Gold & Silver Daily
"Without doubt, all eyes will be on the job numbers this morning"
 

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price chopped around, mostly lower, during the Far East trading session on their Thursday---and both the rally attempt in the Far East---and the one in early London trading, met with a resolute seller the moment that the price attempted to break above unchanged.  JPMorgan et al, HFT algorithms in hand, did the dirty starting the moment that COMEX trading began---and by around 11:20 a.m. EDT, their work was done for the day, with another low for this move down.  The gold price rallied quietly after that, before chopping sideways starting around 2:40 p.m. in electronic trading.

The high and low tick were recorded as $1,186.60 and $1,172.40 in the August contract.

The gold price closed in New York yesterday at $1,176.40 spot, down another $8.60 from Wednesday's close.  Net volume was very decent at 148,000 contracts.

Here's the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  As you can tell by the volume spikes, "da boyz" stuck it to the Managed Money traders real good once again during the COMEX trading session.  Midnight Wednesday is the vertical gray line---and you have to add two hours for EDT---and the 'click to enlarge' feature is a must.

The silver chart was similar to gold's, right up until 3:30 p.m. in the New York Access market.  At that point a willing seller stepped in and ensured that silver closed on its absolute low tick of the day.

The high and low ticks were reported by the CME Group as $16.50 and $16.065 in the July contract.

Silver finished the Thursday session at $16.075 spot, down 40 cents on the day.  Gross volume was very decent, as was net volume---46,000 contracts.

Platinum prices were a mini version of the gold price chart---and palladium was a mini version of the platinum chart.  Platinum closed on Thursday at $1,098 spot, down three bucks, finally cracking the $1,100 spot price to the downside.  Palladium also closed 3 dollars lower at $753 spot.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index finished the Wednesday trading session in New York at 95.37---and traded virtually ruler flat until about 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time.  At that juncture it rallied 20 basis points, hitting 95.56 at 8:30 a.m. BST in London trading.  It fell of a cliff at 9 a.m. right on the button, hitting its 94.72 low about thirty five minutes later.  Then at noon BST it appeared that 'gentle hands' showed up---and the dollar rallied to a handful of basis points above unchanged minutes before trading began in the equity markets in New York.  It rallied higher from there in a rather choppy manner---and closed yesterday at 95.58---up 21 basis points from Wednesday.

It's obvious to me that the dollar would crash if given the opportunity to do so---and it's equally as obvious that the powers-that-be are at hand to prevent that from happening.

Here's the 6-month U.S. Dollar chart as a reference.

The gold stocks opened down---and chopped more or less sideways for the remainder of the day, as the HUI closed down another 1.35 percent.

It was more or less the same thing in the silver equities, although the trading day had more shape to it.  The big drop because someone sold a boat load of shares in Peñoles right at the close, at least that's what Nick said yesterday when I asked him.  Because of that, Nick's Silver Sentiment Index got hit for 2.26 percent.  Without that share dump, the loss would have been about 0.5 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 5 of the June delivery month showed that zero gold and 9 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.  Nothing to see here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that gold open interest for June dropped another 282 contracts, leaving 1,262 still open.  June o.i. in silver was up 7 contracts to 40.

There was no reported change in GLD, but another deposit was made in SLV.  This time it was 1,433,379 troy ounces.  So far this week, there has been a bit over 2.5 million ounces deposited in SLV.  Since the price action indicates that silver should be flowing out of that ETF, the deposits must have been used to cover an existing short position.  We'll have to wait until about June 23 when the next short position report comes out of the folks over at shortsqueeze.com in order to get a hint of what might be going on.

Since yesterday was Thursday, Joshua Gibbons, the Guru of the SLV Bar List, updated his website with the goings-on over at the iShares.com Internet site at the close of trading on Wednesday---and this is what he had to report.

"Analysis of the 03 June 2015 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list:  1,138,121.2 troy were added (all to Brinks London), 893,539.6 oz were removed (all from Brinks London), and 113 bars had serial number changes."

"The bars removed were from: Solar Applied Materials (0.3M oz, Krasnoyarsk (0.2M oz), and 10 others.  The bars added were from: Krasnoyarsk (0.2M oz), Prioksky (0.1M oz), and 13 others.

