Gold & Silver Daily
"Yesterday's price action was a classic bear raid by JPMorgan et al...and what a job they did."

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price managed to make it above the $1,600 spot price mark during Tuesday morning in the Far East.  That came to an end at noon Hong Kong time yesterday, as the gold price began to edge slowly lower from there.

This gentle decline continued all through early London trading, but at 1:00 p.m. BST...7:00 a.m. Eastern...the high-frequency traders went to work...and the gold price fell off a cliff.  The low tick of the day came about fifteen minutes before the Comex close...and Kitco recorded that price as $1,573.00 spot. From that low, gold recovered a few dollars before trading sideways into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.

Gold finished the Tuesday trading session at $1,576.20 spot...down $23.20 spot.  Net volume was pretty heavy...around 175,000 contracts.

It was virtually the same price path for silver as it was for gold...and it was silver that "da boyz" were really after.  The low tick [$27.12 spot] came at 1:10 p.m. Eastern time...and the subsequent tiny rally got quietly sold off into the electronic close.

Silver closed at $27.26 spot...down 76 cents from Monday...but over a dollar intraday.  Net volume was around 45,000 contracts.

Platinum and palladium weren't spared by JPMorgan et al, they closed down 1.26% and 1.92% respectively.  Gold finished down 1.45%...and silver was the star...down 2.71%...but well over three percent intraday.

The dollar index opened in the Far East on Tuesday at 82.73...and began to head south almost immediately.  The low tick [82.50] came just minutes before 1:00 p.m. Hong Kong time...then away went the index to the upside...closing just off its high of the day at 82.88.

For a change, the index price action was a mirror image of what went on in the gold and silver markets...except for platinum and palladium.  However, the price smashes in all four precious metals were out of all proportions to the smallish moves in the dollar index.  You pretty much have to be willfully blind not to see yesterdays price action in the precious metals market for what it really was...a premeditated and co-ordinated bear raid by JPMorgan Chase et al...hidden behind the fig leaf of a rally in the dollar index.  Here's the 2-day chart, so you can see the Tuesday currency move in its entirety.

The gold stocks gapped down...and then kept on going.  The HUI closed on its absolute low of the day...down 4.18%.

The silver stocks got creamed across the board, as Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index got crushed to the tune of 4.07%.  A lot of the junior producers fared far worse than that.

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The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 1,153 gold and 1 lonely silver contract were posted for delivery on Thursday.  The only short/issuer was JPMorgan Chase, with 628 out of its client account, plus another 525 out of its in-house [proprietary] trading desk.  The three largest long/stoppers were HSBC USA, Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia...and Barclays...with 492, 438 and 210 contracts respectively.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here...and it's worth a quick peek.

There was another withdrawal from GLD yesterday.  This time it was a rather large 261,193 troy ounces.  There were no reported changes in SLV.

The U.S. Mint had a small sales report yesterday.  They sold 6,000 ounces of gold eagles...and 500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes.

Well, the Comex-approved depositories weren't closed on Monday, they reported receiving 977,095 troy ounces of silver...and shipped 57,400 troy ounces of the stuff out the door.  The link to that activity is here.

When the doors opened at the bullion store here in Edmonton yesterday morning, it was wall-to-wall buyers all day long with barely a break.  We could barely keep up.  It was evenly split as to whether they buying because of JPMorgan et al's new sale prices...or it was about being "Cyprused" here in Canada.  There were a lot of first-time buyers as well.  If it's slower tomorrow, I might actually find the time to buy some myself.

After some heavy-handed editing, I have the stories down to a 'manageable' number, at least compared to yesterday's column.


¤ Critical Reads

As Market Heats Up, Trading Slips Into Shadows

Wall Street is embracing its dark side.

As the stock market continues to climb, trading has increasingly migrated from established bourses like the New York Stock Exchange to private platforms, including dark pools, that are largely hidden from public view. The shift is helping big traders hide what they are doing in the markets, and regulators are worried that the development could obscure the true prices of stocks and scare away ordinary investors.

