The gold price did nothing during the Far East trading day on their Wednesday...and this sideways price action lasted until a few minutes before 10:00 a.m. in London. At that point the engineered price decline began, with the most egregious part of the take-down coming during the New York lunch hour...around 12:40 p.m.
This turned out to be the low price tick of the day...$1,589.20 spot. From that low a $30 short covering rally commenced. This rally lasted for about thirty minutes...and from there the gold price traded sideways into the close of Comex trading at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. Gold's New York high tick of the day [$1,622.20 spot] came around 2:20 p.m...and from that high, the gold price got sold down $16 into the close of electronic trading.
Gold finished the Wednesday session at $1,606.80 spot...down $11.10 from Tuesday's close. Net volume was an enormous 205,000 contracts.
But, as always, it was silver that drew the short straw once again yesterday. I'm not even going to bother calling the price action, as it's more than visible on the Kitco chart below...and little of the New York action had anything to do with free markets.
From its New York high of $28.76 spot...to its low of $27.60 spot, silver had an intraday price move of $1.16...4.03%...in less than ninety minutes.
By the time the dust had settled, silver closed at $28.12 spot...down 30 cents from Tuesday. Net volume was a very chunky 45,000 contracts.
Here are the charts for platinum and palladium, so you can see that the price shenanigans didn't just occur in gold and silver.
The dollar index opened at the 81.40 mark...and closed around 81.53. The low of 81.24 came just before 8:00 a.m. Eastern time. There was a big 50 point intraday move in less than an hour during the New York lunch hour...and I guess that would partially explain some of the price moves in gold and silver during that time period...but it certainly doesn't explain all of it. And it certainly doesn't explain some of the price patterns in the other two precious metals, either.
The gold stocks gapped down at the open...and hit their low of the day at the low price tick for gold at 12:40 a.m. Eastern time. Then they blasted into positive territory from there, but couldn't hold those gains once the sell-off began after the 2:20 p.m. high tick in gold was in. Still, the HUI only finished down 0.82%...which isn't too bad, all things considered.
It was mostly down for the silver stocks yesterday...but I did have a decent number of green arrows mixed amongst the red ones. Nick Laird's Silver Sentiment Index actually closed up a hair...0.09%.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 42 gold contracts were posted for delivery on Friday.
There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV...and the U.S. Mint didn't have a sales report, either.
The Comex-approved depositories reported that 543,869 troy ounces of silver were added on Tuesday...and only 1,004 ounces were withdrawn. The link to that action is here.
As usual, The Central Bank of the Russian Federation updated their website yesterday. It showed that they had added another 500,000 ounces of gold to their reported reserves in May...which now sit at 29.3 million troy ounces of fine gold. The excellent chart below is courtesy of Nick Laird, for which I thank him on our behalf.
(Click on image to enlarge)
I have more than the usual number of stories for a midweek column...and I hope you have to time to read the ones that interest you.
In a pattern that has become familiar, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that the economy was growing more slowly than it had forecast, in part because its efforts to hasten recovery had proved insufficient.
With the economy stumbling into the summer months after the false promise of a relatively strong winter, the Fed announced a modest expansion of its efforts to stimulate growth.
The central bank pledged to buy $267 billion in long-term Treasury securities over the next six months as part of a continuing campaign to reduce borrowing costs.
It is the first time since January that the Fed has intensified its efforts to revive economic growth, and the first time since September that it has announced a new round of asset purchases. This is the fifth such announcement since 2008.
This story was posted in The New York Times yesterday...and is worth reading. It's also gone through a couple of headline changes since it arrive in my in-box yesterday...and even the one shown above has been modified...but I was in the 'editing' process when I discovered this last revision, and I'm not about to change it again. I thank Roy Stephens for sending it...and the link is here.
The first is with Caesar Bryan over at Gabelli & Company. It's headlined "This is the Big Picture for Markets After the Fed Meeting". The second blog is with Bill Fleckenstein...and it's entitled "Fed Takes Half Step, Will Be Forced to Act Again". And lastly is Dan Norcini...and his blog is headlined "Wild Trading After Fed Release, What to Expect Next".
Those who are expecting the Fed to do more than extend Operation Twist are setting themselves up for disappointment, Heller said.
