Gold & Silver Daily
"I would classify the gold and silver price action yesterday as a bear raid by JPMorgan et al"

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

Gold's rally in early Far East trading lasted until 10:00 a.m. Tokyo time on their the exact moment that the dollar index began its big rally.

From that point, the gold price traded sideways until around 2:30 p.m. in Hong Kong...about thirty minutes before the London open...and then the serious sell-off began.  The low tick of the day [$1,420.30 spot] came at 9:00 a.m. in New York, right on the button.  The subsequent rally lasted until the London p.m. gold fix, or just moments after...and that, as they say, was that.

Gold closed at $1,425.80 spot...down an even five bucks on the day.  Net volume was decent at around 141,000 contracts.

It was mostly the same story in silver, although it appeared that the silver price got a bit of a shove starting just before 11:00 a.m. BST in London, as it didn't appear to want to go down on its own.  Then it got smacked for another 40 cents the moment that Comex trading began in New York...and the low price tick [$23.05 spot] came a few minutes after 8:30 a.m. EDT.  The subsequent rally appeared to run into the same set of not-for-profit sellers as gold did at, or shortly after, the London p.m. gold fix around 10:00 a.m. in New York.  From there it got sold down until about 12:30 p.m. EDT...and traded sideways into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.

Silver finished the Tuesday trading day at $23.41 spot...down 24 cents from Monday's close.  Gross volume, not surprisingly, was fairly decent...around 44,500 contracts.

It was a slightly different story in both platinum and palladium...and here are the charts.

For the Tuesday trading session, gold finished down 0.35%...silver closed down 1.01%...platinum closed up 1.42%...and palladium was up 1.68%.

The dollar index, which closed on Monday at 83.22...began to head south the moment that trading began in the Far East on their Tuesday morning...but someone was there to catch a falling knife as the index fell below 83.00 at 10:00 a.m. in Tokyo...and until 10:30 a.m. in London it traded pretty close to the 83.00 mark.

Then away it went to the upside...and was at 83.36 about an hour later.  From there it chopped sideways until 11:00 a.m. in New York.  The rally began anew at that point...and topped out at 83.67 around 3:45 p.m. Eastern time, before selling off a hair into the close.  The dollar index closed at 83.605...up about 38 basis points...with the vast majority of that gain coming between 11:00 a.m. and the 3:45 p.m. EDT high tick.

It would take a very vivid imagination to fit the price action of any of the four precious metals into the price action of the dollar index after the low tick was in, in early Far East trading yesterday.  As a matter of fact, it doesn't fit at all...and in my opinion was just another bear raid on the precious metals hidden behind the skirts of a manufactured rally in the dollar index.

Here's the 3-day chart so you can see the entire Tuesday trading day starting at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on their Monday night.

The gold stocks rallied until "da boyz" showed up at, or just after, the London p.m gold fix at 10:00 a.m. in New York.  The stocks got sold down from there, reaching their nadir at 2:15 p.m. EDT...and then rallied a hair into the close.  The HUI finished down another 1.18%.

The silver stocks finished mostly down on the day, but the big cap silver stocks that make up Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed basically flat...down a smallish 0.43%.

(Click on image to enlarge)

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 7 gold and 21 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday.

There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV for the second day in a row.

Over at Switzerland's Zürcher Kantonalbank for the week ending on Monday, May 13th...they reported that 112,879 troy ounces of gold were withdrawn from their gold ETF.  And, for the fourth week in a row, they reported an increase in their silver ETF holdings.  This time it was 209,816 troy ounces.

The U.S. Mint finally came out with a sales report...and I can tell from the numbers, that they have not been reporting their sales in anything close to a 'timely manner' there are some big changes.  They sold 16,000 ounces of gold eagles...5,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes...and 833,500 silver eagles.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Monday, they reported receiving 214,163 troy ounces of silver...and shipped 101,801 troy ounces out the door.  The link to that activity is here.

In gold, they didn't report receiving any on Monday...and shipped out 54,808 troy ounces...all of it from the JPMorgan Chase depository.  The link to that activity is here.

