Gold & Silver Daily

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price didn't do much, or wasn't allowed to do much---take your pick---in morning trading in the Far East on Monday.  The low tick over there came at 1 p.m. Hong Kong time.  From that point it rallied to its high tick at the 8:00 a.m. BST London open---and JPMorgan et al were waiting.  The low tick came about fifteen minutes before the London close.  The rally off the low got reversed at exactly 1:00 p.m. EDT and, starting shortly after the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close, the gold price rallied quietly into the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading.

The high and lows were recorded by the CME Group as $1,209.00 and $1,190.80 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Monday session in New York at $1,195.80 spot, down $7.50 from Friday's close---and safely back below the $1,200 spot price.  Net volume was pretty decent at 129,000 contracts.

Here's the 5-minute gold price/volume chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  Midnight EDT Sunday night is the second vertical gray line.  It didn't require a lot of volume at the spike high at the London open to reverse the rally, as volume was very light to start with---01:00 Denver time on this chart.  Most of the volume came between 11 a.m. BST---and noon EDT, which is 05:00 to 10:00 a.m. MDT on this chart.  Add two hours for EDT---and the 'click to enlarge' works wonders here.

The silver price chart is similar, but it's interesting to see how the price got taken lower in stair-step fashion until the 10:45 a.m. EDT low tick.  Then, like gold, the silver price recovered a few pennies after the COMEX close.

The high and lows were reported as $16.34 and $15.82 in the May contract.

Silver closed yesterday at $15.94 spot, down 28.5 cents from Friday's close.  Net volume was pretty chunky at 37,500 contracts.

The price charts for platinum and palladium looked similar, except their respective lows came just before the equity markets opened in New York yesterday morning.  Platinum was closed at $1,146 spot, down 24 bucks.  Palladium finished the Monday session at $771 spot, down 11 dollars---and well off its low tick.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index closed late on Friday afternoon in New York at 97.45.  It gapped down a bit at the open, but then chopped more or less sideways until about 2:40 p.m. Hong Kong time.  From there it rallied up to its 98.07 high which came minutes before the 8:20 a.m. EDT COMEX open.  It dropped down to 97.71 by 11:15 a.m.---and then rallied a bit into the close.  The index finished the Monday session at 97.90---and up 45 basis points from Friday's close.

The gold stocks opened down---and hit their lows about 9:45 a.m. EDT.  They chopped higher---and back into positive territory---shortly before noon, before falling back into negative territory once again.  But starting shortly after 2 p.m. a rally ensued that took gold back to its high of the day---and that's pretty much where it closed.  The HUI finished the Monday session up 0.43 percent, which was quite remarkable considering how badly the gold price got smacked.

The silver equities followed a somewhat similar pattern---and they, too, actually closed in the green---as Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 0.33 percent.

The performance of the precious metal shares, especially the silver equities, is rather amazing considering how badly they got smoked last week on loses of 4 cents on two consecutive trading days in a row.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 659 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.  Once again the big short/issuer was JPMorgan out of its client account---and the two largest long/stoppers were Canada's Scotiabank with 329 contracts---and JPMorgan with 319 contracts for its in-house [proprietary] trading account once again.

This is the third time that JPMorgan has screwed over it clients in the April delivery month in gold---and I sometimes wonder who these "clients" might be.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Monday trading session showed that April open interest in gold fell by 640 contracts---and those were the ones posted on Friday for delivery today.  April o.i. in gold is now down to 1,186 contracts, minus the 659 that got posted for delivery tomorrow.

For the second day in a row, the April o.i. in silver remained unchanged at 172 contracts.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday---and as of 6:48 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changed in SLV either.  But when I checked the Internet site at 2:11 a.m. EDT this morning, I saw that an authorized participant added 1,434,312 troy ounces.  Based on the current price action, I would guess that deposit was used to cover an existing short position.

There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 500 troy ounces of gold eagles---and 500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes.

The only activity in gold at the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday was the two kilobars withdrawn from the Mafra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc. depository.

In silver, there was 57,991 troy ounces reported received---and 366,995 troy ounces shipped out.  For a change, none of the activity involved JPMorgan.  After all the heavy activity of the last two weeks in silver, they must still be charging up the batteries on their fork lifts.  The link to that activity is here.