“There are many people on the board, and especially on the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee), the bank presidents, I think are very reluctant to ease,” he said.
“And I don’t see the need for easing either, because the money supply in the United States is growing very satisfactorily, very stable 6, 6.5 percent range. And the Fed has to let that work.”
The Federal Reserve cannot continue to “essentially finance half the federal deficit,” Heller added.
Even though this story is from late Tuesday night, what Heller has to say is worth reading. I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sharing it with us...and the link is here.
When JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon testifies in the U.S. House today, he will present himself as a champion of free-market capitalism in opposition to an overweening government. His position would be more convincing if his bank weren’t such a beneficiary of corporate welfare.
To be precise, JPMorgan receives a government subsidy worth about $14 billion a year, according to research published by the International Monetary Fund and our own analysis of bank balance sheets. The money helps the bank pay big salaries and bonuses. More important, it distorts markets, fueling crises such as the recent subprime-lending disaster and the sovereign-debt debacle that is now threatening to destroy the euro and sink the global economy.
How can all this be? Let’s take it step by step.
In recent decades, governments and central banks around the world have developed a consistent pattern of behavior when trouble strikes banks that are large or interconnected enough to threaten the broader economy: They step in to ensure that all the bank’s creditors, not just depositors, are paid in full. Although typically necessary to prevent permanent economic damage, such bailouts encourage a reckless confidence among creditors. They assume the government will always make them whole, so they become willing to lend at lower rates, particularly to systemically important banks.
It's not often you see a Bloomberg editorial such as this broadside against the JPMorgan CEO...and all the other "too big to fail" banks...but here's one. It's also a must read...and I thank Washington state reader S.A. for digging it up on our behalf. The link is here.
The next time someone moans about Washington "austerity," tell them about the Senate's food stamp votes on Tuesday. Democrats and a few Republicans united to block even modest reform in a welfare program that has exploded in the last decade and is set to spend $770 billion in the next 10 years.
Yes, $770 billion on a single program. And you wonder why the U.S. had its credit-rating downgraded?
When the food stamp program began in the 1970s, it was designed to help about 1 of 50 Americans who were in severe financial distress. But thanks to eligibility changes first by President George W. Bush as part of the 2002 farm bill and then by President Obama in the 2008 stimulus, food stamps are becoming the latest middle-class entitlement.
This very interesting story was posted in The Wall Street Journal yesterday and, once again, I thank Washington state reader S.A. for bringing it to our attention. The link is here.
Businesses in big-spending, tax-heavy states like California are investing elsewhere and are creating ghost towns back home in the process, says Meredith Whitney, founder of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group.
Business friendly states like Texas are seeing investments show up from other states, while in California, firms and even wealthier households can easily move.
The result, Whitney says, is that cities in California are quickly becoming ghost towns marked by falling housing prices and a fleeing tax base.
This story showed up on the moneynews.com website on Tuesday...and I thank Elliot Simon for his second offering in today's column. The link is here.
Greece has a new government, ending weeks of uncertainty in the country. New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras was sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday. But he could have formed his coalition with PASOK and the Democratic Left already after the first election in May.
The success of the negotiations marks the end of weeks of uncertainty for the country and the rest of Europe, where leaders had feared that the left-wing Syriza alliance might win the election, causing the debt crisis to escalate and forcing Greece to leave the euro zone. For now at least, that danger appears to have been averted. In contrast to Syriza, all three parties in the new government broadly support Greece's bailout deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
But there is little sense of a new beginning in Athens. After all, New Democracy and PASOK took turns in running the country for 37 years. Many voters blame them for getting the country into its current debt mess.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. This story was posted on the German Internet site spiegel.de yesterday...and is courtesy of Roy Stephens. The link is here.
With the prospect of a pro-bailout government being formed in Greece following New Democracy's victory in Sunday's election, some European politicians have suggested that the strict conditions for Athens' deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund could now be relaxed a little. Reacting to the election result, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, a member of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party, said that although there could not be "substantial changes" to the agreement with the EU and IMF, he could "well imagine talking again about timelines."
But politicians from Angela Merkel's conservatives have resisted the suggestion that Athens should be given more time. Now a key Merkel ally has rejected relaxing the terms of Greece's bailout deal and called on Athens to increase the pace of reforms.
This is another spiegel.de story that's courtesy of Roy Stephens...and the link is here.
