Gold & Silver Daily
"Whatever is going on behind the scenes will become public knowledge when "da Boyz" deem it necessary"
 

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

Once gold began to trade in the Far East on their Wednesday, it didn't take long before ten bucks got tacked onto the price...and another five spot was added later in the Hong Kong afternoon going into the 8:00 a.m. BST London open.

Of course it got sold down after that, with the low in Europe coming about 12:30 p.m. in London...thirty minutes after the noon silver fix.  The gold price rallied anew at the 8:20 a.m. Comex open, but that got cut off at the knees thirty minutes later.  From there, gold got sold down to its New York low, which came minutes after 1:00 p.m. EDT.  The subsequent rally lasted almost to the close of electronic trading...an event as rare as a blue moon.

The high tick of the day came around 8:50 a.m. Eastern time...and Kitco recorded that as $1,435.30 spot.

Gold closed on Wednesday at $1,431.50 spot...up $17.90 on the day. Surprisingly enough, gross volume was pretty light...at least comparatively speaking...at 'only' 152,000 contracts.

It was pretty much the same price pattern for silver in Far East trading on Wednesday...with the high tick of the day coming at 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time, which corresponded to the 8:00 a.m. London open.

Like gold, it was all down hill from there, with the low of the day coming at a slightly earlier than normal London silver fix.  The subsequent rally ran into a not-for-profit seller at the London p.m. gold fix...10:00 a.m. in New York.

From there, silver got sold off until around 11:30 a.m. EDT...and more or less traded sideways from that point into the Comex close for silver, which is 1:25 p.m. in New York.  Then away the price went to the upside until precisely 4:00 p.m. Eastern...and then it traded flat into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.

From its low to its high, silver traded in a price range of just over 50 cents.

Silver closed yesterday at $23.16 spot...up 22 cents from Tuesday.  Net volume, once all the roll-overs out of the May delivery month were subtracted, was a hair under 25,000 contracts....which wasn't a lot.

The dollar index closed on Tuesday at 83.02...and when it opened in Far East trading on Wednesday morning, immediately began to chop lower...and finished the Wednesday trading session in New York at 82.94...down 8 whole basis points.  Nothing to see here.

The first three bookmarks on my computer are the Kitco silver and gold charts, followed immediately by the HUI chart...and I check them in that order when I first get on the Internet.  After looking at the gold and silver charts after I got up late yesterday morning, I certainly wasn't prepared for what I saw when the HUI chart popped up, as it had gapped up over 3 percent at the open...and never looked back from there, although it was obvious that some of the day trader types took profits as they closed out their positions in the last minutes of trading.

Very deep pockets were buying everything in sight yesterday...and that process accelerated once Comex trading closed at 1:30 p.m. EDT.  The HUI finished the day up 6.98 percent...and one can only hope that the buyers were insiders...as they're always tipped off as to what's coming.

It was the same for the silver stocks...and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 6.39%.  But, like the gold equities, these gains aren't really that impressive considering the lows that these stocks are rising from.  But it's a start.

(Click on image to enlarge)

The CME Daily Delivery Report, updated very late yesterday evening, showed that 98 gold and 3 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Friday within the Comex-approved depositories.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

Another day, another decline in GLD.  This time it was 'only' 135,398 troy ounces...and as of 10:13 p.m. EDT, there were no reported changes in SLV.

The U.S. Mint had another sales report yesterday.  They sold a very chunky 13,000 ounces of gold eagles...along with a smallish 1,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes...and zero silver eagles.

Tuesday was a big day in silver over at the Comex-approved depositories, as they reported receiving a chunky 1,521,690 troy ounces of the stuff...and only shipped 17,637 troy ounces out the door.  The link to that activity is here.

In gold there were more withdrawals from the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.  They reported receiving 852 troy ounces...and shipped 238,716 troy ounces out the door.  You have to ask yourself where this gold is headed...and why.  The link to that activity is here.

It was another 'quiet' day at the bullion store yesterday...with 'quiet' being a relative term compared to last week at this time.  'Quiet' will translate into another record year for the store if this keeps up...and we're sort of hoping that it doesn't get any busier, as we just can't handle over-the-top volume/traffic every day.  Neither can the wholesalers or the mints...and they're still not taking orders, which is truly unprecedented in this industry.  If it's this bad from our vantage point in the retail world, one can only imagine what it looks like from the wholesale/mint perspective.