"As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 384.9 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list."

Over at Switzerland's Zürcher Kantonalbank for the week ending May 29---they reported tiny declines in both their gold and silver ETFs.  Their gold ETF shed 1,804 troy ounces---and their silver ETF dropped only 7,123 troy ounces.

After four straight day of sales, it should come as no surprise that there was no report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.

Over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday, there was 50,092 troy ounces of gold transferred from Canada's Scotiabank to HSBC USA.  Other than that, there was no activity worth mentioning, but the link to what there was, is here.

It was another huge in/out day in silver, as 411,788 troy ounces were received---all at JPMorgan's vault---and 1,012,058 troy ounces were shipped out.  All of the 'out' movement was from Canada's Scotiabank, including the 411,788 troy ounces that JPMorgan received.  The link to that action is here---and it's worth a quick look.

There wasn't a lot of activity at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Wednesday, as only 775 kilobars were reported received---and another 475 were shipped out.  All of the action was at Brink's, Inc. as usual.  The link to that activity is here.

I have a fair number of stories for you today---and I'll happily leave the final edit up to you.

 

¤ Critical Reads

IMF Panics - Slashes U.S. Growth Forecasts, Demands Fed Stay on Hold For Another Year

Anxiety over financial stability and shadow banking risks appear to have force Christine Lagarde and her fellow extrapolators to hit the panic button:

  • *IMF CUTS U.S. 2015 GROWTH FORECAST TO 2.5% FROM 3.1%
  • *FED SHOULD WAIT FOR TANGIBLE SIGNS OF WAGE, PRICE GAINS: IMF
  • *DOLLAR `MODERATELY OVERVALUED,' CURBING U.S. GROWTH, JOBS: IMF
  • *IMF URGES FED TO DELAY FIRST RATE INCREASE UNTIL 1H 2016

Adding that they viewed the Dollar as "moderately overvalued" and any more appreciation would be "harmful," it seems global disinflationary pressures have left the IMF no choice but to say publicly what everyone has uttered under their breath.

This is the Zero Hedge spin on a Bloomberg story yesterday.  It was posted on the ZH website at 9:41 a.m. EDT---and it's courtesy of Dan Lazicki.  It's worth reading.  There was a Reuters story on this as well.  It was filed from Washington and headlined " IMF warns Fed should delay rate hike until 2016"---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.

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Marc Faber: Forget a Fed rate hike; QE4 coming

While some U.S. economic data suggest the economy is ready for normalizing monetary policy, Marc Faber said Thursday the Fed will have to unleash another round of quantitative easing.

"When I look at the whole financial sector … I feel like [I'm] on the Titanic. We're fighting about deck chairs, [meaning] which assets are performing best and we're fighting over the best tables in the ballroom, but I think it's best to find your safety boat and ladder because I think the financial sector will implode one day," the editor and publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Faber made his remarks a day after the Federal Reserve's Beige Book said economic activity has expanded at a "modest" to "moderate" pace over the past few months.

"All the central banks are so deep in the mud that, in my view, they will continue to essentially buy assets," Faber said.

This 3-video clip interview totals about 8 minutes and change---and was posted on the CNBC website very early MDT yesterday morning---and I thank Ken Hurt for sending them along.

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Bond Rout Wipes Out 2015 Gains as Traders Stay Glued to Screens

The global bond market sell-off has erased all of this year’s gains as historic market moves from Germany to the U.S. and Japan whipsaw traders.

After being up as much as 2.3 percent as of mid-April, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index of bonds with a total face value of $41 trillion is now down 0.4 percent for the year.

Bond traders have been caught off guard by signs the worldwide economy is likely to avoid mass deflation and by improvement in the euro zone’s economy, leaving little incentive to own debt securities with yields that in some cases are below zero. Fixed income continued its slide on Thursday, a day after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said investors should get used to the heightened volatility they’ve seen in recent weeks.

“This is sheer panic in the market from the standpoint of what’s been happening in Europe,” said Thomas di Galoma, head of fixed-income rates and credit at ED&F Man Capital Markets in New York. “Most of Wall Street is guarded here as far as taking on new positions.”