Over at the COMEX-approved depositories in Hong Kong on Friday, it was a much busier day.  At the Brink's, Inc. depository they reported receiving 10,830 kilobars, which is a lot---and shipped out 1,668 kilobars.  The link to the activity in troy ounces is here.

Since yesterday was the 20th of the month---and it fell on a weekday---The Central Bank of the Russian Federation updated their website with their March data.  It showed that they added 1 million troy ounces of gold to their reserves in the past month---and Nick's most excellent charts is posted below.

Here's a chart that was embedded in a Bloomberg story way back on March 31.  I didn't think the story was worth posting, but the chart is worth saving---as it shows the best performing asset classes in the first quarter of 2015.  I thank reader William Gebhardt for sending it along.

I have a decent number of stories for you today---and I hope that number doesn't expand by much as the evening progresses.


¤ Critical Reads

The S(chizophrenic) & P(sychotic) 500

Does this behavior look like a market that is pricing-in a Fed rate hike?  Total Schizophrenia...

And if you're wondering what catalyzed this latest 350 point ramp in The Dow?  Perfect bounce on Friday off the Payrolls cliff edge... and machines then auctioned stocks up to Friday's cliff edge in search of sellers...

The above is all there is to this brief Zero Hedge article that appeared on their website at 12:16 p.m. EDT on Monday afternoon---but the three embedded charts are worth the trip.  Today's first story is courtesy of Dan Lazicki.


Stan Druckenmiller Is Betting on Three Market Surprises in 2015

Stan Druckenmiller is betting on the unexpected.

The billionaire investor, who has one of the best long-term track records in money management, is anticipating three market surprises: an improving economy in China and rising oil prices. He also doesn’t expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in 2015, a move most investors are forecasting will happen in September after six years of keeping them near zero.

“My fear is that we won’t see anything for a year and a half,” Druckenmiller, speaking of an interest rate increase, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “I have no confidence whatsoever that we’ll see a rate hike in September or December.”

Druckenmiller, who now runs a family office after closing his Duquesne Capital Management hedge fund in 2010, has repeatedly criticized the Federal Reserve for keeping interest rates near zero for too long. He told an audience at the Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 18 that monetary policy has been reckless.

This story, along with an embedded 42:20 minute video interview, appeared on the Bloomberg website a week ago---and it's courtesy of reader Ken Hurt.  He says it's a "good one"---and I'll take his work for it, as I haven't watched it.


Gundlach Says Market Hasn’t Seen Full Impact of Fed Moves

DoubleLine Capital’s Jeffrey Gundlach, the bond manager who has beaten 99 percent of his peers over the past five years, said the full impact of the Federal Reserve’s “extreme policies” have yet to be felt in the market.

The Fed has been “very well-intentioned,” Gundlach said, speaking in an interview on Sunday on Wall Street Week. “The ultimate consequences of all these extreme policies have yet to be felt and will be felt.”

The central bank has kept rates in the U.S. near zero and embarked on unprecedented monetary stimulus since the 2008 financial crisis. Known for his contrarian views and top returns, Gundlach said rating the Fed very highly at this point is “sort of like a man who jumps out of a 20-story building, and after falling 18 stories, says, ‘So far, so good.’”

Gundlach, who manages the $46.2 billion DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund, has beaten 99 percent of peers over the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He said last month that if the Fed increases interest rates by mid-year, they would have to reverse course. On Sunday, he said that the probability of a rate increase by the Fed in June is very low, because the economic data doesn’t support such a move.

This Bloomberg article showed up on their Internet site at 9:48 a.m. on Sunday morning EDT---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sending it.


Oil prices source of imbalance, global banks say

Backers of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are called on to remain vigilant against monetary shocks like the low price of oil, the banks said.

The IMF and World Bank issued a joint statement following their annual spring conference in Washington. The meeting came as global economic dynamics are shifting in an era of lower oil prices, a key barometer of economic health.

Both institutions said the global economy this year is growing faster than in 2014, though rates of growth are uneven.

Both banks issued a call on supporting countries to ensure they have effective policies in place to protect against "adverse shocks" like lower oil prices.

This UPI story, filed from Washington, was posted on their website at 8:17 a.m. EDT yesterday---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.