Here's your daily "cute quota"...

Despite my best efforts, I have almost the same number of stories today that I had in my Tuesday missive, so I hope you can find the time to read all the articles that interest you.


¤ Critical Reads

Charles Schwab complains of Fed's manipulation of markets

To commemorate its 40th anniversary last month, Charles Schwab Corp. created an interactive exhibit that is traveling to its major employment centers, including San Francisco, its headquarters and home to 2,300 of its 14,000 workers.

Here's part of the Q&A that appeared in the article...

Q: How do you feel about the robo-traders who have come to dominate stock trading?

A: They add nothing to the marketplace. They are scalpers. In times of crisis they suck out liquidity. They would argue they add liquidity. I don't think so.

Q: What should be done?

A: If I was czar, you would have the real marketplace here and let them go there and play in their dark pools like it's a video game or a lottery. There is no leadership in the SEC to do that. There is no leadership in government to do that. So consequently we have these unbridled frontiers.

This very interesting 2-page story was posted on the San Francisco Chronicle website early on Monday evening...and I found it tucked away in a GATA release yesterday.


Donations, lobbying by high-speed traders on the rise: report

High-frequency trading firms increased their campaign contributions to federal lawmakers by 673 percent from the 2008 to the 2012 election cycle, according to a report that sheds light on their political connections in Washington and efforts to impact policymaking.

The report by the Washington-based nonprofit watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) comes as U.S. financial market regulators mull whether new rules should be adopted to rein in high-speed traders, whom some critics accuse of harming smaller investors.

This Reuters story, filed from Washington, was posted on their website early Monday afternoon...and I found it in yesterday's edition of the King Report.  It's definitely worth reading.


Attorney General Eric Holder Orders a Criminal Investigation Into the IRS Scandal

Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday that he recused himself from a case involving a Department of Justice decision to subpoena phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors.

Holder also said that the Justice Department has ordered a criminal investigation into the IRS' targeting of different conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. Holder called it "outrageous and unacceptable." He said the Justice Department and FBI were coordinating to determine if any laws were broken.

On the AP phone probe, Holder said that the leak being investigated was one of the "top two or three" leaks he has ever seen, claiming it put the American people at risk.

Well, he's talking the let's see if he actually walks the walk.  This news item was posted on their website early yesterday afternoon...and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way.


Jon Stewart Totally DESTROYS Obama Administration Over IRS Scandal

This 6:21 video clip is "X" rated for language...however, all the naughty bits have been bleeped out...but I'm sure you're quite good at reading lips by now.  It's definitely worth watching...and if you're interested, I'd watch it right away before it gets pulled for copyright reasons.  Watch it to the very end.  Roy Stephens was kind enough to send it our way.


Sales Tax Bill Threatens Economy

The impact of the Marketplace Fairness Act (the so-called Internet Sales Tax Bill) which passed the Senate on May 6 received limited coverage in a May 10 Numismaster column. However, it deserves a much more detailed discussion. The negative effect it will have on numismatic and precious metals transactions will be dwarfed by the potentially disastrous economic fallout throughout the U.S. economy.

As former Congressman Jimmy Hayes explained at the American Numismatic Association’s National Money Show in New Orleans last week, the label of “Internet Sales Tax” is completely inaccurate. The bill applies to all forms of remote selling, including by mail, telephone, television, radio and Internet. Nowhere in the bill does the word “Internet” appear.

Here are some of the potential financial pitfalls that lurk if the bill is enacted: The bill enables every jurisdiction that charges sales tax to audit sellers. That includes 45 states, the District of Columbia, 740 American Indian tribes, and thousands of local governments across the country. Maybe a business can absorb the costs of an audit by one or two governments, but what if 20 entities came to audit? Although these audits would be conducted by the state government where the seller lives, the overhead costs of audits could put some smaller sellers out of business.

This essay was posted on the Internet site.  West Virginia reader Elliot Simon, who sent me this article and has some expertise in this matter, says it's a must read for all, being Canadian, who am I to argue.