This Bloomberg article appeared on their Internet site at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon Denver time, but was updated late yesterday morning.  There's also a 3:02 minute video clip embedded as well.  I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sharing it with us.

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Rick Santelli: Here's something important

CNBC's Rick Santelli discusses bond prices and yields in this 1:04 minute video clip that was posted on their website about 2 p.m. EDT Thursday afternoon---and it's the second offering of the day from reader Dan Lazicki.

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Economy’s biggest issue: People don’t have money to spend

Anyone with even a quarter of a brain now understands that the US economy got off to a bad start this year.

There was an economic contraction in the first three months — when the nation’s gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent — that some quarter-brainers are still blaming on the cold weather, strikes at ports, the strong dollar, solar flares, Martian landings and (insert your own poor excuse here).

The truth: Most of these excuses are part of the problem, although I didn’t personally see or not see the Martians.

But the biggest part is that people don’t have enough money to spend. Interest from savings is down to zero, people don’t liquidate stock gains to make purchases, and job and income growth has been sketchy.

This right-on-the-money commentary by John Crudele was posted on The New York Post website at 10:26 p.m. on Wednesday evening---and I thank reader "G. Roberts" for bringing it to our attention.

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Hunting for Hackers, N.S.A. Secretly Expands Internet Spying at U.S. Border

Without public notice or debate, the Obama administration has expanded the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international Internet traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking, according to classified N.S.A. documents.

In mid-2012, Justice Department lawyers wrote two secret memos permitting the spy agency to begin hunting on Internet cables, without a warrant and on American soil, for data linked to computer intrusions originating abroad — including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware, the documents show.

The Justice Department allowed the agency to monitor only addresses and “cybersignatures” — patterns associated with computer intrusions — that it could tie to foreign governments. But the documents also note that the N.S.A. sought permission to target hackers even when it could not establish any links to foreign powers.

The disclosures, based on documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor, and shared with The New York Times and ProPublica, come at a time of unprecedented cyberattacks on American financial institutions, businesses and government agencies, but also of greater scrutiny of secret legal justifications for broader government surveillance.

This essay, filed from Washington, showed up on The New York Times website yesterday sometime and, if it interests you, it will take just under ten minutes to read.  It's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Interest Rates in Brazil Rise to 13.75 Percent

Brazilian Central Bank’s Comitê de Política Monetária – Copom (Monetary Policy Committee) decided unanimously on Wednesday (June 3rd) to increase the country’s benchmark interest rate (Selic) by 0.5 percentage points from 13.25 percent to 13.75 percent per year. This is the sixth consecutive time the Selic has increased.

“Assessing the macroeconomic scenario and the perspectives for inflation, the Copom decided, unanimously, to increase the Selic rate by 0.50 percentage points to 13.75 percent per year, without bias,” said the Copom statement after the meeting.

The latest increase of the Selic shows the country going in the opposite direction of its international counterparts with growth well below average and interest rates much higher than most other countries, says Fecomercio-RJ (Rio de Janeiro Commerce Association), “We are on the tailgate in terms of growth and leading when it comes to interest rates,” said the association in a press release Wednesday night.

For the association what is needed is a structural reform. “It is time to increase the efficiency of public spending, reduce tax burdens, encourage investments and expand corporate productivity, which will in turn help contain inflation,” adds the note.

The only reason that interest rates are this high is to prevent capital flight, so hyperinflation and maybe capital controls are probably just around the corner.  Great shades of Venezuela!  This news item was filed from São Paulo yesterday---and posted on the riotimesonline.com Internet site.  I thank reader M.A. for sending it our way.

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Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez went to Russia to chat with Edward Snowden

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez held talks with U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden during a visit to Russia in April, Anthony Romero, director of the American Civil Liberties Union and one of Snowden's lawyers said on Thursday.

The two hour-long meeting took place after an Argentine TV channel, citing intelligence documents provided by Snowden, revealed Britain spied on Argentine military and political leaders from 2006 to 2011 to safeguard the security of the disputed Falkland Islands.

"She met with him toward the end of April," Romero told reporters in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.

