Gold & Silver Daily
 

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

It was a pretty quiet trading day for gold on Thursday, as there was almost no follow-through price action in the Far East market---and the spike high at 9 a.m. Hong Kong time got capped immediately.  Once London opened, the gold price got sold down to its 'low' of the day around 8:45 a.m. in New York.  It recovered somewhat by 12:10 p.m. in New York---and did little after that.

The high and low ticks were reported as $1,177.00 and $1,158.60 in the April contract.

Gold finished the Thursday session at $1,171.00 spot, up $4.10 from Wednesday's close.  Net volume was 139,000 contracts.

Silver also rallied until 9 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Thursday morning---and that was its high as well.  But at noon, the silver price picked up a negative bias---and it stayed that way until 8:30 a.m. GMT.  Then also like gold, it began to head higher in fits and starts, culminating in a tiny spike at 11:30 a.m. in New York---and after that was capped the price did nothing for the remainder of the day.

The high and low for silver were recorded by the CME Group as $16.205 and $15.795 in the May contract.

Silver closed the Thursday session in New York yesterday at $16.11 spot, up 22 cents on the day.  Net volume was very decent at 37,500 contracts, which was more than was traded on a net basis on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Platinum and palladium prices were also turned lower at 9 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Thursday morning.  Platinum rallied a bit in New York---and closed higher, but palladium was closed on its low of the day, giving back almost all of its Wednesday gains.  Platinum closed up 7 bucks---and palladium closed down 17 dollars.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index closed in New York on Wednesday at 97.82---and after getting saved by "gentle hands" once again around 8:30 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Thursday morning, began to 'rally,' with the 99.44 high tick coming shortly after 2:30 p.m. EDT in New York.  It started to backslide from there---and closed at 99.07---which was up 75 basis points from Wednesday.  Here's the 3-day chart so you can put Thursday's action in some sort of perspective.

The gold stocks slid for a two percent loss in the opening minutes of trading yesterday, but rallied to just above unchanged at gold's New York high tick which came minutes after 12 o'clock noon EDT.  But, once the price began to slide, the share prices followed suit---and even though gold finished in the green, the associated shares couldn't manage to pull off the same trick, as the HUI closed down 0.50 percent.

Considering the 'rally' in the U.S. Dollar index, I suppose it could have been worse.

The silver equities had a very similar chart pattern, but their run into positive territory around noon in New York was somewhat more impressive than their golden brethren.  And even though they slid into negative territory after that, they still manged to rally in the late going---and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 0.20 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that gold open interest in March declined by 14 contracts---and now sits at 111 contracts still open.  In silver, o.i. fell 3 contracts, the ones posted for delivery today---and open interest in this metal is now at 571 contracts remaining.

Just as an aside, I see that there are still 204,726 gold contracts open in the April delivery month---and except for those contract holders standing for delivery in April, the balance have to disappear during the next seven trading days, so next week's volume/price activity in gold will be worth watching.

There were no reported changes in GLD---and as of 9:42 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.

There was no in/out activity in SLV for the reporting week ending on Wednesday, so I shan't bother posting Joshua Gibbons' comments to that effect.

There was a sales report of sorts from the U.S. Mint.  They sold 3,000 troy ounces of gold eagles---1,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---and 29,000 silver eagles.

There was a decent amount of gold activity reported over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.  Canada's Scotiabank received 32,150.000 troy ounces of the stuff, which is precisely 1,000 kilobars---and 64,609 troy ounces were shipped out of the vaults over at JPMorgan.

I just noted that two more gold depositories have been added to the COMEX list.  They are listed under the heading of "Gold Kilo Stocks", but the gold in them certainly doesn't divide out like they're kilobars.  Brink's, Inc. reports holding 744,456 troy ounces---and the other one, which is Malca-Amit Far East Ltd, holds 32,182 troy ounces.   As I've said on numerous occasions, the gold kilobar is a defacto good delivery bar on the COMEX now---and these new vaults confirm that.  All we have to now is wait for the "official" word that makes them so.  I'll be watching these accounts on a daily basis from now on as well.

In silver, nothing was reported received, but 409,456 troy ounces was shipped out of Brink's, Inc.

I have the usual number of stories for a weekday---and I hope the list doesn't get any bigger as the evening/early morning progresses.

