Gold traded in a very tight range as the market waited for what Bernanke had to say. But as I said in this space yesterday, it didn't matter what he said, as gold and silver were going to get hit...and that turned out to be the case.
According to Kitco, gold's high and low tick in New York yesterday were 1,377.90 spot...and $1,348.30 spot.
Gold closed at $1,351.30 spot...down $17.00 from Tuesday's close. Gross volume was 142,000 contracts...not a lot considering the size of the price decline...and most of it was the high-frequency traders spinning the prices lower.
It was basically the same price pattern in silver as well...and for all the same reasons by all the same players.
Silver's low tick was reported as $21.19 spot...and it closed at $21.35 spot...down 34 cents from Tuesday's close. Net volume was only 26,500 contracts.
Platinum and palladium got sold off a bit at the FOMC announcement as well, but most of their losses were in long before 2:00 p.m. EDT when Bernanke spoke.
For the day, gold was down 1.24%...silver finished lower by 1.55%...platinum by 2.08%...and palladium was down 2.12%.
The dollar index closed late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 80.69...and then went into a long, but very gentle decline in Far East and London trading...and right into the 2:00 p.m. EDT FOMC announcement. At that point, someone hit the Sell Gold and Silver/Buy the U.S. Dollar Index button...and within an hour, the index had risen from 80.57 to 81.44. After that, it didn't do much. The dollar index closed at 81.34...up 65 basis points on the day.
The gold stocks opened in slightly positive territory...and then began a long, slow slide into slightly negative territory by 2:00 p.m. EDT. At that point, even though the gold price got hit hard, the share prices didn't do much...and then actually rallied back to unchanged briefly...before getting sold down hard into the close of trading. The HUI finished on its absolute low tick...down 3.25%.
The silver stocks did no better...and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down another 3.57%.
(Click on image to enlarge)
The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that one  lonely gold contract was posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Friday. Based on this delivery action, I shall dispense with the usual link to the Issuers and Stoppers Report.
There was another withdrawal from GLD yesterday. This time it was 67,657 troy ounces. And as of 10:04 p.m EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.
The U.S. Mint had a sales report yesterday. They sold 9,500 ounces of gold eagles...500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes...and 108,500 silver eagles.
Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday, they reported that only one good delivery bar in silver was received...987.600 troy ounces...but 611,033 troy ounces were shipped out the door. The link to that activity is here.
In gold on Tuesday, only one kilobar was reported received...32.15 troy ounces...and that was at Brink's, Inc. The link to that 'activity' is here.
I got an e-mail from reader 'TB' yesterday about how I report silver usage at the U.S. Mint...and here is what he had to say...
The silver eagle sales number that you report is sort of misleading as you are only counting the bullion coins. You have to do a little extra digging to find all of the silver eagle sales. The mint has sold an additional 568,155 2013-W proof silver eagles, 118,841 2013-W uncirculated silver eagles, 281,310 2013-W two-coin eagle sets (562,620 coins/ounces) and 3,207 silver eagles contained in "2013 Congratulations sets" for a total of 1,252,823 silver eagles that you've failed to report. Just because the coins may be a little shinier or sold separately as collectable's doesn't mean that they aren't silver eagles sold to the public. YTD silver eagle sales totals from the mint should be reported as 25,280,823.
Then, if you count the 2013 5-ounce ATB [American the Beautiful] silver coins -- the mint has sold 24,998 of those coins for an additional 124,990 ounces.
They have also sold 103,484 2013 5-quarter silver proof sets (90% silver) equating to 92,488 ounces of silver.
244,812 2013 14-coin silver proof sets have been sold with each set containing five 90% silver quarters, one 90% half and one 90% dime. These sets total 323,825 ounces of silver.
48,853 2013 5-star general silver dollar proof coins (90%) and 20,756 5-star general uncirculated (90%) coins have been sold, totaling 53,807 ounces of silver.
77,838 2013 girl scouts silver dollar proof coins (90%) and 28,976 girl scouts uncirculated (90%) coins have been sold, totaling 82,567 ounces of silver.
And finally American gold eagles are alloyed with 3% silver by weight. YTD gold coin sales contain approximately 34,700 ounces of silver within these coins.
