Maybe I’m looking for black bears in dark rooms that aren’t there

Gold hit its Far East low at 10 a.m. Hong Kong time—and then rallied about fifteen bucks by shortly after 3 p.m. local time, which was just after 7 a.m. in London.  The usual suspects showed up at that point—and the low tick of the day came at 12:45 p.m. EDT in New York.  The price rallied a bit until a few minutes after the COMEX close—and then developed a slightly negative bias for the remainder of the electronic trading session.

The high and lows were reported as $1,165.70 and $1,147.50 in the April contract.

Gold closed yesterday at $1,152.70 spot, down $1.20 from Wednesday's close.  Gross volume was just under 199,000 contracts, but it netted out to only 120,000—as roll-overs out of the April contract start to predominate volume.  Almost a third of Thursday's volume occurred during the afternoon rally in Hong Kong.

Here's the 5-minute tick gold chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  The early afternoon Far East rally is obvious, as was the selling pressure that followed.  The Thursday session began at 6:00 p.m. EDT, which shows as 16:00 MDT on this chart, as it's scaled for Denver time.  Add two hours for New York.  The 'click to enlarge' feature is a must.

Silver followed an identical price pattern as the gold price, complete with the rally in afternoon trading in Hong Kong—and also with the 12:45 p.m. New York low.  Like gold, silver rallied until a few minutes after the COMEX close—and then traded flat until electronic trading ended at 5:15 p.m. EDT.

The high and low were recorded by the CME Group as $15.685 and $15.385 in the May contract.

Silver was allowed to finish in the plus column at $15.555 spot, up a whole 9 cents on the day.  Net volume was rather unimpressive at 23,000 contracts.

Platinum and palladium had mini, but somewhat distorted, versions of the gold and silver price charts, with the highs and lows about the same time.  Platinum closed down a buck—and palladium finished up two dollars.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index closed late on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 99.68—and then traded flat until 9:00 a.m. on the button in the Hong Kong market.  From there it rallied to its 100.60 high tick, which came just minutes before noon over there.  Then it rolled over hard, but got saved by “gentle hands” the moment trading began in London at 8:00 a.m. GMT.  This reprieve lasted exactly one hour before it headed lower once again, with the 98.65 low tick coming at 8:30 a.m. in New York.  It 'rallied' almost 75 basis points going into the London p.m. gold fix ninety minutes later—and then chopped sideways into the close.  The index finished the Thursday session at 99.27—which was down 41 basis points on the day.

It should be obvious to all and sundry that if left to its own devices, the dollar index would have finished materially lower.  But as you already know, “gentle hands” are everywhere these days—except in commodities.

The gold stocks opened in the green, but headed into the red immediately, with their low coming at 12:45 p.m., which was gold's low tick.  They tried valiantly to rally as the trading day wore on from there, but just couldn't squeeze a positive close, as the HUI finished down 0.89 percent.

The silver equities did somewhat better, but as you can tell, they followed a very similar path to the gold equities—and why shouldn't they, as they were trading in lock stop with their respective precious metal prices, and they were trading in lock step with each other—almost to the tick.  Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index eked out a small gain of  0.56 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 35 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.   The largest short/issuer was JPMorgan out of its client account—and it should come as no surprise that they were also the biggest long/stopper in their in-house [proprietary] trading account, with 24 contracts.  This is at least the second time during the March delivery month that they've stuck it to their own clients for the benefit of the company. The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that March open interest was unchanged from Wednesday at 130 contracts.  In silver, o.i. increased by 4 contracts—and March open interest is now at 844 contracts, minus the 35 posted for delivery on Monday.

There was a withdrawal from GLD yesterday, but it wasn't overly large, as an authorized participant took out 67,186 troy ounces.  And as of 9:18 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

Joshua Gibbons, the “Guru of the SLV Bar List,” updated his website with the weekly goings-on in SLV warehouse stocks that were posted on the iShares.com Internet site as of the close of business on Wednesday—and here is what he had to say:  “Analysis of the 11 March 2015 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list:  1,339,404.2 troy ounces were added (all to Brinks London), no bars were removed or had serial number changes.

The bars added were from: Kazakhmys (0.4M oz), Uralelectromed (0.4M oz), Shui Kou Shan (0.2M oz), Krasnoyarsk (0.2M oz) and 6 others.

As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 101.3 ounces—and all daily changes are reflected on the bar list.

There was another tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint.  They sold another 2,500 gold eagles—and that was all.

There wasn't much in the way of gold activity at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.  Nothing was reported received—and 32,246.450 troy ounces were shipped out—which works out to 1,003 kilobars, a thousand of which came out of the vaults of Canada's Scotiabank.  The link to that activity is here.

There was no silver reported received—and only 260,495 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that action is here.

At the moment, I have a reasonable number of stories.  But I've discovered that the number slowly gets larger as the evening progresses.