The number of Greeks filing and paying their taxes shot up sharply in the wake of Sunday’s contentious elections.
In the week before the election, the number of filings averaged roughly 49,000 per day, never reaching 50,000, according to a source in the tax collection office. However, on Monday, 53,000 Greeks filed their taxes and on Tuesday, nearly 58,000 paid (57,998 to be exact) representing a rise of more than 18 percent compared to last week.
Within the tax collection office, the rise in filings is attributed to the election outcome; many believed that leftist opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, would rescind recent tax hikes if he won the election. Instead, Antonis Samaras, leader of New Democracy, took first place and is in the process of forming a government.
Working Greeks’ collective tax bill will be 5 times higher this year compared with last year. The tax collection office expects to send out tax bills for 5 billion euros, while last year they sent out bills for only 1 billion euros.
This story was filed on the CNBC Internet site early yesterday morning...and I thank Ontario reader Richard O'Mara for sending it. The link is here.
Nobody ever got rich shorting Japanese government bonds, it is often said. Are those now aggressively shorting German bunds about to fall into the same trap?
Yet J-bonds continue to defy the bears; just when you think yields can go no lower, they fall even more. However apparently illogical and damaging to economic redemption it might seem, government debt has remained the asset class of choice for the land of the setting sun.
Regrettably, it's a disease which since the financial crisis began nearly five years ago now seems to afflict virtually all major, advanced economies.
This story was posted on The Telegraph's website during the dinner hour yesterday evening in London...and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it. It's certainly worth skimming...and the link is here.
Banks and traders must prepare for a devastating market seizure as governments grapple with the escalating economic crisis in Europe, a Bank of England policymaker has warned.
Cheap and ready access to the liquid assets that oil the financial markets are under threat from both state-imposed capital controls and flagging confidence in the euro, Robert Jenkins, a member of the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee, told the Global Alternative Investment Management conference in Monaco.
Without easy access to liquidity, markets could seize in a re-run of the credit crunch after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, he warned.
“Those of you who traded asset backed securities in 2008 can testify to the speed with which liquidity can disappear,” he said. “Yet despite these examples, many continue to assume that ... ‘liquidity’ is free and will be freely available.
This story was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site yesterday morning...and I thank reader "c" for sending it. The link is here.
Mr. Pento is a well-established specialist in the Austrian School of economics and a regular guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, FOX Business News and other national media outlets. His market analysis can also be read in most major financial publications, including The Wall Street Journal. He also acts as a Financial Columnist for Forbes, Contributor to thestreet.com and is a blogger at the Huffington Post.
Today we welcome Michael to Gecko Podcast where he commented on not only the problems facing many countries in Europe at the moment, but also how the huge debt to GDP ratios are unsustainable and what the consequences will be by the coming defaults.
This 19-minute audio interview is posted over at the geckoresearch.com website...and I thank Swedish reader Leif Larsson for bringing it to our attention. The link is here.
Here he is again. This time it's a 6:34 video clip from Fox Business News on Tuesday. It's posted over at the youtube.com website...and is another offering from Roy Stephens. Nigel is always worth listening to...and this clip is no exception. The link is here.
Egypt’s ruling authorities have delayed the result of the country’s first free presidential election, furthering fears the army was mounting a coup to prevent the formation of a democratically-elected Islamist government.
The Muslim Brotherhood and most newspapers and independent panels claim that Mohammed Morsi, the leader of the Brotherhood’s political front the Freedom and Justice Party, won the count by a slim margin of just short of 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
An attempt to prevent him taking up office, following the army’s earlier announcement it was dissolving the Brotherhood-led parliament and taking over its powers, could trigger a potentially disastrous confrontation.
This story was posted on The Telegraph's website late yesterday evening local time...and the link is here.
CBS reports that when Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin met with the press after their long private discussion, "The two men barely looked at each other. You could just feel, sort of, the tension between them. And the body language really represented how far apart the two leaders remain on the issue of Syria."
"It is clear that President Obama did not get an agreement from Russian president Putin [on Syria]," CBS reports.
"And interestingly," CBS adds, "Apparently President Obama got a bit of a lecture from Putin about some other failed transitions that are going on around the world."
