The Kitco website went down for scheduled maintenance for about two and a half hours in the wee hours of Friday morning...and did not come back on line until after I'd hit the 'send' button on Friday's column.
During that time, the low price print for gold was in for the day...and maybe even for this move down.
Once that low was in, which came shortly before 10:00 a.m. in London, gold began to rally. It really took off once the jobs numbers were released at 8:30...and the price got hit the moment that happened.
But the gold price continued to rally until an amazing out-of-the-blue rally in the dollar index showed up around the London p.m. gold fix...and that put a temporary kibosh on the gold rally. Once the dollar rally burned itself out, the gold price began to rally anew, but never made it back to it's earlier high...and once Comex trading ended at 1:30 p.m. in New York, the gold price got sold off a few dollars in the close of electronic trading.
The low for the day in morning trading in London came in around the $1,625 spot mark...and the New York high [$1,648.50 spot] came about 9:50 a.m. Eastern.
The gold price closed up $6.30 on the day. Net volume was pretty healthy at around 132,000 contracts...so it's a good bet that JPMorgan et al had to use some heavy lumber on the gold price yesterday morning in New York to prevent it from getting away on them.
Silver's price path was mostly same, except the low of the day came about 11:15 a.m. in London...quite a bit later than the low in gold. After that the silver price followed the gold price very closely.
The silver price closed at $30.34 spot...up 27 cents from Thursday's close. Net volume was pretty heavy at 39,000 contracts.
The dollar index didn't do much during Far East or early London trading...and was up about ten basis points to 79.33 by 8:00 a.m. in New York. Then it rolled over...and by 10:50 a.m. the index was down to 79.10...and then mysteriously exploded higher by over 40 basis points in the next ninety minutes. From there it traded flat into the close.
Only one precious metal headed south in lock-step with this dollar rally...and the other three looked like they had some help after the fact...gold, platinum and palladium. Check out the charts...and then you be the judge.
The gold stocks were up about two percent until shortly after the gold price headed south...and then lost half those gains by the time that gold hit its New York low. After that they didn't do a lot...and the HUI closed up only 0.48%. I suppose one shouldn't complain too much considering how badly the generally equity markets got beaten up on Friday.
Despite the 27 cent gain, silver stocks closed mixed...and Nick Laird's Silver Sentiment Index closed down 0.71%.
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The CME Daily Delivery Report for Friday was very quiet, as only 5 gold and 14 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday.
There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday...but the SLV ETF showed that an authorized participant had added 1,553,027 troy ounces of silver.
The U.S. Mint had no sales report.
It was a very quiet day over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday. They didn't receive any silver...and only shipped 81,408 troy ounces of the stuff out the door.
Here's a chart that Australian reader Wesley Legrand borrowed from a zerohedge.com post. It shows U.S. vs. European Unemployment Rates going back to 2004. And you thought American unemployment was bad.
Here's Nick Laird's first of two charts. It's the "Global Indices" graph. Nick points out that we have reached a critical point...and it's looking pretty ugly from here.
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Nick's second offering is the latest "Total PMs Pool" chart updated for the end of the week...and although it's hard to tell, Nick says that it's at another new high in weight. So no matter how much 'da boyz' huff and puff...or how much Charlie Munger tries to put down the precious metals...that's where the money is going. It's only a matter of time before we hit a new high in total value as well.
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Reader Scott Pluschau has a commentary about gold over at his website. It's headlined "The intermediate term trend in Gold has changed..." The link is here.
Well, the Commitment of Traders Report in silver was not what I was expecting at all...and even Ted was taken aback. We were both expecting a decent sized drop in the Commercial net short position after the big engineered decline in silver prices on April 25th...but it didn't happen. As a matter of fact, the Commercial net short position in silver actually increased by 1,390 contracts.
What Ted discovered in the Disaggregated COT Report was that the 'raptors'...the small Commercial traders that work in sync with JPMorgan...instead of buying with both hands on that sell-off...which they have always done without fail on every other engineered price decline, actually sold a whole pile of long positions instead. Ted didn't have a clue why that would be the case.
This is uncharted territory...and I'll see what more Ted has to say about it in his weekend review when he posts it on his website on Saturday sometime.
