Gold & Silver Daily

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

After trading flat through the first half of the day in Far East trading, the gold price began to inch higher in afternoon trading in Hong Kong on their Thursday.  But shortly after 9 a.m. BST it was obvious that a willing seller appeared.  The low tick came in a down/up move centered around the London p.m. gold fix---and after that the price didn't do a lot.

The high and low ticks were recorded by the CME Group as $1,192.00 and $1,179.60 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Thursday session at $1,187.80 cents, down a whole 20 cents on the day.  Gross volume was pretty wild at 209,000 contracts---and even the net volume was chunky at 156,000 contracts, but most of that was roll-overs out of the June contract and into future months---and mostly August, which is the new front month.

With some variations, the silver chart was similar to gold's right down to the love tap shortly after 9 a.m. in London trading.  The tiny rally at the COMEX open was dealt with in the usual manner---followed by the down/up spike at the London p.m. gold fix, etc.

The high and low in this precious metal was reported as $16.75 and $16.555 in the July contract.

Silver finished the Thursday trading session at $16.66 spot, up a whole penny.  Net volume was only 25,000 contracts, with another huge amount of volume rolled into September and December.  As I mentioned in yesterday's column, I asked Ted about this---and he figures that it's just early rolls out of the July contract and nothing else.  I wasn't looking for black bears in dark rooms that weren't there, just an explanation---and the fact that there was nothing nefarious about it was fine by me.

Platinum was the same as gold and silver, complete with capping at 9:15 a.m. BST---and the down/up dip at the p.m. gold fix in London.  Nothing free market about this.  Platinum closed on Thursday at $1,115 spot, down two bucks from Wednesday.

The chart pattern in palladium sort of looked the same, but the metal rallied strongly after its p.m. gold fix low---and was the only precious metal to close up on the day, finishing Thursday at $783---up 3 dollars.

The dollar index closed late Wednesday afternoon in New York at 97.30---and chopped lower to the 97.00 level around 2:40 p.m. Hong Kong time on their Thursday afternoon.  After bouncing off that price three time over the next few hours, it rallied anew, taking it up to its 97.59 high tick around 9:35 a.m. in New York.  From there it began to head for the nether reaches of the earth---slicing through the 97.00 mark in the process.  The index closed at 96.88---which was down 42 basis points on the day.

You should carefully note that from its high tick to its low tick in New York trading, the index fell about 72 basis points, but gold, silver and platinum prices weren't allowed to reflect that.

After opening down, the gold stocks rallied into positive territory to stay shortly after 11 a.m. EDT.  Then after trading flat for about two hours, they rallied anew---and, wonder of wonders, the HUI closed on its absolute high tick, up 1.65 percent.

The price path of the silver equities was very similar---and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 1.79 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed what I wanted to see---and that was the fate of the last 20 silver contracts in the May delivery month that I'd been talking about in yesterday's report.  HSBC USA turned out to be the issuer on all 20---and the CME Group was the stopper.  The 20 contracts issued and stopped is a one hundred 1,000 troy ounces silver bars, which the CME immediately turned around and delivered to Jefferies as 100 contracts to fill the 1,000 ounce silver futures contracts outstanding for May delivery.  Mystery solved.

Of the 2,840 silver contracts delivered during May, JPMorgan stopped 808 of them [4.04 million troy ounces] for its own account.

First Day Notice numbers for the June delivery month showed that 43 gold and 197 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.  In gold, the only short/issuer of note was JPMorgan out of its client account with 32 contracts---and HSBC USA stopped 24 contracts.  In silver, ABN Amro was the only short/issuer and Canada's Scotiabank was the biggest long/stopper with 193 contracts.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday---and as of 10:18 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.

Joshua Gibbons, the Guru of the SLV Bar List, updated his website yesterday with the happenings over at the Internet site as of the close of business on Wednesday---and here's what he had to say. 

"Analysis of the 27 May 2015 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list.  No bars were removed, added, or had serial number changes.  As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 420.8 oz."

"A 1,003,543.8 oz withdrawal on Tuesday---and 143,354.0 oz deposit Wednesday---are not yet reflected, and should be on next week's list."