This Reuters article, filed from Buenos Aires, was picked up by the businessinsider.com Internet site at 9:05 p.m. EDT yesterday evening---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way.

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Canada suffers indirect economic blow back from sanctions against Russia: Oliver

Canada is experiencing indirect economic fallout from the sanctions it and other countries have imposed against Russia, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver acknowledged Tuesday.

Western European countries that do business with Canada are feeling the negative impact of economic sanctions, which have also been imposed by the U.S. and Europe, Oliver said.

That, in turn, reaches across the Atlantic because when growth in Europe slows, it also affects Canadian trade, he added.

"I think most European countries would acknowledge there has been some economic impact on Europe from these sanctions," Oliver said after a committee hearing.

Canada has been a branch plant of the U.S. Empire for decades---and it's hard to believe that I could possibly long for the return of the likes of Pierre Elliot Trudeau as Prime Minister, although it does cross my mind at times.  He could never be bought by the Americans.  Harper---and Mulroney before him---are bought and paid for.  This article appeared on the ca.finance.yahoo.com Internet site on early Wednesday morning EDT---and I thank reader Doug Milne for finding it for us.

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Washington Politicizes Football — Paul Craig Roberts

Washington’s attack on world soccer is following the script of Washington’s attack on the Russian-hosted Sochi Olympics. The difference is that Washington couldn’t stop
the Olympics from being held in Sochi, and was limited to scaring off westerners with lies and propaganda. In the current scandal orchestrated by Washington, Washington intends to use its takeover of FIFA to renege on FIFA’s decision that Russia host the next World Cup.

This is part of Washington’s agenda of isolating Russia from the World.

This Washington-orchestrated scandal stinks to high heaven. It seems obvious that the FIFA officials have been arrested for political reasons and that the recently overwhelmingly-reelected FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, was forced to resign by Washington’s threats to indict him as well. This can happen because Washington no longer is subject to the rule of law. In Washington’s hands, law is a weapon that is used against everyone, every organization, and every country that takes a position independent of Washington.

This clears the deck for Washington and its British lapdog to take over FIFA, which henceforth will be used to reward countries that comply with Washington’s foreign policy and to punish those who pursue an independent foreign policy.

This very interesting commentary by Paul put in an appearance on his website on Wednesday---and it's another offering from reader M.A.

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Soccer Scandal: How Interpol got into bed with FIFA

As the investigation into corruption in world soccer grows more intense, one organization that has a €20 million deal with FIFA now finds itself in an embarrassing corner: Interpol.

Whereas corporate sponsors like Samsung and Visa pour money into FIFA’s coffers, in Interpol’s case it is the other way around: the largesse comes from FIFA. Millions of euros of soccer money flow into the law enforcement organization’s bank account each year, raising serious questions about conflicts of interest and Interpol’s impartiality.

On Monday — after insisting for several days that its collaboration with FIFA would continue as normal — Interpol quietly revealed to POLITICO that it had decided to “review” the arrangement. To many, this will seem like too little too late.

Interpol’s deal with FIFA is just the tip of a fiscal iceberg. Since 2011, Interpol has signed deals with a large number of private “partners,” including tobacco giants, pharmaceutical firms and tech companies — such as Philip Morris International, Sanofi, and Kaspersky Lab — the proceeds of which have swollen its operational budget by almost a third.

The sleeze just keeps getting worse and, without doubt, we've only seen the beginning of it.  This news item showed up on the politico.eu website at 4:58 p.m. Central Europe Time [CET] on their Wednesday afternoon, but was updated on Thursday afternoon.  I thank South African reader B.V. for his first contribution to today's column.

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Greece delays IMF payment, P.M. to brief angry parliament

Greece delayed a key debt payment to the International Monetary Fund due on Friday as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, facing fury among his leftist supporters, demanded changes to tough terms from international creditors for aid to stave off default.

The IMF said Athens planned to bundle four payments due in June into a single 1.6 billion euro lump sum which is now due on June 30.

It was the first time in five years of crisis that Greece has postponed a repayment on its 240 billion euro bailouts from euro zone governments and the IMF, even though Tsipras said earlier this week that Athens had the money and would make the payment.

