Gold & Silver Daily
"It was just another slice off all four precious metal salamis yesterday"
 

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price got sold down back below $1,200 the ounce in two smallish bouts of selling during the Thursday trading session in the Far East, with the Hong Kong low coming shortly before 2 p.m. local time.  The subsequent rally back above $1,200 spot got capped at the 8:20 a.m. EDT COMEX open---and by the London p.m. gold fix, the price was back in the box.  After that, the price didn't do much, although the low tick came at a spike down about twenty minutes before the COMEX close.

The high and low were reported by the CME Group as $1,203.30 and $1,192.40 in the June contract.

Gold closed in New York yesterday afternoon at $1,193.50 spot, down another $8.70---as JPMorgan et al continue to slice the salami to the downside.  Net volume was on the lighter side once again at 110,000 contracts, the same as Wednesday's volume.

The chart pattern for silver was more or less the same as the gold chart, expect the spike low came about 10:20 a.m. EDT.  The silver price didn't do much for the remainder of the day.

The high and low were reported as $16.51 and $16.105 in the May contract.

Silver finished the Thursday session at $16.15 spot, down another 36 cents.  Net volume was 31,000 contracts, a few thousand contracts less than Wednesday's volume.

The platinum price chart looked like a carbon copy of the the other two precious metals---and it was closed on Thursday at $1,154 spot, down another 11 dollars.

Palladium's price chart was a mini version of the platinum chart, although the rally that began in that metal shortly after 2 p.m. Hong Kong time, it didn't get its comeuppance from "da boyz" until minutes after 9:00 a.m. EDT.  After that it also traded flat into the close of electronic trading.  It was the only precious metal to close up on the day at $761 spot---a gain of 7 bucks.

The dollar index closed late on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 98.06---and had almost a 40 basis point up/down rally that ended around unchanged at 8 a.m. EDT.  Then away it went to the upside, before topping out at roughly 99.17 sometime around 3 p.m.  After that it slid a bit into the close, which was recorded as 98.98 by the folks over at ino.com.  The index finished the Thursday session up 92 basis points, but was up over 100 basis points at its high.

The golds stocks opened down---and hit their low ticks minutes later, before rallying back to unchanged.  They were a hair into positive territory, but that changed at precisely 1 p.m. EDT when they got sold down for an hour or so, before rallying a bit into the close.  The HUI finished down 0.55 percent, which wasn't bad considering the price action.

The chart pattern for the silver equities was virtually the same, complete with the 1 p.m. EDT sell off.  But the silver stocks never saw positive territory at all on Thursday, even though they came close a time or two---and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 0.47 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report was a big surprise, as it showed that zero gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.

I made a reporting mistake in yesterday's Daily Delivery Report.  I said that JPMorgan stopped 97 silver contracts of the 114 issued.  In actual fact it was Canada's Scotiabank that stopped those 97 contracts, not JPM---and I thank Ted Butler for pointing out the error of my ways.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that gold open interest in April continues to decline, as it dropped another 269 contracts---and is now down to 2,462 contracts left open.  Silver's April o.i. also declined, but only by 15 contracts---and now stands at 170 contracts.  I'm still wondering what the short/issuers in gold are waiting for---and who them might be when they finally do put in an appearance.

Much to my surprise, there was a deposit made in GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant added 95,951 troy ounces.  Based on past price action, it may have been deposited to cover an existing short position.  And as of 9:54 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

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

"Analysis of the 08 April 2015 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list:  2,047,974.7 troy ounces were removed (almost all from Brinks London), no bars were added or had serial number changes."

"The bars removed were from: Russian State Refineries (0.6M oz), Kazakhmys (0.6M oz), KGHM (0.3M oz), Solar Applied Materials (0.3M oz), and 7 others."

"As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 1,062.9 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list."

There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.

It was another day of very little action in gold at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday, as 4 kilobars were reported received---and 3 kilobars were shipped out.

