Gold & Silver Daily
"And so it begins...another precious metals rally in the making...at least that's what the talk is on the Internet right now."
 

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

Gold's low print on Friday came about 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time...and the subsequent rally was only ten bucks...and that came to an end shortly after 10:00 a.m. in London.  From that point, gold gave back half those gains going into the Comex open.

The rally that began at that point came to an end at its high tick of the day...$1,667.70 spot...just a few minutes after 11:00 a.m. Eastern time in New York...which was a few minutes after the London close at 4:00 p.m. GMT.  But by the time that electronic trading was done in New York at 5:15 p.m...gold had slid back five bucks from that high.

Gold closed at $1,662.80 spot...up $17.90 on the day.  Net volume was on the lighter side...around 112,000 contracts.

Silver's chart looks more or less the same as the gold chart...but the rally during the Comex trading session in New York was far more substantial on a percentage basis...and the high tick of the day [$32.41 spot] came either shortly before, or just after, the close of Comex trading at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.  From that high, silver gave back a bit of its gain going into the weekend.

Silver closed at $32.24 spot...up 65 cents on the day.  Net volume was pretty light...around 31,000 contracts.

The dollar index traded mostly flat during early Far East trading, with the high tick [79.74] coming shortly after 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time...less than an hour before London opened on their Friday morning.

Less than three hours later...and a few minutes after 10:00 a.m. in London...the dollar index had fallen 50 basis points.  Three hours after that...8:00 a.m. in New York...the dollar index had gained back 30 points of that decline...but continued to fall after that, closing almost on its low of the day.  When all was said and done, the dollar index was down 43 basis points from Thursday's close.

If you examine the major dollar index inflection points against the major deflection points in gold and silver prices, you'll find a perfect match but...as I've said for the last three days...the match is almost too perfect.  It looks suspiciously like the same traders buying gold/silver and selling the dollar simultaneously...or doing the exact opposite...selling gold/silver and buying the dollar.  There's no lag time at all, as the inflection points in both are either simultaneous or within minutes...and the only people who would know the exact price direction of either the dollar index or the precious metals, would be those who are doing those trades at the same time.

Talk about insiders gaming the system!  I wish I was making their money.

But, as I've said before, maybe I'm looking for black bears in dark rooms that aren't there.

Even though both gold and silver were up a decent amount at the open of the New York equity markets, the HUI opened flat...but began climbing from there...reaching it's high tick a few minutes after 12 o'clock noon Eastern time.  It held that level until about 1:45 p.m...and then declined a few basis points going into the close at 4:00 p.m.  All in all, the gold stocks pretty much mirrored the gold price.  The HUI finished up 1.74% on the day.

Well, the silver shares were certainly the stars yesterday...particularly the juniors.  It's too bad that Nick Laird's Silver Sentiment Index doesn't reflect all that, but it still closed up a respectable 3.18%.

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The CME's Daily Delivery Report for Friday showed that 29 gold and 113 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday and, as has been the case all year, it was Jefferies as the short/issuer on all 113 contracts...and the Bank of Nova Scotia and JPMorgan were the long/stoppers...with 75 and 31 contracts respectively.  The Issuers and Stoppers Report is worth a look...and the link is here.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday...but an authorized participant withdrew a rather smallish 339,921 troy ounces of silver out of SLV.

And, for the first time in a while, the U.S. Mint had a sales report worthy of the name.  They sold 8,500 troy ounces of gold eagles...4,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes...and 275,000 silver eagles.  Month-to-date the mint has sold 43,500 ounce of gold eagles...23,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes...and 2,137,000 silver eagles.

So far this month, silver eagles are up about 33% over February's sales month...and gold eagle/buffalo sales are up 120% over the same period.  I would agree with what Ted Butler had to say in one of his recent commentaries, that once this market turns to the upside with some real force behind it, we'll see some daily sales that will make your eyes water, because the mint has probably been building up inventory over the last six weeks or so...and will be able to fill all orders regardless of size, as they won't be constrained by current production levels.

Thursday was another day of big silver inflows into the Comex-approved warehouses.  They reported receiving 1,215,567 troy ounces of silver...and shipped out an insignificant 10,610 ounces.  When they finally parked the forklifts on Thursday night, the five depositories held 135,850,575 ounces of silver.  The link to that action is here.