 

¤ Critical Reads

The Financial Folly Lurking Beneath Yellen’s Patient Lack of Impatience

Janet’s Yellen’s pettifogging today about her patient lack of impatience was downright pathetic. Her verbal hair-splitting is starting to make medieval ritual incantations sound coherent by comparison.

But unlike the financial media’s dopey dithering about “dot plots”, Yellen at least has something to hide behind all the gibberish.  Namely, she and her merry band of money printers are becoming more petrified each month that they will trigger a thundering Wall Street hissy fit if they move to “normalize” interest rates—-even as they are slowly beginning to realize that continuance of ZIRP much longer will only intensify the market’s addiction to rampant speculation, free money carry trades and the associated risks to financial stability.

But the Fed’s new found worry that it’s tsunami of liquidity might have untoward effects doesn’t even rank as a death bed conversion. It’s way too late to worry about a financial bubble that has become epic in scope and danger; and its especially too late to think that it can be weasel-worded down from its Brobdingnagian heights.

The reason the Fed is impaled in a monster trap is that history is closing in on it. We have now had upwards of three decades of increasingly aggressive monetary inflation—-a corrosive trend culminating in what will be 80 months of zero money market rates and a massive monetization of debt claims that originally funded the consumption of real labor and capital resources.

Needless to say, that has generated a dangerous and ever widening disconnect between the real main street economy and the nominal value of assets in the financial system.

This commentary by David Stockman appeared on his Internet site late Wednesday---and is worth reading, at least until your eyes start to glaze over.  I thank reader Peter Handley for today's first story.

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U.S. Dollar Recovers All FOMC Jawbone Losses, EUR Plunges 400 Pips

With EUR/USD now down over 400 pips from the after-hours flash-crash last night, the U.S. Dollar has recovered all of its post-FOMC and post-flash-crash losses, led by EUR weakness...

As it seems the life of Fed jawboning effort is now less than 24 hours...

That's all there is to this brief  Zero Hedge article, but the two embedded charts are a must to view.  It was posted on their website at 11:57 a.m. EDT yesterday morning---and it's the first offering of the day from Dan Lazicki.

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Even Ed Yardeni Admits "This is Not Investing...the Markets Are All Rigged"

"This is not investing," exclaims Ed Yardeni in this brief clip, "it is all about central bankers... these markets are all rigged." That is not a criticism he notes, "I just say that factually... I love these central bankers, they've been very good to the stock market." The clip is then followed by a defense of this pumping by central banks, because "we are a 401(k) society." Which apparently ignores the whole "massive inequality gap" issue that is staring America right in the eyes... But for now stocks are up so "shut up and enjoy it" as Larry Kudlow said yesterday.

Which is ironic given CBNC's front page has dueling headlines proclaiming the markets are rigged and that Flash Boy's claim that the markets are rigged has not been proven...

Baffle 'em with bullshit continues.

This Zero Hedge article appeared on their website at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday afternoon---and I thank Dan Lazicki for sharing it with us.

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Pimco Downgrades U.S. Growth on Sluggish Exports, Capital Spending

Bond fund company Pacific Investment Management Co. cut its forecast for U.S economic growth in 2015, saying it expected a stronger dollar to hold back exports and that capital expenditures would slow in the energy sector.

Pimco said on Thursday in its quarterly Cyclical Forum outlook report that it expected growth of 2.5 percent to 3 percent, down from a prior outlook of 2.75 percent to 3.25 percent.

The company also said the Federal Reserve, which on Wednesday opened the door wider for a rate hike later this year, would "proceed at a fairly slow pace."

That view was backed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who participated in Pimco's Cyclical Forum earlier this month at its headquarters in Newport Beach, California.

Anyone with more than room temperature I.Q. could have made that call.  This item was posted on the newsmax.com Internet site at 1 p.m. EDT yesterday---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sending it our way.

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Bank of New York Mellon will settle currency trade case for $714 million

The Bank of New York Mellon will pay $714 million to settle accusations that it cheated government pension funds and other investors for more than a decade, federal and state authorities announced on Thursday. It is part of a deal requiring the bank to dismiss some employees and make fuller public disclosures of its foreign exchange operation.

The settlement resolves lawsuits filed in 2011 by Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, and Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general.

The authorities accused the bank of assuring clients that they would receive the best possible rate when executing a currency trade. In reality, the authorities said, the bank did just the opposite: It provided clients “prices that were at or near the worst interbank rates,” enabling the bank to make extra cash during the 2008 financial crisis.

