Well, all the negative news that was posted about what might happen in gold and silver on Monday, turned out to be wrong.
Gold rallied from the open in New York on Sunday night...and then plateaued shortly before lunch Hong Kong time. Then, about an hour before London opened, the price began to decline slowly, hitting its London low around the a.m. gold fix at 10:30 local time.
Then it was up, up and away...as gold climbed steadily right up until precisely 4:00 p.m. Eastern time when a seller showed up to ensure that the price didn't break the $1,800 mark. The high was $1,799.60 spot. Gold then traded sideways for the rest of the electronic market in New York.
The gold price closed at $1,795.60 spot...up a very decent $41.60 on the day. Gross volume was very heavy...but once the roll-overs out of the December delivery month were removed, net volume fell all the way down to 106,000 contracts, which is pretty light.
Silver's price action was a bit more exciting...and was pretty much all over the map in the early going, with the low of the day coming at precisely 9:00 a.m. in London. From there, a rally of sorts developed...but, like gold, it really didn't get going until the London a.m. gold fix was in around 10:30 a.m. local time.
Then away the price went to the upside...and it seemed like there were a couple of times when the silver price showed real signs of getting frisky, but both these rallies got sold off before they could develop into anything.
The silver price hit the $35 mark around 3:15 p.m. Eastern time...the high tick was $35.11 spot...but all three attempts to break through that price barrier on a permanent basis, ran into a willing not-for-profit seller in the New York Access Market.
The silver price closed at $34.98 spot...up 85 cents on the day...and probably would have closed higher if someone hadn't been riding shotgun over the price all day long. Net volume was a very light 20,000 contracts.
The gold stocks gapped up...and stayed up...rising slowly and steadily, just like the gold price. The HUI closed virtually on its high of the day...up 3.17%...helped along a bit by a sharp rally in the general equity markets going into the close of trading.
The silver stocks also did well for themselves...and Nick Laird's Silver Sentiment Index closed up 3.57%
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The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed a bit of activity, as 12 gold and 90 silver contracts were posted for delivery tomorrow. The link to that action is here.
The GLD ETF took in a chunky 340,502 troy ounces of gold yesterday...but the SLV ETF went the other direction, as 389,218 ounces were withdrawn.
There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint...and nothing worth mentioning happened over at the Comex-approved warehouses on Friday.
In his weekly commentary to his subscribers on Saturday, silver analyst Ted Butler had this to say about the two CME announcements that came out before...and on...the weekend regarding increased margins...
"There have been recent reports that the CME Group has effectively increased margins across the board by raising the maintenance margin rate to equal full initial margin rates. Previously, some leeway was given in that maintenance margins were lower than full initial margin rates. Many have concluded that this will automatically translate into a selling bloodbath on Monday, especially in silver. I would never doubt the manipulators’ ability to cause sudden sell-offs in the price of silver, as that would contradict everything I had ever written. But an across-the-board effective increase in margin requirements would apply to all parties, both the longs and the shorts, and would not appear to mechanically result in a sell-off or rally. There already has been massive liquidation in silver, as evidenced by the COT structure. Can there be more? Sure. After all, this goes to the heart of my allegations of manipulation in silver. Is significant additional liquidation guaranteed as a result of the CME margin increase? No."
"I would make this point. If the increase in margin does result in a bloodbath of selling, then that selling can be directly traced to the actions of the CME Group. That would substantially confirm my take that the CME is basically a criminal enterprise and should have no role in any regulatory function, like setting margins or position limits. Finally, there was just issued a further communiqué from the CME apparently reversing the margin change. All this proves is that the CME is not qualified in regulatory matters. They are very much qualified in concocting manipulative trading schemes designed to increase their bottom line, but not in matters of customer protection and market integrity; as is any criminal enterprise."
Here's an excellent graph that was sent to me by Australian reader Wesley Legrand on Saturday evening...and it shows the great coming together...and then the great unraveling...of interest rates as each country in turn foundered on the credit rocks. And, just by looking at the chart, you can tell that there's no way on God's green earth of every putting this back the way it was. This chart is worth a few moments of your time.
I have more stories that I care to admit...and, as always, the final edit is up to you.
I happened to catch this 60-Minutes piece on TV on Sunday night. The reporter, Lesley Stahl, was just as horrified as I was about what Jack had to say. But, there's not a thing in here that surprised me one bit...and it shouldn't surprise you, either.
This 14:53 youtube.com video clip was sent to me by reader Richard Vollertsen yesterday evening...and is your first must watch/listen of this column. The link is here.