The movement, under way for several years, has gathered force recently. The portion of all stock trading taking place away from the public exchanges hit new highs over the last few weeks, amounting to close to 40 percent on several days, up from an average of 16 percent in 2008, according to Rosenblatt Securities.

The trend has bucked the government’s broad effort in recent years to move more of the financial industry out of the back rooms and into the light. The increasing opacity of stock trading in the United States, long the most transparent place in the financial world, is troubling for investors and regulators.

I found this New York Times article in yesterday's edition of the King Report.  It was posted on their website on Sunday.


Pete Peterson: Now Is the Time for US to Deal with Long-Term Debt

Now that short-term budget crises have been averted, it’s time to attack the government’s bulging long-term debt, says Pete Peterson, co-founder of Blackstone Group.

“The principal threat to America’s future is our unsustainable long-term debt and deficits,” he writes for Politico.

“Even after these recent budget deals, over the next 30 years, public debt is projected to race past an unprecedented 200 percent of GDP.”

Where the hell has this guy been for the last decade?  The way he's talking, he sounds like he just found out about it.  Better late, than never, I suppose.  This item showed up on the Internet site early yesterday morning Eastern time...and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for bringing it to our attention.



Markets at a Glance: Caveat Depositor

Governments around the world are finally beginning to realize the gravity of the risk that exists in their banking sectors. The EU has decided to build upon the new template of the “bail-in” regime. The US, UK and Canada have all followed suit. This puts the onus squarely upon the depositor. The depositor is a lender to the financial institution that he banks with. However, most depositors naively assume that their deposits are 100% safe in their banks and trust them to safeguard their savings. Under the new “template” all lenders (including depositors) to the bank can be forced to “bail in” their respective banks. Several G7 countries already have provisions that allow troubled banks to be bailed in using depositor accounts. We have been vocal about our concerns over the state of the global financial system for the better part of the decade. The Greek tragedy is now being played out in Cyprus with a new twist as depositors have been unwillingly turned into sacrificial lambs. Given the size of the banking sector in most G7 countries and the burgeoning government debts, the ability of the governments to bail out their banks is severely constrained, especially considering the political headwinds that exist today. For this reason, we strongly believe that real assets trump a fiat currency in a “savings” account. It is not our intention to be alarmist here, merely to say, “caveat depositor”.

This is the April edition of Sprott Asset Management's "Markets at a Glance".  It's authored by Eric Sprott and Shree Kargutkar...and was posted on the Internet site yesterday.  It's not overly long, but it's well worth reading.


European March PMIs Indicate Deep Recession and Crisis Worse than Cyprus

Yesterday the Eurozone countries reported their PMI readings for March.

A PMI reading is a gauge of a country's manufacturing sector. Anything above 50 indicates expansion from the month before. Anything below 50 indicates contraction.

Every single reading was below 50 this month. The numbers were a complete disaster.

This short story was posted on their website in the wee hours of yesterday morning...and contains two embedded graphs which make this story worth the read...and I thank Roy Stephens for his first story of the day


Euro-Area Unemployment Rises to Record 12% Amid Slump

The euro-area jobless rate rose to a record 12 percent in early 2013, adding to signs that the currency bloc’s recession extended into the first quarter.

Unemployment in the 17-nation euro area was 12 percent in February and the January figure was revised up to the same level from 11.9 percent estimated earlier, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That is the highest since the data series started in 1995 and matches the median estimate of 31 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

The euro-zone economy has contracted for five straight quarters and that trend is forecast to continue in the first three months of this year, a separate Bloomberg survey shows. The European Central Bank, which holds a rate-setting meeting this week, forecasts the economy will shrink 0.5 percent in 2013. The ECB has held its key rate at 0.75 percent since July.

In a couple of years, twelve percent unemployment will feel like a recovery compared what's still to come.  This Bloomberg story was filed from Madrid and London in the wee hours of yesterday morning Mountain Daylight Time...and I thank Manitoba reader Ulrike Marx for sending it along.


Underwater: The Netherlands Falls Prey to Economic Crisis

The Netherlands, Berlin's most important ally in pushing for greater budgetary discipline in Europe, has fallen into an economic crisis itself. The once exemplary economy is suffering from huge debts and a burst real estate bubble, which has stalled growth and endangered jobs.