The folks over at updated their website with the short positions in both SLV and GLD yesterday---and they must have done it after 5:00 a.m. EDT yesterday morning, because I checked their website a half dozen times while I was writing yesterday's column just so I wouldn't miss it.

Anyway, there were huge improvements in the short positions in both ETFs.  Those monster improvements certainly didn't come through depositing physical gold or silver, as there have been huge outflows out of both ETFs during the reporting period---May 1 to 15.  Someone had to lay down big bucks to cover them.

Anyway---and regardless of how it happened---the short position in SLV dropped an eye-watering 37.58 percent from 20.56 million troy ounces/shares, down to 12.83 million troy ounces/shares.

The change in short position in GLD was just about as impressive, as it declined by 27.28 percent---from 1.40 million troy ounces, down to 1.02 million troy ounces.

These changes were a huge surprise for both Ted and myself, as we were expecting the opposite---and I'll leave him to explain it in his Saturday missive---and I'll steal what I can for my Tuesday column.  But he did mention his suspicions about JPMorgan and their control over the DTCC---the Depository Trust Clearing Corporation---the dubious organization that controls this sort of data.  Darth Vader's name came up in the same breath.

There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint once again.

For the month of May, unless the mint adds some sales today, they sold 15,000 troy ounces of gold eagles---7,000 one-ounce gold buffaloes---and only 1,648,500 silver eagles.  The big buyer in silver eagles obviously stepped away from the table earlier this month---and hasn't been back since, as this is the lowest month for silver eagle sales so far in 2015.  Of course that may change with today's report from the mint.

If the big buyer/JPMorgan doesn't reappear soon, we'll see what the real retail sales numbers are for silver eagles during June.  If we do, they will be ugly---because both Ted and I have been saying all year that retail bullion sales are in the toilet, and they are.  I ought to know, as I work part time in that business in my day job.

There was a decent deposit in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday, as 31,919 troy ounces were received---all at HSBC USA---and only 327 troy ounces were shipped out the door.  The link to that activity is here.  In silver, nothing was received---and only 27,783 troy ounces were shipped out---all from Brink's, Inc.

Over at the gold kilobar COMEX-approved depositories in Hong Kong on their Wednesday, they received 4,322 kilobars---and 6,208 kilobars were shipped out.  The link to that action is here.

I have a decent number of stories for you today---and I'm happy to leave the final edit up to you once again.


¤ Critical Reads

Bull Market Dealt A Significant Blow?

In January, we wrote a post titled “Are Bears Missing The Forest For The Trees?”. The gist of it was that while there were certainly concerning bits of evidence piling up regarding the longer-term fate of U.S. stocks, the most important factors in the immediate-term – such as the continued confirmation of new highs by the NYSE Advance-Decline Line – continued to support the bull market. That may be starting to change.

Regarding the NYSE A-D Line, we noted last week that for the first time in awhile, it failed to match the new highs set earlier this month by the S&P 500 and other large cap indices. As a refresher, the A-D Line is a cumulative total of daily advancing issues minus declining issues on the NYSE. In our view, it is an important gauge of the health of the stock market as it measures the level of strength among all stocks. The more stocks there are advancing, the more robust and resilient a rally is likely to be. Therefore, when the A-D Line failed to confirm the new high in the indices, it was an indication that fewer stocks were still participating in the rally.

Yesterday, we saw more confirmation of that. The UP trend-line of the NYSE Advance-Decline Line since the beginning of the cyclical bull market in 2009 was broken to the downside with yesterday’s poor breadth.

This interesting article put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 8:07 a.m. EDT yesterday morning---and it's about a 5-minute read.  And if you don't read it, you should at least spend a minute looking at the charts.  I thank Dan Lazicki for today's first story.


Rick Santelli: Is it the top?

CNBC's Rick Santelli discusses the latest action in the bond market, and the U.S. dollar.

This brief 1:36 minute video clip found a home over at the CNBC website about 6 a.m. EDT yesterday morning---and it's the second offering in a row from Dan Lazicki.