The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has stretched to the widest on record, worsened by a prolonged economic downturn that has wiped out job opportunities for young adults and saddled them with housing and college debt.
The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.
While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation.
This cnbc.com story was sent to me by West Virginia reader Elliot Simon yesterday...and the link is here.
Lucas Papademos, a one-time European Central Bank deputy president, was appointed Monday as interim leader of debt-riddled Greece's interim administration. [He's also a member of the Trilateral Commission...and you can read all about Greece's new 'leader' here. I thank reader P.S. for this info.]
The country's parties agreed to form a transition government that will help push a bailout package through Parliament before general elections are called, possibly Feb. 19, ekathimerini.com reported.
The Greek leadership agreement was reached Sunday after Prime Minister George Papandreou met with opposition leader Antonis Samaras. The two were to meet later Monday, along with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and New Democracy Vice President Stavros Dimas.
This UPI story from yesterday was sent to me by Roy Stephens...and the link is here.
Telegraph columnist Liam Halligan started this next story thusly..."I ended last Sunday’s column by predicting that the latest eurozone bail-out would unravel within two weeks. Amid the post-deal euphoria, this statement raised a few eyebrows. As it turned out, though, far from being alarmist, I was actually too optimistic."
Then he went on to say the following...
Within three days, the much-trumpeted Franco-German “complete strategy” solution, having previously caused share prices to surge, collapsed in a heap. No one should be surprised. The failure of last weekend’s agreement was inevitable – not least because there was no agreement.
The “50pc haircut” that private sector holders of Greek sovereign bonds “voluntarily accepted” was a myth. There was no resolution in terms of coupons, maturities or participation ratios – as was clear to anyone who looked beyond the headlines. Presented as a victory for courageous politicians over nasty bankers, the Greek bond-holders’ deal, the centre-piece of last weekend’s entire rescue-plan, has been exposed as a tawdry publicity stunt.
Precisely from whom the newly “leveraged” European Financial Stability Facility will be able to raise borrowed funds, and on whose collateral, was also clouded in mystery last weekend, and still is. The possibility of China stumping up cash now looks even less likely than before. Around a fifth of the country’s massive $3,200bn (£1,997bn) reserve pool is already euro-denominated and Beijing’s earlier disastrous investments in various Wall Street banks attracted bitter internal criticism. Klaus Regling, the chief of the eurozone’s new bail-out fund, was received courteously enough in the Chinese capital last week. But it was always doubtful that a country with no welfare state would rescue nations whose welfare states are bloated and out of control.
This story was posted in The Telegraph late Saturday night...and is very much worth the read. It's another Roy Stephens offering...and the link is here.
The realities of 21st-century politics are finally catching up with the guardians of the single currency.
In past weeks, we have grown used to the eurozone as supplicant: the garlicky tramp on the pavement with a piece of cardboard on a string round his neck, bearing the words: “Will work for bail-out.” Even now, Osborne’s team is working on a host of contingency plans, to be triggered by crises ranging from Greece’s exit from the single currency, to the full-blown collapse of the eurozone.
This crisis is about much more than the fate of a 12-year-old currency. It is a test of what politicians are for, what they can achieve when pitted against market caprice and fiscal incontinence. [Former British Prime Minister] John Major used to say that this country belonged “at the heart of Europe”. Now, David Cameron is among the ring of medics yelling “Clear!”, as defibrillation is administered to the very same failing organ. Turns out that the heart of Europe was dicky all along. And for that cardiac frailty, the global body politic may yet pay a deep and terrible price.
This is another piece that was posted in The Telegraph on Saturday night...and is another Roy Stephens offering. The link is here.
The Eurocracy's contempt for the nation-states it governs is growing ever more flagrant.
It isn’t often that you are aware of the world order changing before your eyes. Last week, the European Union effectively undermined the democratically elected government of one member state and put another one on notice. The snuffing out of that little gasp of desperate rebellion in Greece, and the political chaos that followed, caused a moment’s embarrassment when the EU leadership had to face down questions about its commitment to democracy. But that blew over quickly enough: there could be no question of disregarding the will of the people, Angela Merkel insisted. The electorate of a country had every right to express its opinion in a referendum if its government saw fit to hold one.
So the Eurocracy that had been saying only days earlier that Greece could never, ever leave the euro, whatever its people or government said they wanted, was now threatening to expel Greece not just from the single currency, but from the European Union. And Italy got the message soon enough: the EU is out of patience with the bad boys. No more messing around. So having once been adamant that no external agency would be allowed to oversee its country’s accounts, the Italian government announced that it was ready to open its books to the EU and the IMF. Its fiscal policy will no longer be a matter for purely national decision-making, and will therefore be beyond the reach of its electorate.