Pew Study: Europeans Rapidly Losing Faith in Europe

Europe's ongoing economic crisis and lasting currency woes are beginning to rapidly erode faith among Europeans in the EU project. That is the result of a new survey undertaken by the renowned Pew Research Center in Washington D.C. and released on Monday evening.

The institute polled 8,000 people in eight European Union member states in March and arrived at some disturbing results. In just one year, the share of Europeans who view the European Union project favorably plummeted from 60 percent in 2012 to just 45 percent this year. Furthermore, only in Germany does a majority continue to support granting more power to Brussels in an effort to combat the ongoing crisis.

"The European Union is the new sick man of Europe," read the survey's opening lines. "The effort over the past half century to create a more united Europe is now the principal casualty of the euro crisis. The European project now stands in disrepute across much of Europe."

This story, filed from Washington yesterday, is worth reading as well...and my thanks go out to Roy Stephens for his third contribution to today's column.


Letter From Berlin: Anti-Euro Party a Growing Challenge for Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to ignore the Alternative for Germany. But with the anti-euro party gaining ground, many among her conservatives say it is time to change strategy. They are concerned that the currency heretics could cost Merkel her re-election.

Germany's center-right has long been in a luxurious position. Whereas conservatives across Europe have been struggling in recent years with the rise of right-wing populist parties eating into their base, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats have had little to worry about. Though the German left is splintered among three, or even four, parties, the right is a monolith. There is the CDU, its Bavarian wing known as the Christian Social Union, and its favorite coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP).

But this election year is different. With the birth of the anti-euro party Alternative for Germany (AfD), Merkel is facing competition from within her own clientele. Furthermore, though her preferred strategy has been that of maintaining complete silence about the AfD so as not to lend it credibility, there are many in Merkel's party who disagree with that approach. And they are increasingly giving voice to their displeasure.

This is another story from the German website  This one was posted on their website mid-afternoon Europe time...and it's another offering from Roy Stephens.


Luxembourg says NO to new E.U. tax law

Luxembourg, one of the EU's smallest but richest countries, has said No to a new law against tax evasion.

Its finance minister, Luc Frieden, told press in Brussels on Monday (13 May): "We won't agree tomorrow to the savings tax directive with an extended use because there's still some need for clarification."

He added: "At the moment we lack precision about a number of questions that need answers … We don't know how this will be written into European law and we're not sure that all the loopholes have been closed, in particular a number of trusts don't seem to be covered."

It also contains a big hole on Austria and Luxembourg.

The two financial centres are exempt from automatic exchange until such time as five non-EU tax havens - Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland - agree to it as well.

Luxembourg, home to just half a million people, has a GDP per capita which is almost three times the size of the EU average. Its wealth comes mainly from financial services. Its banking sector is worth 22 times the size of its economy.

And you though Cyprus was bad.  Luxembourg is far worse.  No wonder they're opposed to this new tax.  This must read story, filed from Brussels, was posted on the Internet site early yesterday morning Europe time...and my thanks go out to Roy Stephens once again.


Cyprus gets €2bn despite money laundering concerns

The E.U. on Monday (13 May) said many Cypriot banks do not know who their customers really are, but wired Nicosia €2 billion anyway.

Commenting on a recent study on money laundering in the Mediterranean island, eurozone finance ministers said in a joint communiqué that it must do better on "customer due diligence by banks" and must fix "the functioning of [its] company registry."

Dutch finance chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs the ministers' meetings, added: "This report shows that while the legal [anti-money-laundering] framework is OK, the implementation is really lacking."

This is another story from the Internet site.  This one was filed minutes after midnight Europe time yesterday.  It's definitely worth the read...and my thanks to Roy Stephens for his final offering in today's column.


Jim Rickards: Japan is Taking the World Down With Them

This CNBC Asia video clip with Jim runs for 4:49 minutes...and was conducted on Monday evening in North America...Tuesday morning in Hong Kong.  It's definitely worth watching...and I thank reader Harold Jacobsen for sharing it with us.