So, all of these non-silver eagle products totaled together equate to 712,377 ounces.
Total silver sales YTD from the mint should correctly be reported as 25,993,200 ounces.
Well, I'm certainly not going to argue with all the hard work that he put into these facts and figures...for which we should be grateful. But there are only so many hours in a day...and only one of me...so I'll stick with the three bullion items that I report on daily...and use them as a proxy for total mint sales. Thanks, TB!
I have a decent number of stories for you today...and I'll leave the final edit up to you once again.
I haven't seen a rant like this on national television for quite some time. The only thing that comes close was Howard Beale in his epic rant in the movie "Network". This is a must listen before you watch this interview with Jon Hilsenrath that Santelli has shortly afterwards.
This Zero Hedge piece from yesterday is courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.
Gross emphasized the importance of the low inflation readings we've been getting out of the economy.
I think the Chairman is almost deathly afraid and we have witnessed in speeches going back five or 10 years on the part of the chairman in terms of the helicopter speech and the reference not only to the depression but to the lost decades in Japan. I think he is deathly afraid of deflation. As we meander back and forth around the 1% level, I would suggest that the chairman to the extent that he perhaps has a limited time left in terms of being the Chairman, that he would guide the committee towards not only an unemployment rate which has been emphasized in terms of the Q&A but also towards a higher inflation target, which is really a target.
It's not something in terms of a cap, but the inflation target of 2% and for the next year or two, 2.5% has been specifically delineated in terms of that. It's a target. Those who think it is a cap and we are 1% below the cap and therefore the Fed doesn't care about it, I think the chairman told us the Fed does care about it and the closer we get to 2%, the better as far as he's concerned.
In other words, this low inflation we're getting is not a good thing, and we should think of the Fed's 2.5% inflation threshold as a "target," not a "cap."
The transcription of the Bloomberg interview is posted in this businessinsider.com item from yesterday...and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank may start reducing bond purchases later this year and end them in mid-2014 if the economy continues to improve as the central bank forecasts.
“If the incoming data are broadly consistent with this forecast, the committee currently anticipates that it would be appropriate to moderate the pace of purchases later this year,” Bernanke said today in a press conference in Washington. “If the subsequent data remain broadly aligned with our current expectations for the economy, we will continue to reduce the pace of purchases in measured steps through the first half of next year, ending purchases around mid-year.”
Bernanke spoke after the Federal Open Market Committee said today it would maintain the $85 billion pace of monthly asset purchases and that it sees the “downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished since the fall.” The FOMC (TREFQE2) repeated that it’s prepared to increase or reduce the pace of purchases depending on the outlook for the job market and inflation.
Basically nothing is going to change until the Fed says they're going to. It's business as usual. This Bloomberg story is courtesy of U.A.E. reader Laurent-Patrick Gally.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the central bank is considering further non-standard monetary policy tools and will deploy them if circumstances warrant.
“We will look with an open mind at these measures that are especially effective in our institutional setup and that fall within our mandate,” Draghi said today in a speech in Jerusalem. “Some of those measures may have unintended consequences. This does not mean that they should not be used, but it does mean that we need to be aware of those consequences and manage them appropriately.”
Draghi has in recent months held out the possibility of charging lenders to hold cash at the Frankfurt-based central bank by introducing a negative deposit rate. The rate has been at zero since July. That’s one of a range of tools, including further long-term lending operations and adjusting collateral requirements, that the ECB is mulling as the 17-member euro area remains stuck in its longest-ever recession.
This Bloomberg article was posted on their website in the wee hours of Tuesday morning...and I found it yesterday's edition of the King Report.
Less than three months have passed since the European Union, together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), assembled a €10 billion ($13.4 billion) bailout package for Cyprus to prevent the country's banking system from collapsing. But Nicosia, according to reports in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, already finds itself in need of additional help.
In a letter sent to euro-zone leaders last week, and obtained by both business dailies on Tuesday, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades says that the bailout package, which included the restructuring of the country's two largest banks, was "implemented without careful preparation" and that it has damaged the island nation's economy to a greater degree than expected.