Ironically, the Netherlands, once a model economy, now faces the kind of real estate crisis that has only affected the United States and Spain until now. Banks in the Netherlands have also pumped billions upon billions in loans into the private and commercial real estate market since the 1990s, without ensuring that borrowers had sufficient collateral.

Private homebuyers, for example, could easily find banks to finance more than 100 percent of a property's price. "You could readily obtain a loan for five times your annual salary," says Scheepens, "and all that without a cent of equity." This was only possible because property owners were able to fully deduct mortgage interest from their taxes.

More than a decade ago, the Dutch central bank recognized the dangers of this euphoria, but its warnings went unheeded. Only last year did the new government, under conservative-liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte, amend the generous tax loopholes, which gradually began to expire in January. But now it's almost too late. No nation in the euro zone is as deeply in debt as the Netherlands, where banks have a total of about €650 billion in mortgage loans on their books.

This article was posted on the German website yesterday around lunchtime in Europe...and I thank Roy Stephens for his second offering in today's column.


France's former budget minister admits lying about secret offshore account

The French government is in crisis after François Hollande's former budget minister and tax tsar was charged with tax fraud following a shock confession that he had held a secret foreign bank account for 20 years and had repeatedly lied about it.

Jérôme Cahuzac's sudden admission that he hid €600,000 (£510,000) offshore for more than two decades is the biggest scandal to hit Hollande's presidency.

The public admission by the man who led France's fight against tax evasion that he secretly defrauded the taxman and was "caught in a spiral of lies" is a huge embarrassment for Hollande, who promised that his government would be beyond reproach after the corruption allegations that dogged previous French administrations.

Wow!  This is a big deal, even for a country like France.  This story was posted on the Internet site early yesterday evening BST...and I thank Ulrike Marx for her second story in today's column.


Alasdair Macleod: BIS is coordinating plans to expropriate bank depositors

Expropriating large depositors at troublesome banks is now international policy coordinated by the Bank for International Settlements, GoldMoney's Alasdair Macleod writes yesterday and, while distribution of one's deposits to preserve coverage by government deposit insurance may provide some protection, in the end any wealth held in the international banking system is vulnerable.

"That the BIS feels it has been necessary to co-ordinate G20 nations into a common approach to bank rescues using uninsured non-monetary and financial institutions' deposits is evidence that bank failures capable of threatening the global financial system are definitely an ongoing risk," Macleod writes. "The central banks will have calculated that raiding this category of deposits is a matter of expediency, and any run on deposits out of vulnerable banks can be contained by central banks acting as lender of last resort. This is based on the simple fact that either deposits are moved around the system, or when they are drawn down in favor of something else, the money released remains in the banking system. However, raiding these deposits is only an interim solution, because the underlying assumption is that the financial condition of the whole banking system does not deteriorate further."

Thus, Macleod concludes, gold held securely outside the banking system is the best protector of wealth. His commentary is headlined "Danger in Bank Accounts" and it's posted at GoldMoney's Internet site.  I found this story...and the associated commentary, embedded in a GATA release...and I thank Chris Powell for doing all the heavy lifting for us.


Cyprus Finance Minister Resigns

His resignation, submitted by the Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris and agreed the President, confirmed by the Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides.

"I took over the Ministry of Finance to help the Cyprus agreement with the Troika on the memorandum, which was achieved," said Mr. Sarris in his statements.

The reason for his resignation, he said, is to facilitate the work of the Commission of Inquiry which was sworn in yesterday.

This Zero Hedge piece was posted on their website around 8:00 a.m. Eastern time yesterday morning...and I thank Marshall Angeles for sending it.


Life after the Fall: The Aftermath of the Cypriot Banking Collapse

Cypriots are paying a high price for the collapse of their banking system. A leading lawyer, a real estate broker and a bar owner have already begun the process of searching for a future -- for themselves, their companies and their country.

This 2-page essay is a 'boots on the ground' piece about life after the expropriation...and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.


