After Thursday's late afternoon price adjustment by one of the usual not-for-profit sellers, the gold price remained in a quiet and very tight trading range up until 12:15 p.m. in New York. Then out of the blue...and for no reason I could see...someone decided to pull their bids and mark gold down about $13 in the space of half an hour.
A bid appeared at 12:45 p.m...and gold recovered to close sixty cents below its Thursday close.
Silver spent most of Friday up between thirty and fifty cents...but at 12:15 p.m. Eastern...the silver price got hit for more than sixty cents before recovering a lot of that going into the close of electronic trading at 5:15 p.m. in New York.
You could be forgiven if you thought the timing of this price drop yesterday was more than coincidental, as it bore a remarkable resemblance to what happened to the price at the exact same time on Thursday in both metals. I can tell you that it pinned the needle on my b.s. meter.
The dollar's low came minutes before 8:00 a.m. in London...and was up about forty basis points by the time gold and silver were pushed off their respective 12:15 p.m. cliffs...so most of the dollar's serious rally in price was already in for the day before the rug got pulled out from under the precious metals. Here's the chart...and you can be judge and jury on this one.
The gold stocks followed the gold price pretty much tick-for-tick...although the shares got sold off a bit at the end of the day...with the HUI down 0.88%. The silver stocks closed mixed. Here's the 5-day HUI for the week that was.
The CME's Friday Delivery report showed that only one gold, along with 34 silver contracts, were posted for delivery on Tuesday. JPMorgan and Barclays were the issuers and stoppers of note.
There were no changes reported in either GLD or SLV...and the U.S. Mint reported selling another 1,000 ounces of gold eagles...and nothing else.
The Comex-approved depositories showed a smallish increase of 47,993 ounces of silver on Thursday...and equally smallish 63,548 ounces were shipped out.
The Commitment of Traders report [for positions held at the close of trading on Tuesday, March 22nd] wasn't quite what I was hoping to see...but Ted Butler said that it was still pretty impressive considering the big price gains we saw in both gold and silver during the reporting week.
There was a 1,761 contract increase in the open interest in the Commercial net short position in silver but, as Ted Butler pointed out, the total open interest in silver for the $3.50 up move during the reporting week only showed an increase of 1,074 contracts...and that isn't a lot.
Gold was up about forty dollars during the week, but the Commercial net short position only increased 4,645 contracts...and the total open interest in gold only rose a tiny 1,371 contracts. Ted was very happy about this.
On sober second thought...he's right, of course...and he also pointed out that the COT structure is far more favourable at this juncture than when we were at the previous highs in both gold and silver earlier this month.
Nothing much has changed [from the previous week] with Ted's "Days to Cover Short Positions" since last week, but here's the chart anyway.
As a matter of interest...Monday, March 28th is the last day that you can submit a comment to the CFTC regarding position limits in silver. Here's what Ted had to say about this in his comments to his paying subscribers earlier this week...
"The core issue is that there exists an unusual concentration on the short side of COMEX silver futures held by JPMorgan. Manipulation can only exist if a concentrated position exists. Everything else is a peripheral matter. It does not matter if the concentrated silver short position held by JPMorgan is naked or is hedged with physical or OTC offsets. It does not matter if JPMorgan inherited the concentrated short position from Bear Stearns at the request of the US Government. It does not matter if JPMorgan operates an exchange -- licensed or not. What does matter is the concentrated nature of its COMEX silver short position [in the futures market]."
"What also matters is that the only known antidote to concentration isthe enactment of legitimate speculative position limits, something now lacking in COMEX silver futures. That’s why the current position limit process underway by the CFTC, including the solicitation of publiccomments on the matter, is so important. Fortunately, there has been an outpouring of public response on this issue with well over 3,000 comments being made by fellow citizens and investors asking that the Commission institute a 1,500 contract position limit in silver. I am hopeful that the large number of comments on silver will finally result, at a bare minimum, in an open discussion by the CFTC onthe merits of a 1,500 contract level in silver. For more than 20 years, any thought of an open debate has been buried."
"Of the more than 3,900 public comments on position limits, more than 99% urge the Commission to institute hard position limits on all physical commodities. It will be hard for the Commission to misinterpret the public’s collective opinion that they want hard position limits. With a deadline of March 28 for public comments, if you have not yet submitted your comments, please do so."
And if you're not sure exactly what to say, or how to say it, you can check out what others have written...cut-and-paste that...then embellish it with your own comments...and please be polite. The link to the public comments page is here. This will take about ten minutes out of your life...and it's a small price to pay to be heard on this issue...and you've got the rest of the weekend to do it.