It suddenly dawned on me yesterday that maybe the reason that silver inventories are climbing at these warehouses is that Jefferies has been bringing in silver to meet its delivery requirements since December 1st of 2011.  From then until yesterdays close, Jefferies has delivered 2,874 silver contracts on the Comex.  That works out to 14.37 million ounces...447 tonnes...and that, dear reader, is a lot.

The Commitment of Traders Report came in as Ted Butler expected...however I was hoping for a bigger improvement in silver, but regardless of what I thought, the improvement was pretty substantial, as the Commercial net short position declined by 3,505 contracts...or 17.5 million ounces.  The Commercial net short position in silver is now down to 160.6 million ounces.  That's pretty low, but about 90 million paper ounces above its late-December absolute low.

The '1 through 4' largest Commercial traders are short 188.3 million ounces of silver...and the '5 through 8' Commercial traders are short another 42.3 million ounces on top of that.  Once you subtract all the market-neutral spread trades out of the Non-Reportable category, the '1 through 4' Commercial traders/bullion banks are short a bit more than 43% of the entire Comex futures market in silver.  That's preposterous!!!

For the second week in a row, it was gold that showed the biggest improvement, as the Commercial net short position declined by 25,550 contracts, or 2.56 million ounces.  As of Tuesday's cut-off, the Commercial net short position is now down to 16.6 million ounces.  The '1 through 4' and '5 through 8' Commercial traders on the short side are short 11.4 million and 5.2 million ounces respectively.  And once the market-neutral spread trades are removed, the '1 through 4' Commercial traders/bullion banks are short 28.4% of the entire Comex futures market in gold.  That's equally as preposterous.

Here's Nick Laird's up-to-date "Days of World Production to Cover Short Contract" chart that he designed at Ted Butler's request over a decade ago.  This shows all the commodities that are traded on the Comex in New York.  Notice that the biggest short positions by the four largest bullion banks are in the four precious metals...and how silver stands out "Above the Crowd"...as they say over at Re/Max.

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I got a monster e-mail from Nick Laird late last night...and thought all the charts, plus everything had to say in association with them, was worth posting....so here goes.

"The gold oscillator is indicating that the latest move up by gold is a breakout.

"There is good probability that gold has finished it's decline and the next wave should be up and taking out the recent highs at $1,780.

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"On a larger scale, the impending move up - if it is strong enough i.e.. takes out $1,800 & then $1,900 - will then trigger a massive rise out of the triangle shown in the chart below.

"This is indicative of a major rise coming in gold - something strong enough to take us up to the mid $2,000's.

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"The first rise up off the bottom was from $1,520 to $1,790 - a rise of 270 or 17.7%.  We are now down at the retest level and should move up from here so a 270 rise up from $1,640 will take us up to $1,910.

"We will in all probability see a larger rise here i.e. larger than 18%.

"With that rise we retest the all time highs & break through.  This will trigger the breakout on the Long Term Gold Oscillator giving us the buy signal for the next leg up to $3,500.

"The last major wave up took us from $700 to $1,900 in 2.5 years. This major wave up should take us from $1,500 to $3,600 in 1.5 years.

"So - a rise from here up to the old highs should occur in the next leg up. This should trigger the buy signal signaling a major move up to the mid $2,000's. A pullback and then a continued rise into the high $2,000's - low $3,000's.

"Another pullback and then the parabolic move up to the top of the leg in mid 2013 at around $3,500.  This a possible wave structure for the major rise - a major wave comprised of several sub-major waves.

"That will put in a wave up that will fit in with the e-wave chart...

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"So expectations are for a strong move up to be continued by strong moves - large runs up with minor pullbacks moving the market up over 100% from low to high i.e. from $1,500 to $3,500.  If it does take on this stance then it will be affirmative of the plotted advance speculated on in the chart above.

"If it doesn't then one can suspect that we are more likely to follow Martin Armstrong's path for gold with a soft year this year as gold gathers strength to run up  from 2013 through to 2017.

