Should give you some indication of the power that JPMorgan et al have in the COMEX futures market

Gold rallied a bit in early Far East trading, but then got sold back down to the $1,200 spot mark just before 1 p.m. Hong Kong time.  From there it rallied to its noon high tick in London—and “da boyz” showed up at the London p.m. fix.  The subsequent rally that began thirty minutes later got capped shortly after 2 p.m. EDT in electronic trading—and despite the fact that the dollar index got crushed, JPMorgan et al managed to finish gold down on the day—and back below $1,200 spot.

The high and low ticks were recorded by the CME Group as $1,208.80 and $1,194.30 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Thursday session in New York at $1,197.80 spot, down $3.70 from Wednesday's close.  Net volume was pretty decent at 146,000 contracts.

Once again the silver chart was a virtual carbon copy of the gold chart, except the HFT boyz really did a number on the price at the London p.m. gold fix—and managed to close it down on the day as well.

The high and low tick in that precious metals was reported as $16.475 and $16.10 in the May contract.

Silver closed yesterday at $16.265 spot, down 4 cents from Wednesday's close.  Net volume was 34,500 contracts, about 50 percent more than Wednesday's volume, as it took that much firepower to first of all kill the rally, then drive it to its low tick of the day.

It was more or less the same story in platinum, with the high tick coming shortly before the COMEX open.  Then the HFT boyz did their thing at the London p.m. gold fix, like they did in gold and silver—and that, as they say, was that.  Platinum was closed down two dollars on the day at $1,158 spot.

The palladium price did precisely nothing until 1 p.m. in Zurich—and then it began to rally, but wasn't allowed above the $780 spot price mark, but did manage to close up 11 bucks on the day at $779 spot.

The dollar index closed late on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 98.40—and traded flat until it fell off a 50 plus basis points cliff at 8 a.m. Hong Kong time.  It then rallied more or less in a straight line until 10 a.m. BST—and from there began to head lower, with the 97.33 low tick coming around 1:45 p.m. EDT, which was fifteen minutes after the COMEX close.  It rallied back about 30 basis points from there, before trading sideways for the remainder of the day.  The dollar index closed the Thursday session at 97.69—down 71 basis points from Wednesday's close.

You should carefully note that there was virtually no reaction in gold allowed at 8 a.m. Hong Kong time when the dollar index got clocked for 50 basis points—and nothing was going on in the currencies at the 10 a.m. EDT London p.m. fix when gold, silver and platinum got smacked down.  The cause of all this was paper trading on the COMEX.

The gold stocks followed the gold price like a shadow all day yesterday.  They opened in positive territory, but once the powers-that-be stepped into the precious metal market at the London p.m. gold fix, down went the share prices to their lows of the day at 10:30 a.m., although they did make it back into positive territory briefly before the price got turned lower once again shortly after 2 p.m. in New York.  The HUI closed down 1.12 percent.

The silver equities started off in positive territory as well, but when they turned negative, they never got a sniff of positive territory after that, with their low ticks coming minutes after 1 p.m. EDT.  There was a rally into the secondary high minutes after 2 p.m., but it was rather anemic.  The shares got sold down from there—and closed close to their lows. 

On a 4 cent drop in price, Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 2.29 percent, giving back virtually all of Wednesday gains.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 1 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that gold open interest in April dropped by 319 contracts, which was no surprise considering the fact that the 334 contracts issued yesterday, will be delivered today.  The current gold o.i. for April now sits at 1,827 contracts.  Silver open interest for April rose 2 contracts to 172.

We've had two big delivery days in gold so far in April—and the dates were quite some distance apart.  I'm wondering out loud at this point how many more days will pass before the remaining short/issuers step up to the plate with the next tranche—and how much of that will end up in JPMorgan's vault for its own account.

So we wait.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday—and as of 9:53 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.

I got ahead of myself in Thursday's column and posted Joshua Gibbons' changes to the SLV Bar List from the prior week by mistake.  I discovered my error late yesterday morning—and had the offending paragraphs removed—and here are the correct ones for the internal goings-on at SLV as posted at the iShares.com Internet site yesterday, for the week ending at the close of business on Wednesday.

“Analysis of the 15 April 2015 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list.  3,059,139.7troy ounces were added (all to Brinks London), no bars were removed or had serial number changes.”

“The bars added were from: Solar Applied Materials (1.7M oz), Kazakhmys (0.6M oz), KGHM (0.3M oz), and 15 others.”

“As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 11.2 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list.”

For the second day in a row there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.

There was no gold reported received at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday, but 50,052 troy ounces were shipped out the door—and almost all of it came from the vaults of Canada's Scotiabank.  The link to that activity is here.

In silver, there was another 1,191,275 troy ounces received—and it should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that it went straight into JPMorgan's vault.  That should just about complete the 7.5 million ounces that they had coming as the result of the March delivery month.  There were 40,076 troy ounces shipped out—and the link to the silver action is here.

And just for general interest sake, JPMorgan is now sitting on 54.51 million troy ounces of silver in their COMEX-approved depository in New York.  Here's the updated chart as of Wednesday—and as I said last week, they opened their silver warehouse for business just two days before the May 1 drive-by shooting that they themselves orchestrated.

The COMEX-approved 'Gold Kilo Stocks' warehouses in Hong Kong also had some movement.  It was at the Brink's, Inc. depository once again, as they reported receiving 100 kilobars—and shipped out 3,125 of them.  The link to the troy ounces numbers are here.

The other day I was talking about the ongoing raid against gold ETF Central Gold Trust by Cayman Island-based hedge fund, North Pole Capital Master Fund.  Here's a press release on it that came out yesterday morning.  If you are a shareholder in this ETF, it's a must read.