Prickly reaction to Turkish plan on Cyprus conflict

Cyprus and Greece have rebuked Turkey for trying to "take advantage" of the bank crisis to get a favourable deal on the Cypriot-Turkish conflict.

The Greek foreign minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos, complained about the Turkish initiative in a letter published on his website on Thursday (28 March).

He said: "In my view, it is certainly wrong to take the ephemeral economic weakness of Cyprus … as a policy criterion."

Turkey does not recognise Cyprus, just as Cyprus (and the rest of the world, except Turkey) does not recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), created after Turkey invaded the island in 1974.

Here's a part of the Cyprus equation that's been completely missing since this all blew up...and for that reason alone, it's a must read for sure.  The story, filed from Brussels, was posted on the Internet site very late on Sunday evening Europe time...and I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to my attention...and now to yours.


Japan Shifts From Pacifism as Anxiety in Region Rises

SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND, Calif. — The Japanese soldiers in camouflage face paint and full combat gear were dropped by American helicopters onto this treeless, hilly island, and moved quickly to recapture it from an imaginary invader. To secure their victory, they called on a nearby United States warship to pound the “enemy” with gunfire that exploded in deafening thunderclaps.

Perhaps the most notable feature of the war games in February, called Iron Fist, was the baldness of their unspoken warning. There is only one country that Japan fears would stage an assault on one of its islands: China.

Iron Fist is one of the latest signs that Japan’s anxiety about China’s insistent claims over disputed islands as well as North Korea’s escalating nuclear threats are pushing Japanese leaders to shift further away from the nation’s postwar pacifism.

This 2-page essay was posted on The New York Times website on Monday...and is a must read for all serious students of the "New Great Game".  It's from Roy Stephens, of course...and I thank him on your behalf.


Oil Tanker Market In "State Of Panic" As Charter Rates Plunge, Cargoes Rejected

While everyone knows about the epic oversupply of dry bulk containerships as a result of the pre-bubble surge in charter rates (and subsequent collapse), which sent many shipping companies to an early bankruptcy or outright liquidation and also resulted in very depressed shipping rates for the last several years as the supply overhang continues to be cleared out of the system (coupled with still depressed end-demand for "dry" commodities) , few may be aware that in the past several months the same fate has befallen the oil-tanker industry.

As Bloomberg reports, John Fredriksen's oil-tanker behemoth Frontline Ltd., said it’s rejecting some cargoes after a rout in rates for the vessels. "Frontline is offering tankers for charters “selectively” and the market is in a “state of panic” as excess ship supply drives down charter costs, Jens Martin Jensen, chief executive officer of the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company’s management unit, said by phone today."

This Zero Hedge piece from early yesterday evening was sent our way by Elliot Simon.


Four King World News Blogs

The first blog is with Dr. Stephen Leeb...and it's titled "West Much Closer to Collapse as Gold War Continues to Rage".  The next interview is with Jim Sinclair...No. 1. It's headlined "System Designed to Collapse Ahead of New World Currency".  The third blog is an interview with James Turk.  It's entitled "Unspeakable Financial Destruction is Headed Our Way".  The last interview is with Jim Sinclair as well...and it bears the headline "Russia and China Loot Western Gold While JPMorgan Sells Silver".


'Gold Only Rises During the Bad Times'...and Other Fairy Tales

When journalists start bagging out gold, you know it’s time to think about buying some.

Because they have an uncanny knack of getting gold’s next move 100% wrong.

When they are cheering gold on, you can bet your nugget that the price is topping out. And conversely when they are giving gold a tough time — like now — you can be sure the gold price is bottoming out.

Because let’s face it: if they could make accurate trading calls on gold, they wouldn’t be making their living writing newspapers.

This short but excellent piece by Dr. Alex Cowie was posted on the Internet site early yesterday morning Australia time...and it's definitely worth the read is you're feeling a little down about the hammering that JPMorgan et al are laying on the precious metals at this moment.