"At the moment I prefer my version & believe that it has good chance to play out. What the market will depend upon is any manipulation that will prevent the above scenario from playing out.

"But when I look at the last 12 years I see nothing that has impeded the price and amounted to much in stopping gold's relentless rise.

"So we are fast closing in on a position that if confirmed would mean that you should be fully invested in gold & ready for the rise ahead...and I still prefer bullion over gold stocks for this move up.

"I'm still looking for a major bear market in equities & believe that this will weigh heavily upon gold stocks leaving few out performers.

"However if we do get this equities correction then gold stocks will become a definitive buy.

"So - exciting times ahead of us. - Nick

Frank Barbera's The Gold Stock Technician report for Thursday had this to say in its opening paragraph...

"This report is unlike any other report we have ever written, as the list of data extremes in the Gold Stocks has grown so rapidly in the last few days, that it is almost impossible to stress how potentially major a low we could be witnessing in the mining stocks at the current time. That a violent upside reversal rally, lies dead ahead, there can be virtually no doubt. Personally, I would not be the least bit surprised to see the Gold Stocks up 150% to 200% over the next 18 months coming off the current lows. There is now historical technical evidence in spades to support the case that we are watching the final day or two of what is likely another major secular low in the group, and a bottom which could easily kick start a major bull market advance. We feel there is very good chance that today was the closing low on GDX, XAU, and HUI. In the past, readings like those now present, have systematically led to major upside advances in the sector, and we see no reason to believe that past precedent won’t repeat again. In this report, which we believe will stand as a seminal update, we summarize our views right up front, and then provide a lot of historical charts to support the case walking down the long list of individual indicators which we track each day. For some, looking at a long list of charts, can be to taxing, and that is why we cut straight to the bottom line on this first page."

This is all well and good.  I'm certainly of the belief that we saw the bottom on Thursday...but how things turn out in the future is...as Nick Laird pointed out in his comments...as always, in the hands of JPMorgan et al.  Supply and demand fundamentals mean nothing when you're dealing with a managed market.

And as much as the wildly bullish part of me wants to believe both Nick and Frank...the 'born in Missouri' part of me says "show me".  Stay tuned.

Here's a chart from a Zero Hedge article that Australian reader Wesley Legrand sent my way yesterday.  It need needs no further embellishment from me...and the link to the hard copy of the story is here.

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These last three charts were sent to me by reader Phil Barlett...and shows just how much monetary pumping at all levels is currently going on at the moment.  It's already showing up in the real inflation numbers...and certainly before the end of the year, monetary inflation will be noticeable to all...even if official government figures don't show it.

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In his latest blog, reader Scott Pluschau points out that the Commitment of Traders short/long ratio for the U.S. dollar is now greater than 10 to 1.  I would suggest that his short blog is worth the read...and the link is here.

Since it's Saturday, I have a huge list of stories for you that I hope you have the time to plow through in what's left of the weekend.

 

¤ Critical Reads

MF’s Corzine Ordered Funds Moved to JP Morgan, Memo Says

Jon S. Corzine, MF Global Holding Ltd. chief executive officer, gave “direct instructions” to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in a brokerage account with JPMorgan Chase & Co., according to a memo written by congressional investigators.

Edith O’Brien, a treasurer for the firm, said in an e-mail quoted in the memo that the transfer was “Per JC’s direct instructions,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The e-mail, dated Oct. 28, was sent three days before the company collapsed, the memo says. The memo does not indicate whether that phrase was the full text of the e-mail or an excerpt.

O’Brien’s internal e-mail was sent as the New York-based broker found intraday credit lines limited by JPMorgan, the firm’s clearing bank as well as one of its custodian banks for segregated customer funds, according to the memo, which was prepared for a March 28 House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on the firm’s collapse. O’Brien is scheduled to testify at the hearing after being subpoenaed this week.

Well, I wonder if Jon is finally about to do the perp walk?  The first one through the door with this Bloomberg story was Edmonton reader B.E.O...and the link is here.

