Gold & Silver Daily
 

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

After trading flat for most of the early going in Far East trading on their Tuesday, the gold price began to rally around 1 p.m. Hong Kong time.  The spike high came about ten minutes before the London open---and from there it slowly got sold down until the noon London silver fix was done for the day.  Then the HFT boyz showed up---and the low of the day came minutes after London closed.  From there, the price didn't do a lot, but did spike up once the COMEX finished trading at 1:30 p.m. EST.  That rally got squashed less than thirty minutes later---and the gold price was under quiet selling pressure for the remainder of electronic trading in New York.

The high and low tick were reported by the CME Group as $1,286.50 and $1,255.80 in the April contract.

Gold closed on Tuesday at $1,260.50 spot, down $13.70 from Monday.  Net volume was very decent at 170,000 contracts.

Silver followed the very same price path as gold, except the rally was far more impressive, as was the sell-off by "da boyz" that came after.  The inflection points in silver were at the precise same times as they were for gold.  Nothing else to see here.

The high and low were recorded as $17.75 and $17.07 in the March contract.

Silver closed yesterday in New York at $17.27 spot, up 9 cents on the day.  Net volume was 38,000 contracts, almost double Monday's volume.

The platinum chart was almost a carbon copy of the gold and silver charts---and the palladium charts was a mini version of all three.  Platinum closed up 6 bucks---and palladium was closed down a dollar.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index closed late on Monday afternoon in New York at 94.56---and made it as high as 94.63 by 9:00 a.m. in London on their Tuesday morning.  From there it began to slide a little---and then headed south with a vengeance at 8 a.m. EST.  The 93.28 low tick came minutes before the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close---and from there it rallied slowly but quietly for the rest of the Tuesday session.  The dollar index finished the day at 93.75---down 81 basis points from Monday.

At its low, the index was down 128 basis points---and at that point it appeared that a not-for-profit buyer with deep pockets threw a bid at the index, catching the proverbial falling knife, as this had all the signs of market that was about to go no ask.

There are no markets anymore---only interventions.

The gold stocks opened down---and hit their low tick at gold's low tick, which was minutes after London closed at 11 a.m. EST.  The rather choppy rally from there gathered steam on the back of the rally in gold that began at the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close---and the shares peaked out shortly after 2 p.m. after sticking their collective noses into positive territory albeit briefly.  But by the time the trading day was done, the shares were almost back down to their lows of the day, as the HUI closed down 2.46 percent.

The chart pattern for the silver equities was almost the same as the gold stocks---and even though silver closed in positive territory, Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 1.24 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 4 of the February delivery month in gold showed that only 69 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.  Scotiabank and Jefferies were the short/issuers on 67 of those contracts---and JPMorgan in its client account stopped 53 of them.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Daily Delivery Report for the Tuesday trading session showed that gold open interest for February took another precipitous drop.  This time it was 818 contracts, leaving the remaining open interest at only 1,286 contracts.  Silver's o.i. in February rose 5 contracts to 42.

There was a withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant took out 57,614 troy ounces.  There was also a small withdrawal from SLV, as 135,441 troy ounces were removed---and I would suspect that this amount represented a fee payment of some kind.

There was a sales report from the U.S. Mint.  They sold 2,500 troy ounces of gold eagles---1,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---and another 188,500 silver eagles.

There wasn't must in/out activity in gold at the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday, as only 16,075 troy ounces were reported received---and nothing was shipped out.  The gold was deposited in JPMorgan's vault.  There was even less activity in silver, as nothing was reported received---and 7,560 troy ounces were shipped out.  The activity isn't worth linking.

Here's a chart that Washington state reader S.A. sent our way yesterday---and I thought it worth sharing.

It was a pretty quiet news day yesterday---and I don't have all the many stories today.  I hope there are some posted below that you find worth your time.

 

¤ Critical Reads

Factory Orders Plunge 5th Month in a Row as ISM New York Crashes Most Since 2007

On the heels of the biggest crash in ISM New York since May 2007 (swinging from 9 year highs at 70.8 to 6 year lows at 44.5 in one month), Factory Orders plunged 3.4% in December (against an expectation of a 2.4% drop) - the biggest drop since Mar 2013 (ex last year's Boeing swing).