I suppose there could have been an error in the data...and it's always possible that the CFTC could issue a corrected report on Monday...but until that happens, one must presume that the data is correct. The other big takeaway from this report was the big drop in open interest. It declined by 11,463 contracts...a decline of more than 10 percent. Ted also mentioned the fact that the '1-4' largest short holders [read JPMorgan] covered a lot of short positions during the reporting week.
In gold, JPMorgan et al increased their net short position by 10,766 contracts. The Commercial net short position is now up 17.8 million ounces. Gold spent most of the reporting week above its 20-day moving average...and there were obviously some speculators coming into the market on the long side. If these sellers of last resort hadn't shown up to take the short side of these trades, the price of gold would have finished the reporting period materially higher, as there are no legitimate short sellers left...at least not at these low prices. That's what 'da boyz' are there for...to ensure that the gold price does not run away to the upside.
The May Bank Participation Report in silver showed that 4 U.S. bullion banks decreased their net short position in silver by 3,215 contracts...and the lion's share of that would have involved JPMorgan...and virtually all the rest would have been HSBC USA. As of the Tuesday cut-off, these four banks were net short 16,681 silver contracts, which is 83.4 million ounces. And once the market-neutral spread trades in the Non-Commercial category are subtracted from total open interest, these 4 U.S. banks are short 18.6% of the entire Comex futures market in silver...and I'd guess that about 99% of that is held by JPM and HSBC combined.
The 13 non-U.S. banks that hold Comex positions in silver decreased their net short position by 923 contracts...and now hold 1,352 contracts short between all thirteen...about 100 contracts apiece. I would bet some serious money that only two or three of these thirteen foreign banks hold more than 50 percent of that short position between them. Not that it matters, as the non-U.S. banks positions in the Comex futures market in silver are immaterial in the grand scheme of things.
It's not rocket science to see that 2 U.S. banks run the silver price fixing scheme all by themselves...and everyone else is immaterial. As I said last month...and the every other month before that...this is a "Made in the U.S.A." price fixing operation.
In gold, it was a different story...and I checked my numbers twice to make sure I had it right. The same 4 U.S. banks decreased their net short position in Comex gold futures market in the May report by a very tiny 1,708 contracts...an immaterial change. As of Tuesday, these 4 banks were net short 67,765 Comex gold contracts...or 6.78 million ounces. Once again it would be JPM and HSBC holding the biggest percentage of those short positions...but they aren't any where near as extreme as their net short position in silver, as the other two U.S. banks that are short gold hold pretty large positions, which dilutes the percentages held by JPM and HSBC.
But, having said that, these 4 U.S. banks are short 17.8 percent of the Comex futures market in gold once all the market-neutral spread trades are subtracted from total open interest.
The 20 non-U.S. banks that hold gold contracts in the Comex futures market actually increased their net short position in gold by 3,717 contracts...also a mostly immaterial change. As of the Tuesday cut-off, these 20 banks were net short 41,519 Comex gold contracts...or about 2,000 contracts apiece, which isn't a lot. But, as in silver, it would be my guess that only a handful of these 20 banks would hold the lions share of these short positions.
I have the usual number of stories for you today...and some I've been saving for Saturday's column because of length or subject matter.
It is just getting sad now. In April the number of people not in the labor force rose by a whopping 522,000 from 87,897,000 to 88,419,000. This is the highest on record. The flip side, and the reason why the unemployment dropped to 8.1% is that the labor force participation rate just dipped to a new 30 year low of 64.3%.
This very short zerohedge.com piece contains two tell-all graphs...and will only take thirty seconds of your time. I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sending it...and the link is here.
Employers in the U.S. announced more job cuts in April than a year earlier, led by education and government agencies.
Planned firings rose 11 percent to 40,559 from April 2011, according to figures released today by Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. The monthly average of 45,913 cuts through the first four months of this year is lower than the full-year average of 50,507 for 2011.
Employers in education, government, and the consumer goods and transportation industries are easing the pace of dismissals even as they continue to trim headcount, the report said. Job creation in the world’s largest economy is yet to reach a level that will make a “substantial dent” in joblessness, it said.
This Bloomberg story from Thursday is well worth the read if you have the time. I borrowed it from yesterday's King Report...and the link is here.