But it was a totally different story in silver once again, as a monstrous 1,883,054 troy ounces were reported received---and an equally monstrous 1,748,030 troy ounces were shipped out the door.  JPMorgan added another 1.28 million troy ounces to their already impressive inventories of that metal.  And as Ted said on the phone yesterday, the activity of the last two days has certainly been associated with the silver deliveries that occurred during the March delivery month---and the promised metal is now on the move.  The link to that action is here---and it's definitely worth a look.

It was another busy in/out day at Brink's, Inc. in their COMEX-approved warehouse in Hong Kong, as 3,000 kilobars were reported received---and 6,134 kilobars were shipped out.  The link to that activity in troy ounces is here.

Nick sent us a couple of new charts last night.  They show India's gold and silver imports going back to 2008---and they don't require any further embellishment from me.  Nick pointed out that the bars on the charts for the 2015 calendar year represent January imports only.

It was another fairly slow news day yesterday---and the pickings were reasonably slim, but I hope you find a few that interest you.

 

¤ Critical Reads

Recession 2.0: Abysmal Wholesale Sales Join Factory Orders in Confirming U.S. Economic Contraction

Despite another data series revision by the Department of Commerce, there was no way to put lipstick on the pig of America's wholesale trade data, and as reported moments ago, the all important merchant sales for February dropped for 3rd month in a row in February, the longest stretch since the last recession. After January's downward revised plunge of 3.6% MoM (against -0.5% expectations), which was the biggest single monthly drop since March 2009, the decline continued in February at a -0.2% pace, wiping the floor with expectations of a 0.3% rebound.

Worst of all the annual pace of decline has now stretched over both January and February, confirming that 2015 is now officially a year of contraction for the US economy. As a reminder, every time this series suffers an annual decline, there is a recession.

This short article, with three embedded charts, showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 10:37 a.m. EDT yesterday morning---and today's first story is courtesy of Dan Lazicki.

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21 Days: Treasury Says Debt Has Been Frozen at $18,112,975,000,000

According to the Daily Treasury Statement for Friday, April 3, which was published by the U.S. Treasury on Monday, April 6, that portion of the federal debt that is subject to a legal limit set by Congress closed the day at $18,112,975,000,000—for the 21st day in a row.

$18,112,975,000,000 is about $25 million below the current legal debt limit of $18,113,000,080,959.35.

This was necessary, Lew explained, because in 2014 Congress enacted legislation that “suspended” the debt limit until March 15 and then reinstated it on that date at whatever level the debt had reached by then.

“As you know, in February 2014, Congress passed the Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act, suspending the statutory debt limit through March 15, 2015,” Lew said in his March 13 letter. “Beginning on Monday, March 16, the outstanding debt of the United States will be at the statutory limit. In anticipation of reaching that date, Treasury has suspended until further notice the issue of State and Local Government Series securities, which count against the debt limit.”

This story found a home over at the cns.com Internet site on Tuesday afternoon EDT---and it's courtesy of Brad Robertson.

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"Another Crisis is Coming": Jamie Dimon Warns of the Next Market Crash

Last October’s Treasury flash crash — which Gregg Berman will tell you wasn’t the fault of HFT and which will likely repeat at some point or another thanks to the fact that Fed purchases have reduced market depth — may no longer be a once every three billion year occurrence as statistics would dictate, Jamie Dimon observes, in his latest letter to JPM shareholders, before suggesting that the event “should make you question statistics.”

Amusingly, Dimon seems to confuse cause and effect a bit, as it’s really not the fault of “statistics” per se, but rather the fault of shifting market dynamics (and by “dynamics” we mean increased manipulation and never-before-seen distortions and dislocations) that have rendered the old statistical models obsolete.

But at least Dimon sees the event, and recent similar shakeups in FX markets for what they are: warning shots across the bow.

This news item appeared on the Zero Hedge Internet site at 5:41 p.m. EDT yesterday---and it's another contribution from Dan Lazicki.  It's worth reading.

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Summers agrees with Dimon: There's a liquidity problem

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said regulators should make a priority of addressing the problems of bond market liquidity, brought on by their very efforts to make institutions safer after the financial crisis.