Before running the long list of stories, videos and interviews...here's a chart that was sent to my by Nick Laird over at sharelynx.com. It's the "Total PMs Pool" graph that shows the total physical ounces of precious metals in all know repositories...and their value in U.S. fiat.
My first four stories today are all courtesy of reader Scott Pluschau.
In the Sovereign Fiscal Responsibility Index, the Comeback America Initiative ranked 34 countries according to their ability to meet their financial challenges, and the US finished 28th, said David Walker, head of the organization and former US comptroller general. The link to the story, which is posted over at cnbc.com, is here.
Scott's second offering is right out of the "You-can't-make-this-stuff-up" file. The CBO report discussed the proposal in great detail, including the development of technology that would allow total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to be tracked, reported and taxed, as well as the pros and cons of mandating the installation of this technology in all vehicles. The taxes gathered could be used to offset the costs of highway maintenance at a time when federal funds are short.
The story is posted over at thehill.com website...and the link is here.
Here's an AP story that Scott sent that was posted over at boston.com yesterday...and the headline pretty much sums it up. Richard Shafer, chairman of the Taunton Employment Task Force, says 20 to 25 employers were needed for the fair scheduled for April 6, but just 10 tables had been reserved. One table was reserved by a nonprofit that offers human services to job seekers, and three by temporary employment agencies. It's a very short piece...and the link is here.
Scott's last offering is this story out of the Thursday edition of The New York Times. G.E. reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. Amazing...isn't it? The link is here.
Yesterday I mentioned the fact that G. Edward Griffin, the author of the book "The Creature From Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve" was going to be on Glenn Beck's TV program yesterday. He was...and here's the first part of the Fox News clip of that interview...and I'm hoping the rest of it will be posted sometime today...as only the first twelve minutes were available as of 7:00 a.m. Eastern time this morning. I thank reader Clayton McBride for sharing it with us. It runs about eleven minutes...and the part that is posted is well worth watching. The link is here.
Here's a story out of yesterday's edition of the L.A. Times that was sent to me by reader Mike Priwer. How did Japanese workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant jury-rig fire hoses to cool damaged reactors? Is contaminated water from waste pools overflowing into the Pacific Ocean? Exactly who is the national incident commander?
The answers to these and many other questions are unclear to U.S. nuclear scientists and policy experts, who say the quality and quantity of information coming out of Japan has left gaping holes in their understanding of the disaster nearly two weeks after it began.
This story is well worth your time...and the link is here.
This next item is a Roy Stephens offering that was posted in this morning's edition of The Guardian in London. Reports of many killed as marchers take to streets, plus confrontations in Jordan, Yemen and Bahrain. This is worth reading...and the link is here.
My first precious metals-related offering is this essay bearing the above title that's imbedded in the following GATA release. Economist and former banker Alasdair Macleod explains why inflation won't be as happy for equities as conventional wisdom maintains. Alasdair concludes that the only sector that truly benefits from the death of paper currencies is precious metals.
The essay itself, plus Chris Powell's preamble, are both worth your time...and the link is here. GATA's website was down earlier this morning, so if that link doesn't work...here's the direct link to the essay itself.
Nick Laird sent me a couple of stories [both with short videos imbedded] that were posted over at the Chinese website english.cntv.cn on Thursday and Friday. The first one is headlined "Gold Market in China Booming"...and the second is headlined "Gold Favored by Hong Kong Buyers".
Here's a GATA release of a gold-related story in the Friday edition of the Financial Times. The FT headline reads "In Gold They Trust"...and they poke fun at Utah's move to make gold and silver legal tender. Chris Powell, GATA's secretary treasurer, tees them up and drives them down the fairway in his preamble. This is a must read from one end to the other...and the link is here.
The GATA website is still down as of 7:20 a.m. Eastern time this morning...and the link is to their home page...and this story is on it. If the site is not up when you attempt to read this piece, please check back later, as it's a very important read.
Here's an absolutely shameless plug for the organization that I've been a board member of for many years. Normally I'd just post the link to the GATA story and let Chris Powell do the heavy lifting...but the GATA website is still down, so I'm just going to steal his preamble and post the direct link.
Our longtime friends at AmsterdamGold have minted the official GATA commemorative gold and silver coins...gold in 1-ounce and 10-ounce denominations...silver in 32-ounce [kilobar] and 100-ounce denominations. The coins are absolutely beautiful [they are, as I've seen them. - Ed] and are engraved with the outline of Alain Despert's painting symbolizing GATA's challenge to surreptitious government intervention to suppress the price of the precious metals. The coins will be lasting proofs of their owners' support for GATA's work, and GATA will share in the proceeds to AmsterdamGold from their sales. An advertisement for the coins has been placed on the home page of GATA's Internet site, and you can learn more about the coins and purchase them at the AmsterdamGold Internet site here.