"The economy is driven into a deep recession, leading to a further rise in unemployment and making fiscal consolidation all the more difficult," Anastasiades wrote, according to a passage quoted by the Financial Times. "I urge you to review the possibilities in order to determine a viable prospect for Cyprus and its people."
This news item appeared on the German website spiegel.de yesterday...and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens.
China’s one-year interest-rate swap jumped the most since August 2011 as the central bank refrained from adding cash to the financial system amid concern housing costs are climbing too fast.
New home prices rose in 69 of the 70 cities tracked by the government in May, official data showed today, signaling the latest policy measures meant to slow demand failed. The People’s Bank of China didn’t auction repurchase contracts or reverse-repurchase agreements today, according to a statement on its website.
“The PBOC has continued to surprise with its refusal to inject liquidity through open-market operations despite extremely high money-market rates,” Dariusz Kowalczyk, a strategist in Hong Kong at Credit Agricole CIB, wrote in a report today. The housing report is “a negative for sentiment as this will make it more difficult for the government to stimulate the economy,” he said.
This is another Bloomberg story that was posted on their website in the wee hours of Thursday morning MDT...and I thank Roy Stephens for another contribution to today's column.
It seems liquidity (or counterparty mistrust) is beginning to reach extreme levels in China as the nation's banking system is now quoting overnight repo transactions at 25%. The explosion in funding costs echoes the collapse in trust (and surge in TED spread) among US banks in the run-up to the Lehman bankruptcy. MSCI Asia-Pac stocks are down over 3% with China's Shanghai Composite -2.5% at seven-month lows.
This absolute must read Zero Hedge story from just before midnight EDT last night was sent to me by U.A.E. reader Laurent-Patrick Gally after I'd filed this morning's column...but I was able to slide it in. The charts alone are worth the trip.
“The HSBC China Flash Manufacturing PMI dropped to a nine-month low of 48.3 in June, following on the sequential reduction in both production and demand, wrote HSBC's Hongbin Qu in a press release.
"Manufacturing sectors are weighed down by deteriorating external demand, moderating domestic demand and rising destocking pressures. Beijing prefers to use reforms rather than stimulus to sustain growth. While reforms can boost long-term growth prospects, they will have a limited impact in the short term. As such we expect slightly weaker growth in 2Q.”
An expansion in the inventory of finished goods, albeit at a slower rate, is also worrisome as China continues to cope with an excess capacity problem.
This businessinsider.com news item was posted on their Internet site late yesterday evening...and I thank Roy Stephens for his final offering in today's column.
Are Shinzo Abe’s days as Japan’s prime minister numbered?
Many will dismiss this question as premature or naive -- perhaps both. The architect of “Abenomics” boasts a higher approval rating than any of the eight previous Japanese prime ministers. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party is heading to a big victory in next month’s upper-house election. Supporters are convinced he will use that mandate to end Japan’s 20-year deflationary funk with boldness, creativity and panache.
There’s just one problem with their thesis: The batteries that have powered support for Abe’s revival plan -- surging stocks -- are running out. Given how quickly the Japanese electorate tends to sour on politicians, the prime minister and his most ardent fans should be worried.
Six months into Abe’s shock-therapy experiment of massive monetary and fiscal stimulus as well as sweeping structural reforms, Japan faces record trade deficits, extreme volatility in the bond market and rising energy and food costs as a weaker yen makes imports more expensive. The capital-spending and household-wage increases that are needed to halt deflation have yet to materialize.
This op-ed piece by William Pesek was posted on the Bloomberg website Monday afternoon MDT...and it's another story I found tucked away in yesterday's edition of the King Report.
1. Robert Fitzwilson: "Fed to Dump Its Balance Sheet Onto Unsuspecting Public". 2. Michael Pento: "Fed in Complete Disarray and Investors Must Brace Themselves". 3. James Turk: "Financial System Now Headed Into a Massive Hurricane". The audio interview is with Rob Arnott.
Commodity letter writer Dennis Gartman acknowledges that the gold market well may be manipulated by governments but asserts that he doesn't care. He also completely misconstrues GATA's position and urges us to give up on the manipulation issue.