Summers, speaking Thursday on "Squawk Box," responded to comments made by JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon who said recent volatility in the currency and Treasury markets was a "warning shot across the bow."

The drumbeat about liquidity questions in the corporate bond market but also Treasury market has gotten louder, and Dimon used his annual letter to shareholders as soap box to warn about the issue.

This CNBC story from early Thursday morning EDT contains a transcript along with a 3:24 minute video clip---and it's the second offering in a row from Dan Lazicki.  It's worth a look as well.

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Treasury Flash Crash of October 15, 2014 Still Has Wall Street in a Sweat

You know times are weird on Wall Street when JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon devotes a good chunk of his shareholder letter, released yesterday, to fretting about whether there will be enough Treasury notes to go around in a safe haven stampede during the next crisis.

Dimon writes that “In a crisis, everyone rushes into Treasuries to protect themselves. In the last crisis, many investors sold risky assets and added more than $2 trillion to their ownership of Treasuries (by buying Treasuries or government money market funds). This will be even more true in the next crisis. But it seems to us that there is a greatly reduced supply of Treasuries to go around – in effect, there may be a shortage of all forms of good collateral.”

To underscore his point, Dimon invoked the tumult in the Treasury market on October 15, 2014, writing that on that day “Treasury securities moved 40 basis points, statistically 7 to 8 standard deviations – an unprecedented move – an event that is supposed to happen only once in every 3 billion years or so….”

This excellent commentary on Jamie's shareholder letter appeared on the wallstreetonparade.com Internet site yesterday---and it's worth reading if you have the time and/or the interest.  I thank reader U.D. for passing it around.

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Peak Central Planning: BofA Says Fed's Dudley "Does Not Want Stocks to Decline; and Wants Bond Prices to Go Down"

Yesterday we got the latest confirmation of what the Fed will never openly admit and which everyone knows. Or rather, the Fed would never openly admit previously, namely that all it cares about are stock prices, or as we first dubbed it here a year ago, the Fed is "Dow Data Dependent." The admission came courtesy of Bill Dudley who during an interview yesterday said:

  • DUDLEY: "FED RATE PATH WILL BE SHAPED PARTLY BY MARKET REACTION

In other words, the Fed's actions will be shaped by the market, which in turn is shaped by the Fed. Or, as anyone who has used Excel will observe, a circular reference (and one which #Ref!s out whenever there is selling and exchanges have to be closed).

That in itself was bad enough, but things got substantially more laughable when the big banks were forced to defend his words in the context of the Fed's dual mandate, because - well - simply there is no defense that doesn't point out the obvious: the Fed could care less about jobs or inflation and all it does care about is the Dow Jones.

This is another Zero Hedge piece courtesy of Dan Lazicki---and it put in an appearance on their website at 7:51 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning.

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The Oil Industry's $26 Billion Life Raft

For U.S. shale drillers, the crash in oil prices came with a $26 billion safety net. That’s how much they stand to get paid on insurance they bought to protect themselves against a bear market -- as long as prices stay low.

The flip side is that those who sold the price hedges now have to make good. At the top of the list are the same Wall Street banks that financed the biggest energy boom in U.S. history, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co.

While it’s standard practice for them to sell some of that risk to third parties, it’s nearly impossible to identify who exactly is on the hook because there are no rules requiring disclosure of all transactions. The buyers come from groups like hedge funds, airlines, refiners and utilities.

“The folks who were willing to sell it were left holding the bag when prices moved,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC, an energy hedge fund in New York.

This Bloomberg article appeared on their Internet site at 5:00 p.m. Denver time yesterday afternoon---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sharing it with us.

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Job Cuts in Industries "Closely-Related" to Oil Likely to Triple, Goldman Says

A few days ago, in “Dear Texas, Welcome To The Recession,” we said the following about oil-related job cuts in the Lone Star State:

“While Challenger has found 'only' 37.8K energy-related layoffs in the first quarter, when broken down by state, things get bad for Texas, very bad. As in recession bad, because with 47K total layoffs, or 10K more than all energy-related layoffs, in just this one state so far in 2015, it means that the energy sector weakness has moved beyond just the oil patch and has spread to the broader economy and related industries in the one state that until recently had the best jobs track record since Lehman.”