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Student-Loan Debt Tops $1 Trillion

The amount Americans owe on student loans is far higher than earlier estimates and could lead some consumers to postpone buying homes, potentially slowing the housing recovery, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Total student debt outstanding appears to have surpassed $1 trillion late last year, said officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency created in the wake of the financial crisis. That would be roughly 16% higher than an estimate earlier this year by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The new figure—released Wednesday at a banking conference in Austin, Texas—is a preliminary finding from a study of student debt that the bureau plans to release this summer. Bureau officials said the estimate is based on a survey of private lenders, as opposed to other estimates that rely on a sampling of consumer credit reports.

I borrowed this Wall Street Journal story from yesterday's King Report...and the link is here.

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Bernanke: Economy Lacks Strength to Sustain Gains

There is still not enough spending and investment to sustain the economic recovery, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday.

Bernanke said consumer demand remains weak relative to its level before the Great Recession. He noted that other contributors to economic growth — including borrowing and trade — have declined.

"Consumer spending has not ... recovered. It's still quite weak relative to where it was before the crisis," Bernanke said in the second of four lectures he is giving to George Washington University students this month. "We lack a source of demand to keep the economy growing."

This moneynews.com story from Thursday was sent to me by West Virginia reader Elliot Simon...and the link is here.

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Fourth Largest Gun Maker In US Is Out Of Guns

In a somewhat sad and shocking slap of reality to the face of our 'recovery' and 'freedom-based-debt-holdings', today's press-release-of-the-day (since we still haven't heard from BATS) goes to Sturm, Ruger (the 4th largest gun-maker in the US) who after receiving orders for over one million units in Q1 has temporarily suspended the acceptance of new orders.

This Zero Hedge story from yesterday was sent to me by Australian reader Wesley Legrand...and the link is here.

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Laundered Money: Joseph T. Salerno

Under cover of its multiplicity of fabricated wars on drugs, terror, tax evasion, and organized crime, the US government has long been waging a hidden war on cash. One symptom of the war is that the largest denomination of US currency is the $100 note, whose ever-eroding purchasing power is far below the purchasing power of the €500 note. US currency used to be issued in denominations running up to $10,000 (including also $500; $1,000; $5,000 notes). There was even a $100,000 note issued for transactions among Federal Reserve banks. The United States stopped printing large denomination notes in 1945 and officially discontinued their issuance in 1969, when the Fed began removing them from circulation. Since then the largest currency note available to the general public has a face value of $100. But since 1969, the inflationary monetary policy of the Fed has caused the US dollar to depreciate by over 80 percent, so that a $100 note in 2010 possessed a purchasing power of only $16.83 in 1969 dollars. That is less purchasing power than a $20 bill in 1969!

Despite this enormous depreciation, the Federal Reserve has steadfastly refused to issue notes of larger denomination. This has made large cash transactions extremely inconvenient and has forced the American public to make much greater use than is optimal of electronic-payment methods. Of course, this is precisely the intent of the US government. The purpose of its ongoing breach of long-established laws regarding financial privacy is to make it easier to monitor the economic affairs and abrogate the financial privacy of its citizens, ostensibly to secure their safety from Colombian drug lords, Al Qaeda operatives, and tax cheats and other nefarious white-collar criminals.

This very interesting read was posted over at the mises.org website on Tuesday...and was sent to me by reader Dena Kline.  It's worth reading if you have the time...and the link is here.

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The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.

But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive, a massive complex so large that it necessitated expanding the town’s boundaries. Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol.

Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. And instead of listening for words flowing down from heaven, these newcomers will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks. In the little town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors.

Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

This story was posted on the wired.com website on March 15th...and reader Roy Furr sent it to me this past Monday.  It's a must read for sure...and the link is here.

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NSA denies eavesdropping on Americans

A recent article regarding the National Security Agency’s new secret eavesdropping facility in Bluffdale, Utah has caught the attention of members of the House.

The article which was published last week by Wired explains how the NSA “will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks.

For Rep. Hank Johnson it’s the domestic part that is kind of tricky.

During the apparent pressing of Cyber Command Commander of the National Security Agency, Chief General Keith Alexander on Tuesday regarding the true capabilities on the National Security Agency, many skeptics doubt the alleged truth by the notorious agency.

Alexander denied all the questions regarding the NSA spying on Americans, and during the meeting Johnson asked, “Does the NSA have the capacity to find out who the parties are by the content of their email?

