Gold & Silver Daily
"I haven't seen price action like this going into First Day Notice before, ever"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

After selling down a few bucks in Far East trading early on Tuesday morning, the gold price traded flat until it began to develop a positive bias shortly after 9 a.m. in London.  Then the price popped seven bucks or so at the p.m. gold fix---and then inched higher from there, with the high tick coming minutes before 2 p.m. in electronic trading in New York.  The gold price developed a slight negative bias until 4 p.m. EDT before trading flat into the close.

The low and high ticks were reported by the CME Group as $1,198.60 and $1,214.90 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Tuesday session at $1,211.80 spot, up another $10.10 on the day.  Net volume was very chunky for such a dinky price move---151,000 contracts.

Silver traded in precisely the same price pattern as gold---and the smallish rally at the COMEX open got summarily dealt with.  Then the price popped fifteen cents at the London p.m. gold fix---and it traded a nickel or so either side of $16.60 spot for the remainder of the Tuesday trading day.

The low and high ticks were recorded as $16.275 and $16.660 in the May contract.

Silver closed on Tuesday at $16.605 spot, up 20.5 cents from Monday---and like I mentioned in The Wrap in yesterday's column, gross volume would be huge, which it was---and net volume would be tiny.  It was only 5,800 contracts---and that's tiny to the point of insignificance.

Platinum had a similar chart pattern to gold, complete with the up move at the fix---and the high came minutes before 2 p.m. EDT.  Platinum finished the day at $1,156 spot, up 10 bucks.

The palladium chart vaguely resembled the platinum chart---and it's 1 p.m. high tick got sold down---and it closed for a 2 dollar loss on the day at $774 spot.

The dollar index closed late on Monday afternoon in New York at 96.86---and traded pretty flat until 9:30 a.m. BST in London on their Tuesday morning.  It was all pretty much down hill from there until the 11 a.m. EDT London close---and then it chopped sideways in a tight range for the remainder of the day.  The index closed at 96.11---down 75 basis points.

Here's the 1-year dollar index---and it ain't lookin' too healthy.

The gold stocks opened up a bit---and virtually all of Tuesday's gains were in by shortly after 10 a.m. EDT.  They crawled a bit higher by 3:15 p.m., but then slid a hair into the close.  The HUI finished the Tuesday trading session up 3.67 percent and, in part, made up for Monday's rather underwhelming performance.

It was more or less the same for the silver shares.  But once that 10:10 a.m. EDT high tick was in, they chopped sideways in a very broad range for the rest of the day---and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index managed to close up 1.67 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 12 gold---and a surprising 50 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.  In gold, JPM issued 9 contracts---and stopped 3 of them.  The 50 contracts in silver must have appeared yesterday, as there was no sign of them in Monday's Preliminary Report.  JPMorgan issued all 50 contracts out of its client account---and the only long/stopper was Canada's Scotiabank.  I would like to have been a fly on the wall to know what that was about---sliding it under the wire at the very last moment, at the delivery day is also First Notice Day for delivery into the May silver contract.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Tuesday trading session showed that gold open interest fell by 403 contracts, leaving 12 left to go---and as per the above paragraph, those are posted for delivery tomorrow.  Of course silver o.i. rose 50 contracts---and that will be delivered tomorrow as well.  So unless there are more last-minute delivery surprises today, the April delivery month  in silver and gold is done.

However, looking at Monday's preliminary report with fresh eyes just before I hit the send button on this morning's column, I note that only 22 of the 72 contracts posted for delivery in silver today were actually delivered---and these 50 "surprise" silver contracts may, in fact, be the same ones, but now rescheduled for delivery tomorrow, as the short/issuer and long stopper are the same entities---JPMorgan out of its client account, and Scotiabank as the stopper.  Not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday, but after two straight days of deposits into SLV, an authorized participant withdrew a very chunky 2,963,811 troy ounces.  That's about 1.5 million ounces more than was deposited on Friday and Monday combined.  I just know that Ted will have something to say about it in his mid-week commentary to his paying subscribers later today.

There was a very decent sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 5,500 troy ounces of gold eagles---1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes---and 684,000 silver eagles.

Over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday, there was no gold reported received---and only 6,839 troy ounces were shipped out.