Saudi Arabia may cut import duty on manufactured Gold

After series of setbacks threatened Saudi Arabia's position as No 1 gold market in the Middle East, Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FGCCC) is considering reducing the customs duty on manufactured gold from 5 percent to 2 percent per kilo.

The new move is expected to allow more gold inflows into the desert Kingdom and bring it on par with the rest of the GCC.

In other GCC countries, gold traders are required to pay 2 percent customs duties on imported manufactured gold. Therefore, Saudi gold retailers called for implementing the same rule in the Kingdom to open the door for more imported gold.

This article was posted on the Internet site late yesterday morning India Standard Time...and I thank Ulrike Marx for finding it for us.


Turkey’s Gold Imports Climb to Eight-Month High as Prices Slide

Turkey’s gold imports climbed to an eight-month high in March as prices averaged the lowest since May, according to the Istanbul Gold Exchange. Silver imports rose 31 percent from a month earlier.

Gold imports increased to 18.26 metric tons, the most since July. That’s up from 17.34 tons in February and compared with 2.91 tons a year earlier, data on the exchange’s website show. The country shipped in 120.8 tons last year.

Turkey was the fourth-biggest gold consumer in 2012, according to the London-based World Gold Council. Bullion averaged $1,593.62 an ounce last month and is trading about 17 percent below the record $1,921.15 set in September 2011. Prices are down 4.9 percent this year on mounting confidence that the U.S. economy is strengthening and as Federal Reserve policy makers debated the pace of asset purchases.

This short Bloomberg piece was filed from London...and posted on their Internet site early yesterday morning Mountain Daylight Time...and I thank Ulrike Marx for sharing it with us.


Indian Gold smugglers take body route to outwit customs

Smugglers and couriers who bring gold into the country illegally, have usually been known to bring the commodity by hiding it outside their body through various means. But with air intelligence units of the customs wising up to myriad modes of concealment, smugglers have resorted to reshaping gold to get it through. Monday’s incident where two men who arrived from Sri Lanka at the airport, had shaped crude gold bits to fit inside the base of their mouth under the tongue, is perhaps the best example of this new practice.

“We were quite surprised by this ingenious idea. They cleared airport security in Colombo and made it here without talking much, saying that they were observing a mouna viradham (vow of silence),” said a customs official. However, because Shahul Hameed and Mohammed Izadeen could not speak clearly, officials zeroed in on them and checked them to find gold under their tongues. Officials are on high alert as this happened just five days after another passenger was caught trying to smuggle 2.03 kg of gold, shaped to fit inside a 40-inch LED TV stand.

This very interesting article, filed from Chennai [Madras], was posted on the Internet site early this morning IST...and I thank Ulrike Marx for her final offering in today's column.


Mining your iPhone

Engineering experts over at 911 Metallurgist, with some help from the designers at Neomammalian Studios, break down the innards of smartphones and how much the raw metals are worth.

"There's more gold in a pound of electronics than a pound of gold ore," according to Ken Beyer, the CEO of Cloud Blue, an electronics recycling company.

This 'infographic' story was posted on the Internet site yesterday...and is a very interesting read.  I thank Marshall Angeles for sending it our way.


Why Rick Rule Bought $280M of Platinum and Palladium

When Rick Rule pairs lower grades, labor strife and inefficient mines with the relentless demand for platinum and palladium, his result is an investment thesis that could pay off for bullion and equity investors. In his Metals Report interview, the founder and chairman of Sprott Global Resource Investments Ltd. compares the current platinum and palladium space to the uranium sector 10 years ago, and predicts handsome returns for investors willing to shoulder the risk.

This longish interview, in transcript form, was posted on Internet site yesterday...and is certainly worth reading.


The Great Disconnect Between Paper and Physical Silver

The paper silver market refers primarily to the futures market in which large traders (hedge funds, large commercial banks, bullion banks, etc) hold long or short positions. Silver expert Ted Butler has been analyzing this area for three decades, and reports the weekly evolutions into great detail in his market commentaries. This is an excerpt from his latest analysis:

By far, the standout price feature for the first quarter in silver was the reduction in the total commercial net short position on the COMEX from the high point of Feb 5. From the peak on Feb 5 through last Tuesday, 29,000 net contracts were bought by the commercials. This is the equivalent of 145 million oz of silver and is clearly a towering amount compared to any amount of silver produced or consumed within the quarter. Yes, these are paper transactions, but they are so excessive in size as to overwhelm the free market forces emanating from the real world of supply and demand. Simply put, the commercials on the COMEX colluded and rigged silver prices lower during the quarter to trick the tech funds into selling.