Factory Orders 3.6% YoY drop is the largest since November 2009. Which explains why stocks are soaring... (despite Fed's Bullard saying "there is a lot of momentum in the U.S. economy.")

This brief Zero Hedge article was posted on their Internet site at 10:05 a.m. EST on Tuesday morning---and today's first story is courtesy of Dan Lazicki.

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The Sad Chart of U.S. Home-Ownership

Did you know that the rate of home ownership in the United States has fallen to a 20 year low?  Did you know that it has been falling consistently for an entire decade?  For the past couple of years, the economic optimists have been telling us that the economy has been getting better.  Well, if the economy really has been getting better, why does the home ownership rate keep going down?

Yes, the ultra-wealthy have received a temporary financial windfall thanks to the reckless money printing the Federal Reserve has been doing, but for most Americans economic conditions have not been improving.  This is clearly demonstrated by the housing chart that I am about to share with you.  If the economy really was healthy, more people would be getting good jobs and thus would be able to buy homes.  But instead, the home ownership rate has continued to plummet throughout the entire “Obama recovery”.  I think that this chart speaks for itself…

Of course this home ownership collapse began well before Barack Obama entered the White House.  Our economic problems are the result of decades of incredibly bad decisions.  But anyone that believes that things have “turned around” for the middle class under Barack Obama is just being delusional.

If the U.S. economy truly was in “good shape”, the percentage of Americans that own homes would not be at a 20 year low.

If you don't want to read anything else from this article, you should at least look at the chart, as it's worth the trip on its own.  This story appeared on the economatters.com Internet site yesterday sometime---and it's the second offering in a row from Dan Lazicki.

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Gallup CEO: "America's 5.6% Unemployment is One Big Lie"

The biggest threat to a corrupt regime is when truth moves away from the "conspiracy theory" fringes and into the mainstream. Which is why we thank Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, for daring to tell the truth to those who care to listen.

Here’s something that many Americans -- including some of the smartest and most educated among us -- don’t know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.

There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.

And it’s a lie that has consequences, because the great American dream is to have a good job, and in recent years, America has failed to deliver that dream more than it has at any time in recent memory. A good job is an individual’s primary identity, their very self-worth, their dignity -- it establishes the relationship they have with their friends, community and country. When we fail to deliver a good job that fits a citizen’s talents, training and experience, we are failing the great American dream.

This commentary put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 7:22 p.m. EST yesterday evening---and I thank reader M.A. for passing it around.

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Obama: 'I'm proud of saving the economy'

Six years after taking office amid a deep economic recession, President Barack Obama is looking back on his successes with a smile.

"I'm proud of saving the economy," Obama told CNN's Fareed Zakaria in an interview on Tuesday when asked what he is most proud of accomplishing as president.

Obama conceded that "we still have a long way to go," but said that his administration stabilized the economy and laid a "new foundation to move forward."

Just a week before, Obama touted in his State of the Union address the "fastest economic growth in over a decade" and pledged to build on those gains by focusing on expanding the middle class.

This bulls hit CNN propaganda piece appeared on the worthynews.com Internet site on Sunday morning EST---and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it.

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The Dollar Index Heads South: Is The "Other" Most Crowded Trade of 2015 Starting To Crack?

With the recent collapse of Treasury yields, the massive short position in bonds has been dramatically unwound (though there is still plenty left). However, there is the other "most crowded" trade in the world - Long The U.S. Dollar - that remains... but is starting to show some cracks in the armor.

Despite the highest levels of Short EUR/Long USD since the very peak of the E.U. Crisis in 2012 and still massively long net dollar positions across sell-side OTC indications and CFTC exchange-traded positions, the last two days have seen the biggest drop in the USD Index since September 2013... is the world's most crowded trade about to unwind?

This should not be a total surprise as Goldman appeared to call the top in the USD last week.