The delay came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said talks on a cash-for-reforms deal were still far from reaching an agreement.

This Reuters news story, co-filed from Athens and Brussels was posted on their website at 6:25 p.m. EDT Thursday evening---and I thank Orlando, Florida reader for digging it up for us.  The Bloomberg take on this bears the headline " Greece Defers IMF Payment as Merkel Says Resolution Far Away"---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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Greece misses IMF payment in warning shot as showdown with Europe escalates -- Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Greece is to take the drastic step of skipping a €300m payment to the International Monetary Fund on Friday, invoking an obscure mechanism in abeyance since the 1970s to bundle all debts due in June and pay them at the end of the month.

It is the first time that a developed country has ever missed a payment to the IMF since the creation of the Bretton Woods institutions at the end of the Second World War.

The news broke after the Athens stock exchange had closed but a bloodbath is feared when the bourse opens on Friday. Yields on two-year Greek bonds spiked 63 basis points to 21.8pc amid mounting fears of a deposit run on Greek banks and the imposition of capital controls as soon as this weekend.

Although one of the "fair-haired" favourites of the New World Order crowd, I'm always interested in his take on events.  This commentary appeared on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 8:45 p.m. BST yesterday evening, which was 3:45 p.m. in Washington.  Roy Stephens sent it our way in the wee hours of this morning Denver time.

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Ukraine's Poroshenko warns of Russian invasion threat after fighting surge

Ukraine's president told his military on Thursday to prepare for a possible "full-scale invasion" by Russia all along their joint border, a day after the worst fighting with Russian-backed separatists in months.

His address in parliament was one of the first times Petro Poroshenko has used the word "invasion" to refer to Russia's behavior since the start of a separatist rebellion in the east in which the United Nations says more than 6,400 people have been killed.

Referring to a 12-hour firefight involving artillery on both sides on Wednesday when Ukraine says the rebels tried to take the town of Maryinka, Poroshenko said: "There is a colossal threat of a renewal of large-scale military operations from the side of the Russian-terrorist groups."

"The military must be ready as much for a renewal of an offensive by the enemy in the Donbass as they are for a full-scale invasion along the whole length of the border with Russia. We must be truly ready for this."

This Reuters article, filed from Kiev, appeared on their Internet site at 3:59 p.m. EDT yesterday afternoon---and as Roy Stephens said in his covering e-mail---"Unbelievable bulls hit!"  That it is, dear reader.

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Kremlin: Timing of Kiev-provoked Donbass tensions linked with looming E.U. summit

The timing of the new tensions in Donbass, provoked by the Kiev forces, is connected with the upcoming EU summit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. He added that Kiev has breached the Minsk deal and Moscow is waiting for the OSCE’s reaction.

"The violations are obvious and [Foreign] Minister [Sergey] Lavrov has already said that the representatives of the OSCE are to draw corresponding conclusions and to clearly identify who is responsible for these violations [in eastern Ukraine],” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Thursday.

According to Peskov, the Kiev authorities are responsible for the recent escalation of the crisis in the troubled region.

“Donbass is being shelled. Self-defence forces can’t shell their own territory,” he said.

This story showed up on the Russia Today website at 9:49 a.m. Moscow time on their Thursday morning, which was 2:49 a.m. EDT in Washington.  I thank reader M.A. for sending it our way.

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U.S. ignores OSCE data, blames ‘majority’ of Ukraine truce violations on rebels

US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf refused to directly acknowledge Kiev’s role in violating the Minsk peace agreements in eastern Ukraine, turning a blind eye on daily OSCE reports that equally implicate the government and the rebel forces.

The video below shows RT’s Gayane Chichakyan grilling Harf – and failing to get a straight answer on the issue despite multiple attempts.

Chichakyan reminds Harf about the daily reports compiled by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) listing violations, noting that the breaches are more or less equally split between both sides of the conflict.

Harf continues to insist that the “majority of violations” to the Minsk agreements have been committed by rebel forces and not Ukrainian troops.

This news item is also courtesy of the Russia Today website---and it was posted on their Internet site in the wee hours of Thursday morning Moscow time.  It's the second offering in a row from reader M.A.