That's pretty much all you have to know to understand what's been happening in silver [and gold] during the first three months of this the first three days of this month.  All the other explanations from the so-called 'experts' in this market aren't worth considering...and certainly fall in the category of "you can't believe everything you read on the Internet."

This article features Ted Butler's work almost exclusively...and is definitely a must read.  It was posted on the Internet site yesterday.



¤ The Funnies

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¤ The Wrap

I am still of the mind that we are close to a silver price bottom of some great significance and that the investment risk/reward ratio in silver has rarely been more attractive than it is currently....The essence of successful investment is to place funds into the thing least likely to lose money and most likely to show great gains. In this instance, silver is it. - Silver analyst Ted Butler...30 March 2013

As I mentioned further up in this column, yesterday's price action was a classic bear raid by JPMorgan et al...and what a job they did.  Of course it goes without saying that the CFTC, CME Group...and the precious metal mining companies will say and do nothing.

The only good thing about yesterday's price action is that it will all be up for public display in Friday's Commitment of Traders Report...and the accompanying Bank Participation Report...both of which are derived from the same data set...and both should be a sight to see.  On this one day per month we get to see the footprints of the bullion banks in the precious metal markets.  And they are oh-so-easy to spot, because there are only three of them that matter...with JPMorgan as their leader.  I will have extensive commentary [and charts] on this in Saturday's column.

There is a limit to down-side price action, because the law of diminishing returns begins to set it for the bullions involved as prices decline to new lows.  But have we reached that price yet, or are we close?  Who knows for sure.  How many more technical fund longs can "da boyz" trick into selling by these engineered price declines that Ted spoke of in the last 'Critical Read' of the day?  Once they have all they figure they can covering as many of their short positions as they can...and/or gone long themselves, the price bottom will be in.

As I mentioned further up, it was wall-to-wall buyers in the bullion store yesterday...and no customer sold us a single ounce of anything.  This is a buying opportunity not to be missed if you have any money left to invest of course.

Here are the 3-year charts for all four precious metals so you can see the current handiwork of JPMorgan et al compared to what they've been up to both before and after their drive-by shooting event in silver on May 1, 2011.

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You should carefully note that "da boyz" aren't having much luck with palladium at the moment, as the supply/demand equation is in a deficit situation...with platinum and silver not far behind.  Only the continual rigging of the paper markets on the Comex, where the official price is 'set' every day, prevents the true free-market price from being revealed in all four precious metals.

Is this JPMorgan's last swing for the fences in silver?  I don't have the answer, but it certainly feels that way.  Unfortunately we won't know for sure until it appears in the rear-view mirror of monstrously higher prices...and these bargain-basement prices before you today will become the stuff of legend.

In the thinly-traded Far East market earlier today, the high-frequency traders went to work on gold and silver shortly before 9:00 a.m. Hong Kong time, dropping their respective prices to new lows for this move down...and were still working silver over pretty good right up until the 8:00 a.m. BST London open.  And as I hit the 'send' button at 5:10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, both gold and silver have rallied a bit off their opening lows in London.  Not surprisingly, the associated volumes are pretty chunky at the moment...a bit over 42,000 contracts in gold...and a hair over 13,000 in silver.  The dollar index was up about 10 basis points, but as you should have figured out by now, what's going on with the currencies has become irrelevant to the price of silver and gold when JPMorgan et al are running the precious metal prices into the ground like they've been doing since the beginning of the year.

I haven't the foggiest idea of what the price action will be like in the precious metals for the rest of the day, although I expect that once the noon silver fix is in London, it could get interesting going forward.  But whatever the outcome, I'll have it for you here tomorrow...and I'll see you then.