This short piece, along with a couple of must view charts, was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 11:57 a.m. EST yesterday morning---and it's another contribution from Dan Lazicki.

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The $100 Trillion Global Debt Ponzi Scheme

If you are an investor, your big concern should not be about stocks… but what happens when the bond bubble goes bust.

For 30+ years, Western countries have been papering over the decline in living standards by issuing debt. In its simplest rendering, sovereign nations spent more than they could collect in taxes, so they issued debt (borrowed money) to fund their various welfare schemes.

This was usually sold as a “temporary” issue. But as politicians have shown us time and again, overspending is never a temporary issue. Today, a whopping 47% of American households receive some kind of Government benefit. This is not temporary… this is endemic.

All of this is spending is being financed by borrowed money… hence, the bond bubble, the biggest bubble in financial history: an incredible $100 trillion monster that is now growing by trillions of dollars every few months.

No surprises here.  This must read commentary from Phoenix Capital Research was picked up by Zero Hedge---and then David Stockman.  It showed up on their respective websites yesterday---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

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British Petroleum deepens capex cuts, surprises with Rosneft profit

BP said it would deepen capital investment cuts this year to adapt to lower oil prices after a surprise contribution from its stake in Russia's firm Rosneft helped it to beat quarterly profit forecasts.

The plunge in oil prices was further reflected in a $3.6 billion impairment charge relating to assets in the North Sea and Angola. Fellow British energy company BG Group Plc also wrote down the value of its business by almost $6 billion on Tuesday.

BP's shares were up 2.2 percent at 1240 GMT, slightly underperforming the index and rising oil prices, although investors praised the company for one of the most robust performances among its peers.

BP also surprised investors by reporting underlying replacement cost profit at $2.2 billion versus expectations of $1.5 billion for the last three months of 2014.

This Reuters article, filed from London, appeared on their website at 1:04 p.m. EST Tuesday afternoon---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for finding it for us.

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‘Decades of Swiss banking secrecy have left their mark’

Switzerland, along with around 100 other countries, will put an end to its treasured practice of banking secrecy when the treaty on automatic exchange of information between tax authorities comes into force in 2018. 

The country is hoping that being proactive in the implementation of the new rules will both shield it from new attacks and enable it to help shape the laws into something it finds palatable. 

But decades of shady banking practices and the country’s initial reluctance to end banking secrecy after the 2009 financial crisis have left their mark on the country’s reputation. It is not always easy to convince others of Switzerland’s good intentions, says Jacques de Watteville, State Secretary for International Financial Matters, and the man in charge of Swiss efforts in the area.

This article put in an appearance on the swissinfo.ch Internet site at 5:00 p.m. Europe time yesterday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for sharing it with us.

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Greece’s new finance minister looks like a normal person – how refreshing: Simon Jenkins

A yawning gulf has opened in the world of financial diplomacy. It is not whether to bail out Greece yet again. It is how a Greek finance minister should dress when visiting a chancellor of the exchequer. Yanis Varoufakis arrived in Downing Street yesterday in black jeans, a mauve open-necked shirt that was not tucked in, and the sort of leather coat Putin might wear on a bear hunt. If George Osborne still didn’t get the point, Varoufakis had a No. 1 haircut. What was going on?

What was going on was real life. If I were a banker and had seen Varoufakis arrive in the same dark suit as Osborne was wearing, what would I think? I would think here was a man eager to be accepted into the club. He dresses like a banker, therefore he thinks like a banker, which is how today’s finance ministers are supposed to think. I would be reassured.

We don’t want bankers to be reassured by Varoufakis just now. We want them to be terrified. Don’t mess with me, he is saying. I have a sovereign electorate behind me, and I have a bankrupt country. When your banks go bankrupt you bail them out. When your businesses go bankrupt you write off their debts and let them start again. Do the same to me. Your banks have lent my country crazy sums of money, way beyond the bounds of caution or common sense. Now you honestly think you will get it back. You can’t. Read my lips, look at my jeans, feel my stubble. You can’t. Get real.