This story was posted over at the Russia Today website on Thursday...and is another absolute must read.  I thank Roy Stephens for his first offering of the day...and the link is here.

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Will America Do Anything to Preserve Its Empire? - Glenn Greenwald

US army staff sergeant Robert Bales is accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children, and then burning some of the bodies. The massacre took place in two villages in the southern rural district of Panjwai. Though this horrific crime targeted Afghans on Afghan soil, Afghanistan will play no role in investigating the crime or bringing the perpetrator (or perpetrators) to justice. That is because the US almost immediately whisked the accused out of Afghanistan and brought him to an American army base in Fort Leavensworth, Kansas.

The rapid exclusion of Afghans from the process of trying the accused shooter has, predictably and understandably, exacerbated the growing anti-American anger in that country. It is hard to imagine any nation on the planet reacting any other way to being denied the ability to try suspects over crimes that take place on its soil. A Taliban commander quickly gave voice to that nationalistic fury, announcing: "We want this soldier to be prosecuted in Afghanistan. The Afghans should prosecute him."

This story was posted over at the alternet.org website on Wednesday.  It's Roy Stephens second offering of the day...and well worth reading.  The link is here.

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Cuba's Pioneering Days: Havana Gets a Taste of the Free Market

Inhabitants of the communist bastion of Cuba have been getting a taste of the free market lately with the introduction of market reforms by President Raúl Castro. The Catholic Church is supporting his endeavor, and Pope Benedict's visit could boost efforts to open up the country.

In recent months, quiet reforms have been taking shape in Cuba under President Raúl Castro. Castro wants to combine the state-run economy with market-based reforms in the hope of transforming the country into a sort of Caribbean Vietnam. To reduce expense, the government recently laid off 500,000 employees. They are now permitted to open shops and handicraft business, sell real estate, cars and home-grown vegetables, among other businesses.

So far, Cubans' hopes that they might be allowed to travel abroad have been in vain since the regime has refused to amend its migration laws. Revolutionary veterans are still in charge in a country where the average age in the National Assembly is well over 70. And regime critics continue to be repressed.

In the economic sphere, however, things that were once unthinkable are suddenly possible. To reduce expenses, the government recently laid off 500,000 employees. They are now permitted to open shops and handicraft businesses, sell real estate, cars and home-grown vegetables, or -- as in the case of Perez -- drive their own rickshaws. Within a year, the number of very small businesses has doubled to almost 350,000. Nevertheless, these ventures are still a far cry from being genuine small businesses or even privately owned companies.

This story appeared over at the German website spiegel.de yesterday...and it's a very interesting read.  I thank Roy for his third offering in today's column...and the link is here.

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Increasing Returns: Berlin's Poor Collect Bottles to Make Ends Meet

To see Günther rummaging through trash cans in Berlin, you might assume he was homeless. But the 61-year-old is actually one of a growing number of pensioners looking to earn extra cash through bottle recycling.

Significant numbers of financially destitute people are now resorting to collecting discarded glass and plastic bottles, which carry a redeemable cash deposit, as a means of supplementing their income. But whereas the majority of those collecting used to be the homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts, more recently it is Berlin's pensioners and long-term unemployed who are increasingly turning to the practice in order to make ends meet.

The number of pensioners resorting to bottle collecting has doubled in the last couple of years. Social experts are warning that the unhygienic practice is a symptom of an inadequate social system struggling to cope with the growing population of elderly residents in the German capital.

This is another interesting read from yesterday's edition of spiegel.de...and it's also another offering from Roy Stephens.  The link is here.

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Not the Next Greece: Portugal Can Still Turn the Corner in Debt Crisis

Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian has warned that debt-ridden Portugal will become a second Greece and may also need a private-sector haircut. But he is exaggerating: Lisbon is forging ahead with its reform efforts, and the country has every chance of getting its finances under control.

In fact, it would seem there's a light at the end of the tunnel -- if it weren't for Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of Pimco.

Is it inevitable that Portugal will become a second Greece over the course of this year? "Yes, unfortunately that will be the case," El-Erian told SPIEGEL in an interview this week. The first bailout package for Portugal will prove insufficient, he believes, and the country will ask for more money, which in turn will likely trigger a debate over a Greek-style haircut involving the private sector. On the whole, El-Erian considers the situation "dramatic."