At 8:30 p.m. yesterday evening, I fired off an e-mail to Bron Suchecki at The Perth Mint, where it was already 10:30 a.m. on Thursday morning...and asked him this question: "G'Day Bron...What's happening in Oz in the precious metals world that's fit to print in tomorrow's column?"  Less than half an hour later I go this response...

Hi Ed,

With the [current production] issues at the RCM and US Mints, we are now starting to get hit with good orders from distributors, so we have prioritised manufacture of 1 oz. and kilo silver coins over our Lunar Snake coins so we can maximise the total amount of ounces we can supply. This is great news as that means more physical being taken off market.

That does lead me to the next point...which is buyers really need to go for the cheapest physical they can...and be a bit more flexible on who makes it...or go from coins to bars. Paying high premiums just because you want a certain brand or bar size just means your money buys less ounces, which takes less ounces off the market.

Regards,

Bron Suchecki

And finally...here is commentary from Ross Norman over at the renowned SharpsPixley.com Internet site that was posted there yesterday...and this is courtesy of reader 'David in California'...

"There an oddity about GOLD at the moment with phenomenal physical demand in Asia, US and Europe, while the actual spot prices languishes. We have written before about the strange disconnect between paper and physical demand - with the former bearish yet the latter bullish - but rarely has there been such a clear divergence.

"Over the last few days on SharpsPixley.com we have many run stories about this ... Dubai running short of physical, US Mint selling out of smaller denomination bars, coins and bars flying off the shelves in India and China and queues outside leading gold sellers such as Degussa in Germany. The effect has been a massive drawdown in physical metal which has, by and large, caught the gold refineries and some stockists by surprise. It seems that the current buying in Europe is a delayed response to the Cyprus crisis, prompted by the price correction. 

"Quite evidently it has been the sharp sell off on the gold futures (COMEX) a week ago that precipitated the price decline and drew out the physical buyers. While there remains stock of the traded inter-market London 'good delivery' bars weighing in at 400 ounces each (with a purity of 99.5%+), these would set an investor back about $570,000 each. However, for investment sized bars the market is drying up rapidly. Amongst the coins, the maples and Krugerrand are moving fast with premiums having just doubled and now typically trading at about 8% over the spot price. Meanwhile the wait for new 0.9999 kilobars from the refineries (cost about $48,000 each) would entail a wait of over 1 month - there are however some modest stocks of second-hand kilobars. 

"While much of the buying in Europe has centered on Germany and Switzerland, there are also encouraging signs of good interest from UK retail investors who seem to be awakening to the notion of having gold in their savings. Google searches for the keyword "gold price" is rising to near record levels confirming what we are seeing in the markets.

"So, what does this tell us about gold ? To us, this is firstly a clear signal that the price correction has sparked latent interest for those who have wanted to enter the market - the current price represents an excellent entry point. Secondly, the fact that investors are going for physical over paper gold extends the argument that investors are increasingly wary of financial institutions, just as they are of the debasement of currencies. 

"In 2008 and 2010 the physical markets dried up and deliveries were extended out to about 2 or 3 months at the retail level - if the current buying persists there is every reason to expect a recurrence... or worse."  END

Here's your "cute quota" for the day...

I have a few more stories than normal today, so I hope you can find the time to read them all, or feel free to edit ruthlessly.  You choose.

 

¤ Critical Reads

Bernanke Fuels Speculation That This is His Last Year at Fed

Ben Bernanke is intensifying speculation that this year will be his last as Federal Reserve chairman by deciding to skip the Fed's annual August conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Jackson Hole has long been a high-profile platform for speeches by Fed chairmen. Since taking over the Fed in 2006, Bernanke has been the marquee speaker each year. In 2010, he used his speech to signal that the Fed could launch another bond-buying program. Stock prices jumped in response to his remarks.

His second four-year term will end in January, and neither he nor President Barack Obama has signaled whether Bernanke will serve a third term.

This moneynews.com story appeared on their Internet site late Monday evening...and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for today's first story.

Read more...