"Concerning gold, we've angered the 'bugs' once again by selling gold against purchases of crude oil and equities, fearing that gold looked 'vulnerable' and noting that the gold/crude oil ratio looked even more so. We are amused and bemused by the vehemence and vitriol that the 'bugs' bring forth when we turn even modestly bearish of gold, and in this instance we are bearish of gold 'relative' to crude and equities, not relative to the U.S. dollar -- and that is a major distinction.
"Do we believe that gold is manipulated by the governments, or, more importantly, do we even care? We've no doubt but that the governments of the G-7 'act' at times in the gold market, just as we've no doubt that they 'act' at times in the equity futures markets. That bothers us not a whit for they are simply makers of price and our duty is to discern trends and to trade according to those trends.
GATA's secretary treasurer Chris Powell takes Gartman to task in this commentary posted on the gata.org Internet site yesterday...and it's worth reading.
My only hiccup with Gartman is that “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” On one hand Gartman likes to mock “gold bugs” and the like. Yet when he’s around them (and I’ve been at conferences where he has been with them in the same room), he plays up to their cause. Here I would almost rather deal with Nadler. (Almost.)
I agree with the comment by GATA’s Chris Powell’s that Gartman at least has gone from years of denying manipulation to saying it’s possible but doesn’t really matter. The supposed experts who say it’s foolish to claim gold market manipulation, along with the financial journalists who quote them, are truly fools because nowadays hardly a week goes by without a disclosure of market manipulation somewhere. Are we really to think that market manipulation stops at the door of the COMEX? Those who think so are the biggest fools.
It’s a sad commentary on the financial world when an authority (who I assume puts his pants on like the rest of us, one leg at a time) concedes that markets may be rigged but we should just accept it and try to profit from it.
The rest of Peter's commentary was posted on his website yesterday and it, too, is worthy of your time.
If [Indian Finance Minister P.] Chidambaram does genuinely believe that gold is like any other metal and that Indian import of gold is the main problem confronting the economy, and stopping this import is the solution to all our ills, the solution is fairly straight-forward.
The RBI has an estimated 550 tonnes of gold in its reserves. So instead of importing gold to meet the needs of citizens for the rest of the year, the RBI can sell the gold it is holding in its reserves to citizens. With the rupees raised, it can do an even better job of suppressing interest rates by buying government bonds. Even more attractive is the fact that there is no change in its balance-sheet, as it will be substituting one asset class with another. And going by Chidambaram’s advice, the RBI is substituting a dumb non-productive metal with a government bond that would help the government do whatever it wants to do.
In doing so, citizens would get the gold they want, Chidambaram would get a lower CAD and the credit for the accompanying economic miracles, and the RBI can achieve lower interest rates. It’s a win-win situation. What more can we all ask for?
An excellent question indeed! This story was sent to my be reader "Shanmuganathan N"...and was featured on the firstpost.com Internet site yesterday...and is well worth reading.
Demand for silver jewellery and coins has dropped by almost 40% in the last one month although prices have fallen to 43,000 per kg from 55,000 per kg in June last year.
The metal has also lost its flavour as an investment product and the trade says this bearish trend will not be over soon. Suresh Hundia, a Mumbai-based bullion dealer, said: "There is no demand for silver in the market now. The industry can expect some demand only in August. There is a huge stock of silver with traders now. They will first have to offload this and then place fresh orders."
Investors who bought the metal when it soared to 60,000 - 70,000 per kg are waiting to offload it if prices go up although analysts say there is no positive trigger in the near term. Two years ago, prices shot up to 75,000 per kg. Industrial demand for silver has remained muted due to a slowdown in the growth of the electronic industry, the major user of the metal.
This story, filed from Kolkata, was posted on the Economic Times of India website yesterday morning IST...and I thank Nitin Agrawal for bringing it to our attention. It's certainly worth skimming.
Right after the prices of gold and silver nosedived in mid April, demand for bullion-priced physical coins and bars soared. Through the end of May, my company’s sales of ounces of physical gold and silver exceeded our units sold in the first five months of 2011, the year of this company’s highest dollar value of sales.