JPMorgan CEO faults company and shareholders for disagreements

JPMorgan Chase officials have not done enough to show how well the company is run, Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday, after one-third of shareholders disapproved last week of his pay and the practice of one person holding his two jobs.

"The board talks all of the time about what they want the agenda to be," Dimon said, adding that the entire panel approved his compensation.

Dimon also faulted investors for not thinking for themselves and instead following the recommendations of shareholder advisory services Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis & Co. Both firms had argued against Dimon's pay and for an independent chairman of the board.

"God knows how any of you can place your vote based on ISS or Glass Lewis," Dimon said. "If you do that you are just irresponsible, I am sorry. And, you probably aren't a very good investor, either. I know some of you here do it because you are lazy."

Spoken like the true sociopath that he is.  This 3:12 minute CNBC video clip, complete with transcript, was posted on their website about 6:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning---and that makes it three in a row from Dan L.


Forex's 'last look' practice gets curbed

Two of the world's biggest currency-trading platforms plan to restrict a controversial industry practice in which banks can pull out of trades at the last moment if the market moves against them.

Thomson Reuters Corp. and BATS Global Markets Inc. will limit the practice, known as "last look," on their platforms in coming weeks in a move aimed at increasing transparency in the foreign-exchange market.

The change comes amid a broader shake-up of the trading industry prompted by concerns about traders' efforts to manipulate a range of financial markets. Markets for precious metals, interest rates, stocks, and currencies have all come under scrutiny from regulators in recent years because of allegations of inappropriate behavior.

The above three paragraphs are all of this Wall Street Journal story that's posted in the clear---and you need a subscription to read the rest.  It showed up on their Internet site on Wednesday evening EDT.  I found it embedded in a GATA release.


TTIP wins key panel vote

The Parliament’s trade committee passed a resolution backing the E.U.-U.S. free trade agreement on Thursday, including a deal on the controversial investor state dispute settlement, after the two main political groups forged a compromise.

The panel took up dozens of amendments,  but all eyes were on one vote: a compromise on the investor court struck late Wednesday between the European People’s Party and the Socialists & Democrats.

The panel voted, 29-10, for the amendment, which settles to use the ISDS reform proposal recently pitched by Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström as a basis for “a permanent solution for resolving disputes between investors and states … where potential cases are treated in a transparent manner by publicly appointed, independent professional judges in public hearings and which includes an appellate mechanism,” ensuring “a consistency of judicial decisions [and respecting] the jurisdiction of courts of the E.U. and of the Member States.”

The measure is only advice to the European Commission — the Parliament itself only observes the negotiations — but Thursday’s vote could boost TTIP over the longer term. The trade agreement will need, once it is finally negotiated, to pass the Parliament. The Commission therefore needs the Parliament on its side.

This news item appeared on the website yesterday afternoon Central European Time [CET]---and it's the first contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.


Putting the 'Great' in Great Depression, Stephen Roach Warns on TPP's Currency Rules

As the U.S. Congress grapples with the ever-contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership – President Barack Obama’s signature trade legislation – a major stumbling block looms. On May 22, the Senate avoided it, by narrowly defeating – 51 to 48 – a proposed “currency manipulation” amendment to a bill that gives Obama so-called “fast-track” authority to negotiate the TPP.  But the issue could be resurrected as the debate shifts to the House of Representatives, where support is strong for “enforceable currency rules.”

For at least a decade, Congress has been focusing on currency manipulation – a charge leveled at countries that purportedly intervene in foreign-exchange markets in order to suppress their currencies’ value, thereby subsidizing exports. In 2005, Senators Charles Schumer, a liberal Democrat from New York, and Lindsey Graham, a conservative Republican from South Carolina, formed an unlikely alliance to defend beleaguered middle-class US workers from supposedly unfair competitive practices. Stop the currency manipulation, went the argument, and America’s gaping trade deficit would narrow – providing lasting and meaningful benefits to hard-pressed workers.