Sprott's Thoughts: Rick Rule...Uranium’s Wounds Are the Making of a Bull Market

Today’s Sprott’s Thoughts relate comments made by Sprott USA Chairman Rick Rule in the May 2013 issue of Bonner & Partner’s Family Office Strategic Review .

“Natural resource speculators know that past uranium bull markets offered some ’explosive’ (pun intended) upside. I have been fortunate enough to experience two uranium bull markets: the 1970s bull market, which saw a tenfold increase in the uranium price and a hundredfold increase in some uranium equities, and the bull market of the last decade, which saw a repeat of the earlier performance. If past is prologue, the stage may be set for a third uranium bull run.

“Conditions have changed so completely since the 1970s that a thorough examination of that market teaches us little that is relevant today. But one thing about the 1970s bull market is instructive -the market collapse was partially caused by two catastrophic plant failures: at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

The bull market of the 2000s, he says, gives fodder to the case for higher uranium, because the bear market that preceded it is similar to conditions we experience today.

This commentary was posted on the Internet site yesterday...and it's worth your time, if you have some.


Government and Reserve Bank of India are again getting it all wrong on Gold

The Indian consumer — that’s us — is currently public enemy No. 1. We are apparently responsible for leaving the nation’s balance sheet in a shambles with our insatiable lust for gold.

If [the] government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had their way, anyone spotted buying gold would be flayed. Luckily, we are still not that sort of country.

But both are doing everything possible to punish us. We can’t wear our own jewellery above Rs 1 lakh on an overseas holiday. We can’t buy coins easily. The paperwork at a jewellery store is designed to turn away everyone except the most determined. The higher customs duty intends to make gold prohibitively expensive.

Plus, jewellers are being bludgeoned out of business. They can’t import gold. Gold will be rationed through government-owned banks, which will cater only to “genuine” demand. And they are being threatened with draconian laws.

This must read commentary was posted in The Economic Times of India early this morning IST...and I thank Mumbai reader Avi Raheja for finding it for us.


Gold buying becomes frantic in India, strongest since 2008

Accelerating gold imports contribute to the current account deficit, which analysts say is one of the biggest concerns for the Indian economy. The government has tried to curb India's appetite for gold with import duties while the central bank has imposed restrictions on the import of the metal, but buyers don't care. They are actually rushing to buy before the authorities clamp down on gold.

 On Monday's Akshaya Trithiya festival, the demand was so high that some jewellers opened their shops at 7 am. People stood in queues for hours to buy coins, bars, and ornaments, hoisting sales to the brisk pace last seen in 2008 when gold prices were half of the current level.

The sudden surge in demand has prompted the World Gold Council to say India's imports this year will exceed earlier estimates of 865-965 tonnes, said the council's managing director, Somasundaram PR.

"Consumers are buying both coins and jewellery. Since coins can be bought on the spot, they are flying off the shelves quickly. Orders for jewellery are being placed which may be delivered at a later date," he said.

This is another story from The Economic Times of India.  This one was posted on their website on Tuesday...and I found it in a GATA release.


Wildcat strike at Lonmin platinum mine raises fears of unrest

South African workers of world No. 3 platinum producer Lonmin launched a wildcat strike on Tuesday, halting all of the company's mine operations and reigniting fears of deadly unrest that rocked the industry last year.

The platinum belt towns of Rustenburg and Marikana, which saw a bloody Lonmin strike last year, are a volatile flashpoint of labour strife and tensions are running high with job cuts and wage talks looming.

The share price of Lonmin slid over 6 percent and the rand currency hit 3-week lows, underscoring investor jitters over a potential repeat of the 2012 mines turmoil, which hammered platinum and gold production and triggered credit downgrades for Africa's largest economy.

This Reuters story, filed from Johannesburg yesterday, was posted on the Internet site...and I thank Manitoba reader Ulrike Marx for her first story in today's column.  It's worth reading.


$1 billion of gold has been shipped from New York to South Africa this year

Examining U.S. trade data, we were surprised to see that South Africa’s $402 million trade surplus with the United States in January had turned into a $689 million deficit by March. Why? 