Unfortunately for Texas and for any other state whose economy is tethered to anything energy-related, the knock-on effects of persistently low crude prices (which, as indicated by the fact that on-land storage capacity is well-nigh exhausted in the US, will likely remain under pressure) have only just begun to show up because as Goldman notes, job cuts for “closely related” industries typically run at three times the current rate in oil downturns, suggesting there’s quite a bit more pain to come.

No surprises here---and it has already started in Alberta as well.  This is another Zero Hedge article---and it's also courtesy of Dan Lazicki.

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Marine Le Pen, Leader of France’s National Front Party, Splits With Her Father, Its Founder

Marine Le Pen, the head of France’s far-right National Front, has openly split with her father and the founder of her party, calling his recent comments, including those on German gas chambers, “political suicide” and an attempt to harm her.

In recent years, Ms. Le Pen, trying to clean up the image of her party as racist and anti-Semitic, has kept her distance from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, 86, and his more extreme statements, even as he continued as the party’s honorary chairman.

But Mr. Le Pen made headlines over the last week, after he once again claimed that the Nazi gas chambers were a “detail” of history; praised France’s collaborationist wartime leader, Marshal Philippe Pétain; and questioned whether France’s Spanish-born prime minister, Manuel Valls, was really loyal to France.

His outbursts appeared to be more than Ms. Le Pen and her entourage could put up with. In a statement on Wednesday, Ms. Le Pen said she had already told her father that she planned to block him from running in coming regional elections.

This story, filed from Paris, was posted on The New York Times website on Wednesday sometime---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way.

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Bank Deposits No Longer Guaranteed By Austrian Government

Bank deposits in Austria will no longer enjoy state protection and a state guarantee in the event of bank runs and a bank collapse when legislation is enacted in July. The plan to ensure that the state is no longer responsible for insuring deposits has been readied by the Austrian government in conjunction with the E.U. two years ago according to Die Presse.

Currently, Austrians have their bank deposits guaranteed to a value of €100,000 – the first half to be provided by the failing bank and the other by the state. From July, however, the state will be removed from the process and a special bank deposit insurance fund is to be set up and paid into by banks to meet potential shortfalls.

The fund will be filled gradually over the next ten years to a value of €1.5 billion. In the the event of a failure of a major bank in the intervening period the legislation will allow the fund to borrow internationally although who will provide such funding and on what terms is not clear, according to Austria’s Die Presse.

However, even when the scheme is fully funded it is clear that €1.5 billion will be woefully inadequate to deal with a bank failure.

This very interesting commentary by Mark O'Byrne appeared on the goldcore.com Internet site yesterday---and it's worth reading.

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Europe can breathe as Greece makes a crucial payment

Phew. Europe can breathe again. Greece has made a crucial payment to the International Monetary Fund, the Greek finance ministry said Thursday.

Athens said the €460 million ($497 million) payment has been scheduled, dismissing rumors the government might not have enough cash to pay on time.

By sending the money, Greece has bought itself time to secure the final portion of its €240 billion international bailout.

This news item, filed from London, showed up on the cnn.com Internet site at 11:27 a.m. EDT yesterday morning---and I thank Jim Skinner for his first of two contributions to today's column.

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Kiev forces stop shelling DPR’s militia positions by Friday morning — mayor's office

The mass tank shelling of militia positions in Donetsk and the village of Spartak has ended by Friday morning, the press service of the Donetsk city administration has said.

"The evening of April 9 and the night in Donetsk were intense, combat actions were held in the area of the airport and the Spartak village. As of 8:30 a.m. the situation in the city is calm, no reports from the citizens of incidents have been received," the mayor’s office said.

There is yet no information on the damage or casualties. "The life support systems are working as normal," the press service stressed.

Ukraine’s armed forces overnight to Friday launched the massive tank shelling of militia positions of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in the locality of Spartak from the direction of the city of Avdeyevka controlled by Ukrainian troops.