Caveat creditor as IMF chiefs mull unpayable debts

The International Monetary Fund has sounded the alarm on the exorbitant levels of debt across the world, this time literally.

The theme trailer to its fiscal forum on the 'political economy of high debt' plays on our fears with the haunting tension of a Hitchcock thriller. A quote from Thomas Jefferson flashes across the screen in blood-red colours: "We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt."

We learn that public debt in the rich economies fell from 124pc of GDP at the end of Second World War to 29pc in 1973, a dream era that we have left behind.

The debt burden has since climbed at a compound rate of 2pc a year, accelerating into an upward spiral to 105pc of GDP after the Lehman crash. It is as if we had fought another world war.

When the IMF starts to quote Thomas Jefferson, you just know that there's big trouble in River City.  This must read Ambrose Evans-Pritchard commentary appeared on The Telegraph's website at 3:30 p.m. BST on their Sunday afternoon---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens.


The Crowning Glory of Keynesianism

Readers of this publication will know that for some time, I’ve forecasted the creation of a new monetary system by which governments and banks gain total control over all monetary transactions.

On the surface of it, this may seem an impossible goal, as it would be so all-encompassing and would eliminate economic freedom entirely. Surely, it would not be tolerated. However, I believe that it’s not only relatively easy to create, but it will be sold in such a way that the public will see it as an absolute panacea to their economic woes. Only those who are far-sighted will understand its level of destruction in advance of its implementation.

It might transpire like this:

This commentary by Jeff Thomas appeared on the International Man website yesterday---and I thank their senior editor, Nick Giambruno, for sending it our way.


It’s official: Metro Vancouver is swept up in a real estate frenzy -- Barbara Yaffe

It is no exaggeration to use an F-word to describe Vancouver’s current real estate scene. As in, the market is in a Frenzy.

Observers describe a perfect storm of forces coming together to create a tempestuous result: A 5.8-per-cent jobless rate in B.C., low interest rates, a devalued Canadian dollar attracting more foreign buyers, and panic over prices going even higher if buying is delayed. Even the particularly vicious winters of recent years in Eastern Canada may be having an impact.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada warned last Wednesday about the risk of correction in three Canadian property markets — Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary.

For the moment, few are heeding the caution. A press release sent out last week by WestStone Properties, regarding its Evolve condominium project in Surrey, reported sales in a single day (April 11) of 300 condo units, worth $70 million.

This article appeared on the Ottawa Citizen website on Sunday sometime---and my thanks go out to Roy Stephens.


How sleepy Finland could tear apart the euro project

Finland is the unlikely stage for the latest turn in Greece’s interminable debt drama this weekend.

With events having decamped temporarily to Washington D.C., Athens will be keeping half an eye on developments in Helsinki, where the Nordic state of just 5.4m people heads for the polls on Sunday.

In the five years since Greece’s financial woes were revealed to the world, it has been sleepy Finland which has emerged as the most trenchant critic of EU largesse to the indebted Mediterranean.

The outcome of the country’s general election could now determine Greece’s future in the monetary union.

This news item showed up on the Internet site at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon BST, which was 8:30 a.m. in New York.


Thousands in Germany protest against Europe-U.S. trade deal

Thousands of people marched in Berlin, Munich and other German cities on Saturday in protest against a planned free trade deal between Europe and the United States that they fear will erode food, labor and environmental standards.

Opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is particularly high in Germany, in part due to rising anti-American sentiment linked to revelations of U.S. spying and fears of digital domination by firms like Google.

A recent YouGov poll showed that 43 percent of Germans believe TTIP would be bad for the country, compared to 26 percent who see it as positive.

The level of resistance has taken Chancellor Angela Merkel's government and German industry by surprise, and they are now scrambling to reverse the tide and save a deal which proponents say could add $100 billion in annual economic output on both sides of the Atlantic.

This Reuters article, filed from Berlin, put in an appearance on their website at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday afternoon---and I thank Orlando, Florida reader Dennis Mong for finding it for us.


Swiss Pension Schemes 'Bankrupt in 10 Years' -- It's Like They've Never Heard of Gold

Swiss pension schemes will be bankrupt within 10 years unless Switzerland's government wins public support for a radical overhaul of the retirement system, experts have warned.