It turns out the $1.1 billion swing is entirely due to unusual shipments of gold from the US to South Africa in February and March. So far this year, 20,013 kg of unwrought gold, worth $982 million, has left John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), in New York, for somewhere in South Africa, according to the US Census Bureau’s foreign trade division. (Unwrought gold includes bars created from scrap as well as cast bars, but not bullion, jewelry, powder, or currency.)

The shipments from JFK were the only unwrought gold to leave the US for South Africa in 2013; another large shipment occurred in September 2012.

This story was sent to me on Monday by reader Federico Schiavio...and I really didn't know what to make of it.  But it spread like wildfire on the Internet yesterday...and this is what James Turk had to say about it...

"The Rand Refinery is one of the largest in the world. South Africa used to mine 1,000 tones per year, all of which was refined at Rand Refinery. South Africa now mines less than 1/3rd of that weight. So there is a lot of unused fabricating capacity at the Rand Refinery. Given that the Swiss refiners are working 24/7 and backlogged, it is not surprising to me that someone would send gold to the Rand Refinery for fabricating, whether Krugerrands, kilobars, tael bars or whatever."

"That exports from JFK are rising is not surprising either. The US economy continues to do poorly, so a lot of old jewellery and stuff is being sold for cash, to help make ends meet. So these growing shipments from JFK is just part of the now well-established trend that gold is being shipped from west to east."

This very interesting essay, with some excellent charts, was posted on the Internet site yesterday...and I thank reader Federico Schiavio for bringing it to our attention.


Record High Gold Bullion Sales at the Perth Mint

The Perth Mint of Australia achieved record breaking sales for gold bullion products in April, as lower precious metals prices spurred a huge leap in demand. Silver bullion sales also jumped to the highest level in six months.

The Perth Mint began publicly reporting its monthly gold and silver bullion sales in March 2012, providing a window of insight into demand for physical precious metals. Sales spikes have occurred in September 2012 to coincide with the release of the new designs and last month to coincide with the decline in metals prices.

For the month of April 2013, sales of gold as coins and minted products reached 111,505.06 troy ounces. This amount was more than double the previous month and up by an astounding 534.43% from the year ago period when 17,575.64 troy ounces were sold.

This article is well worth your time and was posted on the Internet site yesterday...and I thank Elliot Simon for bringing it to our attention.


Bank of Portugal says no Cyprus-style gold sales

Portugal will not replicate a deal that allowed Cyprus to sell its gold reserves under its bailout, Bank of Portugal Governor Carlos Costa said on Tuesday, adding that its reserves were unchanged at 382.5 tonnes.

"It is not applicable in Portugal," he told reporters. "What happened in Cyprus (on gold reserves), just like a lot of other things there, cannot be replicated in Portugal."

"If we can say today that the Bank of Portugal is among a small group of central banks with adequate risk provisioning ... is mostly because we have significant gold reserves," Costa said. The value of Portugal's reserves rose 3.6 percent last year to 15.51 billion euros due to gold price fluctuations, but Costa said the actual quantity remained the same.

This Reuters news item was posted on their website early yesterday morning EDT...and I thank Ulrike Marx for digging it up on our behalf.


Used Gold Supply Heads for 2008 Low as Sellers Balk

Consumers will sell the least used gold in five years after prices tumbled into a bear market, curbing a source of metal that typically accounts for about one in every three ounces of global supply.

Refiners will handle about 1,550 metric tons of old jewelry and other discarded metal this year, 4 percent less than in 2012 and the least since 2008, Toronto-based TD Securities Inc. estimates. The amount is valued now at $71.4 billion, from $84.5 billion at this year’s peak. Recycling more than doubled in the decade through 2011 as prices rose to a record. A majority of the 38 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg last month said gold’s streak of 12 consecutive annual gains is over.

“April was the worst month in memory,” said Arthur Abramov, the owner of Manhattan Buyers Inc., a cash-for-gold operator in New York that saw volumes drop to 300 ounces a month from 500 ounces. “A lot of people were shocked, and a lot of people were standoffish about selling.”