The victims included New York City pension funds and prominent private investors, the authorities said. City investors included teachers and police officers, while the private investment funds belonged to the likes of Duke University and the Walt Disney Company.

This story appeared on The New York Times website yesterday sometime---and I found it in a GATA release that Chris Powell filed from Singapore on their Friday afternoon.

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A major U.S. energy company has filed for bankruptcy

In regulatory filings, the energy company said it had $2.35 billion in debt and $1.2 billion in assets. Management said it would face a "potential liquidity shortfall" in the first quarter of 2016, for reasons including its mountain of debt and the oil crash, according to a regulatory filing.

"Quicksilver's strategic marketing process has not produced viable options for asset sales or other alternatives to fully address the company's liquidity and capital structure issues," CEO Glenn Darden said in a statement. "We believe that Chapter 11 provides the flexibility to accomplish an effective restructuring of Quicksilver for its stakeholders."

The oil and gas company based in Texas does not expect its U.S. or Canadian operations to stop, Darden said.

The company's problems started even before oil prices began to slide last year. Last September, the company tried to sell off all its assets, but it was unable to find any buyers by December, when bids were due, it said. Moody's cut its debt rating to junk.

This Business Insider news item was picked up by the finance.yahoo.com Internet site.  It was posted on their website very late on Wednesday evening EDT---and I thank David Ball for digging it up for us.

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Leaders to hold Greece talks in margins of E.U. summit

Energy, foreign affairs, and the economy will be on the EU leaders’ official agenda at Thursday and Friday's (19 and 20 March) summit.

But Greece will be the "elephant in the room", according to one diplomat from a non-eurozone country, with a crucial meeting also to take place between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and a handful of E.U. power brokers.

Tsipras will meet on Thursday evening with German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande, and with the presidents of the European Council, commission and central bank - Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Mario Draghi. The president of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, will also participate.

Tsipras had been angling for such a meeting for some time to make a deal on easing Greece’s debt obligations.

"Elected officials will negotiate with elected officials and technocrats will deal with technocrats," he said to the Greek parliament on Wednesday.

This news story showed up on the euobserver.com Internet site at 7:55 a.m. Europe time on their Thursday morning---and it's worth reading.  I thank Roy Stephens for his first offering of the day.

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Deadlock over Greek debt crisis could play into Russia's hands

Greece’s battle to stay solvent and in the eurozone is becoming a game of dangerous brinkmanship. Beyond the war of words between Athens and Berlin, the dark arts of diplomacy are also being played.

On Tuesday, only hours after Greece’s leftist-led government announced that the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, had accepted an offer by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to visit Berlin, it was revealed that he would also be making a similar tour to Moscow. “The prime minister will visit the Kremlin on 8 April after being invited by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin,” his office said.

Before the sun had set over the Acropolis, the top U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland had waded in, holding talks with Greece’s foreign minister, Nikos Kotzias, in Athens.

Nuland, who is assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, flew into the capital amid mounting U.S. concerns that the great euro debt crisis has begun to pose a geopolitical threat. Allowed to veer out of control, Greece could end up in the ambit of Russia, financially bereft and without the E.U. links that keep it bounded to the west. NATO’s south-eastern flank would be immeasurably weakened at a time of mounting global security worries over Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East.

This article appeared on theguardian.com Internet site on Tuesday evening GMT---and I found it on the russia-insider.com Internet site yesterday---and it's another contribution from Roy Stephens.

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Pepe Escobar: Book by Dutch Journalist Alleges MH-17 Cover-Up

MH-17: The Cover-Up Deal: That's the title of the explosive book published yesterday in Holland by journalist Joost Niemoller.

Only one of the major Dutch newspapers - De Volkskrant - allowed Niemoller to talk about the book. Here's the translation:

"Three months after the attack, the discontent and frustration regarding MH17 in the Netherlands seems to increase more and more. The anger is aimed at the government, but the government appears to be unable to give satisfying answers about the perpetrator of the crash. This was first manifested when Dutch FM Timmermans [on October 8] spoke about the oxygen cap that one of the MH17 victims was wearing. Does the Dutch government know much more than it is willing to reveal?

This very interesting story/book review appeared on the russia-insider.com Internet back on March 9---and I thank "Michael G" for bringing it to our attention.