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Commodity prices weigh heavily on top 40 mining giants

The tough fight faced by the global mining industry in 2014 would escalate into a brawl this year as mining companies worldwide struggled to emerge from depressed markets, PwC’s Africa Mining Centre of Excellence head Michal Kotze said on Thursday.

Widespread government intervention, significant conflicts surrounding strategy debates and other internal industry conflicts, “huge” competition, weakening commodity prices with increasing short-term volatility and rising shareholder activism had left industry on the ropes.

A reduction in capital spend, somewhat higher production and “unexpected help” from currency devaluations and lower input costs had assisted the mining industry to “manage expectations” during 2014 despite continued headwinds from weak commodity prices, the latest PwC ‘Mine’ report showed.

By April 2015, iron-ore prices had dropped to below 50% of the value recorded in January 2014, while coal and copper prices dropped to below 75% and 80% of their respective price structures during the same period.

This interesting article, filed from Johannesburg, appeared on the miningweekly.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for his second contribution to today's column.

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Gold mining’s enormous positive impact on global economy – WGC

A new report released today from the World Gold Council, produced in association with Maxwell Stamp, a leading international economics consultancy, reveals that the gold mining industry directly contributed around US$83.1 billion to the global economy in 2013. Once the indirect economic impact is taken into account, this figure increases to US$171.6 billion. The social and economic impacts of gold mining report builds on previous research, including studies by the World Gold Council, to provide an understanding of the socioeconomic impacts of the commercial gold mining industry at both a global, national and host community level.

The report’s analysis of the impacts of large-scale commercial gold mining in 47 gold producing countries (accounting for over 90% of the world’s gold production) shows that gold mining companies in total contributed over US$171 billion to the global economy in 2013 when the value created by support services and indirect employment is taken into consideration.

Globally, gold mining companies directly employed over one million people in 2013, with over three million more people employed as a result of the industry’s suppliers and support services.

This commentary by Lawrence Williams showed up on his website on Wednesday---and it's worth reading.

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End of an era as largest gold ETF drops out of top 10

In May more than $900m left the world's largest physical gold-backed ETF, dropping the fund to number 11 in rankings it briefly led four years ago.

Once the largest fund of its kind in the world, top physical gold-backed exchange traded fund – SPDR Gold Shares  – has dropped out of the top ten.

According to ETF.com GLD suffered outflows of $902 million or 3% of its total assets under management during May.

GLD still dwarfs other physically-backed exchange traded gold products holding 44.5% of the global total at 709.9 tonnes or 22.8m ounces worth $26.8 billion.

Well, it's not going to be out of the Top 10 for long, because when the gold price is finally allowed to rise, it won't take much time to rocket back into top spot.  This must read article showed up on the mining.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank Jim Ackers for pointing it out.

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Southwest England was scene of prehistoric gold rush, new research says

New archaeological research is revealing that south-west Britain was the scene of a prehistoric gold rush.

A detailed analysis of some of Western Europe’s most beautiful gold artifacts suggests that Cornwall was a miniature Klondike in the Early Bronze Age.

Geological estimates now indicate that up to 200 kilos of gold, worth in modern terms almost £5 million, was extracted in the Early Bronze Age from Cornwall and West Devon’s rivers – mainly between the 22nd and 17th centuries BC.

New archaeological and metallurgical research suggests that substantial amounts were exported to Ireland, with smaller quantities probably also going to France. It also suggests that the elites of Stonehenge almost certainly likewise obtained their gold from the south-west peninsula, as may the rulers of north-west Wales, who took to wearing capes made of solid gold.

This longish, but very interesting gold-related news item appeared on the independent.co.uk website yesterday BST sometime---and I found it on the gata.org Internet site.

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Russia to Increase Its Gold Reserves – Central Bank Head

The head of Russia’s Central Bank is determined to increase the country’s gold reserves to its previous levels in 2012-2013, from $360.5 billion up to $500 billion.

Russia will increase its gold reserves by up to $500 billion, said Elvira Nabiullina, the head of Russia's Central Bank, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported.

Russia will aim at $500 billion, despite the fact that a sufficient level of gold reserves for the country is $188 billion, Nabiullina said.