It was fairly quiet in silver as well.  Only 201,858 troy ounces were received---and 72,047 ounces were shipped out.  The link to that activity is here.

It was another monster in/out day at the at the gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Monday, as 11,318 kilobars were reported received---and 8,618 kilobars were shipped out the door.  The link to that activity in troy ounces is here.

I have the usual number of stories for a mid-week column---and I hope you have time to wade through the ones that interest you.


¤ Critical Reads

Consumer Confidence Tumbles, Misses by Most in 5 Years

Stunned... Despite soaring stock prices and low gas prices, Consumer Confidence tumbled to 95.2 (against expectations of a jump to 102.2) to its lowest since 2014. This is the biggest miss since June 2010. We are going to need more oil price deflation and stock price reflation (and less looting). New England and West South Central Regions saw the biggest plunge in confidence and despite the plunge in current situation, future expectations (aka "hope") jumped from 90 to 96.

This brief Zero Hedge piece was posted on their website at 10:06 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning---and the embedded chart is worth the trip.  Today's first story is courtesy of Dan Lazicki.


Death of the Middle Class: Home Ownership Rate Drops to 29 Year Low as Average Rent Hits Record High

Overnight Gallup released its latest survey which confirmed just how dead the American Dream has become for tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans.

According to the poll, the number of Americans who do not currently own a home and say they do not think they will buy a home in "the foreseeable future," has risen by one third to 41%, vs. "only" 31% two years ago.

Non-homeowners' expectations of buying a house in the next year or five years have stayed essentially the same, suggesting little change in the short-term housing market.

As Gallup wryly puts it, "what may have been a longer-term goal for many may now not be a goal at all, and this could have an effect on the longer-term housing market."

This very interesting Zero Hedge piece appeared on their website at 12:19 p.m. EDT yesterday---and if you if don't read it, you should at least run through the charts.  It's the second offering in a row from Dan.


Jim Rickards: Two Ways Forward for the Fed

On Wednesday, March 18, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve formally ended its long-standing practice of forward guidance.

This is highly significant for understanding the future path of Fed policy and its impact on markets. A brief review of forward guidance will explain why…

Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, interest rates have been the primary tool used by the Fed to ease or tighten monetary policy and affect the economy. However, in 2008, the interest rate directly controlled by the Fed, called the “federal funds fate,” reached zero. At that point, the Fed had to resort to other tools to ease monetary conditions.

This commentary by Jim appeared on the Internet site on Tuesday sometime---and it's three in a row from Dan L.


7 whistleblowers facing more jail time than General Petraeus

The administration of President Barack Obama once promised to be “the most transparent administration” of all time. Instead, Obama’s Department of Justice has led the most targeted campaign against whistleblowers of any president ever, charging more government employees under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined—almost all of whom sit in prison serving sentences up to 30 years.

As the relative slap on the wrist Gen. David Petraeus received this week revealing classified military information to his mistress and biographer proves, this aggressive pursuit of leaks does not, however, extend to the leadership of his intelligence agencies, revealing a deep seated double standard.

Petraeus is not the exception here. Current CIA director John Brennan once leaked classified details of a busted terror plot to the Associated Press yet saw no charges. Former CIA Director Leon Panetta once revealed classified details about the raid that captured Osama bin Laden to Hollywood filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow for the purposes of her film about the raid, Zero Dark Thirty, but he also saw no charges.

All three leaks were not done in the interest of the public but respectively as a political stunt, a bow to Hollywood jingoism, and pillow talk. The disregard for the criminal activity of these men, all former or current top administration officials, reveals a systemic hypocrisy within an administration failing to live up to its own standards. In order to highlight their hypocrisy, it’s worthwhile to look at seven lower government employees who shared classified information and paid a heavy price for it.

This interesting and right-on-the-money commentary appeared on the Internet site last Friday---and I thank Norman Willis for bringing it to our attention.


The Baltimore Riots: The Stunning Comments By Orioles Owner's Son

The day after violent protests left Baltimore burning in the wake of a funeral held for Freddie Gray who died after sustaining a spinal injury while being taken into policy custody, Americans are struggling to explain how the events that transpired on Monday evening are possible in modern day America. While most are united in their condemnation of indiscriminate violence, many still feel a palpable sense of injustice after witnessing multiple instances of alleged police misconduct over the past year. 