A decade ago, the original Schumer-Graham proposal was a thinly veiled anti-China initiative. The ire that motivated that proposal remains today, with China accounting for 47% of America’s still outsize merchandise trade deficit in 2014. Never mind that the Chinese renminbi has risen some 33% against the US dollar since mid-1995 to a level that the International Monetary Fund no longer considers undervalued, or that China’s current-account surplus has shrunk from 10% of GDP in 2007 to an estimated 2% in 2014. China remains in the crosshairs of US politicians who believe that American workers are the victims of its unfair trading practices.

While this argument has great emotional and political appeal, it is deeply flawed, because the United States has an insidious saving problem. America’s net national saving rate – the sum total of household, business, and government saving (adjusted for the depreciation of aging capacity) – currently stands at 2.5% of national income. While that is better than the negative saving rates of 2008-2011, it remains well short of the 6.3% average of the final three decades of the twentieth century.

This commentary appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 6:30 p.m. EDT yesterday evening---and it's another offering from Dan Lazicki.


Germans turn their backs on renting with new property boom

Are we calling peak German property? Or are we witnessing a new German housing market in gestation, driven by imbalances between supply and demand, fired by an urge to buy not rent?

Germany has one of the lowest rates of home ownership in Europe. Just 15% of Berliners own property. That figure is rising. "Germany is counter-cyclical to Britain," says Hilton. "In Britain, property ownership is in decline. In Germany it is the other way round."

Meanwhile, supply is constrained and will remain so. "Although new-build property is coming on, there isn't anything like enough of it. Last year, 4,000 properties were built in Berlin. The demand is for 20,000."

This brief article was posted on the Internet site on Wednesday morning EDT---and I thank reader A.V. for sending it our way.


Poland's Duda rises over Brussels

The surprise victory of Andrzej Duda in Poland’s presidential runoff was greeted with shock in Brussels, and raised pressing questions about the future of Warsaw’s policies toward as well as influence in the EU.

The European capital had long factored in a second term for incumbent Bronisław Komorowski. Dismissed as an unknown and long-shot, Duda triumphed in Sunday’s elections by three percentage points, heralding the resurgence of a more socially conservative and Euroskeptical strand of Polish politics.

The 43-year-old lawyer comes from the Law and Justice (PiS) bloc of Jarosław Kaczyński, a former prime minister who will lead the party — now brimming with momentum and confidence — into parliamentary elections in the autumn. Komorowski’s loss reflected voter fatigue with his centrist Civic Platform (PO), which has ruled Poland since 2007 and comes into the election campaign on a weaker foot. This unexpected political shift is also forcing a rethink of Poland by its main EU partners, which view Warsaw as the leading EU power east of Germany.

This is the second story of the day from the website.  This one appeared there at 5:30 a.m. Central Europe Time [CET] yesterday morning---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way.


Greece Has Not Asked Switzerland to Name Suspected Tax Evaders

Greece is not one of the countries that have asked Swiss authorities to release on the web the names of suspected tax evaders who have bank accounts in Switzerland. Switzerland has started uploading on the internet the names of Swiss bank depositors who are probed for tax evasion in their countries. This was after several countries have asked Switzerland to release the names in order to tackle tax evasion.

According to a report in Swiss Sunday newspaper Sonntagszeitung, Switzerland has received numerous formal judicial requests from tax authorities of many countries who suspect tax evaders who have funds in Swiss banks. The Swiss government decided to release the names of companies and the names, date of birth and nationality of individuals in its federal gazette, where official texts are published.

Germany, Spain, India, the Netherlands, Great Britain, U.S.A. and South Korea are among the countries that have made the request. Greece, however, is not among the countries requested the publication since there is not a single Greek name or company on the published list.

This news item was posted on the Internet site on Tuesday---and it's the first of two stories from Harry Grant, our man in Greece.


"The Greek Endgame is Here": Probability of IMF Default Now 70%, Says Deutsche Bank

As the farcical negotiations between Greece and its creditors unfold ahead of a June 5 IMF payment and as Alexis Tsipras is forced to spread false hope just to avoid a terminal bank run, a picture of the Greek endgame has emerged. 

