Gold & Silver Daily
"I have no idea how far JPMorgan et al are going to allow these rallies to run"
 

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price rallied a bit in early Far East trading on their Wednesday morning, hitting its high over there at 11 a.m. Hong Kong time.  From that point the price declined until the low tick of the day, which came minutes after 11 a.m. in London trading.  The subsequent hit its high tick at the 1:30 p.m. EDT close of COMEX trading---and the price declined about five dollars during the electronic session that followed.

The low and high tick were reported by the CME Group as $1,180.50 and $1,208.70 in the new front month for gold, which is June.

Gold closed in New York yesterday at $1,203.10 spot, up $20.40 from Tuesday's close.  Net volume was 141,000 contracts, which wasn't overly heavy---but it wasn't exactly light, either.

Here's the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  The vertical gray line is midnight EDT on Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning---and all the price/volume activity that matters begins around 6:15 a.m. MDT on this chart---and you need to add two hours to get New York time.  The 'click to enlarge' feature is a must.

The silver price action on Wednesday was almost a carbon copy of the gold price action---and the only difference worth noting was that the low tick came around 11:45 in London trading, about forty minutes after gold's low tick.

The low and highs were recorded as $16.50 and $17.075 in the May contract.

Silver finished the trading day at $16.935 spot, up 30.5 cents from Tuesday's close.

Platinum's low came around 11 a.m. in Zurich---10 a.m. in London---and it's price pattern was identical to the price pattern for silver and gold as well.  Platinum closed at $1,162 spot, up another 21 dollars from Tuesday's close---and up over 40 bucks in the last two trading session.

Ditto for palladium.  It finished the Wednesday session in New York at $746 spot, up 13 dollars from Tuesday's close.

The dollar index closed late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 98.38---and began to head south almost as soon as trading began on Wednesday morning in the Far East.  It hit its 98.00 low tick minutes after 12 o'clock noon in Hong Kong---and then rallied up to it 98.60 high about 9:40 a.m. BST in London.  It was all down hill to the 98.02 mark at 12:40 p.m. EDT in New York---and then it chopped a bit higher into the close.  The dollar index finished the Wednesday session at 98.12, which was down 26 basis points on the day.

The gold stocks gapped up a percent and change at the open---and powered higher until the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close, which was gold's high tick of the day.  The shares traded pretty flat after that.  The HUI finished up a very decent 5.98 percent---and just off its high tick.

The silver equities followed a similar chart pattern, but the action was a bit more choppy.  The rally ended around 2:50 p.m. EDT, which was long after the metal itself topped out---and the shares sold down a bit from there.  Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 3.96 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 3 of the April delivery month showed that 667 gold and 1 lonely silver contract were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday or Monday, depending on which of those two days they're open.  In gold, the only two short/issuers were JPMorgan and Jefferies, with 600 and 67 contracts respectively.  JPMorgan issued the contracts from its client account---and was also a stopper in its in-house [proprietary] trading account, picking up 209 contracts.  So not only were they trading against their clients during March silver deliveries, they're now sticking it to them in the April gold deliveries as well.  The other two big long/stoppers were HSBC USA with 242 contracts---and Canada's Scotiabank with 211 contracts.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Wednesday trading session showed that gold open interest in April fell another 627 contracts---and is now down to 4,795 contracts still open---minus the 667 mentioned in the previous paragraph.  In silver, the April open interest increased by another 50 contracts---and now sits at 180 contracts open for delivery.  One wonders how many of these are doing to be stopped by JPMorgan out of its in-house [proprietary] trading account.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday---and as of 9:51 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no changes in SLV, either.

There was a tiny sales report for the first day of April, as the U.S. Mint sold 500 troy ounces of gold eagles---and 1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes.  I'm not surprised that they didn't sell any silver eagles, as it looked like JPMorgan cleaned out their stock during the last two days in March.

There was only one gold kilobar shipped out of Brink's, Inc.---and that was all the gold activity there was at the North American COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday.

It was busy again at the COMEX-approved Brink's depository in Hong Kong on their Tuesday, as 5,160 kilobars of gold were reported received---but only 150 kilobars of the stuff were shipped out.  The link to that action, in troy ounces, is here.

There was no in/out movement at all in silver---not a troy ounce.