In this context we present the following culled from Twitter messages posted by Orioles Executive Vice President John Angelos, son of majority owner Peter Angelos:

“Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela, and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

Wow!  A must read for sure.  This excellent Zero Hedge appeared on their website at 3:42 p.m. EDT yesterday afternoon---and it's also courtesy of Dan Lazicki.


U.S. is No Longer a Democracy – Princeton Study

A recent study of the University of Princeton came to a stunning result: The US is no longer a democracy, because political decisions don’t serve the needs of citizens, but rather the interests of a small economic elite.

The findings of the recent Princeton research study showed that economic elites and organized groups have a substantial influence on the policy of the US government while groups representing the interests of the mass of Americans as well as ordinary citizens have little or no influence on politics.

The main conclusion of the study is that the US society is far from being a democratic one as the majority of Americans actually have little opportunity to influence policies pursued by the US government.

“When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it,” the study said.

This article was posted on the Internet site at 2:38 p.m. Moscow time on their Monday afternoon---and it's the second contribution of the day from Norman Willis.


A Half-Right Monetary Reform for Iceland

The prime minister of Iceland recently commissioned a report by Frosti Sigurjonsson to recommend a better money and banking system for Iceland. The recently released report recaps Iceland's sorry history of money and banking disasters and lays the majority of the blame for the 2008 collapse on the institution of fractional reserve banking, which caused an out-of-control increase in the money supply. Sigurjonsson recommends the abolition of fractional reserve banking, a separation of deposit and loan banking, and an end to deposit insurance.

Unfortunately, Sigurjonsson also recommends more power for the central bank through what he calls the “sovereign money system.”

Right away we have reason to be concerned when he states "The CBI will create enough money to promote the non-inflationary growth of the economy." He would separate money creation from money allocation. A money creation committee would decide how much money to create and then the parliament would decide how to spend it. New money would serve five purposes: fund new government spending, reduce taxes, pay off the public debt, provide a citizen bonus, and increase lending to business. Money would not be backed by debt, but would be a sovereign asset created at will.

This short article appeared on the Internet site yesterday sometime---and once again I thank Dan Lazicki for digging it up for us.


French unemployment hits new record in March

The number of unemployed in France hit a new record in March at 3.51 million people, up 0.4 percent from February, with young people especially hard hit, the labour ministry said Monday.

The news comes as the third anniversary of President Francois Hollande's election approaches. He has pledged not to seek re-election in 2017 if he does not succeed in reversing the trend of ever-increasing unemployment.

Labour Minister Francois Rebsamen in a statement chose to focus on the first quarter figure which he said showed the smallest increase over three months in jobless workers since early 2011. He said it was a sign that the government's measures "are beginning to bear fruit."

The jobless rate was forecast to hit a 20-year record high of 10.2 percent in mainland France.

There are five paragraphs in this story from the Internet site on Monday---and four of them are posted above.  It's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.


Why the Cost of Hedging European Banks Stocks Has Soared

Anyone wondering why it costs so much to protect against losses in European bank stocks in the options market saw the reason on Monday.

Shares of Deutsche Bank AG slid 4.6 percent to 30.13 euros, the biggest drop in 15 months, as the lender lowered a profitability target and set a plan to cut costs, in a sign that the industry may be poised for declines. That’s even after first-quarter earnings exceeded analyst estimates and the Frankfurt-based company posted near-record revenue. It had rallied 26 percent this year through Friday.

Around Europe, investors are paying the most in more than two years to hedge against threats to an industry where equity prices have doubled even as concerns mount about fines and tighter regulations. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and BNP Paribas SA report results this week. Lenders of the Euro Stoxx 50 Index dropped the most in more than a week on Tuesday.

This Bloomberg article put in an appearance on their Internet site at 5:00 p.m. Denver time on Monday afternoon---and it's courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.


Carinthia cash crunch gives Austria its own mini - Greece

A newspaper cartoon depicting the cash-strapped province of Carinthia as "Greece without the ocean" captures the public mood as Austria weighs what to do with a region facing ruin over unaffordable bank debt guarantees.

The southern province, once the heartland of support for late right-wing leader Joerg Haider, says it will run out of money in June unless the federal government throws it a financial lifeline.