So which is it? Is membership of the euro (or the EU) like being a Soviet satellite: a prisoner nation held in bondage to a superior power? Or is it more akin to being the client state of an imperial benefactor, which can call the shots on internal policy and replace elected governments with puppet regimes when it sees fit?
This is another Roy Stephens offering from Saturday's edition of The Telegraph...and the link is here.
The six weeks allotted to save monetary union have expired. The G20 has come and gone, yet no workable firewall is in place as the drama engulfs Italy and threatens to light the fuse on the world’s third largest edifice of debt.
As of late Friday, the yield spread on Italian 10-year bonds over German Bunds was a post-EMU record of 458 basis points. This is dangerously close to the point where cascade-selling begins and matters spiral out of control.
The European Central Bank has so far bought time by holding a series of retreating lines but either it has reached its intervention limits after accumulating nearly €80bn of Italian debt, or it is holding fire to force Silvio Berlusconi to resign – if so, a foolish game.
The ECB’s hands are tied. A German veto and EU treaty constraints stop it intervening with overwhelming force as a genuine lender of last resort. The bank is itself at risk of massive over-extension without an EU treasury and single sovereign entity to back it up.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was up on his high horse at The Telegraph over the weekend...and I thank Roy Stephens once again for this story...and the link is here.
Italian government bond yields soared to near 15-year highs, putting the euro zone's third largest economy front and center of the region's debt crisis, despite scrambling efforts by policymakers to stem the growing contagion.
Italy, the world's eighth largest economy, overtook Greece as the prime threat to the stability of the 17-country single currency zone, as finance ministers met to try to find ways of building a firewall around the two-year-old crisis.
Italian 10-year bond yields rose to their highest since 1997 -- approaching levels regarded as unsustainable -- with political turmoil in Rome threatening to drag a fourth European economy after Greece, Ireland and Portugal into the debt mire.
This Reuters piece from yesterday afternoon is another Roy Stephens offering...and the link is here.
Silvio Berlusconi was reported on Monday to be fighting a last stand to stay in power after leaders of his PDL party urged him to step down in talks on Sunday night. He faces a possible defeat in parliament on Tuesday in a vote to confirm a state financing bill which he has already lost once.
Newspapers estimated there are 20 to 40 potential defectors in his party, more than enough to bring down his government. A defeat on Tuesday is expected to lead to his immediate resignation or to a confidence vote.
Berlusconi is labelling the rebels as traitors to their country at a time of crisis and warning that his resignation would lead to an early election, which most MPs from his party don't want.
This story, posted over at the German website spiegel.de yesterday is, once again, courtesy of Roy Stephens...and the link is here.
France has unveiled the toughest austerity measures since World War Two despite the looming danger of a double-dip recession, vowing to slash borrowing by €65bn over the next five years in a last-ditch effort to save the country's AAA rating.
"We wish to protect the French against the grave problems facing other European countries. Bankruptcy is not an abstract word," said premier Francois Fillon.
The belt-tightening plan -- the second package since August, taking total cuts to €112bn -- include a 5pc super-tax on big firms, a rise in VAT on restaurants and construction, and cuts on pensions, schools, health, and welfare. It is the latest squeeze in a relentless campaign of fiscal tightening across the eurozone.
"It is like the 1930s: imposing austerity on countries already in recession is the way into a death spiral," said Danny Blanchflower, a former UK rate-setter.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard filed this piece late yesterday evening in The Telegraph...and it's definitely worth the read. I thank Roy Stephens once again for providing this story...and the link is here.
Hours after a creditor and his gang of tattooed thugs hustled Zhong Maojin into a coffee shop in Wenzhou, he says he wouldn’t yield to their demands.
They wanted to take over one of the pharmacies in a chain he’d built by borrowing from private lenders. Instead, he made an offer of traditional retribution in this eastern Chinese city, known for loan sharks who have sometimes meted out violence to bad debtors.
“If you like, you can cut off one of my fingers instead,” Zhong, 42, says he told them.
Giving up the store would have made it impossible to pay back another 130 creditors, Zhong said. He’d borrowed 30 million yuan ($4.7 million) at interest rates as high as 7 percent a month to expand the business. Many of the lenders were elderly neighbors who’d mortgaged their homes.
This Bloomberg piece from Sunday is a bit of a read, but well worth it in my opinion...and it's Roy Stephens final offering in this column. The link is here.