The pressure on Switzerland's occupational pension system, which accounts for SFr800 billion ($840 billion) of assets, has intensified this year due to recently imposed charges on cash accounts and shrinking government bond yields.

Martin Eling, professor of economics at the University of St Gallen, estimated that occupational pension funds will face a SFr55 billion hole in their funding by 2030 if the government does not overhaul the system.

This Financial Times article was posted in the clear in a GATA release on Sunday.


Russia denies striking gas deal to net Greece €5 billion

Russia has denied providing up to €5bn to Greece for a planned gas pipeline, in a move that would significantly ease Athens' cash crisis.

According to reports in Der Spiegel, Moscow was ready to provide advanced payment to Greece in assent for its "Turkish Stream" project.

The magazine quoted a senior Syriza minister saying the deal would "turn the tide" for the debt-stricken country, and could be signed as early as Tuesday.

However, the Kremlin later denied it had reached an agreement for any financial aid in advance of future profits from the pipe's transit fees.

This news story appeared on the Internet site at 4:30 p.m. BST on Saturday afternoon in London---and I found it over at the website.


Europe ready for Grexit contagion as Athens gets closer to Russian cash

The European Central Bank has warned that a rupture of monetary union and Greek exit from the euro could have dramatic consequences, but insisted that it has enough powerful weapons to avert contagion.

Mario Draghi, the ECB's president, said it would be far better for everybody if Greece recovers within EMU but made it clear that the currency bloc is no longer vulnerable to the immediate chain-reaction seen in earlier phases of the debt crisis.

Greek sources have told The Telegraph that Syriza may sign a deal with Russia for Gazprom's "Turkish Stream" pipeline project as soon as next week, unlocking as much as €3bn to €5bn in advance funding.

This confirms a report in Germany's Spiegel magazine, initially denied by both the Russian and Greek governments. It is understood that the deal is being managed by Panagiotis Lafazanis, Greece's energy minister and head of Syriza's militant Left Platform, a figure with long-standing ties to Moscow.

So, dear reader, which is it?  Will $5 billion be forthcoming from Russia or not?  Stay tuned to this ongoing soap opera/saga/farce---you pick.  This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard article was posted on The Telegraph's website at 10:00 p.m. BST on Sunday evening---and it's worth reading.  My thanks to Roy Stephens for sending it.


Greece Flashes Warning Signals About Its Debt

By the standards of his frenzied schedule here last week, the meeting on Friday between Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, and Lee C. Buchheit, the dean of international debt lawyers, was a quiet one.

There was none of the media scrum that had followed Mr. Varoufakis around town during the semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, as he paid calls on the I.M.F. chief, Christine Lagarde; the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi; the United States Treasury secretary, Jacob J. Lew, and even President Obama.

But the get-together with Mr. Buchheit carried critical meaning, according to experts here. After all, it was Mr. Buchheit who helped broker Greece’s most recent debt refinancing, in 2012.

As Greece now gropes for a resolution to its current financial problems, the meeting suggests Athens might still be holding out hope for a restructuring of its debt burden of 303 billion euros, or $327 billion.

Not a word in this story about Russia, gas, or the $5 billion dollars.  That doesn't entirely surprise me as it was posted on The New York Times website---and it appeared there on Sunday sometime.  It's another offering from Roy Stephens.


Stunned Greeks React to Initial Capital Controls and the "Decree to Confiscate Reserves"---and They Are Not Happy

Earlier today, following weeks of speculation, Greece finally launched the first shot across the bow of capital controls, when it decreed that due to an "extremely urgent and unforeseen need" (ironically the need was quite foreseen since about 2010, but that is a different story), it would be "obliged" to transfer - as in confiscate - "idle cash reserves" located across the country's local governments (i.e., various cities and municipalities) to the Greek central bank.

Several hours later the decree which was posted in the government gazette has finally percolated among the population, and the response to what even ordinary Greeks realize is now the endgame, is less than exuberant.

Bloomberg reports, that "as Greece struggles to find cash to stay afloat, local authorities say they oppose a government decision to use their reserves for short-term financing."

“The government’s decision to seize our reserves not only raises legal and constitutional issues, but also a moral one,” said George Papanikolaou, mayor of Glyfada, the third-largest municipality in the metropolitan region of Attica after Athens and Piraeus. “We have a responsibility to serve our citizens,” Papanikolaou said by phone on Monday.  Glyfada has about €16 million in cash reserves, he said.