I note that Joshua Gibbons, the "Guru of the SLV Bar List" has posted some rather interesting information about Kitco's pool accounts.  Here, in part, is what he had to say:

I have a page with an analysis of some of the facts about the Kitco Pool that I have uncovered, the concerns, and so forth. You can read all about it at the Kitco Pool Initial Analysis page.

In short: Kitco used to state that the Kitco Pool was 100% backed by physical precious metals, the metal backing it was owned by customers, the metal backing it was not part of Kitco's assets, and the metal backing it was segregated from Kitco's own assets. I no longer see any evidence that this is still the case, and Kitco has not responded to my requests for more information. I strongly urge anyone holding the Kitco Pool to read the article, and push Kitco for answers to the questions listed in the article.

At this point, I believe most Kitco Pool customers think that the pool is 100% backed by physical metals as described above. And as the article details, this appears to no longer be the case (and Kitco has refused to confirm what they previously stated). I would urge people to spread the word, as I see no signs that Kitco has been letting their customers know about this material change to the Kitco Pool.

The link to "all of the above" is here---and I urge you to check it out if this involves you.

I don't have a lot of stories for you today, so that will make your final edit a whole lot easier.  By the way, there were lots of April Fool-type stories in the media yesterday---and I think I've identified the suspects.  My favourite from Dan Lazicki was "Janet Yellen Launches New Ladies Fragrance"---which you can buy in any hardware story under it's trade name of "Janitor in a Drum".

 

¤ Critical Reads

ADP Employment Misses By Most In 4 Years, Lowest In 14 Months

After missing expectations in a dismally weak February print, March turned out even worse. Despite Mark Zandi's reassurances that Feb was a weather-related blip, March ADP employment change was a mere 189k (against expectations of 225k) dropping to its lowest since January 2014. Large business hiring was the worst, adding a mere 19k. Zandi said in February that "jobs growth is strong, but slowing," but now it appears weak---and accelerating lower.  And the now recurring punchline: manufacturing jobs -1,000.

Oops!

This chart-infested commentary appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 8:21 a.m. EDT on Wednesday morning---and today's first story is courtesy of Dan Lazicki.

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The Best and Worst Performing Assets in March---and Q1

2015 is perhaps the first year in which, in nearly a decade, when discussing asset returns one has to ask "in what currency" for the simple reason that the USD itself is one of the best performing "assets", having soared at a pace unseen in decades and having led to a crippling of corporate profitability and a tumble in the US economy (even as the Fed still blames the dramatic Q1 weakness on the winter and a port strike).

As such the returns of the best, worst (and everything in between) assets  in March and in the first quarter vary dramatically depending on whether one looks at local currency returns (which in a world furiously waging currency wars is not difficult to achieve) or in US Dollar terms.

Here is what Deutsche Bank has to say about asset returns, first in local currency terms...

This is another chart-infected news item that Dan Lazicki found on the Zero Hedge Internet site yesterday morning EDT---and it's worth reading.

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Investors flee market at crisis-level pace

Recent market volatility has sent stock market investors rushing for the exits and into cash.

Outflows from equity-based funds in 2015 have reached their highest level since 2009, thanks to a seesaw market that has come under pressure from weak economic data, a stronger dollar and the the prospect of monetary tightening.

Funds that invest in stocks have seen $44 billion in outflows, or redemptions, year to date, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Equity funds have seen outflows in five of the last six weeks, including $6.1 billion in just the last week.

U.S. equities have been particularly hard-hit, with the group surrendering $10.8 billion last week, BofAML reported.

This very interesting article appeared on the CNBC website last Friday---and it's worth reading.  I thank Casey Research's own Doug Hornig for passing it around yesterday.

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Former BIS official criticizes central bank 'guidance' on interest rates

In the second part of his interview with the Cobden Center's Sean Corrigan and Max Rangeley, former Bank for International Settlements official William R. White criticizes what has come to pass for transparency in Western central banking -- "guidance" about likely changes in interest rates, which, White says, promotes financial speculation.

If only transparency in central banking constituted full disclosure of the interventions central banks already are undertaking in the markets. Part 2 of the interview is posted at Hinde Capital's Internet site.

I found this story in a GATA release yesterday evening---and I thank Chris Powell for writing all of the above preamble.