Currently, Russia owns $360.5 billion worth of gold reserves. The amount covers more than three months of imports, short-term foreign debt and 20 percent of Russia's entire money supply.

This story was posted on the sputniknews.com Internet site at 4:31 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday afternoon, which was 9:31 a.m. EDT in New York.  It's a must read as well---and it's the final offering of the day from reader M.A.

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40% drop in wedding days in 2015 may dent gold demand

A nearly 40% drop in the number of wedding days in the second half of 2015 according to the Hindu calendar may hit gold jewellery off-take this year. Retailers and gold traders say that the demand for jewellery sales may drop between 15 and 25% depending on the price of the yellow metal in the coming months.

Talking to ET, Ketan Shroff, spokesperson of India Bullion and Jewellers Association said, "The number of auspicious days for wedding is less this year, which will definitely dent the dent the demand of gold jewellery during the second half of this year. If prices correct at Rs 25,000 per 10 gm-level then the impact will be little less as people will still buy despite wedding dates being less. In that case, jewellery demand will drop by 10 to 15%. But if price remains at Rs 27,000 per 10 gm-level then jewellery sales will come down by 25% in the second half."

This gold-related story, filed from Kolkata, was posted on the The Economic Times of India website at 10:17 a.m. IST yesterday morning---and I found it over at the Sharps Pixley website.

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Who's Next? China Finally Starts Snapping Up Gold Miners

One (perhaps the only) bright spot in the past few year’s gold market has been Chinese and Indian demand for the metal. Here’s a chart, courtesy of Ed Steer’s Gold & Silver Daily, showing that the two countries have imported a cumulative 15,000 tonnes since 2008, which is not far from the total production of the world’s gold mines in that period.

But physical bullion is only part of the story, and may not be the biggest one going forward. Speculation has been circulating for years that China’s miners, flush with cash from selling their low-cost output to the government, would soon start buying up the world’s in-ground gold reserves.

This article by John Rubino over at the DollarCollapse.com Internet site, was picked up the folks at Zero Hedge at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday evening---and it's the final offering of the day from South African reader B.V.  It's worth reading if you have the time.

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Gold Sales Slump at Mints From Perth to U.S. as Bullion Shunned

Gold sales from Australia’s Perth Mint, which refines all the bullion output from the world’s second-biggest producer, tumbled to the lowest level in three years, adding to signs of weakening demand as prices drop.

Sales of gold coins and minted bars totaled 21,671 ounces in May, the Perth Mint said on its website on Friday. That’s down from 26,545 ounces in April and the lowest since April 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Silver sales were 337,511 ounces from 472,273 ounces a month earlier.

Gold retreated to a one-month low this week as investors cut holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded products to the lowest since 2009. Surging stock markets in the U.S. and China, as well as prospects for rising U.S. interest rates and a stronger dollar, hurt demand for the precious metal. In the U.S., sales of American Eagle gold coins dropped 27 percent in May after posting a 37 percent slump in April, according to U.S. Mint data compiled by Bloomberg.

This tiny Bloomberg story showed up on their website at 1:21 a.m. Denver time this morning---and I snatched it off the Sharps Pixley website just before I hit the send button on today's column.

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Ted Butler: Stepping Up to the Plate

Silver market analyst and whistleblower Ted Butler congratulates First Majestic Silver CEO Keith Neumeyer for appealing to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission for an explanation of manipulation of the silver futures market. (See http://www.gata.org/node/15422.)

Butler also thanks GATA Board of Directors member Ed Steer for encouraging him to draft a letter to the CFTC that executives of monetary metals mining companies could use for this purpose.

Butler's commentary is headlined "Stepping Up to the Plate" and it's posted at GoldSeek's companion site, SilverSeek.com.  This short commentary by Ted falls into the absolute must read category.  I thank Chris Powell for the two introductory paragraphs above.