This story appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 3:54 p.m. yesterday afternoon---and I thank Dan Lazicki for bringing it to our attention.


U.S.-Ukraine Military Drills Risk Intensifying Civil War – Former U.S. Diplomat

Commenting on the arrival of 300 U.S. paratroopers in Lviv, western Ukraine, former U.S. diplomat and Senate staffer James Jatras told Radio Sputnik that the initiative risks undermining the fragile peace in eastern Ukraine, and does absolutely nothing for U.S. security interests.

Late last week, U.S. paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade began a six-month training rotation with Ukrainian National Guard forces. Commenting their arrival, Jatras explained that "it's quite clear that these [drills] are intended to increase the combat effectiveness of the Ukrainian forces."

This, according to the expert, "could be understood as something that is directly meant to undermine the Minsk II agreement, and to support those elements in Kiev who still believe there is a military solution to the political problem in eastern Ukraine."

This article put in an appearance on the Internet site at 8:00 p.m. Moscow time on their Monday evening, which was 1:00 p.m. EDT in Washington.  I thank Jim Skinner for sending it our way.


Turkey’s Long-Term Potential and Short-Term Problems -- Jim Rickards

I recently returned from Istanbul, Turkey. I had the opportunity to meet with a director of the central bank, along with stock exchange officials, regulators, major investors and one of Turkey’s wealthiest men, Ali Ağaoğlu, a flamboyant property developer known as “the Donald Trump of Turkey.”

I also spent time with everyday citizens from store owners to taxi drivers and more. Invariably, such a range of contacts produces information and insights beyond those available from conventional research channels and buy-side reports. It was a great chance to gather market intelligence on the world’s eighth-largest emerging market.

If you visit Istanbul, you cannot help but be impressed with the indelible beauty of the city. It’s easily on a par with Paris, Venice and other beautiful cities of the world. Istanbul also has more than its share of history, having witnessed the rise, fall and clash of empires from late-antiquity Romans, through Greek Byzantines, Ottoman conquerors and Persian rivals. The mix of East and West, Christian and Muslim and old and new is like no other city in the world.

Turkey is a test-tube study in how emerging market countries reach developed status. As such, it is subject to the interactions between developed and emerging markets, including hot money capital flows, currency wars and the struggles with interest rate policy and inflation.

This commentary by Jim appeared on the Internet site yesterday sometime---and I thank Dan Lazicki for finding it for us.


U.S. Navy warships deployed to Yemeni waters, could block Iranian weapons

A U.S. carrier battle group is repositioning to the Arabian sea in response to a deteriorating security situation in

Yemen, but Pentagon officials denied reports that the move is designed to intercept Iranian ships.

“Ships are repositioning to conduct maritime security operations, they are not going to intercept Iranian ships,” Col. Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesman, said.

The Associated Press sent a breaking news alert reporting the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to join other American ships prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.

The carrier, as well as the cruiser USS Normandy, transited the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday night and are now conducting operations in the Arabian Sea, Col. Warren said.

This news item appeared on The Washington Times website yesterday---and I thank International Man's senior editor Nick Giambruno for passing it around.


Major Chinese Developer Says It Can’t Pay Dollar Debts

Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. became China’s first real estate company to default on its U.S. currency debt, capping a month of distress in bond markets amid an anti-corruption probe and fueling concern that losses will spread.

The default coincides with the expiration of a 30-day grace period on $52 million of missed interest payments on two dollar-denominated bonds, according to a Hong Kong stock exchange statement Monday. Kaisa, based in the southern city of Shenzhen, is struggling to service 65 billion yuan ($10.5 billion) of debt owed to both onshore and offshore lenders while becoming embroiled in President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on graft.

The developer’s problems have rippled across the region’s debt market, where investors starved of yield elsewhere in the world have swooped in to boost returns. As the government’s anti-corruption probes widen, it’s raising concern that defaults will spread after overseas noteholders bought a record $21.3 billion of bonds issued by Chinese property companies.