Powerful provincial governors have in the past bossed around ministers in Vienna, but Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling is demanding tough reforms in return for renewed access to borrowing via the federal treasury.  That effectively gives euro zone member Austria its own local version of the problems besetting Greece.

If you read the previous Bloomberg story, this Reuters piece is definitely worth reading as well.   It was filed from Vienna---and posted on their website at 2:47 p.m. BST on Monday afternoon---and it's the second offering in a row from Elliot Simon.


Cyprus Raises €1 Billion in Second Post-Bailout Bond Issue

Cyprus' finance minister says the country has raised €1 billion (US$1.09 billion) from international markets with its second public bond issue since its painful bailout two years ago.

Harris Georgiades says the seven-year bonds were nearly twice oversubscribed and carried a 4 percent interest rate.

Georgiades said Tuesday the issue affirms that confidence has been restored in the Cypriot economy which will help the country emerge from recession.

He says the money will be used to pay off older, more expensive debt and inject fresh liquidity in the economy.

This tiny AP story, filed from Nicosia, was picked up by the Internet site at 1:13 p.m. EDT yesterday afternoon---and it's third offering in a row from Elliot Simon---and his last contribution of the day.


Truth Has Been Murdered — Paul Craig Roberts

The Obama regime and its neocon monsters and European vassals have resurrected a Nazi government and located it in Ukraine. This linked statement by Elena Bondarenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, is a must read.

The Western media has created a fictional account of events in Ukraine. The coup organized by the Obama regime that overthrew the elected democratic government in Ukraine is never mentioned. The militias decked out in Nazi symbols are ignored. These militias are the principle source of the violence that has been inflicted on the Russian populations, resulting in the formation of the break-away republics. Instead of reporting this fact, the corrupt Western media delivers Washington’s propaganda that Russia has invaded and is annexing eastern and southern Ukraine. British and European politicians parrot Washington’s lies.

The Western media is complicit in many war crimes covered up with lies, but the false story that the Western media has woven of Ukraine is the most audacious collection of lies yet. Truly, truth in the Western world has been murdered. There is no respect for truth in any Western capital.

The coup in Ukraine is Washington’s effort to thrust a dagger into Russia’s heart. The recklessness of such a criminal act has been covered up by constructing a false reality of a people’s revolution against a corrupt and oppressive government. The world should be stunned that “bringing democracy” has become Washington’s cover for resurrecting a Nazi state.

The embedded link in this very brief commentary by Paul falls into the absolute must read category---and the first of many people through the door with this PCR piece from yesterday was South African reader B.V.


Russia Starts Building Rail Line to Bypass Ukraine

The Russian military has begun building a railway line that will bypass Ukraine on its way from northern to southern Russia as tensions between Moscow and Kiev smolder, news agency Interfax reported Saturday.

Around 900 soldiers are already at work on the first section of the railway, Interfax quoted Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov as saying.

Russians’ ability to travel through Ukraine has been complicated by a political clash between the two countries, precipitated by the overthrow of a Russia-friendly regime in Ukraine last year and Russia’s ensuing annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The rail line is the first section of a planned 122.5-kilometer electric railway which will link northern Russia to the southeastern Russian cities of Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don, Bulgakov said. The railway currently cuts through Ukraine on its journey south.

This very interesting article was posted on the Internet site on Monday sometime---and I thank reader M.A. for sending it our way.


How the Credit Rating Agencies Got Russia Completely Wrong

Back in January I wrote for Russia Insider a critique of Fitch’s decision to downgrade the rating of Russia’s economy to just above junk status (“Russia Credit Rating Downgrade Is Blatantly Political. Here’s Why”, Russia Insider, 12th January 2015).  

As I predicted in that critique this decision was subsequently followed by the two other U.S. credit rating agencies. Later in January S&P actually downgraded Russia to junk status, and Moody’s followed suit a few weeks later. 

I enclose below a report from The Guardian dated 26th January 2015 that sets out the reasons for S&P’s decision. 

It would be difficult to imagine a situation where my critique of the Fitch decision could have been more rapidly and completely vindicated, or which could have left the rationale for the downgrades by the U.S. credit rating agencies more completely discredited, than the one we have seen develop over the last few weeks.

This longish piece appeared on the Internet site early Tuesday evening Moscow time---and I thank Roy Stephens for finding it for us.