I don't have all that many stories again today—and I'll leave the final edit in your hands.

Not unexpectedly, for the first three days this week, another 2.3 million ounces were moved into the JPMorgan COMEX silver warehouse, bringing to nearly 6 million oz the total amount of silver flowing to this warehouse over the past six business days. [Plus another 1.19 million troy ounces on Thursday. – Ed]  If this isn’t directly related to JPM taking the maximum amount of silver allowed (7.5 million oz) in the March futures contract, then the moon isn’t directly related to the tides. As far as I’m concerned, enough metal has flowed to the JPM warehouse to establish the connection, but a bit more may come. [It hasanother 1.19 million troy ounces were added on Thursday. – Ed]

Also, upon further review, I find it interesting that the 1,500 contracts that JPMorgan stopped (in its personal trading account) were the only silver deliveries made or taken by JPMorgan in its proprietary account this year (including the big December 2014 COMEX delivery month. I’m sure that JPMorgan holds a get-out-of-jail-free card from the CFTC (or higher agency) because after alleging for quite some time that JPMorgan was accumulating an historically massive physical silver holding over the past 4 years, one would think the bank might be somewhat more discreet than in suddenly taking the maximum amount and wave the red flag that might represent. I was certainly surprised that JPMorgan would appear that open and brazen (although I was very pleased to have it confirm my ongoing speculation), but I suppose that’s what get-out-of-jail cards are for.

I also took note that the investment bank Jefferies agreed to sell its Prudential Bache commodities unit for undisclosed (but obviously puny) terms after acquiring the unit with much fanfare (and for $430 million) four years ago. Jefferies has been one of the biggest issuers of silver deliveries on the COMEX, if not the biggest, since it announced it was buying the business in April 2011. (There we go with another unusual development dating to April 2011). I can’t know what impact Jefferies' exit from COMEX silver dealings will have on price, but it’s got to be better than any impact it had over the past 4 years.Silver analyst Ted Butler: 15 April 2015

Yesterday's price action in the precious metals in the face of a dollar in the dumpster should give you some indication of the power that JPMorgan et al have in the COMEX futures market.  They can, as Ted Butler says, do whatever they want, whenever they want—and without fear of reprisal because of their “Get-Out-of-Jail-Free” card they were issued when they took over Bear Stearns.

How long this can go on remains to be seen, but what can be seen for sure is that they have total control over these or any other commodity that have to be “managed”.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals as of the close of trading yesterday.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is fifteen minutes away.  I see that the gold price poked its nose above the $1,200 spot mark in early Far East trading, however that wasn't allowed to last.  But starting at noon Hong Kong time on their Friday, gold began to rally anew—and is currently back above the $1,200 spot price, albeit by only a whisker.  It's the same price pattern for silver and platinum as well, so it's more than obvious that their respective prices are being micromanaged, as all three of these precious metals have different supply/demand fundamentals—and would never trade in unison like this in a free market.

Net gold volume is around 14,200 contracts, with 99.9 percent of it in the current front month, so it's all of the HFT variety.  The net volume in silver is barely fogging the mirror at 2,200 contracts, so not much should be read into their current price action, except for my comments on this issue in the previous paragraph.

The dollar index hasn't done a thing since it opened in New York yesterday evening—and is virtually unchanged, down 3 basis points.

I sent Jim Rickards the link to the story—“LSE's Lord Desai Warns Gold-Backed SDR Is Quite Likely to Happen“—which was the headline to my Thursday column—and asked for his opinion.  He got back to me last night about it—and here are his thoughts—“Thanks Ed. We're a long way from a gold-backed SDR. Next step is to include the Chinese yuan in the basket, probably late this year and early 2016. Then the IMF will sit tight until the next global liquidity crisis, at which point there will be massive issuance of new SDRs (in effect, world money from a world central bank). Only in the end stage when inflation breaks out and confidence in the SDR itself is threatened, will they move to gold in some form.

Today we get the Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday.  Just eye-balling the above charts, I would guess that we'll see some sort of improvement in the Commercial net short position in both gold and silver—and particularly in silver, as “da boyz” took the silver price back below its 50-day moving average during the reporting week.  That got the Managed Money puking longs and maybe even going short—and we'll know by how much at 3:30 p.m. EDT this afternoon.  And this hangs on the assumption that all the trading volume during the reporting week was reported in a timely manner.

And as I send today's column off into cyberspace at 5:35 p.m. EDT, I note that once again gold, silver and platinum began to rally starting at noon Hong Kong time—and all three are up a bit from Thursday's close in New York.  Palladium isn't doing much, but it is up a dollar or so the ounce as well.

Net gold volume is around 26,800 contracts at the moment, which isn't overly heavy—and silver's net volume is around 5,700 contracts, which is very much on the lighter side considering the price activity in the last three and a half hours.

The dollar index has been trending lower—and like on Thursday, began heading lower in earnest shortly before the London open.  It's currently down 36 basis points.  The dollar index is down over 200 basis points in the last forty-eight hours, but JPMorgan et al certainly haven't been allowing it to show up in the precious metal prices—and based on yesterday's price action, one wonders how will they will be allowed to 'perform' once COMEX trading begins this morning.

Today we get the not-so-secret meeting in Washington between the World Gold Council and selected central banks—and that story is linked here if you wish to refresh your memory.  I'd love to be a fly on the wall at that one.

With all these balls in the air, I shan't hazard a guess as to how the remainder of the Friday trading session will turn out.  But at times like this I always hope for the best, but expect the worst—and as always, I'd like to be proven spectacularly wrong about the latter.

Enjoy your weekend, or what's left of it if you live west of the International Date Line—and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Ed Steer

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.