Shiller: Now Is ‘Auspicious Time to Buy a House With a Fixed-Rate Mortgage’

The 32-year decline of interest rates and inflation may soon end with a thud, says Yale economist Robert Shiller.

“Interest rates have been declining for decades now,” he writes in The New York Times. “Clearly, that cannot continue on the same track for another 10 years, because rates would have to turn negative.”

As for inflation, it “can rise,” Shiller says.

“It’s easy to imagine that both [inflation] and interest rates will rise substantially, creating a bonanza for homebuyers who have already locked in low rates. And because rates are so low now, they could climb a lot once they turn.”

As I said in January of 2007...call me in 2013 and I'll let you know if the bottom is in for the U.S. real estate market.  Yes, it is...but with the country on the edge, it's the last thing I would be spending my money on, as I would be looking for a way to get that money out of the country.  This is another story from the moneynews.com Internet site...this one from early yesterday morning Eastern time...and it's Elliot Simon's second offering in a row.

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GE Capital stops lending to gun shops: WSJ

General Electric Co' financial unit, GE Capital, is cutting off lending to guns shops, according to a report Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal that cited letters sent by the company to several gun shop owners. "Industry changes, new legislation and tragic events" led GE Capital to reexamine its policies on financing firearms, spokesman Russell Wilkerson told the Journal. The move follows the December massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 students and six adults died. GE Capital is the second financial firm to distance itself from the firearms industry. Cerberus Capital Management LP said shortly after the Newtown shootings it would try to sell its gun company Freedom Group Inc.

This is ridiculous.  It's like the banks withdrawing financial support from the entire airline industry because an American Airlines 737 crashed because of pilot error.  I thank reader "David in California" for sending this marketwatch.com story from yesterday our way.

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New $100 bill to enter circulation in October

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said the redesigned $100 note will begin circulating on Oct. 8. The note incorporates new security features such as a blue, 3-D security ribbon and can be found here. The design was unveiled in 2010, but the introduction had been postponed due to printing problems.

It sure looks pretty, but it's just another piece of paper.  This one-paragraph news item is the second marketwatch.com story in a row...this one also from "David in California".

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E.U. Austerity Dispute: How Barroso Let His Opinion Slip

European Commission President Barroso has mostly stayed in the background in the euro crisis, but his assertion this week that austerity has "reached its limits" caused quite a stir. It was an unusually opinionated statement -- and one that came after the Portuguese official's national pride was questioned. 

Then there is European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who has tried to ensure that he isn't perceived primarily as a Portuguese man. As the Commission's leader, he is expected to embody cross-border consensus more than any other. Since Monday, however, it seems possible that even Barroso doesn't always leave his national identity at the door.

In a think-tank dialogue in Brussels, Barroso cautiously criticized the austerity measures that the EU has so far imposed on the mainly Southern European members states in economic crisis. While the policy may be "fundamentally right," he said, it had "reached its limits." In the short-term, "a stronger emphasis on growth" is needed, he added.

This spiegel.de story from yesterday is courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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‘I call it balancing the budget’: Merkel defiant as austerity criticism mounts

Angela Merkel tried to contain her irritation when asked at a podium discussion in Berlin this week whether southern European countries could take much more German-ordered austerity.

But the frustration in her voice was clear enough after a week in which several European allies broke ranks, and in a public challenge to Germany, effectively declared the era of deficit reduction in Europe to be over.

“I call it balancing the budget,” the German chancellor told her audience at a book presentation. “Everyone else is using this term austerity. That makes it sound like something truly evil.”

This Reuters story showed up on Canada's Financial Post website late Tuesday morning...and it's a little something I dug out of yesterday's edition of the King Report.

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World factory orders flash warning signals despite booming markets

A rash of weak manufacturing data from America, Europe and Asia has cast serious doubts on the strength of the global economy and was starkly at odds with surging stock markets in the West.

Markit’s PMI factory index for the US suffered the biggest one-month fall in almost three years as the most sudden fiscal tightening since 1946 starts to bite.

While the gauge remains above the expansion line 50 at 53.6, there was a sharp drop in new order growth and an ominous rise in inventories.

“The picture has already begun to darken again. The fall raises concerns that the manufacturing expansion is losing momentum rapidly,” said Markit’s Chris Williamson.

