Russia Gunmen Block OSCE Monitors Entering Ukraine; Stymie Obama's Plan: Zero Hedge 5. IMF says Ukrainian officials committed to reforms: Reuters 6. Russia Invokes $2 Billion Ukraine Gas Debt Amid Crimea Crisis: Bloomberg 7. Russia rallies support for Crimea breakaway: al Jazeera
[The above stories are courtesy of Elliot Simon, Ulrike Marx and Roy Stephens]
March 16 is C Day. The Crimean parliament - by 78 votes with 8 abstentions - decided this is the day when Crimean voters will choose between joining the Russian Federation or to remain part of Ukraine as an autonomous region with very strong powers, according to the 1992 constitution.
Whatever "diplomatic" tantrums Washington and Brussels will keep pulling, and they will be incandescent, facts on the ground speak for themselves. The city council of Sevastopol - the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea fleet - has already voted to join Russia. And next week the Duma in Moscow will study a bill to simplify the mechanism of adhesion.
Quick recap: this is a direct result of Washington spending US$5 billion - a Victoria "F**k the EU" Nuland official figure - to promote regime change in Ukraine. On the horizon, Crimea may be incorporated into Russia for free, while the "West" absorbs that bankrupt back-of-beyond (Western Ukraine) that an Asia Times Online reader indelibly described as the "Khaganate of Nulands" (an amalgam of khanate, Victoria's notorious neo-con husband Robert Kagan, and no man's land).
What Moscow regards as an illegal, neo-nazi infiltrated government in Kiev, led by Prime Minister Arseniy "Yats" Yatsenyuk - an Ukrainian Jewish banker playing the role of Western puppet - insists Crimea must remain part of Ukraine. And it's not only Moscow; half of Ukraine itself does not recognize the Yats gang as a legitimate government, now boasting a number of oligarchs imposed as provincial governors.
This absolute must read commentary by Pepe was posted on the Asia Times website yesterday---and I thank Ulrike Marx for bringing it to our attention.
It's time for the United States to engage in a full-throated celebration of the pivot to Asia with what I think is going to be President Barack Obama's "America F*ck Yeah" tour of Asian democracies in April. The trip requires more than a little spadework, given the rather fraught situation in Asia.
It is not just that the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Japan are at each other's throats. Nor is the sole problem that the Philippines has declared that the South China Sea is the new Sudetenland and the PRC must be met with confrontation, not negotiation. The issue is that the United States is less than completely happy with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's sharp elbows and the fractures they create in the pivot's united front.
There has been a fascinating flurry of op-eds in U.S. prestige media (Bloomberg, NY Times, Washington Post, and Business Week) highly critical of Abe and his provocative visit to the Yasukuni Shrine - a visit that took place in December 2013. Concerned chin-stroking at the end of February 2014 is a little late, it would seem.
Roy Stephens sent me this Asia Times story back on February 25---and I missed putting it in last Saturday's column, so here it is now. It's a must read as well---especially for all serious students of the New Great Game.
[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]
“When I look at asset prices; real estate, bonds, equities, vintage cars… I think that gold is actually one of the few assets that is relatively cheap, relatively inexpensive.”
Marc Faber, author of the Gloom, Boom, and Doom Report, and a Director of Sprott Inc. shared his most recent views during a recent visit to our offices… In particular, he’s seeing cracks in the broad stock market become apparent.
This longish interview with Marc was posted on the sprottglobal.com Internet site yesterday---and it's definitely worth reading.
I haven't had the time to listen to this entire 20:48 minute video presentation by Mike, but from what I've seen so far, it's definitely worth your while. It was posted on the youtube.com Internet site on Tuesday, and has already had more than 33,000 hits but, because of its length, it had to wait until today's column.
Jim appeared on the Russia Today financial program "Boom/Bust" on Thursday---but I had so many stories in my Friday column already---and I received the clip in the wee hours of Friday morning---I thought it best to wait until today's column when you may have more time on your hands to watch the whole thing.
The interviews starts on the topics mentioned in the headline above, but digresses a bit from there as the interview proceeds. The segment with Jim starts at the 4:35 minute mark and runs for about 8 minutes. It's certainly worth watching---and I thank reader Harold Jacobsen for sending it our way.
The digital “Bitcoin” has bit the dust at Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange; over $400 million US has evaporated, or perhaps moved into someone’s pocket. The news is all over the Internet these days.
“Digital money” is accepted world-wide. There exists only a remnant of fiat paper money which is increasingly and deliberately made more difficult to use and transport physically. The reason being, that digital transactions leave a trail of information which governments use to control the behavior of their subjects (we can hardly call them “citizens” any longer) whereas citizens using paper money in their dealings leave no trail.
A bank in Mexico, of which I have personal knowledge, receives millions in dollar bills every week in thousands of individual money-exchange transactions. This presents a problem for the bank. Why? Because not one bank in the US will accept these dollar bills (mostly twenties) for credit to the Mexican bank’s account.
Only the long-established Mexican banks can remit their dollar bills for credit to the US, and then, only to Bank of America. The bank of which I speak is relatively new – though it has well over 12 million individual account holders - and Bank of America will not receive dollar bills from it. Other Mexican banks of recent creation are in the same fix.
This excellent commentary by Hugo was posted on the plata.com.mx Internet site on Tuesday---and I thank U.K. reader Tariq Khan for sharing it with us.
Yesterday, gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen published an English translation of another remarkable commentary by a Chinese market analyst, newsletter editor, and consultant to the China Gold Association, Zhang Jie.
Zhang's commentary, written last year, asserts:
-- China, like Germany, has stored gold at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York but cannot try to repatriate it without risking "a tremendous confrontation."