We’ve discussed the political implications of both an agreement or a Grexit and we’ve also taken an in-depth look at what a missed IMF payment means for the country’s EU creditors. On the political front, the troika is intent on sending a strong message to leftist political parties (such as Spain’s Podemos and Portugal’s “ascendant" socialists) that using the threat of a euro exit as a way to extract austerity concessions is not a viable negotiating strategy. What this amounts to is an attempt on the part of the “institutions” to subjugate the political process to economics. In terms of skipping a payment to the IMF — who, as a reminder, effectively paid itself earlier this month by allowing Greece to tap its SDR reserves to pay the bills — there are a number of cross acceleration concerns which you can review by referring to the following graphic.

Now, amid accelerating deposit outflows and an hourly flow of conflicting headlines, Deutsche Bank is out with a fresh take on the Greek endgame including an analysis of both the political wrangling that would need to take place in order for parliamentary approval of concessions to creditors and the mechanics of a default to the IMF.

This longish commentary put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 11:51 a.m. EDT yesterday---and it's courtesy of Dan L. as well.  There was another story about this posted over at The Telegraph yesterday.  It's headlined " IMF warns of Grexit risk as judgment day approaches"---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way in the wee hours of this morning.


G-7 Weighs In on Greece as Government Told to Be Serious

Germany and France told Greece to get serious about striking a deal on rescue aid, as ministers from the world’s biggest economies urged a resolution of the crisis to stop it from spilling beyond Europe’s borders.

Delegates at a meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs in Dresden, Germany, diverged from the main program to push back against Greek claims that an agreement is near and called for stronger efforts to resolve the standoff. The gathering in a former palace brings together Greece’s three creditor institutions as well as Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs meetings of his euro-area colleagues.

“At some point, the discussion has to be transformed into something on paper,” French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said in an interview en route to Dresden. “You need a draft.”

While Greece isn’t on the G-7’s official agenda and the group has no mandate to make a decision, the topic has so far dominated policy makers’ public comments. Time is running out for the Mediterranean nation to receive funding ahead of almost 1.6 billion euros ($1.74 billion) in International Monetary Fund payments scheduled for next month, with the first transfer due June 5.

This Bloomberg story, complete with an embedded 2:30 minute video clip, showed up on their Internet site late Wednesday afternoon Denver time---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for bringing it to our attention.


‘Greek Island Kos Not a Party Paradise But a Refugee Shelter’

“Almost 1,200 migrants – some crammed onto overcrowded inflatable dinghies – have been picked up by Greek authorities in the eastern Aegean Sea in the past two days,” correspondents for the British newspaper Daily Mail Jenny Stanton and Mario Ledwith mentioned in their article published on Tuesday.

Although the article is intended to highlight the plight of refugees arriving in Dodecanese islands from neighboring Turkey, it mainly focuses on the island of Kos, a popular tourist destination for U.K. teens.

According to the British newspaper, “after Italy, financially crippled Greece is the main destination for refugees, mostly from war-ravaged Syria plus economic migrants seeking a better life in the E.U.” with the total new arrivals exceeding 30,000 this year.

Kos is situated approximately two miles from the southwestern Turkish region of Bodrum and the journey from the Turkish port to the Greek holiday island takes around 20 minutes. In order for the desperate migrants to cross the Aegean Sea in search for a better life, up to €800 should be paid to smugglers for a place on a boat.

This story showed up on the Internet site yesterday sometime---and once again I thank our man in Greece, Harry Grant, for sharing it with us.


Bucharest's corruption crackdown may be doing the country more harm than good

On paper, the east Romanian port town of Constanta looks like an economic success story. With investments pouring into renewable energy, shipping, real estate and agriculture, GDP per capita is 16% higher than the country average, in line with the most prosperous cities in Europe.

But such development has been made possible under the maverick reign of the city's mayor, Radu Mazare, who was arrested in April under accusations that he had taken €9m in bribes – and the scars of his rule are visible everywhere. The historic centre looks like a city abandoned. Crumbling Ottoman-era buildings stand derelict on streets that run to dirt halfway. Roads stop abruptly where brand new mansions have been erected, jostling to get a view of the sea. Stray dogs roam the roofs of unfinished tower blocks. Queues wind out the front doors of hospitals.