This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard commentary was posted on The Telegraph's website on Tuesday evening...and it's Roy Stephens' second offering of the day.

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The Old Guard's Last Stand: Letta Asked to Form Italian Government

Enrico Letta has been tapped to lead Italy after being asked on Wednesday to form a government. Even though he is only 46 years old, he's still a representative of the old political caste and will have no choice but to work together with Silvio Berlusconi.

He did it. Within two days, Giorgio Napolitano, Italy's 87-year-old savior who was elected president on Saturday, laid the foundation for a new government through talks with representatives of the main parties. It is something the party leaders themselves couldn't manage to do in eight weeks.

As a result, the center-left Social Democrats (PD), together with Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PDL) party, and the group around centrist incumbent Prime Minister Mario Monti, will form a broad coalition government under the leadership of the former Christian Democrat and current PD deputy leader Enrico Letta.

If I had $100 for every new government that Italy has had since the end of WWII, I would never have had to invest a nickel in precious metals...and would be have retired years ago.  The story was posted on the German website spiegel.de early yesterday evening Europe time...and it's another news item courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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Crisis for Europe as trust hits record low

Public confidence in the European Union has fallen to historically low levels in the six biggest EU countries, raising fundamental questions about its democratic legitimacy more than three years into the union's worst ever crisis, new data shows.

After financial, currency and debt crises, wrenching budget and spending cuts, rich nations' bailouts of the poor, and surrenders of sovereign powers over policymaking to international technocrats, Euroscepticism is soaring to a degree that is likely to feed populist anti-EU politics and frustrate European leaders' efforts to arrest the collapse in support for their project.

Figures from Eurobarometer, the EU's polling organisation, analysed by the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank, show a vertiginous decline in trust in the EU in countries such as Spain, Germany and Italy that are historically very pro-European.

The six countries surveyed – Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain, and Poland – are the EU's biggest, jointly making up more than two out of three EU citizens or around 350 million of the EU's 500 million population.

I'm sure that Nigel Farage will be absolutely beaming with happiness when he reads this piece...which appeared in The Guardian late yesterday evening BST...and it's another offering from Roy Stephens.

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Euro may only last five years, says senior German government advisor

In notably outspoken remarks for a senior German figure, Dr Konrad, chairman of a scientific council that advises the finance ministry, said: “Europe is important to me. Not the euro. And I would only give the euro a limited chance of survival.”

Asked whether he thought the single currency would last five years, the economist said: “A concrete period is hard to identify as it depends on so many factors. But five years sounds realistic.”

This pessimistic judgment by a senior adviser runs counter to the official German government view that the euro must be held together for the sake of unity in Europe. Dr Konrad’s remarks came in an interview with the newspaper Welt am Sonntag, on the debt crisis in Europe.

The economic adviser warned that: “No country can pile up debt without running the risk that their investors will pull the plug. It’s in each [country’s] interests to keep their own debts as small as possible.

This story appeared on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site mid-afternoon BST yesterday...and I thank Manitoba reader Ulrike Marx for finding it for us.

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Don’t expect gold/silver ratio to fall to 16, but silver could still be good investment

I’m going to make myself very unpopular with the silver bulls for saying this, but the statistics prevailing over the past 100 years suggest that the gold:silver ratio is unlikely to fall to the oft touted ‘historic’ level of around 16.  The chart below, courtesy of Macrotrends.org  shows that movement in this much-followed ratio over the past century has only seen the 16 level referred to by many silver supporters as being approached three times – and each time only very briefly.  Indeed the chart suggests that it is possibly just as likely that a level of 80 or higher be reached – not exactly what the silver bulls would like to hear.

This essay falls into the "I'll believe it when I see it" category as far as I'm concerned, as no one really knows for sure how this is all going to shake out when the day of reckoning arrives in the Comex precious metal markets.  This commentary is by Lawrence Williams over at the mineweb.com...and was posted on their website early Wednesday morning BST, but I just didn't have space for it in yesterdays column.