This very interesting opinion piece showed up on the The Guardian's website at 9:51 GMT on Tuesday morning---and it's the second offering in a row from reader B.V.  It's also worth reading.

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Three Greek banks tap €2 billion in emergency funding, sources tell Reuter

Three of Greece's four major banks have started to tap emergency funding from the Greek central bank as some depositors have withdrawn their money due to political uncertainty, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Tuesday.

Greek banks are facing a new crisis after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's left-wing government stormed to power last week with a pledge to abandon a bailout lifeline keeping the country afloat.

Tightening liquidity conditions ahead of a Jan. 25 election prompted the Bank of Greece to ask the European Central Bank to approve the emergency liquidity line for all of the country's top lenders - National, Piraeus, Alpha and Eurobank.

The ECB, which approved the emergency funding line for two weeks, is due to reassess the situation on Wednesday in what could be a tense meeting.  Germany's Bundesbank is critical of Greece's use of such funding as it believes it could be used to support the government by soaking up its new short-term debt issuance which might otherwise be hard or more costly to sell.

This Reuters news item, filed from Athens, appeared on their Internet site at 4:28 p.m. GMT yesterday afternoon---and it's a story I found on the gata.org website.

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Greece's rock-star finance minister Yanis Varoufakis defies ECB's drachma threats

Greece’s finance minister has denounced eurozone threats to cut off funding for Greek banks later this month as political intimidation, warning in fiery language that his country’s democratic revolution will not be crushed into submission.

Yanis Varoufakis, the emerging rock-star of Europe’s anti-austerity uprising, said the European Central Bank is straying into murky waters by openly stating that it may cease to act as lender-of-last resort for the Greek financial system.

“These threats are perfectly illegitimate. They are trying to asphyxiate us with arbitrary deadlines,” he told The Telegraph during a lightning tour of EU capitals to drum up support.

A string of ECB officials have said in recent days that the institution would no longer accept Greek debt as collateral in exchange for loans after February 28, if Greece refuses to cooperate with the EU-IMF troika and walks away from its bail-out deal.

This commentary by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard appeared on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 7:48 p.m. GMT on their Tuesday evening---and I thank Roy Stephens for sliding it into my in-box in the wee hours of this morning.

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Russia Today: Episode 714---"Greece is the Word"

In this episode of the Keiser Report back in London, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the Greek situation and that a nation is not what it thinks it is but what others attempt to hide about that nation - like the fact that it is bankrupt.

They discuss the role Goldman Sachs played in helping Greece hide its debts and, thus, strapping it to the euro and the mispricing of real risk by well-compensated bond investors lending to Greece at ultra low interest rates.

They also discuss that, while deflated footballs was the main headline on the nightly news in America, a memo was delivered to Obama outlining the various ways that brokers defraud American investors of years worth of retirement income.

Wow!  No punches pulled here, as Max goes ballistic.  The first episode runs for about 15 minutes---and it was posted on the Russia Today website at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.  It's definitely worth your time if you have it---and it's the second offering of the day from reader M.A.

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Sergey Glazyev: The United States will wage the battle "until the last Ukrainian"

Undoubtedly the United States will wage the battle for leadership "until the last Ukrainian", as they say now. Not accidentally they chose Ukraine as a tool of attacking Europe and Russia. Launching a world war is necessary for the Americans in order to preserve their hegemony in the world through strengthening control over Europe by imposing the Trans-Atlantic free trade agreement; establishing control over Russia and Middle East, thus expanding their competitive advantage in the battle for leadership with the Asian countries.

This war is doomed for defeat. Although Japan remains an occupied country, despite all the obstacles that Americans are trying to create in the Japanese-Chinese relationship, very quickly the Japanese capital is merging with the Chinese production system.

And we have to understand that these convulsions, that we see in Washington, from the point of view of global development, will not allow the Americans to hold on to leadership, but present a great danger for us, because they are starting a war in Europe against us.

We are the main victim of this war today, and there is no reason to believe that it will stop in the next few years.