"Mazare is a king in Constanta," says Sebastian Bodu, a member of the European Parliament and former president of the National Agency for Fiscal Administration. "The city is his empire. He has established a system where any economic initiative has to go through him. Now he's been arrested, nothing happens – no one knows what to do."

Mazare's reputation rests as much on his ability to play the clown as it does on his open embrace of foreign investment. He has dressed as a Nazi general and a Roman emperor for the press; posed on a silver throne surrounded by naked models for the cover of Playboy magazine, and regularly arrives for political debates dressed in full Che Guevara garb, cigar included. The proud owner of a fleet of vintage sports cars, multiple houses and an estate on Madagascar – despite earning an official salary of just €495 a month – Mazare has somehow managed to keep the public's trust. At the last poll, he was re-elected with 62% of the votes.

You couldn't make this stuff up!  This very interesting article put in an appearance on the Internet site on Wednesday---and it's another offering from reader A.V.


Putin: FIFA-linked arrests are U.S. attempt to thwart Blatter re-election

The FIFA-linked arrests on the eve of the re-election of the organization’s chief are an obvious attempt to thwart Sepp Blatter’s re-appointment, Vladimir Putin said, answering journalists’ questions. He added it’s another example of US meddling abroad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the US could be selfishly motivated for its own gain, as was the case with Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

“Unfortunately our American partners are using these methods in order to achieve their own selfish gains and it is illegal to persecute people. I would not rule out that in regards to FIFA, the same thing could be happening, though I do not know how it will end,” he said.

“However, the fact that this is happening right on the eve of the FIFA presidential elections, gives one this exact impression.”

This very interesting news item appeared on the Russia Today Internet site at 9:13 a.m. Moscow time on their Friday morning, which was 2:13 a.m. EDT in Washington.  It is, of course, courtesy of Roy Stephens.


UBS puts 'buy' recommendation on gold stocks, but Newcrest is a 'sell'

Gold stocks are set to boom thanks to the commodity's price and merger activity, with UBS slapping a buy on its entire gold coverage list with the exception of Newcrest and Independence Group.

UBS put out the note as the sector enjoys a boost from a wave of mergers and acquisitions this year, with 26 deals worth in total $1.7 billion.

Gold has recovered from its March lows of $US1150 an ounce and is now trading near $US1,188 (AUS$1,533).

"With the exception of Newcrest and Independence Group, we have buy ratings on our entire gold coverage list," said UBS.

This gold-related news item showed up on The Sydney Morning Herald website on their Wednesday---and one would assume that if Aussie gold stocks are a 'buy'---most of the rest of the world's gold miners would fall into that category as well.  I thank Casey Research's own Jeff Clark for sending it our way yesterday.


The Message from Last Week’s Headlines: Don’t Dare Sell Your Gold!

Have you noticed the trend in mainstream headlines over the past week?

The gold price may be stagnant, but forces behind the scenes signal that something big is gelling.

What conclusion would you draw from this rundown of recent headlines?

It’s one reason I bet Harry Dent that gold won’t fall to his predicted $700 level. I’m so confident I put up my own gold. He did, too.

This commentary by BIG GOLD's Jeff Clark showed up on the Casey Research website yesterday---and it's worth a few minutes of your time.


Austrian central bank to repatriate some gold from London

Austria's central bank plans to repatriate some of its gold reserves from Britain after facing criticism for storing too much of the precious metal abroad, the bank said today.

The Austrian National Bank, which administers Austria's 280 tonnes of gold reserves, said by 2020 50 percent of the reserves would be kept in Austria, 30 percent in London, and 20 percent in Switzerland.

The bank currently keeps 80 percent of its gold reserves, which have been unchanged since 2007, in Britain, 17 percent in Austria and 3 percent in Switzerland.

In February the bank rejected criticism of its gold storage policy from the country's Court of Audit. At the time it insisted that keeping the bulk of the reserves in London was in the country's best interests but also said a policy review was under way.

The above four paragraphs are all there is to this brief Reuters story that was filed from Vienna yesterday.  I found it on the Internet site.  There was another tiny Reuters story on this issue---and this one bears the Chris Powell headline " Austrian central banker acknowledges general trend toward gold repatriation"---and it was another story I found in a GATA release.