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Lavrov condemns Reuters report on MH17 crash, calls for 'unbiased, professional' investigation

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has condemned a news report of witnesses’ statements, in which people said they had seen a rocket fired at the time of Malaysian Boeing crash in Ukraine in July 2014. "Looks like a stovepiping," Lavrov said.

Attempts at distorting facts, enforcing versions on what could have happened continue to exist, with some based on openly dirty intentions,” Lavrov told journalists on Thursday. Commenting on last week’s Reuters report on “new evidence on the downing of the Malaysian plane over Ukraine,” the minister said that it looked like the “respected agency” had published “a so-called stovepiping .”

“[There are] some witnesses, who contradict one another, and express things amusing for any specialist. For instance, some wiggling rocket, separating rocket stages, blue clouds of smoke,” the minister said, adding such information has been provided by alleged eyewitnesses, who managed to see the crash despite being 25 kilometers (15 miles) away from it, in cloudy weather.

According to Reuters, villagers in eastern Ukraine “saw a missile flying directly overhead just before a Malaysian airliner was shot out of the sky on July 17 last year, providing the most detailed accounts to date that suggest it was fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels.”

This Russia Today news item was posted on their Internet site at 7:12 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday evening, which was 12:12 p.m. in Washington.  It's another offering from Roy Stephens.

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Seriously? U.S. Now Wants Kiev to Host Moscow's Victory Day Parade

Three former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine have come up with an op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times suggesting that Kiev, instead of Moscow, should be chosen as the venue for the May 9 Victory Day Parade.

The authors took the responsibility of not only advising world leaders to turn down President Putin’s invitation but also advocated moving celebrations commemorating the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in the Second World War to Kiev.

Steven Pifer, John Herbst and William Taylor, all three former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine, gave their reasons for the suggested move.

“Even though Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush traveled to Moscow in 1995 and 2005 for other V-E [Victory in Europe — Sputnik] Day anniversaries, Moscow in 2015 is hardly the right place for Western leaders to gather now,” they wrote in the article.

You couldn't make this stuff up---and I'm sure that these three guys didn't think this idea up on their own.  This article appeared on the sputniknews.com website at 7:03 p.m. Moscow time on Thursday evening---and it is, once again, courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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Lavrov: Washington is pushing Kiev to military solution of Donbass conflict

The US is inciting Kiev to end the crisis in eastern Ukraine by force, said the Russian foreign minister citing US support of the recent Ukrainian law on the special self-governing status of Donbass, which Moscow says undermines the Minsk-2 deal.

If Washington welcomes the action, which undermines the Minsk agreements, then we can only conclude that Washington is inciting Kiev to resolve the issue by military means,” said Lavrov at a media conference in Moscow on Thursday.

His comments were a reference to the telephone conversation between US Vice-President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday, during which Biden welcomed the decision by the Ukrainian parliament to give special status to Donbass.

On March 17, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), passed a law granting the self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk special self-rule status, but Moscow said the law violated the peace agreement.

This news item put in an appearance on the Russia Today website at 2:27 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday afternoon---and the stories from Roy just keep on coming.

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Leaders of Anti-Maidan Movement: "We Will Never Let the Smell of Burning Tires Reach Moscow"

The "Anti-Maidan" movement in Russia was created so that law enforcement agencies do not feel alone and abandoned, said co-leader, the writer Nikolai Starikov. Along with "Anti-Maidan" colleague, Aleksander Zaldostanov - otherwise known as The Surgeon - and leader of the biker group Night Wolves, they discuss the topic of the “fifth column” in Russia, and who exactly fits into this category. The interview is from the news agency "Profile."

You consider yourselves defenders of the country from the "Orange revolution". Why did your movement emerge during October, 2014? The president's rating is higher than ever, the opposition is weak, the probability of revolution is lower than it has ever been. From whom do you want to protect us? 

Nikolai Starikov : I wouldn’t say it's too late. On the contrary, it is very timely... Our task is to express a point of view, which we believe is widespread in our society. Our people do not want the shocking events, the unraveling of things via the Ukrainian scenario. Someone had to express this idea so that a large number of public figures and organizations could join the movement

This very interesting interview appeared on the russia-insider.com Internet site early Thursday morning Moscow time---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.