This must read commentary was posted on the fortruss.blogspot.ca Internet site yesterday---and it's another contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Six Veterans of Stalingrad Write Open Letter to Angela Merkel

Here in the 70th year after the victory over Nazism, we, veterans of that terrible war and participants in that most horrible combat, are aware that a spectre again is haunting Europe, a spectre of the Brown Plague. This time it is Ukraine that has become the nursery of Nazism, where from the fountainhead of an ideology in ultranationalism, antisemitism, and inhumaneness, there have come into practice rejections of other cultures, physical violence, elimination of dissenters, and murders motivated by ethnic hatred.

Before us there stand familiar pictures: torchlight parades, thugs in nazi-emblemed uniforms, upraised right hands in the Nazi salute, fascist processions with police protection through the center of Kiev, and the imposition, on certain people, of second-class status. 

We have seen all this before, and we know where it leads.

Wow!  Is this a must read, or what???  It was posted on the fortruss.blogspot.co.uk Internet site on Monday, but the actual letter itself was written back on January 22.  It's the second offering in a row from Roy Stephens.

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Armand Hammer: Was This American Hero Actually a Soviet Spy?

Fact: He was rich, controversial, and his father was a communist.

Fact: He also built one of America’s leading oil companies.

Moreover, he was a major shareholder and director of a company whose main product—an orange box of baking soda—was a staple in every American fridge, and whose name mirrored his own.

The man I’m referring to is Armand Hammer. He had no immediate connection to the company, Arm & Hammer; it was in fact created 30 years before one of America’s greatest oil tycoons was even born. But Armand was as un-American as could be.

I read all about this guy in G. Edward Griffin's book "The Creature From Jekyll Island"---and Marin Katusa's comments on him are definitely worth reading.

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Another Conspiracy Theory Becomes Fact: The Entire Oil Collapse is All About Crushing Russian Control Over Syria

While the markets are still debating whether the price of oil is more impacted by the excess pumping of crude here, or the lack of demand there, or if it is all just a mechanical squeeze by momentum-chasing HFT algos who also know to buy in the milliseconds before 2:30pm, we bring readers' attention back to what several months ago was debunked as a deep conspiracy theory.

Back then we wrote about a certain visit by John Kerry to Saudi Arabia, on September 11 of all days, to negotiate a secret deal with the now late King Abdullah so as to get a "green light" in order "to launch its airstrikes against ISIS, or rather, parts of Iraq and Syria. And, not surprising, it is once again Assad whose fate was the bargaining chip to get the Saudis on the US' side, because in order to launch the incursion into Syrian sovereign territory, it "took months of behind-the-scenes work by the U.S. and Arab leaders, who agreed on the need to cooperate against Islamic State, but not how or when. The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh U.S. commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority."

It was conspiratorial, that is, until today, when thanks to the far less "tinfoil" NYT one more conspiracy theory becomes conspiracy fact, following a report that "Saudi Arabia has been trying to pressure President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to abandon his support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, using its dominance of the global oil markets at a time when the Russian government is reeling from the effects of plummeting oil prices."

This longish but interesting commentary showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 8:05 p.m. on Monday evening EST---and I thank reader U.D. for passing it around.

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Got Gold Report's Gene Arensberg dies

Our dear friend Gene Arensberg, publisher of the Got Gold Report, died yesterday at Houston Methodist Hospital as a result of complications from lung transplant surgery undertaken in September.

For years Arensberg was a major contributor to the cause of free and transparent markets in the monetary metals, an incisive observer, and, most important, a kind, helpful, and gentle soul whom one was always glad to see, and who will be terribly missed.

Funeral plans will be dispatched as they become available.

Another soldier dies while attempting to serve the cause of free and transparent precious metal markets.  I didn't always agree with what he had to say, but his heart was in the right place.  I found this sad notice in a GATA release yesterday.

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Lawrence Williams: World top 10 gold producers – countries and miners

It is interesting to see how the major producers of gold are faring in the grand scheme of things – both nationally and by company, given the continuing lowish gold prices pertaining over the past two to three years. While one may sometimes argue with the methodology, and findings, of GFMS’ global gold supply/demand statistics the consultancy’s latest report on gold includes its estimates of the world’s top gold producing nations and companies which are not so controversial and there are some changes in position and outputs which are certainly worth noting.

