Let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season

Not surprisingly, it was pretty quiet in the gold market yesterday in the run-up to Christmas—and the rest of the holiday season.  The gold price traded mostly within five bucks or so of the $1,200 spot price mark.

The highs and lows, if you wish to dignify them with that name, were recorded by the CME at $1,205.60 and $1,191.80 in the February contract.

Gold closed in New York on Monday afternoon at $1,198.40 spot, which was down $5.10 from Friday's close.  Volume, net of December and January, was 87,000 contracts.  I wouldn't read much [if anything] into yesterday's price action except for the fact that I'm not surprised that gold didn't close above the $1,200 spot price mark.

The same lack of price action occurred in silver as well, with the price trading within a two bit range of its Far East open for the vast majority of the Monday session.

Silver closed at $19.46 spot, which was down 4.5 cents from Friday.  Net volume was an anemic 19,000 contracts.

Platinum had a bit of a rally that got capped shortly before 9 a.m. EST—and it was then sold down below Friday's close by the London p.m. gold fix.  After that it didn't do much.  Palladium had no rally at all, but it got sold down as well, with the low coming shortly after London closed for the day at 11 a.m. EST.  Here are the charts.

The dollar index closed late on Friday afternoon in New York at 80.56.  Once trading began in the Far East on their Monday morning, the index chopped lower, hitting its nadir of 80.34 around 10:45 a.m. EST in New York.  The subsequent rally pared the loss—and the index closed at 80.45—which was down 11 basis points on the day.  Here's the 3-day chart.

The gold stocks briefly rallied into positive territory on the back of a smallish rally in the gold price around the London p.m. fix.  But once the price got sold back below the $1,200 spot mark, the shares sagged back into negative territory as well, but did rally to finish  virtually unchanged—up 0.07% on the day.

The silver equities followed a similar chart pattern, but spent most of the day in the black.  However Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index only finished up 0.22% from Friday's close.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 20 gold and 7 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Thursday within the Comex-approved depositories.  JPMorgan stopped all 20 gold contracts, and 4 of the silver contracts—all of them in its in-house [proprietary] trading account.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

There was another big withdrawal from GLD yesterday.  This time an authorized participant took out 270,555 troy ounces.  And as of 8:03 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

The U.S. Mint reported selling a fairly healthy 13,000 troy ounces of gold eagles on Monday—but that was everything.  It seems obvious to me that the mint is done selling the 2013 silver eagles, as sales have been static at 1.2 million for the last 10 days or so.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday, there was more big in/out movement in gold, as 117,745 troy ounces were reported received—and precisely two metric tonnes [64,300.000 troy ounces] were shipped out of Scotia Mocatta.  JPMorgan received a bunch as well. The link to that activity is here.

In silver, 874,482 troy ounces were received, most of which went into JPMorgan's vault—and 614,022 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that action is here.

I have quite a few stories for you today that I've managed to collect over the weekend—and since I won't have a column for at least two days, they're all in today's missive regardless of content.

Technical funds, as their name indicates, trade on price signals alone; particularly selling when new price lows are recorded, as was the case this week. Technical funds don’t care a whit about anything except price movement and not a one pays any attention to outside supply/demand factors or what the Fed does or says. These trading funds sold and sold short on Wednesday and Thursday because gold and silver prices were down to new lows; pure and simple. Therefore, the unanimous conclusion that gold and silver prices fell because of the Fed announcement is pure poppycock.

The far more compelling explanation for the price downdraft is that the counter-parties to the technical funds, led by JPMorgan and other commercials acting in collusion, used the Fed announcement to illegally set prices lower on the Comex in order to induce technical fund selling. The Fed’s announcement was merely a convenient cover story for the commercials to rig prices lower so that they could buy as much as they could from the technical funds. I can understand how easy it is for the media to get the story completely wrong; what I can’t understand is how some precious metals market commentators still profess not to see the real story.Silver analyst Ted Butler: 21 December 2013

There's not a thing worth commenting on regarding yesterday's price action, or lack thereof.  The Christmas/New Year holiday season is upon us—and unless there is some “midnight move” that no one expects, or some black swan shows up out of left field, it's pretty much guaranteed that there won't be much price action between now and the first business week in January.

That's certainly confirmed in Far East price “action” on their Tuesday, as there is no price action—and very little volume.  London has been open for about 30 minutes as I write this—and volume is under 10,000 contracts in gold, and about 2,500 contracts in silver.  The dollar index isn't doing much, either—and I expect the exchanges to close in New York early today.

And as I hit the send button on today's column at 5:20 a.m. EST, not much has changed since I wrote the above paragraph. Prices are up a hair, volumes are up a bit, but other than that, “there's not a creature stirring…”

As I mentioned in Saturday's missive, I'll have a column on Saturday morning, but I haven't decided if I'll have one on Friday or not.  If there's no price activity worthy of the name, don't expect one in your in-box.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season.

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