When I first uncovered the COMEX silver manipulation, three decades ago, after first petitioning the regulators (the CFTC and the COMEX, I approached the silver miners with my allegations of manipulation since they (and their shareholders) were the obvious victims. While some individuals were supportive, the only company that took a deeper look and engaged me financially was Sunshine Mining, which, unfortunately went bankrupt (not due to silver, but an ill-timed options bet on oil). Aside from Sunshine way back when, why have the silver miners ignored the growing allegations about price manipulation?

I can’t read peoples’ minds and the best I have been able to understand why senior mine management has been so hostile to even engaging in an open debate on an issue that so many have increasingly come to fully accept is based on a few things. One, there is a natural aversion to believing anything bad about someone that you depend upon financially. The banks who have manipulated the price of silver and gold on the COMEX also provide financing and other important services to the miners. Therefore, there is a natural reluctance to accepting outside advice that runs counter to insider influences. Who are you going to side with, someone who controls your financing or some outsider (like me) with no financial connection?

Another factor, related to this, is that most mining CEO’s are, like corporate heads in any industry, take-charge type-A personalities. The head of any enterprise is typically not a shrinking violet and usually possesses some degree of ego. I don’t mean this necessarily as a negative, but typical CEO’s don’t like to be told what to do and certainly don’t like admitting they may have been wrong about anything (I confess to holding similar traits). The upshot is this – because so many mining CEO’s had dismissed allegations of manipulation early on (at the urging of the banks or their agents), they are very reluctant to do so now because that risks the admission of being wrong previously. No matter that the companies and their shareholders are suffering due to the manipulation, apparently ego and not having to admit one might have been wrong is more important. Something is preventing the silver and gold mining company management from addressing the issue of price manipulation and that’s my best guess.Silver analyst Ted Butler:  11 March 2015

It's hard not to come to the conclusion that the forces that were at work in the gold market on Wednesday were the same forces that were in play yesterday, as the price pattern starting about an hour before the London open was virtually the same for all four precious metals on both days.

Maybe I'm looking for black bears in dark rooms that aren't there, but I don't think so—and you're entirely free to form your own opinion regarding the price action of the last couple of days.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals once again—and not much has changed since I posted them here on Wednesday, although the RSI for silver has turned up a bit.

I was happy to see that the precious metal equities didn't come under much selling pressure—and more or less followed their respective precious metals around like shadows yesterday.

And as I write this paragraph, the London open is about thirty minutes away.  The gold price rallied about seven bucks in morning trading in Hong Kong on their Friday—and has basically chopped sideways from there.  Ditto for silver.  Platinum and palladium are up more than a few dollars as well.

Net gold volume is sitting right at the 21,000 contract mark—and silver's net volume is a hair under 3,000 contracts.   Virtually all of it is in the current front months for both metals. The dollar index has been rallying rather unsteadily since its 8:30 a.m. EDT low tick on Thursday morning—and is currently up 18 basis points at the moment.

Today we get a very significant Commitment of Traders Report—and hopefully all the damage up to and including Tuesday's cut-off will be in it.  And as I mentioned earlier this week, I'll be on the lookout for anything that doesn't seem right, considering the unexpected, though positive surprise we got in last week's report.  But it's too bad that Wednesday's price action won't be in it, because it appeared that “da boyz” set the low ticks for this move down in both gold and silver on that day.

I noted that there were new lows in both platinum and palladium yesterday, but they weren't material.

And as I fire this out the door at 5:10 a.m. EDT, I note that there's still nothing much going on in all four precious metals, as prices continue to chop sideways.  Volumes are up, of course, but not by a much.  Gold's net volume is just under 25,000 contracts—and silver's net volume is up to 3,900 contracts.  It's very quiet.

The dollar index ran into a bit of a setback around 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time—and is only up 9 basis points at the moment.  It will be interesting to see how the dollar index trades for the rest of the Friday session, as it sure had help yesterday—and I'll be watching to see if it gets some more of that today.

Today is Friday—and Friday the 13th as well.  I'm not the suspicious type—other than “black bears in dark rooms”—and I'm not sure what to expect during COMEX trading today.

That's all I have for today.  Enjoy your weekend, or what's left it—and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Ed Steer

Uranium Energy Corp. (NYSE MKT: UEC) is pleased to announce that the final authorization has been granted for production at its Goliad ISR Project in South Texas.  As announced in previous press releases, the Company received all of the required authorizations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, including an Aquifer Exemption which has now been granted concurrence from EPA Region 6.

Amir Adnani, President and CEO, stated, “We are very pleased to have received this final authorization for initiating production at Goliad. Our geological and engineering teams have worked diligently toward achieving this major milestone and are to be truly commended. We are grateful to the EPA for its thorough reviews and for issuing this final concurrence. The Company’s near-term plan is to complete construction at the first production area at Goliad and to greatly increase the throughput of uranium at our centralized Hobson processing plant.” Please contact Investor Relations with questions or to request additional information, [email protected].

Here are the last five shots from in and around Jerome.  As you can tell, I was quite taken by the place—and would have spent lots more time there if I'd been able. Except for some of the upscale art shops, the place looks at least a hundred years old in every respect—and even more incredible in the fact that it's built on the side of a hill at altitude.  Don't forget the 'click to enlarge' for these photos.