WTF Chart of the Day: Over 4 Million New Chinese Trading Accounts Opened Last Week

This short Zero Hedge piece contains one photo and one chart---and the combination of both tells you everything you need to know about the Chinese equity markets at the moment.

It appeared on their Internet site at 1:07 p.m. EDT on Tuesday afternoon---and it's courtesy of Dan Lazicki.  It's worth a quick look.


Japan Retail Sales Plunge Most Ever on Base Effect, Widespread Economic Weakness

Overnight we got the latest proof that there is nothing worse for an economy than to be run by a bunch of central planning academics who get "advice" from Paul Krugman. The reason: Japan's retail sales which crashed by 9.7% Y/Y, the biggest annual drop in history. To be sure, the biggest reason for the annual drop was the base effect with the surge in demand last March ahead of the April 2014 consumption tax hike.

But the drop was bigger than what consensus had expected, as expectations were for a -7.3% drop.

And confirming that things are getting worse on a sequential basis as well, was the 1.9% drop in sales in March compared to a 0.7% increase in February. In fact, as the chart below show, on an indexed basis, the March retail sales print was one of the worst since last year's tax hike.

This Zero Hedge piece is another contribution from Dan Lazicki---and it put in an appearance on the ZH website at 8:18 a.m. EDT yesterday morning.  It's worth a minute of your time.


Dear CFTC: Here Is Today's Illegal "Spoofing" In Gold Futures

Dear CFTC,

It's us again and as promised, we're here to lend you a helping hand in your very serious quest to eliminate all vestiges of illegal manipulation from our beloved markets. Today, we bring you 3 examples of spoofing in gold futures which, you'll note, aren't difficult to spot if one is willing to expend the tiniest effort. 

Without further ado, here (courtesy of Nanex) are several examples in the June 2015 Comex Gold Futures this morning. All times are Eastern Daylight. In each of these cases, no trades (or a tiny few) executed against the large "spoof" order. You can see how prices were influenced by the sudden appearance (and disappearance) of these large, outsized orders.

Reminder: We won't stop this until you are forced to address the glaring hypocrisy and utter incompetence of everyone involved in the regulation of market microstructure.

This cute story is another offering from the Zero Hedge website.  It was posted there at 4:50 p.m. EDT on Tuesday afternoon---and it's the final offering of the day from Dan Lazicki.  I thank him on your behalf.  It's worth a quick look as well.


Treasure hunter pleads guilty

A fugitive treasure hunter pleaded guilty to a contempt of court charge related to his refusal to testify about gold he discovered from a historic shipwreck, court documents indicate.

A plea agreement was filed in federal court April 8 in Columbus in the case of Tommy Thompson, along with a criminal information document used by prosecutors when a deal has been reached and a defendant has agreed to plead guilty.

The 62-year-old Thompson went missing three years ago amid demands he appear in court. He and his longtime female companion, Alison Antekeier, were apprehended in January at a hotel where he was living near Boca Raton, Florida.

Thompson has faced accusations of cheating investors since he discovered the S.S. Central America, known as the Ship of Gold, in 1988. The gold-rush era ship sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857 with thousands of pounds of gold aboard.

This very interesting gold-related AP article, filed from Columbus, Ohio, appeared on the website on Monday---and my thanks go out to reader Tolling Jennings for digging it up for us.


Barrick Gold investors protest in executive pay vote

Barrick Gold Corp. plans to re-examine its executive compensation after shareholders expressed disapproval of the company's policies again this year.

Barrick announced at its annual general meeting in Toronto on Tuesday that shareholders had voted against a nonbinding advisory resolution on its approach to executive pay. Executive Chairman John Thornton said he has heard shareholder complaints and will work to address their concerns over pay.

Barrick's compensation and governance have come under scrutiny in the past two years after the company revealed in 2013 that Thornton, then a co-chairman, received an $11.9 million signing bonus.

No pork is enough for the executives at the Darth Vader of gold companies.  This Bloomberg story showed up on their website at 8:43 a.m. MDT yesterday morning---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.


India's gold demand down 5.68% in March quarter

India’s gold consumption declined by a marginal 5.68 per cent in the quarter ended March this year, primarily due to expectations of a cut in import duty. In terms of consumption, India continued to lag China, with a wide gap of 27 per cent.