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Hedge Funder Koutoulas: 'I'm Going to Keep Fighting Until Corzine Is in Jail'

You might remember Jon Corzine as the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Democratic governor of New Jersey or U.S. senator from New Jersey.

James Koutoulas, CEO of $100 million hedge fund Typhon Capital Management, remembers Corzine as the CEO who drove securities firm MF Global into the ground, producing the eighth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

"I am going to keep fighting until Corzine is in jail," Koutoulas tells Newsweek.

"The evidence we need to charge him is there. We need to make clear as a society that the next time a sociopath CEO says, 'Do I go out of business or do I cheat?' and chooses to cheat, he is going to be thinking about it in an orange jumpsuit in state prison."

Well, he's certainly got the sociopath part right, as there are lots of them around on Wall Street.  I'm sure you'll join me in wishing Koutoulas all the luck in the world in this particular venture.  This news item showed up on the newsmax.com Internet site at 6:40 a.m. EDT yesterday morning---and it's the first offering of the day from West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.

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More Unofficial Capital Controls: PFIC Rules

It ranks at the very top of potential tax nightmares, especially if you invest internationally.

This nightmare could become a reality if you happen to invest in what the IRS deems a Passive Foreign Investment Company (PFIC), which are taxed at exorbitant rates and have highly complex reporting rules. Most foreign mutual funds are PFICs, as are certain foreign stocks.

It’s not illegal to invest in a PFIC, but practically speaking, the costs of doing it are so incredibly onerous that it’s prohibitively expensive in the vast majority of cases.

PFIC rules amount to unofficial restrictions on investing in certain foreign assets and are yet another indicator of the disturbing trend of creeping capital controls in the U.S.

This article, written by International Man senior editor Nick Giambruno, showed up on their Internet site yesterday---and is a must read if you're a U.S. citizen with investments abroad.

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California imposes first-ever water restrictions as drought worsens

California has taken the most drastic measure yet to help combat its worst drought in history.

Governor Jerry Brown ordered mandatory water restrictions on Wednesday for the first time in the state’s history as the drought reaches near-crisis proportions.

Mr Brown has told all 38 million residents, as well as businesses, they must immediately cut their water consumption by 25 per cent.

"We're in a historic drought and that demands unprecedented action," he told a press conference in the Sierra Nevada, central California, where dry, brown grass surrounded a site that normally would be snow-covered at this time of year.

No April Fools joke here, as this is deadly serious.  I've run several stories about this in the last few weeks---and years---but Brown dropped the hammer yesterday---and he'll have to go much further than this before it's all over, if there is an end, that is.  If this continues, it's a certainty that large portions of California may have to be abandoned.  This news item, filed from San Francisco, showed up on the The Telegraph's website at 10:39 p.m. BST yesterday evening, which was 5:39 p.m. in Washington.

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Reckoning Arrives for Cash-Strapped Oil Firms Amid Bank Squeeze

Lenders are preparing to cut the credit lines to a group of junk-rated shale oil companies by as much as 30 percent in the coming days, dealing another blow as they struggle with a slump in crude prices, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sabine Oil & Gas Corp. became one of the first companies to warn investors that it faces a cash shortage from a reduced credit line, saying Tuesday that it raises “substantial doubt” about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. About 10 firms are having trouble finding backup financing, said the people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the information hasn’t been announced.

April is a crucial month for the industry because it’s when lenders are due to recalculate the value of properties that energy companies staked as loan collateral. With those assets in decline along with oil prices, banks are preparing to cut the amount they’re willing to lend. And that will only squeeze companies’ ability to produce more oil.

This news item put in an appearance on the Bloomberg website at 7:06 p.m. Denver time on Tuesday evening---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for his second contribution to today's column.

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The Hidden Effects of Cheap Oil

What do Russia, Exxon Mobil, and ISIS have in common? Not much, except that they’re all grappling with an inconvenient but incontrovertible truth: a sudden, significant, and prolonged shift in the price of oil changes the world.  