A "paralyzed" Federal Reserve Bank, in its "final days," held hostage by Wall Street "robots" trading in markets that are "artificially medicated" are just a few of the bleak observations shared by David Stockman, former Republican U.S. Congressman and director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Everyone is bashing the Fed these days...and for very good reasons. Yesterday I posted a story with Jim Grant calling the Fed "the great vampire squid...even bigger than Goldman Sachs." David Stockman tees the Fed up and drives them down the fairway as well. This interview is posted over at theaureport.com website...and I thank Nick Laird for taking the time to get his nose out of his charts long enough to share it with us. The link is here.
While on the subject of James Grant and the Fed...here's a copy of the speech that he gave when he was invited to speak at them back in late March. It's a longish read...which is why I saved it for the weekend. I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to my attention...and it's posted over at the grantspub.com website in a pdf file. The link is here...and it's definitely worth the read.
A House panel led by longtime Federal Reserve critic Rep. Ron Paul will take direct aim at the central bank next week when it considers a bill to abolish the powerful institution.
The legislation will be among a handful of bills that will be looked at on Tuesday by the congressional committee that could all spell significant change to — if not outright elimination of — the Federal Reserve.
“More and more people are beginning to understand just how destructive the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy has been,” said Paul, a Texas Republican and chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, which has oversight authority over the Fed.
This marketwatch.com story from yesterday was sent to me by reader Scott Pluschau in the wee hours of this morning...and the link is here.
Here's a long 45-minute interview with Alan Greenspan that was on Bloomberg TV on Tuesday. Australian reader Wesley Legrand, who sent me this piece, made these comments about it..."Greenspan told the host, Tom Keene, that equities are the collateral of the financial system, hence that's why they are propped up. Another tidbit near the end -- Greenspan confronted with his own statements of 40 years ago that gold stands as the protector of property rights."
I've had no time to listen to this myself, but it will be on my list of things to do this weekend. I listened to the first few minutes, though...and it's my humble opinion that Alan needs to be put out to pasture as soon as humanely possible. The interview is posted over at the businessweek.com website...and the link is here.
After a flurry of last minute amendments last week, the House unexpectedly passed CISPA on Thursday evening, April 26th. A week ago, I described my concerns with the version of the bill that made it out of the House Committee on Intelligence. In the intervening week, there was considerable outcry around the bill led in part by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Learning their lesson from SOPA, the House decided to invite civil liberties constituencies to the table so as to avoid having to witness another implosion of a major legislative goal. As a result, a number of amendments were introduced that began to address some of the most egregious parts of the bill, and, in response, some members of the civil liberties community decided to withhold further, vocal opposition. Then, on Thursday evening, it all fell apart. As Josh Smith at the National Journal described, the CISPA that was passed by the House on Thursday didn’t reflect this negotiation.
Unhappy with this outcome, the civil liberties groups are doubling down their efforts for the next stage of this battle -- the Senate.
This story was posted over at the alternet.com website on Tuesday...and is another story that I've been saving for the weekend. I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us...and the link is here.
The CME Group was granted a 90-day reprieve from imposing new rules that will hike margins for some exchange members by as much as a third, one day after news of the increase riled locals and roiled markets.
The new rules, which would have increased trading costs for exchange members who are classified as speculators, will now come into effect on August 5 instead of on Monday, it said in a release.
Members will continue to enjoy special terms that allow them to meet the lower "hedger" margin requirement during the 90 days.
This is obviously a bigger deal than I thought. This Reuters piece is a must read...and I thank reader Federico Schiavio for bringing this story to our attention. The link is here.
If history has taught one certain lesson, it is that the less fettered an economy, the better humankind is able to do what it does best: run from trouble and run toward opportunity. In this way mistakes are quickly resolved and progress assured.
Conversely, the deeper the muck of regulation, mandates, taxes, subsidies and other bureaucratic meddling, the slower we humans are in following our natural instincts until the point that progress is slowed or even stopped.
It is said that history doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes. In the current circumstances, it appears that enough time has passed that current generations have completely forgotten the critical connection between the ability of humans to freely pursue their aspirations and economic progress.