Data compiled by global consultancy GFMS showed India’s overall gold consumption stood at 179.5 tonnes in the quarter, against 190.3 tonnes in the year-ago period. While jewellery consumption rose a marginal two per cent to 148.5 tonnes, the investment segment reported a steep 30 per cent decline at 31 tonnes.

“2015 began with a slowdown in consumption in the first two months in anticipation of a cut in customs duty during the annual Budget. Consumers stayed on the sidelines, despite average prices being seven per cent and 10 per cent lower year-on-year in January and February, respectively. It was only in March that prices fell to their lowest in four months and jewellery demand increased, negating earlier losses. Investment demand fell sharply, as lower price expectations and tighter liquidity conditions kept physical trading interest subdued,” said a GFMS report.

This news item, filed from Mumbai, showed up on the Internet site at 10:33 p.m. IST yesterday evening---and I thank Mumbai-based reader Danny Carroll for bringing it to my attention, and now to yours.


What’s with JP Morgan and its massive silver hoard? -- Lawrence Williams

Silver guru Ted Butler believes JP Morgan may have amassed up to 350m ounces of silver bullion. If so, what’s behind this enormous holding?

But so far, despite the apparently huge JP Morgan silver inventory, silver prices appear to have been held down by activity on the futures markets, again believed to be dominated by JP Morgan, thus enabling it to continue to expand its silver holdings at low prices. As Butler points out, on his reckoning, this bank has managed to acquire more than three times as much silver as the other two (Hunts and Buffett) put together, all the while on sharply declining prices – which would seem to be a theoretical impossibility under normal trading circumstances. Unlike the Hunts or Buffett, Butler says, JPM was the largest paper COMEX short holder during the life of the physical acquisition. In other words, in his view JPM held a short market corner in COMEX silver futures which depressed prices artificially and allowed them to buy physical silver at sharply declining prices. That’s the key to the JPM acquisitions Butler reckons.

This absolute must read commentary by Lawrie put in an appearance on the Internet site at 4:35 p.m. London time yesterday afternoon.


Opportunistic Chinese buyers to support PGM prices

China’s appetite for platinum and palladium has improved at the margin, which should help the group establish a firmer price floor, Barclays said in a report.

“We expect both markets to deliver sizeable deficits in 2015, but near-term concerns about demand, particularly from China, have weighed on prices,” Barclays said on Monday.

But prices could find support from China, which saw its platinum imports in March rise to their highest level since December 2013, while palladium surged to the highest since August 2014.

This brief article on platinum and palladium is also from the Internet site yesterday---and it's worth skimming if the subject interests you.



¤ The Funnies

Here are three more shots from my Sunday outing.  This is a diving duck called a Common goldeneye.  The male in the first photo is trying to impress the female in the foreground.  The second photo is a different male in a different pond, but from much closer in---and in the same courting pose.  The last photo is what the male normally looks like when it's not trying to get laid.  The water is the colour it is in the last photo because the dead reeds just out of frame in the background are reflected in it.  Like most waterfowl, the colour of the iridescence in the head feathers changes depending on how the light strikes them.

Arena Minerals has adopted a project generator model which will greatly reduce potential dilution and allow the company to deploy budget and expertise of exploration that it could not have achieved on its own. Recently, the Company has partnered with B2Gold for a commitment of $20M in exploration and is working on other joint ventures for other parts of the property, which is located in Chile in the hearth of the world’s most prolific mineral belt. The land has been in the hands of an industrial mineral conglomerate for a century and hasn’t been explored for metallics. Several high potential targets have already been identified. Please follow us for continual updates on drilling activity.


¤ The Wrap

[Last] Wednesday, I estimated that perhaps 75% of the 20,000 net contracts (100 million oz) sold by the commercials on the feeble $1.50 rally in silver were reversed thru Wednesday’s price decline. As it turned out, 80% of the 20,000 commercial contracts were bought back thru [last]Tuesday, even before the big commercial buying of [last] Wednesday and Thursday. Thus, we’ve made the full round trip – the $1.50 price rally was reversed as well as all 20,000 contracts (and then some) the commercials sold.