-- China's government is exploiting the Western central bank gold price suppression scheme by buying gold on the sly through intermediaries to hedge its foreign exchange surplus against depreciation by "quantitative easing" and a currency crisis. Buying gold "is the most effective means to protect China's foreign exchange reserve wealth from the threat of the Western financial hegemony."
I found this absolute must read commentary by Koos Jansen embedded in a GATA release from yesterday.
Evidence emerging in the United Kingdom about the possible manipulation of the gold price for a decade could have major implications for South African investors and mining companies who might be able to sue for damages in terms of South African law.
The London gold fix benchmark, set by five banks twice a day, is used worldwide by mining companies, central banks, and jewellers to value gold. A similar process, involving three banks, is used to value silver.
This week a New York resident, Kevin Maher, lodged a case in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking unspecified damages against Barclays, HSBC Holdings, Bank of Nova Scotia, Société Générale SA, and Deutsche Bank, on the grounds that they worked together and manipulated the benchmark.
It would be wonderful news if this would gain some traction in another rich country that insists on being poor---in this case, South Africa. This news item was posted on the website of The Mail & Guardian in Johannesburg yesterday---and I found it on the gata.org Internet site.
The government has tightened norms for Indians bringing gold into the country following a spurt in smuggling and pressure on inward remittances as overseas workers prefer to bring their savings in gold.
Passengers will now have to mention the engraved serial number of gold bars in the baggage receipt issued by Customs. For bringing gold in any other form, including ornaments, passengers will have to declare item-wise inventory of the ornaments being imported with baggage receipt, according to a Central Board of Excise & Customs directive.
The apex indirect taxes body has also directed its field officials to ascertain the antecedents of such passengers, source of funding for gold as well as duty being paid in foreign currency, person responsible for booking of tickets to prevent the possibility of misuse of the facility by unscrupulous elements, who may hire such eligible passengers to carry gold for them.
This short gold-related news item was posted on the Economic Times of India website very early yesterday morning IST---and I thank Ulrike Marx for her final contribution to today's column.
There is something rather absurd about the ever-so-slightly loosening death grip that the mainstream financial media has around the issue of precious metals price manipulation. The painfully reluctant (and largely incomplete) reports on the subject have fueled a series of seemingly derivative-like conspiracies.
It's not as if the issue is really that complicated. Therefore, it must be part and parcel - an extension of the mechanism. Perhaps the hope is that partially educating or entertaining the masses, followed by rebuttals from a string of authorities, would put the issue to bed? But clearly, it cannot be that complex.
Most of you are familiar with the core issues. It would take approximately 15 minutes to explain and demonstrate to a well-trained financial journalist the conspiracy facts surrounding precious metals price manipulation. It is the same management that occurs every day in all directions, intended for profit and to control the rate of interest, perception of currencies, and the value of money.
This excellent must read commentary by Jeffrey was posted on the silver-coin-investor.com Internet site yesterday---and it's another item I found in a GATA release from yesterday.
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After a quarter of a century, the most remarkable aspect of the growing awareness of price manipulation in silver and gold is in how little the story has changed over that time. For me, it was always a case of excessive and concentrated short selling on the COMEX, mostly by speculators called commercials. For many years, I couldn’t narrow the identity of the manipulative traders beyond the four or eight largest traders thanks to CFTC reporting guidelines. That’s morphed into being able to pinpoint JPMorgan as the prime manipulator as a result of government reports and correspondence. The fact that JPMorgan was able to flip a short side market corner in COMEX gold to a long side market corner is the real highlight of 2013, as well as providing the ultimate proof of manipulative intent. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 05 March 2014
Today's pop "blast from the past" is a tune I stumbled across just now when I was looking for something else. I forgot that I even knew this song---and I'm sure it's been 50 years since I last heard it, because that was year  it was released and I don't believe I've heard it since. The singer was considered "teen idol" back then---and it sure brings back a lot of memories, as I used to put a nickel in the jukebox at the local cafe and play it all the time. Those were the days. The link is here.
Today's classical "blast from the past" dates back to 1874---and started off life as piano suite. Since then, it's been transcribed for just about every musical instrument that comes to mind, including a full orchestra. It's Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition". This is the pipe organ transcription---and it's a tour de force and virtuoso piece of the first order. Organist Jean Guillou does the honours---and the link to the youtube.com video is here. The video and audio quality of this recording is first rate, so put it on full screen and turn the sound way up.
I have little to add to what I've already said about yesterday's price action further up in this column. Precious metal prices could go either way from here---and as Ted Butler so succinctly put it, it's 100% up to JPMorgan which direction they go. Because as the data from the COT and Bank Participation Reports above shows, this world-wide price management scheme in all four precious metals [plus copper] is "Made in the U.S.A."
Of course, with the problems facing the world on all fronts these days, a black swan out of left field is entirely possible at this juncture. And depending on what form it takes, there may be no amount of money printing by any central bank, either individually or collectively, that could make things right again.
And, as always, there's the never-ceasing flow of gold from West to East, which is a phenomenon that isn't about to end any time soon regardless of the price. The Chinese imports through Hong Kong in January have now been officially released---and Nick Laird was kind enough to share the updated chart with that data included. As always, it's a sight to behold.
That's all I have for the day and for the week, but before heading out, I'd like to remind you once again that it might be worth your while to jump back into, or increase your exposure to the precious metals. Your best bets for that are Casey Research's monthly BIG GOLD newsletter---and Casey Research's flagship publication---Casey International Speculator. If you go for Casey International Speculator, it includes a subscription to BIG GOLD at no extra charge. It costs nothing to check them out---and Casey Research's 90-day money back guarantee applies to both.
I'm off to bed. See you on Tuesday.