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James Howard Kunstler: Aftershocks

If the FBI can track down two homicidal Chechen nobodies inside of forty-eight hours of their Boston bombing caper, you kind of wonder how come the Bureau can't detect the odor of racketeering, insider trading, and wire fraud in this month's orchestrated smack-down of the gold futures markets, including the parts played by the Federal reserve, one or more too-big-to-fail banks, self-interested big money players such as George Soros, slumbering regulators at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and tractable editors at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Of course, US Attorney General Eric Holder, who oversees the FBI, has done a fair imitation of a Brooks Brothers store window mannequin for four years, but surely somewhere in the trackless labyrinth of American law enforcement there exists some dogged rogue investigator with a filament of nagging curiosity who might piece together the clunky train of events that may amount to the financial crime of the century. For instance, it can't be so difficult to determine who was behind the several hundred ton mass dump of paper gold contracts a week or so ago. There must be a pretty simple record of the transaction, retrievable with a warrant or a subpoena. Whatever entity did it -- still ostensibly unknown -- knowingly generated losses in the neighborhood of a billion dollars for itself. Was this just the cost of doing business? Or a favor owed, say, from a bank to its godfathers at the Fed, carried out to make the dollar look relatively a lot less unsound than it really is? Or a ruse to allow the custodians of bullion in US depositories re-acquire at bargain prices gold that has been stealthily hypothecated into oblivion? Or just to divert attention from their inability to make good on contracted deliveries of actual physical gold.

Mr. Kunstler doesn't hold anything back in this rather short commentary that was posted on his website on Monday...and it's a must read in my opinion.  I thank Richard Sypher for bringing it to our attention.

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Continued Strong Silver Investment Demand Drove Annual Average Price to Second Highest on Record

Robust global silver investor demand was the dominant driver of silver prices last year, accounting for almost a quarter of total silver demand. Averaging $31.15 per ounce, 2012’s price level was the second highest on record, behind the average reached in 2011. While last year was a volatile year for most precious metals, globally, silver investment rose to a total of 252.7 million troy ounces (Moz). That figure represents approximately $8 billion on a net basis, substantially above the annual average of $1.2 billion over the 2001-10 timeframe, according to “World Silver Survey 2013,” released here today by the Silver Institute.

Investors remained significant net buyers of silver in 2012, as evidenced by the 21 percent increase in implied net silver investment (which includes physical bar investment, exchange traded funds and fund activity on Comex) to set an all-time high of 160.0 Moz. By comparison, in 2004, the level of implied net silver investment was 5.4 Moz.

Global silver ETF demand was robust, up by 55.1 Moz last year, hitting a historic high of 631.4 Moz. Total ETF holdings rose to a record $18.9 billion at year-end, up 16 percent from the figure recorded at year-end 2011.

Buoyant investor interest was also seen in demand for coins & medals at 92.7 Moz in 2012, the third highest level ever recorded. Coin minting in China posted a strong increase, realizing a 47 percent gain over 2011.

Well, the Black Gate of Mordor swung open for a brief moment yesterday...and this is the message that was dispatched from within.  The Silver Institute, like the World Gold Council, is supposed to stand up for what is in the best interest of its members...and most of its members are silver miners.  But there was nary a peep out of them regarding the $5 price slaughter of ten days ago.  Scroll down to the bottom of the article and take careful note of the mining companies that are selling their stockholders down the river.  I thank Elliot Simon for this story, which was filed from New York yesterday.

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Silver will be better alternative currency than gold, Dave Morgan tells 'Daily Ticker'

Silver market analyst and newsletter writer David Morgan tells Yahoo's Aaron Task on today's "Daily Ticker" program that silver will prove a better alternative currency than gold. Morgan was interviewed by Skype video from his home and viewers who look closely will see his revolutionary taste in art. The interview is six minutes long and it's posted at Yahoo Finance website...and I thank Chris Powell for writing this paragraph of introduction.

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U.K. Royal Mint Gold Coin Sales More Than Tripled in April

Britain’s Royal Mint, established in the 13th century, sold more than three times more gold coins this month than a year earlier as prices declined.

Sales are more than 150 percent higher than last month, according to Shane Bissett, director of bullion and commemorative coin at the Royal Mint. Gold is down 11 percent this month, heading for the biggest drop since September 2011.