For students of the "New Great Game"...this 2-minute CBS video clip is a must watch...and I lifted it from yesterday's edition of the King Report. It's posted over at the weeklystandard.com website...and the link is here.
Cobra, the Government's emergency security committee, met several times as the MV Alaed approached British waters.
With the United States placing pressure on Britain to halt the vessel, the prime minister was regularly briefed on the situation. It is understood that he was presented with several options including a military seizure of the ship.
Avoiding a confrontation that could have damaged already strained ties with Russia, the government instead took action to ensure that the Alaed's insurance cover was withdrawn.
The ship, which Western officials said was carrying a military cargo including Hind-D Mi-25 helicopter gunships and anti-aircraft defence systems, changed course about 50 miles off the north coast of Scotland. It is now showing that its next port of call is Murmansk, according to the UK National Maritime Information Centre.
This is another story from The Telegraph website yesterday evening...and another for the "New Great Game" crowd...and the link is here.
On the issue of high frequency traders (HFTs), who I’ve termed “cheetahs,” I’ve been suggesting for a long time now that they be registered with our agency. We don’t even know who is out there and as a pedestrian first-step, they simply ought to be registered so we at least know who they are. What a concept.
Secondly, I believe that in addition to the registration requirement, we require testing of algo programs (HFTs and ATSs) before they are engaged in the market production environment. Also, the programs should have kill switches in case they go feral.
We need to require quarterly reports on their wash sales and we need to make sure that they undertake efforts to stop those from occurring. After all, they are illegal.
And finally, HFT executives must be accountable for such reports.
This was the opening statement of Commissioner Chilton before the CFTC Technology Advisory Committee Meeting yesterday. I thank reader Paul Laviers for bringing it to our attention...and it was posted on the cftc.gov Internet site yesterday. The link to this short, but very worthwhile read, is here.
U.S. regulators are about to take a big step toward reining in high-frequency trading: defining what it is.
On Wednesday, a Commodity Futures Trading Commission subcommittee is expected to propose a roughly 60-word definition of high-frequency trading that would define it broadly, a bad sign for traders who had hoped for narrower language. The announcement follows three months of sometimes contentious meetings by an industry group that was formed by the CFTC to help the agency wrestle with the impact of rapid-fire trading on financial markets.
Such trades now generate more than half of all U.S. stock- and futures-trading volume, and critics claim the surge in high-frequency trading has left Wall Street more vulnerable to computer-driven failures that sap investor confidence.
This Wall Street Journal story from Tuesday dovetails nicely with the CFTC announcement in the previous story. It's posted in the clear in this GATA release...and is a must read. I thank Washington state reader S.A. for bringing this story to my attention...and the link is here.
Investors from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to BlackRock Inc. are trying to make money from the exploding popularity of iPads and increasing sales of hybrid cars by investing in producers of lithium for batteries.
Prices for the conductive metal, the lightest in the periodic table, have tripled since 2000 in a market now worth $1 billion a year as uses expand in vehicles, ceramics, electronics and lubricants. Apple Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp...maker of the Prius electric-gasoline car, have few alternatives as they pursue higher performance and mobility, leading Dahlman Rose & Co. analysts to forecast lithium demand will double by 2020.
Talison Lithium Ltd., whose shares had gained 22 percent in the month before today, together with Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA, Rockwood Holdings Inc. and FMC Corp., account for almost 95 percent of world supply. Rio Tinto Group, the third-largest mining company, may join the largest suppliers if it goes ahead with a mine in Serbia it says is capable of producing 20 percent of global output of the metal.
This rather interesting story was posted on the bloomberg.com website early yesterday morning...and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sending it. The link is here.
Well, if you couldn't make it to the natural resource conference in Vancouver during the first weekend in June, here are about twenty-five video interviews that were done at the conference...Frank Holmes, Doug Casey, Rick Rule, Peter Grandich, Peter Schiff, Ross Beaty...and many more. They run anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes in length...and this will keep you off the streets for the rest of the week. I urge you to spend some serious time on this webpage...and I salute Washington state reader S.A. for bringing it to our attention. There all posted together on the same page over at youtube.com...and the link is here.
Leading gold finance companies in India have decided to form a self-regulatory organisation that will frame a fair business practices code for the industry.