In little more than 5 weeks (from March 17), 100 million oz of COMEX silver futures were first bought by managed money traders and sold by commercial speculators and then 100 million oz were reversed – a total of 200 million oz. This is insane. I’m not talking about phony daily trading volume on the COMEX, 95% of which is mindless HFT day trading – I’m talking about the actual overnight position changes between traders in the Managed Money category and the speculators we call Commercials – all according to the COT reports. The 200 million oz of actual position changes on the COMEX over 5 weeks compares to the 80 million actual silver ounces produced by all the world’s silver mines over that time. How can the inept CFTC and crooked CME not see this? I mean, besides being inept and crooked?

The bottom line is that the COT structure in silver is now strongly bullish and gold is only slightly behind. Does this mean we can’t go lower, even temporarily? You should know in a crooked market anything can happen. But whether we get further temporary weakness is secondary to the certainty of higher prices – all thanks to a remarkable change in the COT structure. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 25 April 2015

It was mostly quiet yesterday, but the spikes in gold, silver and platinum at the London p.m. gold fix for the second day running came as a bit of surprise.  I can tell you from watching the month-end roll-over gold and silver price action for years now, that I haven't seen price action like this going into First Day Notice before, ever---and I'm not exactly sure what it means.

Ted and I were discussing the fact that the silver price is rising with almost no increase in net volume or open interest---and that's something we're not quite used to seeing.  I know that Ted is ever watchful for changes in trading patterns that show that the end is nigh for the silver price management scheme---and I'll be more than interested in what he has to say about all this in his mid-week commentary to his paying subscribers later today.

Of course it's the opposite for gold, as net volumes have been exceedingly high, but the final numbers in the  daily preliminary report paint a different picture.

Here are the charts for all four precious metals updated with Tuesday's trading action---and as you can see, both silver and gold have now broken cleanly above their respective 50-day moving averages.  Looking at the RSI traces in both gold and silver, we are miles away from being overbought, so these rallies could last awhile if that's what JPMorgan et al have in mind.  So we wait.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is fifteen minutes away.  At the moment, all four precious metals are down a bit from Tuesday's close in New York, but the price action has been comatose in all four as well.  There's just nothing going on---and it's the second day in a row that there's been no follow-through in either Far East or London trading to events the prior day in New York.

Gold volume is very quiet at just under 12,000 contracts---and 99 percent of that is in the current front month.  Silver's net volume is around 2,900 contracts---and most of the activity now centers on the new front month, which is July.  The dollar index has been trading within 5 basis points of unchanged throughout all of the Far East trading session---and is unchanged at the moment.

A couple of things worth noting is the fact that, for whatever reason, there will be no jobs number on Friday.  It has been postponed to the following Friday.  No explanation was given.  Reader Brad Robertson borrowed that tidbit from Chuck Butler's missive on Monday.

The other item is the fact that there's an FOMC meeting underway at the moment, which I'd forgotten about.  No news is expected, but I'll be keeping an eye on precious metal prices at 2 p.m. EDT when the 'woman behind the curtain' plays 'make believe' again for the benefit of all us peons---or is it pee-ons.

Yesterday, at the close of COMEX trading, was the cut-off for this Friday's Commitment of Traders Report---and if there ever was a week when the data could tell us a lot, it could be this one.   Of course one can only hope that the trading week's data will be reported in a timely manner---especially the happenings on Monday and Tuesday.

And as I hit the 'send' button on today's efforts at 5:10 a.m. EDT, I see that all four precious metals are basically unchanged from where they were two and half hours ago.  But the current price 'action'---if you wish to dignify it with that name---is basically meaningless as volumes are still very much on the lighter side.

The rest of the traders, except those standing for delivery next month, have to be out of the May contract by the close of COMEX trading at 1:30 p.m. EDT this afternoon---and thirty minutes after that, the 'news' from FOMC meeting puts in an appearance.

The dollar index was comatose up until about 1 p.m. Hong Kong time on their Wednesday afternoon, but has now rolled over---and as of this moment, it's down 25 basis points.  So far there's no sign of that in precious metal prices, but that may change as the remainder of the Wednesday trading session unfolds.

After the price action of the last couple of days, I shan't hazard a guess as to what may happen in New York trading, but I will be interested in seeing if what price action does occur, happens at the London p.m. gold fix---as that's where the price moves have been for the last three trading days in a row, including Friday of last week when prices were sent lower at that time.

That's all I have for now.  I hope your day goes well---and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Ed Steer