That truth was on display in 1974, and it’s on display again now. Over the course of just a few months in 1973-1974, the price of oil surged from $3 to $12 per barrel. The new price created new global economic powers: oil-producing countries primarily in the Middle East and North Africa. It also dealt a severe blow to the economies of the United States, Europe, Japan, and other oil importers. The oil shock altered power relations between the world’s main geopolitical players and created new ones. Higher oil prices had many unexpected consequences—from breeding oil wars to fueling the international spread of Islamic fundamentalism thanks to funding from newly super-rich countries like Saudi Arabia. Today’s drop in crude-oil prices, which began in the summer of 2014, may be as disruptive as the quadrupling of oil prices that created the oil shock of 1974.

Some of the effects of this decline in oil prices have been clear and immediate; picture happy Americans at gas stations and frantic government officials in oil-exporting countries forced to cut public budgets and consequently risk social and political turmoil.

This article on oil appeared on theatlantic.com Internet site late Tuesday morning EDT.  It's teeny bit on the long side, but worth your while if the subject interests you.  I thank Norman Willis for sending it our way.

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Blood in the oil sands: Boom and bust in Alberta

Two oil towns that have defined Alberta’s resource – and real estate – boom now show how fast the bloom can fade.

In Fort McMurray, the city of 76,000 at the centre of Canada’s biggest oil fields, housing sales plunged 66% in February and are down 30% through the first two months of this year, the local real estate board reports. Only 48 houses sold last month and the rental vacancy rate has spiked to 12%, the highest in Alberta.

Further south in Cold Lake, the centre of in-situ oil production, total building permits plunged to $1.7 million, down from $8.9 million in the first two months of 2014. New housing starts have collapsed. Only two new single-family permits were issued since January, compared to 20 in the same period a year earlier

“Stores are less busy and streets have quite a bit less traffic,” said commercial realtor Ken Shebib who has lived and worked in Fort McMurray for 38 years “A number of my [retail] clients report that sales are down considerably as compared to last year.”

Alberta is the Canadian province I live in, dear reader, so this strikes close to home.  This short article was posted on the mining.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank reader M.A. for sending it.

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Greece Hints at Default, Russian Pivot:"Will Not Respect IMF Deadline" - What Happens Next

GREECE GOVT DENIES PLAN TO DELAY APRIL 9 IMF PAYMENT: REUTERS

For now the algos can't decide if Greece is joking about making the payment or joking about not making the payment.

The hints are growing louder that the Troika-Greece standoff will not end well for either side. Spiegel is reporting that Greek Interior Minister Nikos Voutzis has stated:

"If no money is flowing to 9 April, we will first determine the salaries, pensions pay here in Greece and then ask our partners abroad to achieve consensus and understanding that we will pay €450 million to the IMF not on time,"

And adds:

As of June or July, Russia and China are "complementary to an agreement with the European partners" fixed part of a new Greek "Plan A are" as Voutzis calls him.

This plan close "with a debt reduction, the end of the austerity measures and a new agreement with a growth clause".

This longish commentary appeared on the zerohedge.com Internet site at 9:52 a.m. EDT on Wednesday morning---and it's courtesy of Dan Lazicki.  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard also had a few things to say about this in an article from late yesterday evening BST that's headlined "Greek defiance mounts as Alexis Tsipras turns to Russia and China".  That story is courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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Greek FinMin: "Greece Will Adopt the Bitcoin if Eurogroup Doesn't Give Us a Deal"

While Greece’s lenders are pushing the Greek government to accept their terms in order to allocate funds so the country will not go bankrupt, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis seems to have another ace up his sleeve. The second top thinker in the world according to prospect magazine surprised even his closest aids at a secret meeting when he said “We ‘ve had enough, we ‘ll run on Bitcoin.”

Sources very closed to Greece’s minister of finance told Greek Reporter that today Yanis Varoufakis held a top secret meeting with high-ranking finance ministry officials to prepare them in case negotiations at the upcoming Eurogroup fail. The anonymous source noted that everybody in the room was staring at each other when Varoufakis – also a prominent blogger – said “We ‘ll go to Bitcoin, we will be ahead of all the world economies and although it may be painful in the beginning, Greece’s economy will thrive in the long term.”

The Greek Finance Minister went on to explain what is the cryptocurrency and how it will be implemented into Greeks’ day to day life by using a special mini computerized card with a chip. All citizens will carry the card as an electronic wallet. The card will be distributed for free to all Greek citizens via the local tax offices but it will also be available for purchase at the country’s entry points for 45 euros, or 0,20 Bitcoin each. The sale of the card to tourists is expected to be another form of revenue for cash-strapped Greece.