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The Islamic State Strategy to Draw West into Final Battle -- Der Spiegel

Islamic State is making headlines by destroying historical artifacts in Iraq. But far from being an expression of medieval nihilism, the campaign on culture is a strategy aimed at drawing the West into battle. The destruction is reminiscent of that wrought by the U.S.

There is a widely held view that a jihadist who strikes a Mesopotamian statue with a hammer or uses a drill to destroy a winged bull from Nineveh is destroying the cradle of civilization, and this is certainly true. But it is also true that all of this didn't begin in February 2015 or in 2013, when Islamic State first appeared on the radar of Western media.

It began on March 20, 2003, when the American-led "Coalition of the Willing" invaded Iraq. It was this illegitimate war that created the "failed state" of Iraq in the first place, and today's threat arose from its ruins. The vacuum of power was what enabled the Islamists' fury to develop in the first place. The war on terror created today's terror being perpetrated by IS.

And it appears also to be true that American and later Polish troops caused serious damage to the ancient city of Babylon back then, undoubtedly another "cradle of mankind," when they built military camps and destroyed ancient streets, and when the rotors of their helicopters caused temples to collapse. "Look at this land," Maitham Hamza, director of the completely empty museum of Babylon, said in 2008. "It is packed with remnants. They filled their bags with them." The sandbags he was referring to, filled with archeological valuable earth, were used to secure a base for 2,000 troops. At the time, the base in Babylon was nicknamed "the Hanging Gardens of Halliburton," because this now notorious military contracting firm was responsible for the camp. Nebuchadnezzar ruled Babylon in the 6th century B.C., but then, 2,600 years later, American soldiers arrived and sprayed "Miss you, Smoothy!" onto the walls.

This short, but absolute must read essay put in an appearance on the German website spiegel.de at 1:56 p.m. Europe time on their Thursday afternoon---and it's the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens.  It also sports a news headline, as it now reads "Medieval Fantasies? Islamic State Pursues Apocalyptic Logic".

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U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia closed indefinitely

The U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia will remain closed until further noticed due to heightened security concerns at US diplomatic facilities, the embassy said on its website on Wednesday.

The embassy first announced the U.S. embassy and consulates have cancelled all consular services in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran for Sunday on March 15 and 16.

Telephone lines to the Consular sections will not be open during these two days. Later on March 16, the embassy announced that the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Saudi Arabia will continue to be cancelled.

A new security message will be sent out as soon as consular services return to normal, Xinhua news agency reported citing Wednesday’s statement.

This brief news item appeared on thehindu.com website on Wednesday evening IST---and I thank Brad Robertson for bringing it to our attention.

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Fed urges lawmakers to toughen rules on Wall Street and commodities

U.S. lawmakers should consider overturning a decades-old rule that allows Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to extract, transport and trade physical commodities, a top Federal Reserve official said on Thursday.

Asked at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on bank regulation what rules could be strengthened, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo said one target was the commodities exemption the two banks enjoy, which allows them to handle everything from crude oil cargoes and copper pallets to electricity lines and aluminum stockpiles.

Without naming the banks Tarullo said "it would be very much worth considering treating those two firms like the other banking companies."

There's no chance that this will ever happen.  This Reuters article, filed from New York, showed up on their Internet site at 4:14 p.m. EDT on Wednesday---and I thank Eric Gould for sharing it with us.

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Suitors circle Noble after commodity trader's $1.8 billion market plunge

Singapore-listed Noble Group's 30 percent share-slump over the past month has thrust it on to the radar screens of Asian companies that want a bigger clout in global commodities trading, people familiar with the matter said.

Chinese and Japanese companies have held informal talks with investment banks about potentially making approaches to Hong Kong-headquartered Noble, a Singapore-based banker aware of the matter told Reuters, even though founder and top shareholder Richard Elman has been keen on the group staying independent.

Noble's market value has shrunk by $1.8 billion since little-known Iceberg Research accused it in mid-February of inflating asset values by billions of dollars through aggressive accounting. Noble has rejected the claim and linked Iceberg to an employee it fired in 2013.

This smells like a Long-Term Capital Management-type scenario---and it bears watching.  This Reuters story, co-filed from Singapore and Hong Kong, appeared on their website at 10:34 p.m. EDT last night---and I thank our man in Greece, Harry Grant for passing it along.

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Ronan Manly: London gold trading data disappears as new fix mechanism begins

Gold researcher and GATA consultant Ronan Manly reports that much data about gold trading in London is apparently about to be hidden as the daily London gold price fixing mechanism is changed.