This news item, filed from Moscow, appeared on the tass.ru Internet site at 9:56 a.m. local time, this morning which was 2:56 a.m. EDT in Washington.  I thank Roy Stephens for sending it in the wee hours of today.

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"Saudi Arabia is Going For it" - Why the Saudis Just Boosted Oil Production to a Record High

Several days ago, oil spiked when headlines hit that Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi said he was "optimistic" about the future of the price of oil. The spike was confusing because what Saudi Arabia also said, but got no air time, is that the current excess oil production would persist indefinitely, and assure that the scariest chart for oil bulls, namely crude oil inventories in the U.S. would continue to be the only thing in the U.S. economy that has achieved "escape velocity."

Actually, we take that back: Saudi did not say it would keep production flat - what it did say is that it is boosting its output even higher in what is now a clear confrontation with the US "marginal producer", namely the shale patch, which so far has survived thanks to cheap funding from naive bondholders who are willing to fund US shale on hopes that an oil rebound is imminent, and increasing consolidation in the space which will cut overhead thus bringing the breakeven cost of production lower.

As Globe and Mail reported, instead of leaving its own production flat in an attempt to stabilize oil prices and hit its "optimistic" outlook sooner rather than never, Saudi Arabia would boost production quite sharply to claw back market share. Specifically al-Naimi, revealed that the kingdom’s oil production in March was 10.3-million barrels a day – a record high. "Saudi Arabia is going for it," Olivier Jakob of the Swiss energy consultancy PetroMatrix said on Wednesday as Brent crude fell by about 1.3 per cent.

This very interesting oil-related story appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 2:58 p.m. EDT yesterday afternoon---and I thank Dan Lazicki once again for sending it along.

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Yemen rebels capture city, Iran condemns Saudi air campaign

Shiite rebels and allied troops overran the capital of an oil-rich Yemeni province in a heavily Sunni area on Thursday, making significant territorial gains despite Saudi-led airstrikes, now entering their third week.

Iran, which is trying to garner international support to stop the bombing, stepped up its condemnation, with the supreme leader calling the air campaign "genocide."

The rebel fighters, known as Houthis, along with military units loyal to former autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh, overran Ataq, the capital of oil-rich Shabwa province, after days of airstrikes and clashes with local Sunni tribes.

This AP story was co-filed from Tehran, Cairo and Islamabad---and appeared on their website at 5:41 p.m. EDT Thursday afternoon---and it's the final offering of the day from Dan Lazicki.

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U.S. warns Iran on backing Yemen rebels, Tehran defiant

Washington warned it would not stand by while Tehran supports Shiite rebels in Yemen, as Iran's supreme leader denounced Saudi-led air strikes in the country as "criminal acts".

In the most direct American criticism yet of Tehran's backing for the Shiite Huthi rebels, Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington would not accept foreign interference in Yemen.

"There have been -- there are, obviously -- flights coming from Iran. Every single week there are flights from Iran and we've traced it and know this," he told PBS television.

"Iran needs to recognise that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilised or while people engage in overt warfare across lines, international boundaries in other countries."

If this isn't the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is.  This AFP article, filed from Aden, Yemen, appeared on the news.yahoo.com Internet site about 10:30 p.m. EDT last night---and I thank Jim Skinner for his second contribution to today's column.

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Under ‘Abenomics,’ Japan's rich thrive, but middle class on precipice

The recent debate over wealth inequality has highlighted an unpleasant fact for policymakers — that the income gap between rich and poor is not shrinking, even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies have been in play for two years now.

Ever since the translated version of French economist Thomas Piketty’s best-selling book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” was published in Japan in December, academics have closely scrutinized “Abenomics” and its results.

What became clear was that in a society long dominated by families of moderate means — the top 1 percent of wealthy people account for a mere 10 percent of overall incomes — Japan’s middle class is now facing an existential crisis.

This commentary, which is certainly worth reading, was posted on the japantimes.co.jp Internet site on Tuesday sometime---and it's something I found in yesterday's edition of the King Report.