Only 500 of the 1-kilogram coins were made...and I'm the proud owner of one of them.
Eric King over at King World News slipped this audio interview into my in-box in the wee hours of this morning. I haven't had time to listen to it yet...and I have no idea how long in runs...but when John Hathaway is talking...I'm listening. So should you...and the link is here.
Washington state reader S.A. dropped this little gem into my in-box yesterday evening. It was posted over at blogs.forbes.com yesterday afternoon.
Mega-banks J.P. Morgan Chase and HSBC have been under suspicion for manipulating the value of precious metals, particularly silver, since 2008. A recent article in the New York Times alleged the two companies have earned billions of dollars from what could be a gigantic, market manipulation. Allegations state that JP Morgan and HSBC spread a rumor that the value of silver would depress dramatically. Of course, the claims were artificial, but because they owned such a substantial cut of commercial net short silver futures, they were essentially the silver market makers. When the price of silver plummeted based on their continued bearish actions, JP Morgan and HSBC cashed in.
I didn't see Ted Butler's name mentioned anywhere in this blog...but this has been his raison d'être for more than twenty-five years. This is a must read as well...and the link is here.
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Is it any wonder that gold is the traditional gift for the rare accomplishment of a couple's 50th wedding anniversary? On the other hand, the couple that reaches the easily attainable one year anniversary gets to celebrate with the gift of, you guessed it, paper.- Darren C. Pollock, prudentbear.com
Today's 'blast from the past' is new and old. The song is old...but the three guys singing it sure aren't. I must admit that I've become somewhat jaded with a lot of the music videos that I listened to on the Net over the years...but this one blew me away. If they had ever shown up on 'Britain's Got Talent'...they would have won the whole competition hands down on the first night they performed. The only reason they didn't win on that show is because they're from Italy.
I've heard many arrangement of this classic over the years by some of the best tenors on the planet...but they don't hold a candle to these three young guys...and [for good reason] they're obviously superstars in their own country already. So turn up your speakers and get ready to be impressed. I thank reader G.G. for sharing this fantastic youtube.com video with us...and the link is here.
As you can imagine, I wasn't overly impressed with the New York lunchtime antics in the gold and silver markets on Friday. There were minor hiccups in the platinum and palladium price charts as well...but it wasn't as obvious on those charts.
There was pretty big volume in gold, but once the roll-overs from April into the further delivery months were netted out, the volume collapsed to under 100,000 contracts...and the preliminary open interest numbers is a negative 587 contracts...which, I hope, bodes well for the final o.i. number when it's posted late Monday morning Eastern time on the CME's website.
Final open interest numbers for Thursday's big up, then big down day showed that gold o.i. fell 197 contracts...so the day appeared to be a wash in the Comex futures market.
Silver's net volume on Friday was around 65,000 contracts...which is reasonably healthy...and the preliminary open interest number is only 1,778 contracts...which is not a lot in the grand scheme of things.
The final open interest number for Thursday showed a smallish increase of 607 contracts...so the big smack-down during the afternoon trading session pretty much ended up as a wash as far as the futures market in silver was concerned.
Next Friday's Commitment of Traders report should be educational...and I'd give a day's pay to know what the COT numbers were at the close of trading yesterday.
The March delivery month open interest in silver has collapsed down to 388 contracts...and the short holders have three more business days to deliver these contracts to the long holders.
First day notice for delivery into the April gold contract is on Thursday...and the CME should have those numbers posted on their website late Wednesday night. April is not a traditional delivery month for silver.
Nothing much has changed in the silver backwardation situation, as it remains pretty much the same as it was on Thursday.
Here's the 1-year silver chart for your viewing pleasure. Could we power higher from here? Absolutely. Could JPMorgan et al engineer a sell-off and take out the 50-day moving average and scare the hell out of us? You betcha! But can they...or will they? I don't know, but I would suspect that we will find out in the next ten trading days.
I also noticed on this chart that the 200-day moving average has now snuck above $25 the ounce...and the 50-day m.a. will probably break through the $32 mark on Monday. This is a powerful bull market we're in...and it's a good bet that JPMorgan and HSBC are not happy campers about the negative press they're getting these days...and that Forbes piece was just another brick in the wall. I'm still 'all in'.
One other thing to note about this graph is that the price scale is now logarithmic.
There's still time left 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. A subscription to the International Speculator also includes a free subscription to BIG GOLD as well. And don't forget that our 90-day guarantee of satisfaction is in effect for both publications.
That's enough for one day. I hope what's left of your weekend goes well..and I'll see you here on Tuesday. And please don't forget to write that short note to the CFTC regarding silver position limits.