We last produced a similar listing based on 2012/2013 figures from rival precious metals consultancy, Metals Focus, last May and while some of the GFMS statistics may vary a little from those of Metals Focus they broadly follow the same pattern and the overall figures are comparable – perhaps not too surprising given that Metals Focus was started by ex GFMS analysts and marketers.

Let’s take the top 10 country-by-country producers first, showing changes in position based on GFMS 2013 figures and 2014 estimates.

This very worthwhile piece by Lawrie was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site at 9:01 a.m. GMT yesterday morning---and I thank Dan Lazicki for his final story in today's column.

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London Gold Price mechanism to launch in March

The new London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Gold Price, which replaces the long-used London Gold Fix, will be launched in March, New York-listed Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and the LBMA have announced.

As outlined by the association in November, ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA) would officially become the administrator of the new pricing mechanism, transitioning to a physically settled, electronic and tradeable auction, with the ability to participate in three currencies – the dollar, euro and pound.

Within the process, aggregated gold bids and offers would be updated in real-time with the imbalance calculated and the price updated every 30 seconds.

IBA would use ICE’s widely distributed front-end, WebICE, as the technology platform to allow direct participants, as well as sponsored clients, to manage their orders in the auction in real-time from their desktops.

It's a given that the new system won't be a lot different that the old one---corrupt.  This short article appeared on the miningweekly.com Internet site yesterday---and it's the final offering of the day from South African reader B.V.

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Mark O'Byrne: New gold fix to be run by Western and Chinese banks, still not transparent

It appears that the same level of transparency, or lack thereof, will continue to prevail under the new system – as is the case with the LSP, established last year.

The vast bulk of decision making will still be made by banks, who generally view gold with antipathy, and apparently only members of the LBMA will have a role in fixing the price.

This lack of transparency will likely undermine the new system. It will likely be viewed as more or less an extension of the current system with which many market participants are currently dissatisfied.

If London is to maintain supremacy over Shanghai and indeed Singapore as a gold trading and settlement hub, it will need to do a lot more to convince the gold trading community of its bona fides and it would appear that time is not on its side.

That pretty much sums it up.  This must read commentary by Mark appeared on the goldcore.com Internet site yesterday.

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BMO gold product takes aim at big ETF market, new investors

Bank of Montreal has launched a new way for investors to buy physical gold, offering greater security than private storage while going head to head with the $60 billion exchange-traded fund industry.

The launch comes at a critical time for bullion, with investors in recent weeks making a tentative return to the market after a prolonged exodus as the oil rout and euro zone instability reignite gold's appeal as a safe-haven investment.

The first of its kind in the United States, the Canadian bank's new gold deposit receipt program (GOLDR) allows investors to buy and sell shares that are backed by physical bullion stored in Canada and which track the price of spot gold.

Each share represents one ounce of gold, which on Tuesday was worth about $1,260. The bank said the program will issue $500 million worth of shares to start with.

This very interesting Reuters article, filed from New York, appeared on their Internet site a 9 minutes after midnight EDT this morning---and I thank our man in Greece, Harry Grant, for sending it along in the wee hours of this morning Mountain Standard Time.

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¤ The Funnies

This tiny creature is a female Anna's Hummingbird.  Even sitting in bright sunshine, there's not a lot to see, but that's the nature of the female species in the bird world.  This was taken from about 3 meters---and I had to crop it a lot.

Here's the male of the species, but sitting in the shade---and back lit---it doesn't show off his true colours.  This fellow let me get within two meters, which is point-blank range with the lens I was using at the time.  But because of its tiny size, I still had to crop it quite a bit as well.  As a matter of fact it was so tiny, I had a devil of a time getting a focus lock on him.

In bright light---and in full display---the male looks like this, which is a photo I took off the Internet.  I took as similar photo myself, but it's from so far away that I'd be embarrassed to post it.  The photos I took were in Phoenix, but the one below was taken in Victoria, B.C. by Tim Zurowski.  It's a wonderful photo---and I'm green with envy!