The Indian gold loan market is estimated at over Rs 3 trillion. Organised sector players such as banks and non banking finance companies command just over 25% of the market. According to research firm Crisil, organised sector lending against gold amounts to about $17.32 billion.
The need for self regulation comes in the wake of a decision by the Reserve Bank of India to crack down on the fast growth of the gold loan industry, especially that of the unorganised sector. The clampdown has severely eroded the margins of these companies and has curtailed growth.
This rather longish mineweb.com story was filed from Mumbai on Tuesday...and is the first of only two gold-related story in today's column. The link is here.
The recent decline in the price of gold has led some market commentators to the conclusion that gold is no longer performing the function for which it was bought: as protection against macro-economic uncertainty.
If it was, goes the argument, the price would be rising as people continue buying. This reaction is unsurprising given gold’s strong performance since the onset of the financial crisis, with the price climbing to just shy of $2,000 an ounce last August on rising demand in response to continued volatility and the accelerating sovereign debt crisis.
Why, many are asking, is gold not responding to pronounced uncertainty now in the same way it did in 2011? It is a valid question, the answer to which can be found when one examines gold’s performance during previous crisis periods.
This article was posted on the marketwatch.com website yesterday...and was written by Marcus Grubb, who is managing director of investment for the World Gold Council. I thank Roy Stephens for sending it...and the link is here.
The China Catastrophe
China is about to make an announcement that will shake the world to its foundations – and that will destroy everything you’ve ever worked for.
So says a renowned financial journalist on assignment in Asia – and the crazy thing is, he’s famous for being right.
He was one of the few to warn of the great tech stock meltdown of 2000 … the housing and banking bust of 2007 … and the recent boom in gold and commodity prices.
Is he right again? Watch this shocking video for free and judge for yourself.
It is clear that China intends to be the world center for buying and selling gold...The plus in all this for Americans is that the price of gold will be out of the grip and manipulations of the Federal Reserve and the Comex. - Richard Russell, 20 June 2012
Well, it was certainly a different day yesterday. I suppose that it's possible that it was entirely free-market forces at work in all the precious metals on Wednesday. But if I had to bet a ten spot...that's not the way I would bet it.
Of course, all this had to happen on a Wednesday...and none of that price action will be in tomorrow's Commitment of Traders Report. We'll have to wait until the COT report on the 29th to get some idea of what may, or may not, have transpired.
Yesterday at this time I was mentioning that silver had not been allowed over the $29 spot mark for several weeks running. Twenty-four hours later in Far East trading on their Thursday, silver is now a hair under the $28 mark. Here's the 1-year silver chart...
(Click on image to enlarge)
You may have also noticed that gold 'failed' in its attempt to break solidly above its 50-day moving average. Here's the 1-year chart for gold...
(Click on image to enlarge)
I'd be happy to bet a fair amount of money that this price action is not accidental...and where we go from here is a big unknown, at least to you and I. But I'd guess that JPMorgan et al have a much clearer picture, since they're running this precious metals show. As a matter of fact, the two above charts were painted by JPMorgan. They haven't signed them per se, but their footprints are everywhere...and you don't even have to look that closely to fnd them.
In Far East trading on their Thursday, the gold price dipped below the $1,600 mark on a few occasions...and about thirty minutes into the London trading day, the gold price is hanging onto that round number by its fingernails. Silver tried to rise above the $28 spot price...but obviously ran into the same sellers that prevented it from rising above the $29 spot price mark. Gold's net volume is pretty light for this time of day...3:37 a.m. Eastern time...and silver's net volume is more elevated, as the roll-overs out of the July delivery month gather momentum. The dollar index isn't doing a thing.
As I hit the 'send' button at 4:21 a.m. Eastern time, I note that gold has now slipped below the $1,600 price mark...and is down about eleven dollars from Wednesday's close in New York. Silver is now down 42 cents from yesterday's close...and was down well over 50 cents at one point. The dollar index is up about 20 basis points in the last hour or so, but doesn't explain the magnitude of the sell off, as the metals were declining long before the dollar index showed any signs of life to the upside.
And as I said in this space yesterday, most of the relevant price action would occur during the Comex trading session on Wednesday...and that certainly turned out to be the case. And unless something out of the ordinary develops during the morning trading session in London, I expect the same again today.
I'm off to bed. I hope your Thursday goes well...and I'll see you here tomorrow.