This excellent commentary by David is posted on the Casey Research website...and is a must read. I thank Roy Stephens for pointing this out to me...and the link is here.
It could be an uncomfortable weekend for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with three crunch votes taking place on Sunday. Elections in Greece and France could torpedo her strategy to solve the euro crisis if voters reject pro-austerity candidates, while a state election in Germany may weaken her conservatives domestically.
It seems that the German chancellor is currently inhabiting three different worlds.
But this weekend, those three worlds will converge, as people both in Germany and abroad go to the polls in three key elections which all take place on Sunday. In the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, the CDU's current coalition government with the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) is set to crumble, while in France, Merkel's key euro-zone ally Nicolas Sarkozy has cause to fear for his own hold on power in the second round of the French presidential election. At the same time, Greece threatens to descend into instability following its parliamentary elections. It seems likely that Merkel's worlds will no longer remain so neatly divided after this election "super Sunday." Even the staunchest of supporters sense the chancellor may be facing a turning point.
This story was posted over at the German website spiegel.de yesterday...and is another offering from Roy Stephens. The link is here.
Here's something from the top drawer of the "You can't make this stuff up" filing cabinet.
You remember all the Climategate stuff that exposed global warming as the fraud I knew it was a few years back? Well, the British Met Office is at it again...and they've outdone themselves for the second time. Now they can't even get their 30-day forecasts right...let alone 30 years in the future.
This is a real hoot to read if you have the time...and I thank reader Michael Cheverton for sending it. It's posted over at the wattsupwiththat.com website...and the link is here.
There are, so the industry saying goes, only three secrets in the commercial airplane business: the selling price, the production cost and the shape of the wing.
Boeing and Airbus are testing that proverb to the limits as they squeeze improvements out of the wings of their most popular jets to make them more aerodynamic -- hunting down extra pennies per gallon of fuel savings for ultra-thrifty airlines.
Boeing on Wednesday trumpeted its latest achievement in aerodynamics as it battles Airbus -- wingtip to wingtip -- for the lion's share of a $2 trillion market for narrow body Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 models over the next two decades.
Being a pilot/instructor in sailplanes in my younger days, I've always been interested in everything related to aviation...and when this Roy Stephens offering showed up in my in-box the other day, I just couldn't resist posting it. I hope you find this Reuters story of interest...and the link is here.
One family's true story makes for an awesome 100th anniversary commercial for Chevrolet when they reunite their father with his 1965 Impala SS that he sold over 30 years ago. This is a 5:04 minute heart-warming video that reader Dave Delve sent me earlier this week. It's posted over at the devour.com Internet site...and the link is here.
This 2:16 minute Bloomberg video was sent to me by Elliot Simon. I ran a clip like this several months ago, but this is a much more professional production.
One thing I can tell you is that here in Edmonton we're seeing very little in the way of Sterling silver being sold as scrap...and what little we were seeing has all but vanished now that silver prices have temporarily retreated from their highs of last year. The link is here.
The first is a blog with Louise Yamada. It's headlined "Gold and Silver at Critical Points in This Cycle". The second blog is with mining legend Pierre Lassonde. It's entitled "Here is What I'm Doing With My Own Money". And lastly is this audio interview with James Dines. I posted the blog of that interview in this column yesterday.
The boardrooms of Britain’s biggest companies are quaking with fear at a wave of shareholder revolts, focused on pay but reflecting wider frustrations at the behaviour of boards, performance of management and returns to investors.
A tipping point has been reached and shareholders, with BlackRock to the fore, are on the march. BlackRock’s head of corporate governance, Michelle Edkins, the subject of the Currents article, is typical of the new noise in the boardroom.
For so long the somnolent, absentee landlords of the financial crisis and recent recession, shareholders have awoken and meted out one humiliating protest vote after another at a string of annual meetings, rejecting pay packages for management or the reappointment of directors.
And this, dear reader, is precisely the sort of thing you should be doing with your silver and gold companies that you own shares in. Don't forget that we own these companies...not the management or the directors...it's you and I. Every silver and gold company out there knows what you know...that the gold and silver markets are being price-managed by JPMorgan et al...but they do nothing.