“Since the dip in the price of gold we have seen increased demand for our gold bullion coins from the major coin markets, and this presently shows no sign of abating,” Bissett said by e-mail in response to questions from Bloomberg. “The Royal Mint continues to supply to its customers and is increasing production to accommodate the higher demand.”

And the month isn't even over yet!  This Bloomberg News story showed up on the businessweek.com Internet site yesterday sometime...and I thank Washington state reader S.A. for sending it.

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U.S. Mint Gold Sales Surge to Highest Since 2009

First it was a tripling of gold sales at the UK Royal Mint, and now with just 23 days in the month of April gone, it is the US Mint's turn to reports that more gold has been sold month to date than any month since December 2009 when a record 231,500 ounces were sold. In one day, the mint sold yet another 13,000 ounces of gold, bringing the total to 196,500, or more than triple the 62,000 ounces sold in the previous month.

This very short Zero Hedge piece from yesterday has an excellent chart embedded in it...and for that reason alone, it's worth reading.  My thanks to Elliot Simon for bringing this story to my attention...and now to yours.

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Texas U fund sold gold in February, bought gold futures and equities

The University of Texas Investment Management Co., the third-largest U.S. academic endowment, sold $375 million in gold bars from holdings of about $1.4 billion and reinvested the proceeds in gold futures and equities.

In the three months that ended Feb. 28, the Austin, Texas- based fund bought $75 million in gold futures, $225 million in developed- market equities and $75 million in emerging-market equity futures, Bruce Zimmerman, the chief executive officer, said today in a telephone interview.

The fund, which manages $29.2 billion, started taking delivery of gold through futures contracts starting in 2008 as a hedge against inflation, Zimmerman said. While fund managers and directors remain concerned that global consumer prices may increase, the fund wanted to increase investments in equities, he said.

Well, it's a good bet that they got blown out of the gold futures position on the Comex along with everyone else last week. They deserve what they got. This Bloomberg story, filed from Austin, Texas...was something that I dug out of a GATA release from yesterday.

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Barrick Gold cuts spending, may suspend troubled Pascua-Lama project

Facing sliding prices for gold and its shares as well as a shareholder revolt on executive pay, the top brass at Barrick Gold Corp. vowed Wednesday to cut costs and take a hard look at the company's operations.

Executives of the worlds biggest gold mining company revealed plans to cut at least US$500 million from spending on major projects this year, and may consider suspending work at its troubled Pascua-Lama development in South America.

"I can assure you that everyone within Barrick shares your disappointment over the share price performance and we will do everything we can to reverse that," president and chief executive officer Jamie Sokalsky told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting, held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

I don't normally post stories about individual gold mining companies, but when it involves the Darth Vader of gold companies, I'll make an exception.  This news item showed up on thestar.com Internet site yesterday...and is worth your time.

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Why invest in a company so disdainful of its own product?

Today's commentary by David Olive of the Toronto Star about Barrick Gold and its board chairman, Peter Munk, appended here, hauls out all the usual red herrings used against gold investment to suggest that gold's adherents are just doomsday cult members. Meanwhile Olive refuses to acknowledge the threat gold poses to central bank control of the world financial system and the enormous but largely surreptitious efforts central banks make to suppress gold's price. Anyone might safely bet his life that, as a certified mainstream financial journalist, Olive has taken an oath never, ever to put a question to a central bank, particularly about gold. Polite company doesn't do that. But then polite company is never journalism.

Rather, Olive's commentary is interesting for conveying the disdain Barrick's chairman always has had and continues to have for his company's own product. Of course, as Olive's commentary briefly suggests, years ago Barrick was not only disdaining its own product but was a primary intermediary in the Western central bank scheme to hold gold prices down through gold leasing, so much so that the company even claimed in federal court in New Orleans that, as the agent of central banks, it should share their sovereign immunity against lawsuit.

The introductory preamble to this story by Chris Powell about Barrick Gold is worth reading, as it hints at the forces of darkness that lurk[ed] behind the largest gold miner on Planet Earth...and AngloGold Ashanti also falls into this group as well.  It was posted on the gata.org Internet site late last night.

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To whom does the gold go?

As many as 12 tonnes of gold bullion have been sold through bidding sessions held by the State Bank of Vietnam over the last month, but domestic gold prices remain way higher than their global counterparts.