In some instances, such as with U.S. silver American Eagles and Canadian silver Maple Leaves, delays not only became long, but delivery times because uncertain. In these instances, wholesalers stopped taking orders on such products, which resulted in retailers following suit.
For a time, the U.S. Mint suspended sales of the tenth-ounce gold American Eagles. Though the Mint is selling them again, supply still has not caught up with demand. This supply problem has also resulted in higher than normal premiums for the quarter-ounce gold American Eagle, British sovereign, and French and Swiss 20 francs.
However, if you are still looking to acquire physical gold, you can now usually get delivery within two weeks after payment and pay close to the premiums at which physical gold sold when the spot prices were a few hundred dollars higher.
As for bullion-priced silver products, most products are available for delivery within two weeks of payment. The slowest deliveries right now are for the 100-ounce ingots and the Canadian silver Maple Leaves. But, even there, you should be able to get delivery within three to four weeks.
I fully concur with what Patrick Heller has to say in his commentary posted over at the numismaster.com Internet site yesterday...as the same situation now exists at the bullion store here in Edmonton. We are having little, if any, supply problems...and most premiums are now at, or near, normal. I consider this essay to be a must read...and I thank Elliot Simon for sending it our way.
There are gold bears, gold bulls, and gold bugs. And then there's Ron Paul.
The former congressman and presidential candidate is known for favoring gold, and he still believes it will go higher. How much higher?
"Eventually, if we're not carefully, it will go to infinity, because the dollar will collapse totally," Paul said on CNBC.com's "Futures Now."
A gold price of "infinity" might be hard to conceptualize, but Paul's point is actually quite simple.
This very short 1:18 minute CNBC video clip from early Tuesday afternoon with Ron Paul is a must watch...and if you don't want to be bothered with that, there's a transcript posted below it. I thank Elliot Simon for today's last story.
Uranium Energy Corp. (NYSE MKT: UEC) is pleased to announce that the final authorization has been granted for production at its Goliad ISR Project in South Texas. As announced in previous press releases, the Company received all of the required authorizations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, including an Aquifer Exemption which has now been granted concurrence from EPA Region 6.
Amir Adnani, President and CEO, stated, “We are very pleased to have received this final authorization for initiating production at Goliad. Our geological and engineering teams have worked diligently toward achieving this major milestone and are to be truly commended. We are grateful to the EPA for its thorough reviews and for issuing this final concurrence. The Company’s near-term plan is to complete construction at the first production area at Goliad and to greatly increase the throughput of uranium at our centralized Hobson processing plant.” Please contact Investor Relations with questions or to request additional information, firstname.lastname@example.org.
There can be no denying that there has been a monumental shift in JPM’s silver and gold position of late. Obviously, the bank sees something that persuaded them to orchestrate an historic silver and gold buying program, otherwise they wouldn’t have bought. As a silver and gold bull, who am I to argue? In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if JPMorgan simply sees what I and many of you see, namely, that gold and, especially, silver are about to be radically adjusted to the upside in price for a wide variety of supply/demand considerations. It’s not likely that JPM is ill-informed on silver and gold matters...and their actions speak loudly and clearly. - Silver analyst Ted Butler...19 June 2013
I certainly hope that yesterday's price action at the 2:00 p.m. EDT FOMC announcement didn't come as a shock to you dear reader, as you should know better by now. Even though volumes were slightly elevated in both gold and silver, most of it was of the high-frequency trading variety, as there was no real buying and selling of physical metal going on, because as Ted Butler pointed out on the phone yesterday, the market is very illiquid...and JPMorgan et al can do pretty much what they want. However, they aren't improving their long positions in gold by much...or covering that many short positions in silver...as there are virtually no longs left that are prepared to sell at these prices. "Da Boyz" have cut deep into the bone in both markets and, as they also say, there is little if any blood left in these particular precious metal stones.
I urge you to re-read Ted's quote above...and his one in this column yesterday...reprinted below...if you want a total grasp of the situation as it now stands...