Those words carry weight, because El-Erian is not just anyone. Pimco is the world's largest bond investor and manages over $1.3 trillion. So in response, both Portugal's prime minister and those overseeing the EU bailout have felt a need to emphasize over the last few days that there will be no further aid, and that Portugal will save itself.

We'll see how this all turns out, dear reader, but if I had to be a dollar, I'd bet on El-Erian's scenario.  This is another story from yesterday's edition of spiegel.de...and another story courtesy of Roy Stephens.  The link is here.

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Tibetan Self-Immolations Rise as China Tightens Grip

On March 3, a few days before the start of the spring semester, Tsering Kyi, 20, emerged from a public toilet at the town’s produce market, her wispy frame bound in gasoline-soaked blankets that had been encircled with wire, relatives and local residents said.

In a flash she was a heap of flames, her fist raised defiantly, before falling to the ground, residents said. She died at the scene.

Over the past year 29 Tibetans, seven of them in the last three weeks, have chosen a similarly agonizing, self-annihilating protest against Chinese policies. Of those, 22 have died.

Beijing, alarmed about the threat to stability in a region seething with discontent over religious and cultural controls, has responded with an assortment of heavy-handed measures. Officials have described the self-immolators as outcasts and terrorists, blamed the pernicious influence of Tibetan exiles and flooded the region with checkpoints and paramilitary police officers in flak jackets.

This Roy Stephens offering was in the Thursday edition of The New York Times...and the link is here.

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The Roving Eye: Russia rules Pipelineistan

Nabucco - the alleged gas Holy Grail from the Caspian Sea to Europe, 4,000 kilometers from Turkey to Austria - is the perennial Pipelineistan soap opera.

Part of the gas to supply Nabucco may come from Azerbaijan. Another part might - a very problematic "might" - come from Turkmenistan. But every self-respecting energy analyst knows

Nabucco could only possibly work if it was supplied by natural gas from Iran. That will happen over Washington's collective dead body.

So, once again, the spineless European Union (EU) political "leadership" - once again acting like the poodles of choice - gloriously sabotaged what it has always billed as its most ambitious energy project; caved in to US pressure; and ultimately sacrificed its energy independence. And all this from people who never lose an opportunity to decry that Europe is a "gas hostage" to Russia's Gazprom.

This Pepe Escobar offering is a must read for all students of 'The Great Game'.  It's another Roy Stephens offering of course...and it's posted over at the Asia Times website.  The link is here.

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Apple Flash Crash vs. Silver Flash Smash

The Apple flash crash is the talk of the day.  The largest market capitalization company in the United States was demolished over a fat finger/algos/faulty exchange whatever you want to call it.  The specific cause is being attributed to BATS, a high frequency trading system.  An errant trade caused Apple's stock to spiral down over 9 percent causing circuit breaker rules to halt the trading of its stock.  BATS - making its IPO today also had problems with their own shares.  Shares of BATS were reportedly less than a penny a share for a short time before its stock trading was also halted.

With all the apparent attention to Apple and the accusations of who was responsible for the demolition over a few minutes, you have to wonder where all this attention is when silver gets demolished over a few minutes on a regular basis.  Doesn't anyone care who is behind that?

This short piece, along with some great charts, showed up over at the silverdoctors.ca website yesterday...and it's Roy Stephens final offering of the day.  It's worth the read...including the BATS link above...and the link is here.  Reader Phil Barlett sent me the BATS story in the wee hours of the morning...and I thought I'd include it with this story.

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Gold investors ditch equity funds, favor bullion

Investors keen on gold showed frustration at underperforming funds that invest in mining firms as liquidations extended for more than four straight months, while money flowed into funds that invest in the underlying metal, data from Lipper showed.

Gold mining stocks have underperformed the metal over the last several years as companies struggled with rising costs and operational problems in far-flung locations, but the figures show an accelerating trend.

The net outflows from U.S. funds that invest in gold and precious metals mining companies such as Barrick Gold Corp and Newmont Mining Corp continued for the longest period since 2008.