This follows a similar manoeuvre on the evening of 14th August 2014, when the web site of the London Silver Market Fixing Limited, www.silverfixing.com, was immediately and permanently switched off (without warning), leaving no trace of the live website.

Both the Gold and Silver Fixing Companies have a registered address of c/o Hackwood Secretaries Limited, One Silk Street, London EC2Y 8HQ. Hackwood Secretaries Limited is a company belonging to Linklaters law firm. Hackwood Secretaries is also the registered address of London Precious Metal Clearing Limited (LPMCL), the precious metals clearing company of Barclays, HSBC, Scotia, UBS, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank.

If you're looking for intrigue---or something that might look good in a spy novel or a James Bond flick---you might find it in this longish commentary by Ronan Manly that showed up on the Singapore-based Internet site bullionstar.com on Friday morning local time.  Dan Lazicki was the first reader through the door with this story---and it's definitely worth reading if you have the time.

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Six banks to participate in new ICE gold benchmark, no Chinese yet

There will be six direct participants in ICE’s new gold price benchmarking process that is due to start on Friday, the exchange said during a briefing at its offices here on Thursday.

Scotiabank, HSBC, Societe Generale and Barclays were all confirmed as participants; ICE declined to identify the other two parties.

Although some Chinese banks are said to be interested in joining several of the traditional members of the current fix in the new system, the exchange said none will be involved tomorrow while they continue to work on documentation

Well, it's the same crooks as the old "fix"---and Ronan Manly informed me that UBS is the fifth bank, so the other bank/crook could be Citigroup, or maybe JPMorgan---but JPM's a long shot at best.  Not that it matters, as these are "da boyz"---the not-for-profit sellers---and the sellers of last resort.  You can call 'em what you want.  This short article appeared on the bulliondesk.com Internet site at 9:15 a.m. GMT yesterday morning---and I thank Ronan Manly for sending it our way.  It's definitely worth reading.

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Lawrence Williams: Silver may bottom this year, with meaningful gains next

Analysts at precious metals consultancy Metals Focus see the silver price bottoming by late in the current year, but falling back further in the interim. This is tied in with what the consultancy sees as the prospects for the gold price over the period and suggests the much-followed Gold:Silver ratio will remain between 70 and 75 over the course of 2015. It does however see what it terms as the possibility for ‘meaningful gains’ in 2016.

While silver bulls might see this as yet another ultra-bearish outlook for the metal, at least in the short to medium term, Metals Focus does at least see $14 an ounce as the likely downside low, which is certainly less bearish than some other analysts have suggested. It is also perhaps a little less negative on gold than some of the more bearish commentators, seeing it making a recovery after any Fed rate hikes, which it sees as possibly beginning in Q3 this year. Recent statistics have shown that the U.S. ‘recovery’ is far from strong despite the spin put on it by politicians and the Fed. Given a lack of inflationary pressure any Fed rate increases are thus likely to be both modest and gradual and keep them negative in real terms. Metals Focus thus comments in its latest weekly letter that the realisation that rates will remain lower for longer will not only see the unwinding of short bets, but also encourage investors to reconsider the investment case for precious metals.

Much of silver, and gold’s, decline since the beginning of the year has been due to the rise in the rampant dollar – the dollar index has risen around 10% since January 1 – which makes any decline in metal prices less relevant in most other currencies.

And as Lawrie knows all too well, it's the grotesque and obscene short positions of the Big 8 traders in the COMEX futures market that's really keeping prices suppressed---and what Metals Focus, GFMS, or CPM Group have to say about supply/demand are next to worthless in light of this fact.  This short commentary appeared on the mineweb.com Internet site at 10:28 a.m. GMT on Thursday morning---and I thank Dan Lazicki for his final offering in today's column.

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The Gold Chronicles: March 12 , 2015 Interview with Jim Rickards

This long 52:20 minute audio interview with Jim showed up on the physicalgoldfund.com website yesterday---and it was conducted on March 12.  There's also an executive summary to go with it.  I thank Harold Jacobsen for sending it our way.

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¤ The Funnies









Freegold Ventures Limited is a North American gold exploration company with three gold projects in Alaska. Current projects include Golden Summit, Vinasale and Rob. Both Vinasale and Golden Summit host NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Calculations.