“It’s been a canary that has been chirping for some time,” Gary Herbert, a money manager who helps oversee about $45 billion of fixed-income assets at Brandywine Global Investment Management LLC in Philadelphia, said in a telephone interview. “This is the beginning of an adjustment period in China that will see a lot of credit investors, who were chasing the promise of higher yields, ultimately disappointed.”

This Bloomberg story was posted on their Internet site at 6:19 a.m. EDT on Monday morning---and I thank Norman Willis for sharing it with us.


China makes big cut in bank reserve requirement to fight slowdown

China's central bank on Sunday cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, the second industry-wide cut in two months, adding more liquidity to the world's second-biggest economy to help spur bank lending and combat slowing growth.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) lowered the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for all banks by 100 basis points to 18.5 percent, effective from April 20, the central bank said in a statement on its website

"Though the growth in the first quarter met the official target of around 7 percent for 2015, the slowdown in several areas, including industrial output and retail sales, has caused concern," said a report published by the official Xinhua news service covering the announcement.

The latest cut, the deepest single reduction since the depth of the global crisis in 2008, shows how the central bank is stepping up efforts to ward off a sharp slowdown in the economy.

This Reuters article, filed from Beijing, showed up on their Internet site at 12:15 p.m. EDT on Sunday afternoon---and my thanks go out to Harry Grant for bringing it to our attention.


Japanese population falls to 15-year low

Japan’s population has shrunk for the fourth year running, falling back to a level it was last at in 2000, the government said. More than one in four people are now 65 or older.

The population dropped by 0.17%, or 215,000 people, to 127,083,000 as of 1 October last year, according to the data released on Friday. The figure includes long-staying foreigners.

The number of people aged 65 or over rose by 1.1 million to 33 million and now outnumber those aged 14 or younger by two to one.

Japan’s rapidly greying population poses a major headache for policymakers who are faced with trying to ensure an ever-dwindling pool of workers can pay for the growing number of pensioners.

If you take a cursory glance at any chart regarding the demographics of Japan, you'll see that Japan's population is now in permanent  decline.  This article appeared on Internet site at 6:02 a.m. BST on Saturday morning---and it's worth reading.  I thank reader "F.P." for sending it our way.


Russia Returns to Gold With Biggest Purchases in Six Months

After a two-month hiatus, Russia’s appetite for buying gold is back.

The nation increased foreign reserves of bullion to 39.8 million ounces, or about 1,238 metric tons, as of April 1, compared with 38.8 million ounces a month earlier, the central bank said on its website Monday. The 30-ton purchase was the most since September.

Russia, the fifth-biggest holder of the metal, returned to buying gold after taking a break in January and February. The country, which bought gold through the last nine months of 2014, made the purchases to diversify foreign reserves and solve issues related to ruble liquidity, central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said in February.

“It’s interesting that Russia is still buying because it’s economy has taken a knock from Western sanctions and from lower oil prices,” David Jollie, an analyst at Mitsui & Co. Precious Metals Inc., said by phone from London. “This sends a very bullish signal to the gold market.”

It's only bullish if JPMorgan et al want it to appear that way---and yesterday wasn't that day, either.  This Bloomberg article put in an appearance on their Internet site at 7:59 a.m. Monday morning EDT---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.  It's worth reading.


Indian gold imports may rise 89 percent in April, jewellers group says

India's gold imports are likely to rise more than 89 percent at 100 tonnes this month compared with last year, mainly due to weakness in international prices and easing of restrictions by the Reserve Bank of India, an industry body said.

Gold imports stood at 53 tonnes during April last year, according to data given by The All-India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation.

"Until now we have imported nearly 100 tonnes of gold. So we are expecting the total imports to be a little over 100 tonnes," GJF's new Chairman Manish Jain told PTI here. 

However, imports will be lower than March, when India had shipped in 159.5 tonnes of gold as jewellers were stocking up in preparation for Akshaya Tritiya and the marriage season, Jain said.

This short gold-related news item showed up on The Economic Times of India at 8:14 p.m. IST on their Monday evening---and it's another article I found on the Internet site yesterday.  It's worth your time as well.


Gold jewelers count on Indian festival fortunes to rouse deman

Indian jewelers are banking on what’s considered one of the most auspicious days for gold buying to spur demand in the world’s biggest bullion consumer.