This Reuters story was filed from London yesterday...and I plucked it from a GATA release...and the link is here.

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Three King World News Blogs

The first blog is with Egon von Greyerz...and is headlined "Physical Gold Demand Enormous & Accelerating".  The second blog is with Gabelli gold fund manager, Caesar Bryan...and it's entitled "Central Banks Aggressively Buying Gold".  The last blog is with Art Cashin, who is director of floor operations for UBS.  His blog is headlined "Expect Chaos in Markets if War with Iran Begins".

Read more...

Hong Kong exchange to launch yuan-settled gold, copper futures

The Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange (HKMEx) plans to launch yuan-settled gold and copper futures by July, its president said on Friday, as it looks to tap growing interest in commodities from Chinese investors.

Albert Helmig also told reporters in Shanghai that the bourse would offer yuan-denominated contracts for other industrial metals in the next 12 months.

Appetite for investment in commodities has risen dramatically in China over the last few years on the back of galloping prices, which have also led to more hedging demand from some companies.

This very short Reuters piece was filed from Shanghai yesterday...and is another story I found in a GATA release yesterday.   The link is here.

Read more...

James Turk: Chinese gold imports will keep increasing

GoldMoney founder and GATA consultant James Turk writes that China's influence on the gold market is exploding because its domestic mine production can no longer meet domestic demand, and this influence will be bullish. Turk's commentary is headlined "Chinese Gold Imports Will Keep Increasing".

It's posted over at the goldmoney.com website...and the link is here.

Read more...

Ben Traynor: Gunning for gold

Ben Traynor of Bullion Vault elaborates on Turkey, India, and Vietnam, three countries whose government don't mind acknowledging that they have a big problem with freely trading gold, a competitive currency. Traynor's commentary is headlined "Gunning for Gold".

I thank Chris Powell for writing the preamble for me...and this story is posted over at Peter Spina's website goldseek.com.  It's a must read...and the link is here.

Read more...

 

¤ The Funnies

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  • Low risk exploration strategy

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  • Antofagasta has provided US$ 350,000 for all anticipated Alvalade JV expenses for Q1 2012.

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¤ The Wrap

A “simple” question:  Is the U.S. stock market a Bubble?  Have the Fed and global central bankers prolonged the U.S. Credit Bubble sufficiently to the point of having again incited Bubble dynamics within our equities market?  Sure looks like it.  As we’ve witnessed repeatedly for twenty-odd years now, every government bailout/policy response to a burst Bubble ends up inflating fledgling Bubbles to full-blown Bubble fruition excess.  From my point of view, U.S. stocks were, at the minimum, a “fledgling” Bubble prior to recent LTRO and concerted global central bank liquidity operations. - Doug Noland, Credit Bubble Bulletin, 23 March 2012

Here's a 'blast from the past' that you'll recognize instantly.  I can't remember how many times in my life I've danced my brains out to this 1978 disco classic.  The link is here.  Enjoy!

And so it begins...another precious metals rally in the making...at least that's what the talk is on the Internet right now after Thursday and Friday's action.

I, like you, would really like that to be the case.  But, as I've said ad nauseam in this column for years...it's all up to JPMorgan et al.  Will they be the short sellers of first and last resort when this rally starts to grow some real legs?  Don't know.

We're now below the 50 and 200-day moving averages on the all the precious metals...and once prices break over that level, the game will hopefully be on.  At that point we'll find out soon enough how these rallies will end.

Of course there could still be some more down-side price action, but one has to wonder just how much more blood 'da boyz' can get out of these precious metal stones.

This column has already gone on for too long, but before I sign off, I want to remind you one more time that with the precious metals and their shares still on sale...but for how much longer, nobody knows...there's still the opportunity to either readjust your portfolio, or get fully invested in the continuing major up-leg of this bull market in both silver and gold...and I respectfully suggest that you take a trial subscription to either Casey Research's International Speculator [junior gold and silver exploration companies], or BIG GOLD [large producers], with all our best (and current) recommendations...as well as the archives. Don't forget that our 90-day guarantee of satisfaction is in effect for both publications.

Enjoy what's left of your weekend...and I'll see you in this space on Tuesday.

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