Well, dear reader, this Zero Hedge story falls firmly into the "April Fools" category---and I thank reader 'David in California' for passing it around yesterday.

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E.U. Surprised About Kiev Plans to Spend Loan on Border Wall Construction

In early April, Ukraine plans to start wall building on the border with Russia. Brussels is not delighted about the fact that Kiev will spend a substantial part of the E.U. aid package for this purpose.

The construction of the wall on the border with Russia is expected to start early April, but the E.U. countries are far from being excited about this new project, “Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten” reported.

An agreement with the European Union provides for the strengthening of Ukrainian borders, but not the construction of the wall, spokesman of the European Union Maya Kosyanchich said, cited by the media source.

The electric fence with barbed wire and mines is expected to have a length of 2,000 kilometers and cost around €100 million. The project will be financed mainly by E.U. taxpayers' money, what, of course, does not make European countries feel very excited about the planned project.

You couldn't make this stuff up.  This news item put in an appearance on the sputniknews.com Internet site at 8:26 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday evening, which was 9:26 a.m. in Washington.  I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.

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‘Good jokes are appropriate, but so is honoring contracts’ – Kremlin comments on Mistral prank

Vladimir Putin’s press secretary has dismissed the news report that Mistral amphibious ships, destined for Russia, will be sold to the E.U. as an April Fool’s joke, but added that Moscow expected Paris to fulfill its obligations.

Any good jokes are appropriate and equally appropriate is honoring one’s contractual obligations,” Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. Reporters asked the official if they should expect any April Fool’s jokes from the Kremlin. “Sure thing! Though the Kremlin is more engaged in work than in jokes,” Peskov answered.

On Wednesday, numerous Russian and international mass media reprinted a bogus report by the E.U. Observer website claiming France had agreed to sell the two Mistral ships commissioned by Russia, to the European Union and that the first ship would be deployed to the Latvian port of Riga as early as May. The E.U.’s Foreign Policy department duly reported the news was a joke.

This article appeared on the Russia Today website at 12:12 p.m. Moscow time yesterday afternoon---and it's another contribution from Roy Stephens.

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BRICS leadership passes to Russia, $100bn development bank ‘main priority’

As Russia assumes the chairmanship of the BRICS business council, the launch of the New Development Bank for its members will begin as an alternative to the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Sergey Katyrin, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce, took over the chairmanship of a business council of BRICS, an economic association made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, on Wednesday.

The seventh summit of BRICS will be held in the southern Russian city of Ufa in July.

Last month, Katyrin emphasized that Russia would concentrate its energy on the launch of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in an effort to generate greater cooperation among the five emerging markets.

This is another Russia Today story from yesterday afternoon Moscow time---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way.

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The New York Times Publishes Call to Bomb Iran, Arm ISIS

If two major newspapers in, say, Russia published major articles openly advocating the unprovoked bombing of a country, say, Israel, the U.S. government and news media would be aflame with denunciations about “aggression,” “criminality,” “madness,” and “behavior not fitting the Twenty-first Century.”

But when the newspapers are American – the New York Times and the Washington Post – and the target country is Iran, no one in the U.S. government and media bats an eye. These inflammatory articles – these incitements to murder and violation of international law – are considered just normal discussion in the Land of Exceptionalism.

On Thursday, the New York Times printed an op-ed that urged the bombing of Iran as an alternative to reaching a diplomatic agreement that would sharply curtail Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it was used only for peaceful purposes. The Post published a similar “we-must-bomb-Iran” op-ed two weeks ago.

The Times’ article by John Bolton, a neocon scholar from the American Enterprise Institute, was entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” It followed the Post’s op-ed by Joshua Muravchik, formerly at AEI and now a fellow at the neocon-dominated School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins.

The psychopaths are now running the U.S. government, Wall Street---and the U.S. media.  Everything is on the table now.  This news item, which is definitely worth reading, showed up on the russia-insider.com Internet site yesterday sometime---and it's another offering from Roy Stephens.