Sales on Tuesday’s Akshaya Tritiya, viewed by the country’s more than 900 million Hindus as a traditional day to buy precious metals, may increase as much as 20 percent from 2014, Manish Jain, chairman of the All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation, said by phone from Mumbai on Monday. The nation’s gold consumption slid 14 percent last year.

A resurgence in India’s appetite for bullion may help halt a decline in gold prices for a third straight quarter that was prompted by a withdrawal of investors from gold-backed exchange- traded funds. Demand is getting a further boost after the government ended most controls on imports that helped contain a record current-account deficit and decline in the currency.

“A positive mood exists among the retail sector as Akshaya Tritiya is considered the most auspicious time of the year for purchase of gold,” Jain said. “Gold continues to be a dependable hedge against inflation and is still a valuable purchase” for Indians, he said.

This Bloomberg story from early this morning London time was posted on the Internet site.


Mystery of China's gold stash may soon be solved at IMF

China's push to challenge U.S. dominance in global trade and finance may involve gold -- a lot of gold.

While the metal is no longer used to back paper money, it remains a big chunk of central bank reserves in the U.S. and Europe. China became the world's second-largest economy in 2010 and has stepped up efforts to make the yuan a viable competitor to the dollar. That's led to speculation the government has stockpiled gold as part of a plan to diversify $3.7 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves.

The People's Bank of China may have tripled holdings of bullion since it last updated them in April 2009, to 3,510 metric tons, says Bloomberg Intelligence, based on trade data, domestic output and China Gold Association figures. A stockpile that big would be second only to the 8,133.5 tons in the U.S.

"If you want to set yourself up as a reserve currency, you may want to have assets on your balance sheet other than other fiat currencies," Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities, said by phone from Toronto. Gold is "certainly viewed as a viable store of value for an up-and-coming global power," he said.

This very worthwhile story was posted on the Bloomberg website at 10:01 a.m. on Monday morning EDT---and it's another story that was embedded in a GATA release.


China silver stockpiles surge

Silver stockpiles in China surged this year as the country’s slowing economic growth weakened demand for the precious metal, according to a state researcher.

Inventory monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange almost tripled to 341.5 metric tons April 9, the highest in a year, from 122.8 tons in the final week of 2014, according to weekly bourse data compiled by Bloomberg. Stockpiles on the Shanghai Gold Exchange also more than doubled this year to 263.97 tons on April 3, exchange data show.

Chinese silver producers delivered the metal to exchange warehouses amid falling physical demand, said Jin Xiangyun, a senior precious metals analyst at Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. China’s economy expanded at the weakest pace since 2009 last quarter, indicating a deepening slowdown. The global benchmark price has fallen 17 percent in the past year.

“Silverware and jewelry makers said they wouldn’t produce much because of weak demand,” Jin said in a telephone interview April 22, citing their recent survey of producers. “Fabricators usually purchase large amounts of refined silver after Chinese New Year holidays. That didn’t happen for this year.” The break was from April 18-24 this year.

This Bloomberg article from last Friday showed up on the Internet site.


Here's the real, forgotten meaning of 'The Wizard Of Oz'

Turns out the book and movie may be an economic fairy tale about America in the late 1800s — and gold.

Well, dear reader, if you are one of the few that doesn't know the real story behind L. Frank Balm's book "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"---and the subsequent 1939 movie---please take 2:06 minutes out of your busy life---and watch this video that was posted on the Internet site at 11:49 a.m. EDT on Sunday morning.  I thank Roy Stephens for today's last story.



¤ The Funnies

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,


¤ The Wrap

Two weeks ago, the turnover or physical movement of metal brought into and taken out from the COMEX-approved silver warehouses was at a nadir and appeared to be cooling off. I openly questioned (myself) whether the four-year-old, frantic, unprecedented and unique-to-silver-among-all-commodities-physical-conveyance was approaching an end---and what that end would portend for price. I’ve been forced to put such thoughts on hold as a result of what transpired over the past two weeks, as the combined two week movement of metal was the largest two week turnover in memory, fully double the torrid 5 million oz average weekly movement of 2014.