This Bloomberg story, filed from New York, was posted on their website late yesterday morning Mountain Daylight Time...and I thank Ulrike Marx for her third and final offering in today's column.



¤ The Funnies

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¤ The Wrap

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. - 2nd Amendment...Constitution of the United States of America...December 17, 1791

As I said further up in this column, I would classify the gold and silver price action yesterday as a bear raid by JPMorgan et al...hidden, in part, by the rally in the dollar index...such as it was.

The only good thing about yesterday's price action was the fact that it should appear in Friday's Commitment of Traders Report.  Of course, when it suits them, "da boyz" have been tardy about reporting Comex trading volume in the past, so it remains to be seen if they pull that stunt again...and I'd put nothing past these guys.

Just eye-balling the price action over the five reporting days that will show up in Friday's COT report, I would guess that we'll see improvements in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver...but nothing in platinum, as it has been trading flat...and palladium is on a tear...up about fifty bucks during the reporting period.

Just looking at the last five trading days on the 6-month charts, it should be obvious that the price pressure has only appeared in silver and gold...and not platinum and palladium.  Here are all four charts...complete with 20 and 50-day moving averages.

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All four precious metals came under some price pressure during the Far East trading session on their Wednesday...and the high-frequency traders went back to work in gold and silver about the same times as they did on Tuesday...shortly before the London open.  As I write this paragraph, the London market has been open about thirty minutes...and gold is down about eleven dollars...and silver, JPM's real problem child, is down a bit over 40 cents.  Trading volumes are quite high...but as I said, it's all HFT.  This is not true supply and demand setting prices at this point...and to top it off, there's virtually no liquidity, as little real-world trading is being done.  It's the machines with their algos.

And as I hit the 'send' button on today's column at 5:15 p.m. EDT, both gold and silver are still under considerable selling pressure.  Platinum and palladium are lower as well, but just barely.  Gold is down about fifteen bucks...and silver is down 45 cents...about 2 percent.  Gold volume is north of 48,000 contracts...and silver's volume is over 14,000 contracts.  The dollar index, which spiked up about 25 basis points in afternoon trading in Hong Kong, is now up only 16 basis points as of 10:15 a.m. BST in London.

This 'bear market' we're going through is JPMorgan et al's last attempts to cover as many short positions as they can before prices head higher...much higher.  But as Ted Butler mentioned in yesterday's column, JPMorgan Chase was short 18,000 Comex silver contracts before the mid-April price smash...and was still short about that amount as of last Friday's COT Report, so one has to wonder what they're up to at the moment.  If they couldn't cover any or all of it back then, it's doubtful they can pull it off now.  We'll see.

Needless to say, nothing will surprise me as far as price action is concerned once we get past the noon silver fix in London, which is 7:00 a.m. EDT...and after that, the 8:20 a.m. Comex open awaits.

Before heading off to bed, I'd like to mention that Casey Research is sponsoring another on-line video event.  This one is entitled The Myth of American Energy Independence Webinar.

Marin Katusa, CR's chief energy investment strategist, interviews the world’s top energy experts including former U.S. Energy Secretary - Spencer Abraham, Canada’s former Minister of Natural Resources – Herb Dhaliwal, and the Chairmen Emeritus of the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority – Lady Barbara Thomas Judge, and co-founder and CEO of Uranium Energy Corp – Amir Adnani about how important nuclear power will be for our global energy future.

Marin and Chairman of Sprott US Holdings, Rick Rule believe that due to increasing costs to bring uranium to market, increased demand, and the end of the Megatons to Megawatts agreement with Russia at the end of the year, uranium prices have nowhere to go but up.  And early investors can position themselves now for very large gains in the near future.

This free video will air on Tuesday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  It will be available for viewing after the initial stream for those who have schedule conflicts.

Following the webinar, all attendees will get a free copy of the new Global Resource Intelligence report on Uranium.  It’s a $29 value, roughly 39 pages, and will be e-mailed on May 21st.

If energy is your bailiwick, you can learn more about it here...and register at the same time.

See you tomorrow.