It's only because JPMorgan is so smart, powerful...and adept at manipulating markets...that they have been able to amass such a large gold long and small short silver position. The truth is maybe they can add more to the gold long and reduce the silver short position with still lower manipulated prices, but we have to be in the terminal phase of this operation in terms of gauging how many more sellers can be lured in at this point. There is a limit to such engineered speculative selling. Therefore, since JPM is running out of road as to how much more gold and silver they can buy before we reach the resolution, it is no exaggeration to say that we are running out of time in which to buy cheap silver...and gold. - Silver analyst Ted Butler...15 June 2013
It's important that you keep your eye on the prize when things are at their blackest.
As Patrick Heller mentioned in his most excellent commentary posted in the Critical Reads section of today's column, business has been pretty brisk since the mid-April engineered price decline that enabled JPMorgan to do what it did in the gold and silver markets.
As I've said before, business at our store has certainly slowed down since the wild times that followed that event, but has never declined back to what it was before the events of April 12th and 15th. What we are noticing is that the buying public is now much more aware of the dangers of paper currencies...including our beloved Canadian dollar...and they'd much rather save their money in precious metals than in their national currency. This is a phenomenon not confined to Canada.
And they are also becoming more aware of the fact that precious metal prices are not what they should be...and aren't at these levels by accident. The power of the Internet and social media is obvious in the conversations that we're having at the store on a daily basis now. What is really encouraging is that the buying crowd also includes a lot of young people who now 'get it'.
The thin edge of the wedge is getting thicker all the time.
When JPMorgan decides the time is ripe to let prices rip to the upside, it's my opinion that they will be allowed to rise high enough to virtually kill gold demand stone-cold dead on a world-wide basis for as far into the future as I can see...and they'll also put silver at such a high price that current owners will be selling in droves...and silver will become the new gold.
It's only the timing of these events that's unknown...but that day is coming.
Once gold and silver began to trade in New York at 6:00 p.m. EDT yesterday evening...prices were sold down a bit more...but after that, nothing happened at all in Far East trading on their Thursday until shortly before 2:00 p.m. in the thinly-traded Hong Kong market, when...as you are already more than aware by now...the high-frequency traders showed up. Then right at the 8:00 a.m. BST London open, long holders were forced to dump their positions into an already illiquid market...and down crashed gold and silver...especially silver...JPMorgan's big problem child...down more than 75 cents at one point from Wednesday's close in New York.
Here's the Kitco silver chart twenty-five minutes after the London open.
Trading volumes, which were already high by noon in Tokyo, are now through the roof. Gross volume in gold is just north of 60,000 contracts as of 3:35 a.m. EDT...and silver's volume, net of roll-overs out of the July delivery month, is over the 11,000 contract level. The dollar index has been climbing slowly but steadily all night long...and is currently up 28 basis points at the moment.
It's too bad that Wednesday's and today's trading activity won't be in tomorrow's Commitment of Traders Report...as the cut-off was at the 1:30 p.m. EDT Comex close on Tuesday.
How long this can go on is anyone's guess, but "da boyz" are milking yesterday's FOMC news for all it's worth...and based on the current price action, I wouldn't be surprised if JPMorgan Chase is now net long the silver market as well...a fact that won't be known for sure until the COT Report on June 27th.
Here's the Kitco silver chart as of 4:25 a.m. EDT...9:25 a.m. BST in London...
And also for gold...
And as I hit the 'send' button on today's missive at 5:15 a.m. EDT...gold is down forty-three bucks...but was down about fifty bucks at its London low of $1,303.30 in the current front month, which is August. Silver got smacked below the $20 price mark in the July contract...$19.985 to be precise...but has obviously recovered off that low, but is still down a bit more than a buck from Wednesday's close in New York. Gross volume in gold is now over 106,000 contracts...and silver's net volume is just over 20,000 contracts...and roll-over volume out of the July delivery month is very heavy for this time of day. The dollar index is now up 49 basis points and knocking on the 82.00 door.
Of course nobody at the CFTC or the CME Group will do or say anything...and the same goes for any of the precious metal companies that we own shares in...as they sit idly by and watch the precious metal prices get trashed...their companies raped...and their shareholders decimated.
I await the New York trading session with a morbid fascination.
See you here on Friday.