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¤ The Funnies

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•             Avrupa and Antofagasta sign an amended Joint Venture Agreement

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¤ The Wrap

Since we penetrated for the first time to the downside the key 50-day moving average in silver on Wednesday, I suppose the official price take-down cycle is now in effect. Gold, you’ll remember, had penetrated its 50-day moving average a week or so ago, so the market structure there is more advanced than it is in silver. Therefore, in silver, it’s more a question of how many contracts the commercials can induce the managed money traders to sell than it is how low prices must fall. It’s more about contracts sold than prices, although successive lower prices (salami slicing) are necessary to effect the full contract count outcome. In other words, it’s not necessary that we drop dramatically in price, just enough---and in the manner necessary to accomplish whatever complete managed money selling results this go around.

Of course, please dismiss any suggestion that I (or anyone else) know for sure the direction of prices in the short term. This is about probabilities based upon the same thing that those probabilities have always been based on – past and prospective COT patterns. And even though those probabilities suggest lower silver prices ahead, any such decline should prove minor compared to the eventual much higher prices that the actual fundamentals and facts point to. While I hope my COT analysis is beneficial, please understand it is not my intent to handicap silver prices in the short term, although many others do seem so engaged.

Instead, my intent is to use my analysis of the COT market structure to show just how screwed up is the price discovery process on the COMEX and, after 30 years, it is encouraging to see that at least one silver miner may feel the same. In the unfortunate circumstance that the probabilities once again prove correct and we do witness further declines in the price of silver, perhaps that might aid in convincing other silver producers to step up to the plate and write to the CFTC. Trying to come up with rational explanations for why silver and gold prices behave as they do, while leaving out the COT market structure on the COMEX, is guaranteed to reduce one to the babbling idiot level. --  Silver analyst Ted Butler: 05 June 2015

Another day---and more salami slicing in the all four precious metals, particularly gold and silver.  There was decent volume associated with both metals, so it's an absolute certainty that the Managed Money was puking longs and piling on the short side, while JPMorgan et al gobbled up everything on the opposite side of those trades for fun, profit and price management purposes.  And it was a very profitable day for "da boyz" yesterday.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals---and new lows were engineered in three of the four precious metals.

We're beginning to approach oversold territory and, as you probably already know, how soon we get to those lows will depend on how quickly the powers-that-be take the remaining slices.  A re-read of Ted's quote above would be useful at this point.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is just under ten minutes away.  Gold, platinum and palladium prices are unchanged---and silver is up a nickel.  Gold's net volume is very light at just under 11,500 contracts---virtually all of it of the HFT variety---and silver's net volume is around 4,200 contracts, with decent roll-overs out of July already.  And after rallying about 20 basis points in the early going in Hong Kong trading on their Friday morning, the dollar index is back to unchanged.  Without doubt, all eyes will be on the job numbers this morning in New York---and what trading 'action' will accompany their release.

Of course the job numbers should make no difference to the gold price at all, but a long history shows that JPMorgan et al use that as an excuse on many occasions to drive the precious metal prices into the dirt---and I'll be amazed if that doesn't happen this morning.

Today we get the Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday---and I doubt if we'll see much, if any, improvement in the Commercial net short positions in either gold or silver, as the reporting week was pretty flat from a price perspective.  All the price action that mattered most didn't start until the day after the cut-off---and it's a very safe bet that it was no accident that it happened this way, as "da boyz" have used this trick for at least a decade when they want to hide their tracks for as long as possible.

We also get the companion Bank Participation Report as well.  This is data that's extracted directly from the COT Report---and shows what the world's banks have been up to during the month that was and, as I always say at this juncture, they're usually up to quite a bit.  I'll have all that data in my Saturday column.

And as I send the Friday edition of today's column out the door at 5:25 a.m. EDT, I see that gold began to develop a slight negative bias starting at 2 p.m. Hong Kong time on their Friday afternoon. Ditto for silver.  Gold is down a couple of bucks, but silver is still up a nickel.  Platinum and palladium are trading flat.

Gold's net volume is now a bit over 22,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is pretty decent as well at 6,500 contracts, but there's been no increase in roll-over activity from over two hours ago.

The dollar index was slowly heading south, but has recovered a bit in the last half hour---and is currently down only 3 basis points.

As I said above, all eyes will be on the 8:30 a.m. EDT jobs report---and if you're feeling a bit like that poor chap in the last cartoon posted above, I'll certainly understand---as I feel that way myself at the moment.

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