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"The Bank of Japan needs to print babies, not Yen"---Tres Knippa

If increasing the global money supply creates growth, then why is global GDP not exploding? Everywhere I look is a money supply chart that does nothing but climb.  Take a look at Japanese M3 from 2003 to the present.   To paraphrase Dennis Gartman, that chart looks to be moving from the lower left to upper right to me.

In the most simplistic form, why would M3 be increasing so much since 2003?  Answer?  The Bank of Japan is using freshly printed Yen to buy the debt of the Japanese Government.  Sound familiar?  Sound like something the U.S. Federal Reserve has been doing?  Sound like something the ECB might have taken a stab at?

Let's separate truth from fiction right here and right now.  The Bank of Japan is not buying Japanese Government debt out of some advanced economic theory that suggests increasing money supply creates growth.  The world is being TOLD that QE creates growth but let's face facts and realize that central banks are buying this debt because they MUST buy it.

This short, but must read commentary by Tres, appeared on his shortjapandebt.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank him for sending it our way.  [By the way, dear reader, Japan's demographics are horrid and, if you have the interest, you can read more about it here.]

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Top 20 gold consumers: China still No. 1 – GFMS

The annual analysis of the gold market today by GFMS pretty much confirms the findings, and predictions, of those from its rivals.

What some may consider surprising, given that it seems to differ from World Gold Council statistics issued in February, and largely supplied by GFMS, is that Gold 2015 places China back as the world’s No. 1 gold consumer in 2015, whereas the WGC figures suggested that India had overtaken the Asian Dragon last year. These figures exclude bank activity, and if this was incorporated China would come out hugely in advance of India – the position we have taken on Mineweb all along.

This commentary by Lawrie Williams appeared on the mineweb.com Internet site at 2:19 p.m. British Summer Time yesterday afternoon---and it's worth reading, even though I'm no fan of GFMS---and always read what they and their ilk have to say, for entertainment purposes only.

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Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter: First Quarter 2015

As noted in our previous commentary (1/15/15), we believe that dollar strength is a precursor of systemic weakness. We thus see little virtue in the relative strength of the US currency, which, in our opinion, signifies capital flight from risk: “When the currencies in which investments are denominated experience historic levels of volatility (i.e., the euro has dropped by 20 percent against the dollar since last July), a new dimension enters the investment landscape. The unstable currency regime has created a highly unstable investment environment that is placing capital at risk” (The Credit Strategist, 4/1/15). As noted by analyst Paul Mylchreest, volatility in currency markets has historically led to destabilizing flows in speculative capital, which ultimately affects other financial assets (1873, 1929, and 1987).

We agree with Mr. Singer that a loss of confidence can and will lead to a severe, sudden, and simultaneous decline across a number of markets and sectors. Moreover, we do not believe that confidence in the practitioners of 21st-century monetary policy is deserved. Modern-day central bankers consist largely of academics with little practical business experience. Their policies have not generated growth, and they have in our opinion exacerbated systemic risk. Market expectations for economic growth seem destined for repeated disappointment. In our view, the coming reconciliation of illusion to reality promises to be epic, one in which ownership of real, not financial, assets, is essential. We have always believed that gold is the most liquid, easily acquired real asset with a legacy of protecting capital during periods of financial instability. That it has become discredited in Western capital markets speaks for itself. It is a message for contrarians to heed.

This gold-related commentary by John Hathaway appeared on the tocqueville.com Internet site yesterday.

Read more...

 

¤ The Funnies

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¤ The Wrap

The combination of JPMorgan taking delivery of a large amount of physical silver long after my speculation that it was doing so, plus the ill-timed manipulation charges against Kraft gave me, I believe, the rope of specificity to hang these crooks. And barring any legitimate explanation by either the CFTC, JPMorgan or the CME, all must be considered illegitimate and corrupt. Although I become weary at how blatant and obnoxious the roles all three principal participants in the silver manipulation have become, I think I am made wearier by the lack of involvement by some fellow commentators (certainly not all) and, particularly, by the lack of involvement by mining company management. As many of you have suggested to me, you would think the miners would be all over this. So would I.