This past week, more than 8.5 million oz of silver were physically moved either into or out from the six COMEX warehouses. Total COMEX silver inventories rose a relatively slight 0.8 million oz to 175.9 million oz for the week. Over the past two weeks, close to 20 million oz of actual metal was either moved into or taken out from the COMEX warehouses, while total inventories declined by mere 0.6 million oz. While this underscores the consistent observation of mine over the past year and longer that the frantic turnover in COMEX inventories were highly unusual in two regards - the outsized movement itself---and the fact that total inventories hardly changed at all - there is a more specific explanation for the past two weeks. Yep, JPMorgan again.

Basically, JPMorgan accounted for all the COMEX silver movement this week as well as much of what moved during the prior week. This week, 4.7 million oz were moved into the COMEX silver warehouse of JPMorgan and because that metal mostly came from other COMEX silver warehouses, total movement is fully explained by the growth in JPM holdings. Last week 3.4 million oz came into the JPM warehouse, so the two week increase of 8.1 million oz is directly connected to the 7.5 million oz that JPMorgan took in delivery for the March futures contract. (Please remember there is a 6% - under or over - weight tolerance for delivered COMEX silver contracts). - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 18 April 2015

Another day---and more slices off the precious metal salamis.

It was also another day where Russia, China and India showed the world that between the three of them, they're pretty much gobbling up all the newly mined gold on Planet Earth every year.

Yet still gold prices aren't allowed to go anywhere.  That applies to platinum and palladium, both of which are in structural supply/demand deficits as well.

Then there's silver.  With about 350 million troy ounces now in the hands of JPMorgan---and at the same time this company, along with Canada's Scotiabank, are short roughly 200 million troy ounces of silver in the COMEX futures market between them---and you have to ask yourself when and how this will all end.

I would guess the JPMorgan has enough silver in good delivery form to cover their entire short position if required to do so; but that comfort level [or their 'Get Out of Jail Free Card'] certainly doesn't extend to Scotiabank---unless they've managed to hide their silver stash out of sight in SLV.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper and WTIC, as of the close of trading yesterday.

I was somewhat surprised to see the precious metal equities finish in the green yesterday---and wonder who the deep-pocket buyers were that were scooping up everything that John Q. Public was selling in the face of Monday's engineered price declines in both gold and silver.

And as I write this paragraph, the London open is about fifteen minutes away.  The gold price isn't doing much, but is down a buck and change from Monday's close.  Silver is unchanged---and platinum and palladium are up a dollar or two. 

Gold volume is just under 11,500 contracts, with virtually all the volume in the current front month.  Silver's net volume is just shy of 2,600 contracts---and about of a third of the total volume is roll-overs out of the May contract.

The dollar index didn't do a lot until shortly after 1 p.m. Hong Kong time---and since then it's up 26 basis points.

Yesterday's salami slices were pretty decent---and just eye-balling the above charts, "da boyz" still have work to do if they want to get back to the wildly bullish levels that the Commitment of Traders data showed a month ago.  I'd guess $50 in gold---and 50 cents in silver---and that's from their respective low ticks yesterday, not their closing prices.

But can they, or will they?  We got part of the answer yesterday---and it remains to be seen if there's more to come.  It wouldn't take much effort on behalf of JPMorgan et al, along with their HFT buddies, to do what's necessary.

I mentioned all this in Saturday's missive, but with another day of data in the history books, I'm just revisiting it briefly.

I would guess that all this price/volume will be in this Friday's COT Report, as there's no real reason why it shouldn't---and hopefully the same can be said for the price/volume today---as Tuesday at the close of the COMEX trading session, is the cut-off for Friday's report.

And as I fire today's column out the door at 5:15 a.m. EDT, I see that the gold price is flat---and silver is actually up a nickel. Platinum and palladium are up a bit more as well.  Gold volume is now up to 18,500 contracts---and silver's net volume is now at 4,800 contracts.

All in all there's not much happening from a price perspective---and the fact that the dollar index is now up 38 basis points---and was even even higher than that shortly before 5 a.m. EDT, I'm somewhat surprised to see the precious metals performing as well as they are.

But with all the problems in the world these days, I guess it really shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the precious metals are catching a bid despite what's going on with the dollar index.

It beats the heck out of me as to how the rest of the Tuesday session will turn out---and nothing will surprise me when I check the charts later this morning.

I'm off to bed---see you here tomorrow.

Ed Steer