So where did the gold go?

The SBV organized the first bidding session for gold bullion on March 28 and has so far held a total of 11 sessions, selling more than 315,000 taels, but the precious metal has not become less costly as expected.

Instead, the gap between local and international gold prices remains as high as VND7 million (US$337) a tael.

“More than 90 percent of the gold was bought by banks who wanted to make up for the gold deposits that they have exchanged for Vietnamese dong,” said the director of a bank in Ho Chi Minh City.

This story was posted on the tuoitrenews.vn Internet site mid Thursday morning in Vietnam...and I thank reader Bob Richardson for sliding this into my in-box as I was in editing process.  It's definitely worth reading.

Read more...

 

¤ The Funnies

Sponsor Advertisement

Drilling Intersects 102 Meters of 1.97 gpt Gold at Columbus Gold’s Paul Isnard Gold Project; Drilling Confirms Depth Extension of Gold Mineralization

Columbus Gold Corporation (CGT: TSX-V) (“Columbus Gold”) is pleased to announce results of the initial five (5) core drill holes at its Paul Isnard gold project in French Guiana. The holes confirm depth extension of gold mineralization below shallow holes drilled on the 43-101 compliant 1.9 million ounce Montagne d’Or inferred gold deposit at Paul Isnard in the 1990’s and support the current program of resource expansion through offsetting open-ended gold mineralization indicated by the earlier holes.

Robert Giustra, CEO of Columbus Gold, commented: “These drill results validate Columbus Gold’s approach to adding ounces with a lower-risk drilling program designed to infill and to extend the mineralized zones to 200 m vertical depth from surface; a depth amenable to open pit mining.” 

Fourteen (14) holes have been completed (assays pending) by Columbus Gold in the current program and drilling is progressing at the rate of about 3,000 meters per month with one drill-rig on a 24 hour basis. Columbus Gold plans to accelerate the current program by engaging a second drill-rig as soon as one can be obtained. 

Please visit our website for more information about the project.


 

¤ The Wrap

False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. -- Cesare Beccaria, as quoted by Thomas Jefferson's Commonplace Book

The situation is so fluid in the precious metal markets at the moment that it's hard to get a 'big picture' perspective.  The only ones in the know would be the Big 3 bullion banks...and their associated partners-in-crime at the Fed, the Treasury, the Exchange Stabilization Fund...and the BIS.  All we can do is sift through the clues that are left hanging around...whether it be in the Comex inventories...or the GLD and SLV ETFs.  I don't consider the latest COT Report to be of any use, because it's obvious [at least to me] that the data in the Commercial and Non-Commercial categories is bogus.  But if the data in the Nonreportable category can be used as a guide, the real data in these other two categories would be one for the record books...and still may be a work in progress by JPMorgan et al.

There's no way of knowing for sure, of course...and any comments that I [and others] may have, would certainly fall into the speculative category...even if it consists of an educated guess.  Whatever is going on behind the scenes will become public knowledge when "da Boyz" deem it necessary...or when the physical or paper markets force their hand.

It has always been said that the precious metal equities will always forewarn of a pending move in the gold price, as the 'smart money'...which I call insider trading...take their positions for the next move up.  I'd like to think/hope/pray that yesterday was a precursor to that event...but only time will tell.

All four precious metals caught a bid in the Globex session in early Far East trading on their Thursday, but silver got smacked back down to almost unchanged by the time that London opened.  Volumes are about the same as Wednesday at this time of day.  Most gold volume is of the high-frequency trading variety...but surprisingly enough, there is big roll-over action in silver as the large players have to be out of their May positions [unless they're standing for delivery] by the end of the day...or possibly Friday at the latest.  The dollar index isn't doing a lot as of 4:13 a.m. Eastern time.

And as I hit the 'send' button at 5:15 a.m. Eastern time, gold is still trading flat after its rally in the Far East...and is up about fifteen bucks from Wednesday's close...and silver is up fourteen cents. Because of that lack of price action, volumes are only slightly above what they were an hour or so ago. The dollar index is now down about 27 basis points.

We certainly do live in interesting times...and the rest of the month's trading/price activity could get interesting.

That's more than enough for today...and I'll see you here tomorrow.

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