The Guardian: Austrian repatriation arises from fear of new Auric Goldfinger and Pussy Galore

Until now the Austrian National Bank has relied on the Bank of England to watch over most of its L6.7 billion gold reserves. The BoE looks after much of the world's gold as most central banks send some of the stocks to London for safekeeping.

Now the BoE's stock of the precious metal will be reduced to 30%, while Austria will hold 50% and Switzerland 20%.

The Austrian authorities appeared to be conscious of the perils of bulk-storing gold in the manner of Fort Knox in the US, made famous by Auric Goldfinger's attempted heist in the third James Bond film.

The fictional villain seeks to corner the gold market in his position as treasurer of Smersh, the arch enemy of MI6. However, the decision was taken earlier this year, before the Hatton Garden robbery, which saw millions of pounds of precious metals and jewels stolen and resulted in mass arrests this month.

How does this stuff get past the editors, I wonder?  The above is Chris Powell's headline---and the actual headlined from The Guardian yesterday reads "Austria's Central Bank to Repatriate £3.5 Billion of Gold Reserves from U.K."  This is another Austrian gold-related story from the Internet site.


Swiss gold exports to Asia fell considerably in April

Gold is trading at around $1,190 per troy ounce this morning, having recovered only slightly from the two-week low it recorded yesterday. In other words, the correction of the EUR/USD exchange rate has not been reflected in the gold price. In fact, it has even meant that gold in euro terms has fallen to just shy of €1,090 per troy ounce. 

According to figures published this morning by the Swiss Federal Customs Administration, Switzerland exported 143.9 tonnes of gold in April, 36% less than in March. More than three quarters of this total was shipped to Asia, gold exports to India declining by 28% month-on-month to 51.8 tonnes and those to China even plummeting 67% to 15.1 tonnes. By contrast, exports to Hong Kong surged by 36% to a good 43.4 tonnes, notes Commerzbank. 

The Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong government will be publishing figures for gold trading with the Chinese mainland today. It will then become clear whether the weak Chinese gold demand in the first quarter was merely temporary or has spilled over into the second quarter. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, only Kazakhstan bought any sizeable quantity of gold in April (2.4 tonnes) apart from Russia. The figures show that the central banks acquired only around 11 tonnes of gold in total to diversify their currency reserves last month. Sales on a net basis are unlikely, however. According to the World Gold Council, central banks were net gold purchasers in the first quarter for already the seventeenth quarter in a row.

The above three paragraphs are all there is to this short article that appeared on the website at 9:22 a.m. BST yesterday, which was 4:22 a.m. EDT in New York.  I found it on the Sharps Pixley website.


China’s Hong Kong gold imports fall a third month

China’s net gold imports from Hong Kong fell a third month as buyers deferred purchases in anticipation of further price drops and amid increasing government scrutiny of bullion trading.

Net inbound shipments dropped to 46.6 metric tonnes last month from 61.8 tons in March and 65.4 tonnes a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department released Thursday. Mainland buyers purchased 55.2 tonnes, including scrap, compared with 72.1 tonnes a month earlier. Exports to Hong Kong from China fell to 8.5 tonnes. Mainland China doesn’t publish such data.

Purchases by the biggest buyer declined to the lowest in eight months amid speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. China’s tax authorities will audit all domestic gold traders, people familiar with the matter said this month, as the government clamps down on the practice of using fake precious-metals trade to mask capital flows.

As has been said by many commentators, including this writer, you can no longer use China's imports through Hong Kong as a proxy for China's gold demand, but the mainstream media never stops trying to spin it that way.  This Bloomberg article is from yesterday---and it found a home on the Internet site.


Ted Butler: Curiouser and Curiouser

The defective price discovery process has little to do with the price change during the reporting week, which was largely unremarkable. Instead, it has everything to do with the massive quantities of equivalent metal changing hands by two different groups of speculators in an orgy of private bucket shop trading that is dictating silver prices to the rest of the world.