An updated NI 43-101 resource was calculated on Golden Summit in October 2012 and using 0.3 g/t cutoff  the current resource is 73,580,000 tonnes grading 0.67 g/t Au for total of 1,576,000 contained ounces in the indicated category, and 223,300,000 tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 4,437,000 contained ounces in the inferred category. In addition to the Golden Summit Project the Vinasale also hosts a NI 43-101 resource calculation which was updated in March 2013. Indicated resources are 3.41 million tonnes averaging 1.48 g/t Au for 162,000 ounces, and Inferred resources are 53.25 million tonnes averaging 1.05 g/t Au for 1,799,000 ounces of gold utilizing a cutoff value of 0.5 grams/tonne (g/t) as a possible open pit cutoff. Please send us an email for more information, ir@freegoldventures.com

 

¤ The Wrap

JPMorgan has continued to stop or accept the bulk of deliveries issued against the COMEX March silver futures contract. As of Tuesday evening, JPM has taken 1,122 delivery notices (5.61 million oz) of the 2001 total notices tendered so far this month, or 56% of the total. The bank still looks on track to accept another 200 or 300 silver deliveries into the end of the month. While certainly not during every active COMEX delivery month, JPMorgan has been a featured stopper of silver deliveries on enough occasions over the past few years to fully support my speculation of a massive physical accumulation by the bank. 

Likewise, the reported sales of Silver Eagles by the U.S. Mint has continued to suggest the presence of a large buyer (and who better than JPM?). The somewhat erratic reporting schedule of Silver Eagle sales, the relative closeness to the Mint’s full production capacity, the relative very high level of Silver Eagle sales to sales of Gold Eagles (and Buffaloes), combined with persistent reports of tepid retail demand continue to point to the presence of a large buyer. And if there is a big buyer and that buyer is not JPM, then that would be most peculiar. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 18 March 2015

There was no follow-through price activity to the upside worth mentioning in Far East trading when markets opened on Thursday morning over there---and the tiny rallies that did develop, all got capped at 9:00 a.m. Hong Kong time.  It's like the events surrounding the FOMC meeting never happened at all---and that can be said for the near-death experience in the dollar index as well.

I guess there's comfort to be had in the fact that despite the big recovery in the dollar index, both gold and silver managed to post gains yesterday, so I guess one should be thankful for small mercies.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus the dollar index as of the close of trading yesterday---and all charts are courtesy of stockcharts.com.

Since we're miles below any moving averages that matter in all four precious metals, there's no reason for the technical funds to rush to cover their short positions---and there's also no reason for them to add to these short positions unless we hit new lows.  As Ted Butler says, we're in sort of "no-man's land" at the moment.

Prices will go in whatever direction JPMorgan et al decide because, as you already know, supply/demand fundamentals mean nothing.

We get the "brand new" gold fixes today, but as I've already pointed out in a story about this in the Critical Reads section above, the players involved in the old "fix" are the same players involved with the new "fix"---plus two more of "da boyz" for good measure---so nothing is going to change.

And as write this paragraph, the open of the London gold market is less than ten minutes away---and there is exactly nothing going on, as all four precious metals are virtually unchanged from Thursday's close in New York---as they traded sideways during the Friday session in the Far East.

Net gold volume is a hair under 13,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is barely over the 2,000 contract mark.  The dollar index is trading quietly lower---and is currently down 16 basis points.  There's nothing so see here, dear reader, so please move along.

Today we get an updated Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday, so none of Wednesday's price shenanigans will be in it.  My hope is that all the data associated with the big down/up/down moves on Tuesday in all four precious metals will be included in the report.  I'm expecting further improvement in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver---and platinum and palladium as well.  But how much improvement is open for discussion.  But whatever it turns out to be, I'll have it for you tomorrow.

And as I send today's missive off to Stowe, Vermont at 5:20 a.m. EST, I note that gold and platinum aren't doing much---and silver and palladium both popped up a bit, but nothing to get excited about.  Net gold volume is now a bit over 21,000 contracts---and silver's net volume has risen to 7,300 contracts.  These are fairly big increases from a couple of hours ago considering the distinct lack of price action.  Still nothing too see---and the dollar index is still comatose, down 13 basis points now.

I must admit that I have no idea what to expect during the COMEX trading session in New York today, so nothing will surprise me when I roll out of bed later this morning.

Enjoy your weekend, or what's left of it---and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Ed Steer