Lots of things tugging on the price of gold [yesterday]. For me, the most important factor was the threat of another devaluation of the Swiss Franc. The headlines from the Swiss papers read as follows: "Central bank urged to intervene against euro...The parliamentary economic commission said the SFr1.20 minimum exchange rate, fixed by the Swiss National Bank in September, was not enough."
The last time we had headlines like this the EURCHF was 1.05. Not long after it was 1.21. So it’s not surprising that this time around folks ran for the hills in fear. The CHF lost 2.3% against the Euro today on just the SNB threat of “pegging up.”
Anyone who was still hanging onto the notion that the CHF was a safe haven, puked with the headlines. So more money went to gold.
If we actually do get a re-peg it would add even more fuel onto the gold price. I think we will be looking $1,900 in the rear view mirror if the SNB ups the ante.
This businessinsider.com blog is based on a story that was posted over at the BBC yesterday. Reader George Findlay sent me this must read item...and the link is here.
KIRKLAND LAKE, Ontario, Canada -- With a gleam in his eyes, Sidney Hamden recalls the glory days of Kirkland Lake, the little Canadian mining town in northern Ontario that was long ago dubbed "The Mile of Gold."
Hamden, a spry 82-year-old, remembers his first big break in 1947 at the Lake Shore mine, then one of the deepest gold mines in the world, producing 8.5 million ounces between 1918 and 1965.
"We had seven mines. I personally don't know of any other place that had seven major mines within a radius of two miles," said Hamden. "If I'm not mistaken, in 1948 there were approximately 50 different places to buy groceries around town. We had 17 different hotels in the Kirkland Lake area alone."
But Kirkland Lake's fortunes waned through the 1950s and 1960s, as costs rose and the price of gold stagnated.
This Reuters piece is from last Thursday...and I borrowed it from a GATA release yesterday...and the link is here.
Silver market rigging whistleblower Andrew Maguire told King World News yesterday that manipulation of the silver market continues as bullion banks and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange try to prevent the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from getting the staff necessary to enforce new regulations.
I thank Chris Powell for writing the preamble for me...and the KWN blog is linked here.
Germany may be bankrolling the European bailout effort, but some things, like its gold, are still off-limits.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman effectively told people to get their sticky fingers out of the gold jar when he dismissed speculation that G-20 leaders discussed using Bundesbank’s gold and currency reserves as way to bolster the European bailout fund.
This short story, courtesy of Washington state reader S.A., is out of yesterday's edition of The Wall Street Journal...and the link is here.
Germany's Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said on Monday the country's gold reserves with the central bank cannot be touched, adding his voice to opposition to an idea reportedly discussed at the G20 summit of using reserves to boost euro zone bailout funds.
"German gold reserves must remain untouchable," Roesler, who is head of the Free Democrats (FDP), a junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition, told ARD television.
The Bundesbank (German central bank) and a spokesman for Merkel already said over the weekend that they too ruled out the idea reported discussed at the summit of Group of 20 leading economies last week.
This Reuters story showed up in a GATA release yesterday...and I thank Edmonton reader B.E.O. for originally sending me this story. It's definitely worth reading...and the link is here.
Just as the issue appeared to slip into the trash barrel, CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton told readers of King World News that he still believes the silver price has been manipulated at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
"I believe there has been repeated attempts to influence prices in the silver market," Chilton told KWN. "And there's been fraudulent efforts to persuade and deviously control the price."
After years of pressure exerted onto the CFTC by the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) and silver market specialist Theodore Butler, as well as public disclosure of the scheme from former Goldman Sachs trader Andrew Maguire, the CFTC initiated an investigation against two banks that the regulatory agency suspected of participating in the scheme to suppress the price of silver, JP Morgan and HSBC.
The link to the cnbusinessnews.com story on this, is here...and it's very much worth your time.
An Internet petition has been started for citizens of the United Kingdom to urge the Bank of England to disclose how much of the British gold reserve has been swapped or leased.
The link to the GATA release, which contains all the pertinent information, is here.
Last week’s turbulent markets ended with the S&P 500 down 2.48% but the CME December gold contract settling up 0.48%. Significantly, the gold shares, as represented by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index, closed the week up 1.37%.
This means the HUI has quite decisively broken above the downtrend in place since the Sept. 8 peak. Perhaps more importantly for the generalist investor, it confirmed a pattern of outperformance against the general stock market which began in the middle of last month.
Of course, gold shares’ bullishness does assume that the metal itself will go up. Here the omens are reasonably positive. On Monday, the Gartman Letter raised the gold exposure in its model portfolio by 50%. By Friday, this widely followed institutionally heeded source was a stunning 91% invested in various gold plays, mostly hedged into the euro and sterling.