Look, if these two groups of speculators, managed money traders on one side and speculators we call commercials on the other side wanted to wager massive bets and kept their betting to themselves, then no problem – they can have at it. But by dictating silver prices to everyone else in the world involved in silver investing or mining, their private betting becomes a very big problem.

I have only one absolute must read in today's column---and this is it.  I urge you to pick out a small handful of silver companies you own shares in---and e-mail them Ted's commentary, asking at the same time what they plan to do for themselves and their shareholders, as enough is enough.  That's what I'm going to be doing this weekend.  This excellent commentary was posted on the Internet site yesterday.



¤ The Funnies

The first photo is of a pair of northern shoveller ducks.  I took this photo in the middle of the red-winged blackbird sequence that I posted in this space yesterday.  These ducks were about 100 meters away---and I'm very pleased with the quality of the picture from that distance, because I had to crop it pretty hard as well.

The next two photos are 'nothing' shots of a drake mallard in breeding plumage---and a Canada goose with only one gosling.  The same day I took this photo, I saw a pair of geese with twenty little ones.  That's quite a few, as the normal is under ten---and considerably less than that make it all the way to adulthood.


Dynacor’s newly approved, second gold processing plant will create value for many years as a direct result of production increases and lower cost/units.

Another near term catalyst exists in the form of exploration results at our high-grade gold project, Tumipampa.  As the steady flow of news hits the wire, value will be added to the asset through demonstration of the economic viability and a growing resource base.

Dynacor is debt-free, results driven company proving its mettle year after year with or without a ‪bull market. The company exercises discipline in its strategy to build growth by eliminating the risk of having to sell equity to the public to raise cash for operations or pay back debt payments.

With zero debt, solid working capital of $21 million and a consistent flow of cash coming from operations even in a low gold price environment, Dynacor is in a unique and strong position to advance both of its divisions, production and exploration/development.

Dynacor, with its last equity financing over five years ago, is a shareholder-first company focusing on delivering real value. Please contact Dale Nejmeldeen with questions or to learn more about the company.


¤ The Wrap

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing. -- Edmund Burke

It was another 'nothing' sort of day, as the last of the June contract went off the board.  The only price movement allowed was the down/up new low ticks that were set in three of the four precious metals yesterday.  More tiny slices off the salamis.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals so you can see these shiny new low ticks for yourself.

In the face of very little price action, I was encouraged by the activity in the silver and gold equities.  However, I'm not about to get my hopes up at the moment.

And as I write this paragraph, the London open is about twenty minutes away.  All four precious metals were up a bit during early Far East trading on their Friday, but were all turned lower in early afternoon trading in Hong.  All four are back to unchanged from Thursday's close in New York.  Net gold volume is a bit over 15,000 contracts, which is nothing special---and silver's net volume is a hair under 3,000 contracts.  The dollar index, after chopping sideways for most of Far East trading, is now up 16 basis points---and barely back above the 97.00 mark.

Today we get the new Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday.  I'd like to think that we'll see some rather impressive improvements in the Commercial net short positions of both gold and silver---and no doubt we will.  But no matter how good these numbers may turn out to be, we still have some ways to go before JPMorgan et al get the Managed Money back to rock bottom again, if that's their intent.

For the moment, all we can do is wait it out---and hope that they don't step in front of the next rally as well.

And as I send this out the door at 5:20 a.m. EDT I see that gold, silver and platinum still aren't doing much---and palladium is now down four bucks.  Net gold volume is around 23,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is around 4,400 contracts.  Not a lot to see here, but I get the impression from the choppiness of the price action that the tiny rally attempts since noon in Hong Kong have been quietly guided lower.

After rallying a bit, the dollar index has now slid back below the 97.00 mark---but is currently up 10 basis points.

I have no idea how the precious metals will trade today, expect there won't be anything free market about it, whatever happens.  But since today is Friday---and the last day of the month---I must admit that I'm not overly optimistic but, as usual, I'd love to be spectacularly wrong.

That's all I have for today.  I'm off to Vancouver today---and both my Saturday column---and my Tuesday column are going to be as short as I can make them, as I have other things to do while I'm there.

Enjoy your weekend, or what's left of it if you live west of the International Date Line---and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Ed Steer