At the same time I fully concede that the COMEX silver manipulation has grown stronger, I also know the resultant effect on silver mining will come in time.

While total primary silver mine production has not declined in accordance with the extremely depressed price, that is due to the long lead times necessary to open and close a silver mine. One thing for certain is that silver exploration has taken it on the chin and we are delaying future mine production and creating gaps in the time and quantity of future mine supplies. One would think that this would be obvious to every mining manager and that they would be responding to the one specific cause of low price – futures contract positioning on the COMEX. I believe an important opportunity has been presented to mine managers by the double standard demonstrated by the CFTC in the Kraft wheat case; but if they don’t petition the agency, the opportunity is lost. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 08 April 2015

Well, dear reader, it was just another slice off all four precious metal salamis yesterday, as JPMorgan et al do their thing once again.  The only question remaining is; will these slices be thin---and over a long period of time, or will they take a meat cleaver to it---and do it in a couple of large chunks?  I don't know---and neither does anyone else.

But, having said that, the internal COT structure is still pretty bullish in gold---and silver's COT number are market neutral, so there certainly could be a countertrend rally at some point, but that will only occur if "da boyz" allow it.  And how those rallies might go is entirely up to them as well.

Here are the charts for all four precious metals, so you can see the latest slices for yourself.

And as I write this paragraph, the London open is twenty minutes away.  The gold price, which had rallied a few dollars in Far East trading, is now back to unchanged---and silver is currently up a dime.  Platinum is up 7 dollars---and palladium is basically unchanged.

Net gold volume is a bit under 12,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is just under 4,400 contracts.  The dollar index, which had been quietly trending lower during Friday trading in the Far East, popped into positive territory and back above 99.00---and is now up a magnificent 5 basis points.

Today we get the latest Commitment of Traders Report, along with the April Bank Participation Report---and I'll be more than interested in what they have to show.  It will also give Ted Butler the opportunity to recalibrate JPMorgan's short-side corner in the COMEX silver market---and I'll have all of that for you in tomorrow's column.

I was just rereading Ted's quote above---and I must admit that it is discouraging to know that the precious metal mining companies have become silent co-conspirators in the precious metal price management scheme.

And as I've said countless time in the past, they have totally abrogated their fiduciary responsibilities to their respective shareholders---and no appeal, no matter how reasoned, will make them budge.  Not only don't they want to talk about it, almost all of their respective I.R. people actually try to blow you off the moment you broach the subject with them.

Some of them have admitted to me in private that they're fully aware of what's happening, but will deny everything if they have to discuss it in the public domain.

How did it come to this?

If you haven't tried your luck, phone the Investor Relations department of any silver company you own stock in---and see what happens when you start asking questions about this issue.  Most companies have a 1-800 number, so the call is free.

And as I send today's effort off into cyberspace at 5:20 a.m. EDT, I note that after trading basically sideways through all of Far East trading---and the first hour in London---all four metals popped a bit higher starting at 9:00 a.m. British Summer Time [BST].

At the moment, gold is up eight bucks---and back above $1,200 spot.  Silver is up just under 30 cents, platinum is up 13 dollars---and palladium is up half that amount.  The dollar index is now up 40 basis points.

Not surprisingly, volumes have blow out as well, with gold's net volume now north of 36,000 contracts---and silver's net volume around the 9,600 contract mark.  It's obvious that JPMorgan et al are going short or selling longs aggressively into this rally---and if they keep it up, these rallies won't last long.

But as I said further up, there's always the possibility of a countertrend rally because the current COT structure isn't all that bad in either silver or gold at the moment.  But I also said that how high these rallies go---and how fast they get there---will be entire dependent on what "da boyz" do as these rallies unfold.  And using current volume levels as a precursor, they're already doomed.

However, since today is Friday, nothing will surprise me as far as price action is concerned---and I await the 8:20 a.m. COMEX open with great interest.

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