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U.S. warships join Saudi attack on Yemen: Source

U.S. warships took part in an air assault against Yeminis on Monday, the source has told a Russian media outlet.

"American ships participated in yesterday's airstrikes on Sanaa, specifically, they launched a cruise missile on a strengthened missile brigade,” the source told Sputnik on Tuesday.

The airstrike began after Saudi warplanes failed to hit weapons depots belonging to Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement, the source noted.

On Monday, the Saudi-led airstrikes targeted the Houthi’s missile site in the southern Sana’a neighborhood of Faj Attan, according to witnesses.

This story appeared on the presstv.ir website at 6:58 a.m. local time---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way just after midnight Denver time.

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Israel applies to become founding member of Asian development bank

The Israeli government has submitted its application to become a founding member of a controversial Chinese-led development bank, in a move that is likely to cause consternation in Washington.

Newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a letter to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank by the March 31 deadline, according to the country's foreign ministry.

Israel would become the latest country to join the 40-nation bank, which already includes the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Australia.

Wow!  The movement away from the IMF and the World Bank has become a stampede.  This very interesting news story was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 3:00 p.m. BST yesterday afternoon which was 10:00 a.m. EDT in New York.  I found it over on the gata.org Internet site.

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Abenomics architect says BoJ must ease again on April 30

The Bank of Japan must ease monetary policy further at its rate review on April 30 given signs of slowdown in the economy and prices, a ruling party lawmaker and one of the architects of premier Shinzo Abe's "Abenomics" reflationary policies said.

The central bank has various tools available if it were to act again, such as topping up asset purchases or scrapping a 0.1 percent floor it sets on money market rates, said Kozo Yamamoto, a leading expert on monetary policy in Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

"The economy is at a standstill and prices are seen falling ahead. To do nothing isn't an option for the BoJ," Yamamoto, a close aide to Abe, told Reuters on Wednesday.

In Japan, when it doesn't work, do lots more of it!!  I found this must read Reuters article embedded in a story on the shortjapandebt.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank Tres Knippa for sending it our way.

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Breathtaking views of super-typhoon Maysak from space

Rarely is a spectacle like this captured. The crew aboard the ISS flew over record-breaking super-typhoon Maysak, whose maximum sustained speeds reach 160 miles an hour (257kph) as it prowled the Western Pacific.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on Wednesday shared the images of the monster as it prepared to hover menacingly over the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

The series of tweeted photos show a giant gaping hole forming like an inverse apex at the center of the milky white mass of clouds.

The U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center gave Maysak the ‘super’ prefix on Tuesday afternoon. Reports indicate that its winds will slow down, however, as it reaches the Philippines.

This very interesting article/photo essay appeared on the Russia Today website at 12:20 p.m. Moscow time yesterday afternoon---and I thank reader M.A. for digging it up for us.

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Implats surges ahead with platinum fuel cell power

Impala Platinum (Implats) CEO Terence Goodlace is championing the marketing of platinum by surging ahead with plans to use platinum fuel cells to produce electricity at the Implats platinum refinery in Springs, on Gauteng’s East Rand.

JSE-listed Implats, which is heavily supported by the strong black-owned shareholding of the Bafokeng community, is flying the platinum marketing flag high to counter the metal’s significant recycling position, which demands ongoing market expansion.

The world's second-largest platinum producer wants the platinum fuel cells, using hydrogen from Sasol and Air Products, to produce an initial 1.8 MW of stationary power from early 2016.

This interesting platinum-related news item, filed from Johannesburg, put in an appearance on the miningweekly.com Internet site on April 1---and one is not sure whether this is an April Fools story or not.  I thank South African reader B.V. for digging it up for us.

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Gold bar exports from Turkey to U.K. rise 10,800% in 2 months of 2015

Gold-loving Turkey exported 13.5 tonnes of gold bars to the U.K. during the period, up from 108 kilograms in the same period last year – or 125 times the amount.

Turkey saw its gold bar exports reach 74 tonnes in the first two months of 2015 compared with 24.4 tonnes for the same period in 2014.

Turkey exported most gold bars to Switzerland, worth nearly $2 billion – an increase of 173 percent.

This short gold-related story appeared on the Pakistani Internet site customstoday.com.pk yesterday sometime---and it's something I found on the Sharps Pixley website.