Gold bugs often get irritated by the Gartman Letter, which does like to tease them. But proprietor Dennis Gartman has also proved to be a pretty good buyer of gold.
This must read marketwatch.com story from yesterday was sent to me by Florida reader Donna Badach...and the link is here.
Hinde Capital CEO Ben Davies said yesterday that gold is rising back to where it would be if central banks hadn't intervened against it a few weeks ago. Davies is especially bullish on silver now. An excerpt from his interview is posted over at the KWN website...and the link is here.
Chinese gold imports from Hong Kong, a proxy for the country's overall overseas buying, leapt to a record high in September, when monthly purchases matched almost half that for the whole of 2010.
The buying spree follows a sharp drop in the price of the precious metal. After hitting a nominal all-time high of $1,920.30 a troy ounce in September, gold fell to a three-month low of $1,534 an ounce later in the month. Chinese investors snapped up the metal as prices fell.
Analysts expect the September import surge to continue until the end of the year as Chinese gold buyers snap up gold in advance of Chinese New Year, China's key gold-buying period.
This Financial Times story from yesterday is headlined "China's September Gold Imports Jump Six Fold"...and is posted in the clear in this must read GATA release. The link is here.
Fund manager Stephen Leeb told King World News yesterday that as money creation becomes central bank policy throughout the world, gold is the only reliable currency, while monetary and solar energy demand may goose silver even more.
I thank Chris Powell for providing the above introduction...and the link to the KWN blog is here.
For whatever reason it ended up there, I discovered this 30-minute interview in my junk mail folder, where it had been rotting since last Friday afternoon. If I'd discovered it in time, it would have been in my Saturday column, but that was not to be.
So here it is now...at the very end of an already very long column. Dr. Dave Janda over at WAAM 1600 in Ann Arbor, Michigan always conducts a professional interview...and this one with Ted Butler is not to be missed, as it's an absolute must listen from start to finish. It's posted over at the davejanda.com website...and the link is here.
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If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail. - Abraham Maslow
Well, I was more than happy to see the Kitco charts in both gold and silver yesterday morning when I turned my computer on. Considering the magnitude of the price increases, the preliminary open interest numbers in both metals weren't all that bad...and should show an improvement when the final figures are released later this morning. Maybe yesterday's rally involved some short covering.
The preliminary open interest numbers on Friday [which were unbelievably high] resolved themselves in a very favourable manner when the final numbers were posted yesterday on the CME's website.
But, like all the changes in open interest, I'm not prepared to read much into them until we get the hard numbers in Friday's Commitment of Traders report. Today is the cut-off for that report...and hopefully all the volume that occurs during the Tuesday trading day, will be reported in a timely manner.
We're nicely through the 50-day moving average in gold...and I'm very hopeful that this trend will continue...although things could get interesting as we approach the end of the month. December is a huge delivery month for gold [and silver]...and there are always big paper games played on the Comex as we approached options expiry and First Day Notice.
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We're getting close in silver, but we aren't there just yet.
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We're still nowhere near our old highs in gold or silver, but the share prices are already indicating that much higher prices probably lie ahead, as they are starting to lead the metal prices at this point. Many commentators have mentioned this fact, including this writer, so I'm hoping this will pan out [pardon the pun] over time...but don't expect it to be a straight line from lower left to upper right. I, like John Embry...and others...consider the share prices to just as rigged as the metals themselves. Here's the 1-year HUI chart...
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Nothing earth-shaking happened over the weekend. All of Europe is still going to hell in a hand basket...and I don't see anything that will change that. Another ocean of fiat currency made up out of thin air will just make things worse. Of course this applies to most nations, especially the United States. But all eyes are on Europe...and that's just the way they want to keep it. As I said before, the U.S. credit rating agencies will downgrade Europe until the cows come home.
Both gold and silver prices were under pressure during most of the Far East trading session during their Tuesday, but rallies began in both metals the moment that London opened at 8:00 a.m. local time...3:00 a.m. Eastern. Silver took off like it was shot out of cannon, but ran into a not-for-profit seller almost immediately. What else is new? As I hit the 'send' button at 5:20 a.m. Eastern time, both metals are still languishing a bit below their respective closing prices in New York on Monday afternoon.
Volume is nothing special in gold...and in silver, I note that the CME's web page for that is showing zero volume in all months, which is obviously not the case. They were having the same problem yesterday morning as well, but it got fixed sometime during the New York trading session.
That's more than enough for one day...and I'll see you here tomorrow.