That's not entirely true, as some of the junior silver companies are taking steps in the right direction, but it's not nearly enough...and certainly not fast enough. Google the companies. They all have 1-800 numbers...so the call is free...so get on the blower and put their feet to the fire. An e-mail will work just as well, if you don't feel comfortable calling them on the phone. Be polite, but be firm. Don't forget these are YOUR COMPANIES...and you get to vote once a year.
In the movie "The Wizard of Oz"...Dorothy's shoes were ruby red...but in Frank Baum's original book...they were actually silver slippers...and the Wicked Witch of the West knew what power they had, and that's why she wanted them. You have that power yourself...so use it.
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of our silver and gold companies giving away our precious metal at an 80% discount to its true market value...at least according to John Williams over at shadowstats.com.
Anyway, I sort of got off on a bit of tangent there. The story bearing that headline was posted in The Telegraph yesterday evening...and is Roy Stephens final offering of the day. It's a must read...and the link is here.
Writing at MarketWatch, Mark Hulbert notes the extreme pessimism about gold's prospects and figures that it signals an upturn in the monetary metal in "several weeks." He writes: "Gold traders today are just as pessimistic about gold's prospects as they were when gold was trading for more than $700 less. No wonder contrarians are impressed by the wall of worry that exists in the gold arena these days."
I borrowed the headline and the introductory paragraph from a GATA release yesterday...and the link to this must read marketwatch.com commentary is here.
New Pacific Metals Corp. reports on a re-evaluation of prior drill results from its 100% owned Tagish Lake Gold Property, Yukon Territory, Canada, which includes the Mt. Skukum Mine, a past gold producer, and two advanced stage projects: Skukum Creek and Goddell. At Goddell, a team of New Pacific geologists has prepared a series of cross sections from data contained in prior NI 43-101 technical reports, revealing an intersection in drill hole 97-41 of 64.69 metres (38.42 m true thickness) grading 5.75 g/t gold; another three drill holes intercepted intervals greater than 30 metres long with grades in excess of 5 g/t gold. The new geological interpretation for the Goddell Project identifies a previously unrecognized target, the P.D. Zone, which remains open in all directions. New Pacific is currently synthesizing results from over 120,000 metres of surface and underground drilling and more than 4,800 metres of underground workings, and is developing plans for an aggressive exploration and development campaign in 2011. New Pacific Metals Corp. is focused on near-term, high margin opportunities in Canada and China. Please visit our website to learn more about the company and request information.
The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. - Thomas Jefferson
Today's 'blast from the past' dates from the late 18th century. It's the first [Allegro] movement of my most favourite Mozart Piano Concerto...#20 in D Minor [K466]. I discovered this particular video on youtube.com several years back...and I consider this performance to be definitive. The pianist is Ivan Klánský with the Virtuosi Di Praga...Jiri Belohlavek conducting. I'd like to dedicate this piece to long-time reader George Miladin...a virtuoso classical pianist in his own right. If my memory serves me correctly, George played piano at Richard Russell's 80th birthday party...and I'm the very proud owner of two of his CDs.
Because of it's length, the movement is recorded in two parts...Part 1 is here...and Part 2 is here. The cadenza is out of this world, as I've never heard better. The second and third movements are in the right hand side-bar.
So what will the Sunday night opening bring? I just don't know. We're all set up to go to the upside...and it just remains to be seen how far and how fast JPMorgan et al will allow prices to rise. You could see their hand in the Comex silver and gold price action even yesterday.
Of course we could get blasted out of the water as well. 'Da Boyz' will do whatever they want...whenever they want, as they no longer have any adult supervision. Neither the CFTC nor the CME will lift a finger to help the general public that they are sworn to serve. Maybe our silver and gold companies will rise up and, with trembling lips, actually say or do something...but I'm not holding my breath.
The one interesting thing that really caught my attention yesterday was the Commitment of Traders Report in silver, where the 'raptors' sold long positions on a price decline. It's so shocking, that it's like having a the law of gravity repealed...and I'll be very interested in hearing what Ted has to say about it in his weekend commentary later today.
I hope you are using this opportunity to buy physical metal on the cheap...or average down in your precious metal equities. You won't see too many more gifts like this in your lifetime.
I'm off to bed. I'll see you on Tuesday.