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¤ The Funnies

Red squirrels are almost a dime a dozen in this neck of the woods, especially when humans are prepared to provide a food source.  I'm actually tired of taking pictures of them, but since it was my first outing of the year, I took a few. These are of two different animals.  Because of the colouring, I'm assuming that the first one is a female---and the second one is definitely a male.  And because I was using fill flash, even squirrels have 'red eye'---as you may note in the second shot.

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¤ The Wrap

Sales of Silver Eagles from the U.S. Mint also seemed to heat up over the last two days of March, as 600,000 coins were sold and total monthly sales exceeded 3.5 million oz. Sales of Gold Eagles picked up for the month as well, but Silver Eagles outsold Gold Eagles in ounces by a factor of 75. Incredibly, converting into dollars spent on each and received by the Mint, more money was spent on Silver Eagles than Gold Eagles both for March and for the quarter (please remember to add $2 to Silver Eagles to account for the Mint’s premium).

More money being spent on Silver Eagles than Gold Eagles continues a phenomenon witnessed last year and just because the phenomenon has continued makes it any less incredible. Gold is the unquestioned king of precious metals and there is at least 300 times more gold in the world in terms of currency than silver bullion. I’m not suggesting that means there should be 300 times more money spent on gold than is spent on silver, but in an important category like the 29 year old program of American Eagle bullion coins from the US Mint, the fact that more money is being spent on Silver Eagles is stupefying. With plain vanilla retail demand so bad it is stinking up the joint, the hand of a big buyer in Silver Eagles must be at work. As for who that big buyer might be, look to who took the maximum amount of physical silver in COMEX deliveries for March – JPMorgan. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 01 April 2015

I was certainly happy to see the rallies in all four precious metals on Wednesday.  But as you can tell from the almost identical chart patterns in each of them, that there was nothing free market or supply/demand related about them.  It was all paper trading on the COMEX.

Although volumes in gold and silver weren't that heavy, there's no question that the technical funds in the Managed Money were selling shorts and buying longs in all four precious metals yesterday---and the Commercial traders were taking on all comers once again.

Here are the usual 6-month charts in all four precious metals courtesy of stockcharts.com.

We're still below the 50-day moving average in gold, but back above the 50-day moving average in silver once again.

And as I write this paragraph, the London open is fifteen minutes away---and I see that there isn't much going on in the precious metal market, as there's been absolutely no follow-through price action in Far East trading on their Thursday.  Both gold and silver are up a titch at the moment---and platinum and palladium are flat.  Net gold volume is 13,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is around 3,400 contracts.  All is quiet.  It's like yesterday's price action in New York happened on some other planet.  The dollar index just took a header about 2:10 p.m. Hong Kong time---and is currently down 28 basis points---and below the 98.00 mark at 97.84.

As I mentioned in the closing paragraphs of yesterday's column, I felt that we wouldn't have too long to wait for some sort of up-side price move---and three hours after I filed, it began.

However, I'm not about to break my arm patting myself on the back, because I have no idea how far JPMorgan et al are going to allow these rallies to run.  As you already know from years of first-hand experience in these matters, how high and how fast is entirely up to them.

If they put their hands in their pockets and did nothing for two weeks, we would be looking at a very large four digit gold price---and a very large three digit silver price by the time the dust settled, because we'd have a short covering rally in all four precious metals that future market analysts would be still be talking about a thousand years from now.

We'll obviously end up with something far less than that.  But how high 'up' is, is impossible to determine---although I expect the lunatic fringe to be in full cry if have another day or so of this kind of price action.

And as I send today's effort out the door at 5:08 a.m. EDT, I see that the tiny rallies that began as the dollar index headed south, got sold down the moment that London trading began at 8 a.m. BST this morning. 

All four precious metals are now below their respective closes in New York on Wednesday afternoon.  Net gold volume is rather quiet at only 22,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is right at the 6,000 contract mark.  The dollar index is currently down 31 basis points.

Was yesterday's price action in New York a flash in the pan?  Beats me, but this lack of follow-through price action in both Far East and London trading, especially considering the decline in the dollar index during the last few hours, doesn't impress me in the slightest, although the Thursday trading session still has miles to go.

That's all I have for today.

I'm off to bed---and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Ed Steer