The size of the twigs they're sitting on are all well under 3 mm thick, which gives you some idea of how tiny these birds really are.

Alexandria Minerals Corporation (TSX VENTURE:AZX) and Murgor Resources Inc. (TSX VENTURE:MGR) are pleased to announce that they have entered into an arrangement whereby Alexandria will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Murgor.

Here are some of the benefits for Alexandria's shareholders:

  • Substantial increase in Alexandria's mineral resources
  • Alexandria’s cost of discovering gold is already low, at approximately $15.00/oz. The cost of acquiring Murgor’s gold assets is even lower, at approximately $3.00/oz.;
  • Alexandria will have larger strategic land packages in the well-known and prolific mining camps of Val d’Or and Chibougamau in Québec; Red Lake and Matachewan in Ontario; and Flin Flon-Snow Lake in Manitoba;
  • Alexandria management knows how to capitalize on its strategic assets, as evidenced by Alexandria’s successful track record in discovering its West Zone Au-Cu deposit and then monetizing this exploration project in the sale to Agnico-Eagle  (Alexandria Press Release January 14, 2014);

On January 30 Alexandria closed a non-brokered private placement of $500,000 at a price of 10 cents.  There are neither Finder’s Fees nor Commissions associated with this financing.  Proceeds from the sale of the shares will be used for exploration on its Cadillac Break property group in Val d'Or, Québec and general corporate purposes. Call or email Mary Vorvis, 416-305-4999/MVorvis@azx.ca, for more information on Alexandria Minerals.  

 

¤ The Wrap

With precious metal prices showing real signs of life in Far East trading on their Tuesday afternoon, it should have come as no surprise that JPMorgan et al, along with their HFT buddies and their algorithms, didn't waste much time in driving prices back to basically unchanged from Monday's close.

As you already know, dear reader, if these guys hadn't shown up, we would have been looking at precious metal price materially higher than they are now.

If any further proof was need that this was all orchestrated, one only has to look at the price patterns in all four precious metals, as they were virtually identical---except in magnitude.  It rarely gets more obvious than this.

Copper, natural gas and WTIC all posted very decent gains yesterday, but similar or larger gains were not allowed to manifest themselves in the precious metals arena.  These guys are now so conspicuous that Jim Rickards was right in suggesting that they should be embarrassed by what they're doing.

On top of the engineered price declines, was the face plant in the U.S. dollar index that began around 8 a.m. EST yesterday morning.  One would think that a sell-off of that magnitude would have had an immediate and positive impact on the prices of the precious metals, but when the price is set by  "da boyz" in the COMEX futures market, it matters not what the currencies are doing, which is a point I've been making for the last several weeks now.

Here are the 6-month charts for both gold and silver.

As I type this paragraph, the London open is about twenty minutes away.  The price action in Far East trading on their Wednesday afternoon was far more subdued than it was on Tuesday.  At the moment, only silver is down on the day, but only by a few pennies.  Net gold volume is about 24,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is just under 4,000 contracts.  Virtually all the volume in both metals is in their current front months, which is the hallmark of the HFT crowd.  The dollar index is virtually unchanged from Tuesday's close in New York.

Yesterday was the cut-off for Friday's Commitment of Traders Report---and I have no idea as to what the numbers will show when they do come out.  Yesterday's price/volume action certainly didn't add any clarity to the situation.  Last week I guessed/hoped for unchanged---and got my head handed to me.  But with the COT numbers as ugly as they are already, I'm beyond caring what they are at this point.

And as I fire this off to Stowe, Vermont at 4:50 a.m. EST, I see that all four precious metals are up a bit, but are all trending sideways at the moment.  Gold volume is 31,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is 5,200 contracts.  Gold's volume is a little higher than I like seeing at this time of day, considering the price action, but all in all it's pretty quiet at the moment.  The dollar index isn't do much of anything, either---and it's almost like yesterday never happened.

That's all I have for today---and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Ed Steer