Gold, Silver and Platinum Hammered as Oil Rockets Higher

01 December 2016 — Thursday


The gold price rallied around 6 bucks or so in the early going in Far East trading on their Wednesday morning, but a well-timed dollar rally that topped out at 10 a.m. China Standard Time allowed ‘da boyz’ to get the price ball rolling down hill — and despite the rally attempt at the COMEX open, that’s what it was forced to do until they set the low tick shortly after 11:30 a.m. in New York.  The gold price rallied a few dollars off its low by around 1 p.m. EST, but most of that disappeared by the close of after-hours trading at 5:00 p.m.

The high and low ticks were recorded by the CME Group as $1,196.80 and $1,171.30 in the February contract, which is the new front month for gold as of yesterday.

Gold was closed on Wednesday in New York at $1,173.00 spot, down $14.90 from Tuesday.  With a new low close set for this move down, JPMorgan et al had the Managed Money traders on the run once more — and net volume was extremely heavy at just under 220,000 contracts.161201gold

Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  Note the high tick of the day in morning trading in the Far East on the very left-hand side of the chart.  But, as usual, the big volume was during the COMEX trading session [7:30-11:30 a.m. Denver time] when the new low tick [and close] were set.

The vertical gray line is 10:00 p.m. Denver time, midnight in New York — and 1:00 p.m. China Standard Time [CST] the following afternoon in Shanghai—and don’t forget to add two hours for EST.  The ‘click to enlarge‘ is a must for this chart.161201-5-minute-gold

It was almost the same price pattern in silver, with some very notable exceptions.  Firstly, the high tick in silver, but only by a penny or less, came minutes before 9 a.m. in London, not in Far East trading.  The low tick came on a vicious spike down at 10:20 a.m. in New York.  The subsequent rally got hammered flat by around 11:45 a.m. EST — and the price chopped sideways for the rest of the day.

The high and low ticks in this precious metal were reported as $16.83 and $16.465 spot in the March contract, which is the new front month for silver.

Silver was closed on Wednesday at $16.48 spot, down 13.5 cents on the day, which was not a new low for this move down.  Net volume was still on the beefy side however, at 56,000 contracts.161201silver

I thank Brad for the 5-minute tick chart for silver that’s posted below.  Note the price at the high tick in London vs. the high tick in Shanghai.  And also notice that the big spike down to silver’s low tick of the day that came at 10:20 a.m. in New York on Kitco’s chart, does not show up on the 5-minute tick chart.  The low on this chart was printed shortly before the COMEX close in New York, on the biggest volume spike of the day.

As per the 5-minute gold chart above, the vertical gray line is 10:00 p.m. Denver time, midnight in New York — and 1:00 p.m. China Standard Time [CST] the following afternoon in Shanghai—and don’t forget to add two hours for EST.  The ‘click to enlarge‘ is a must for this chart as well.161201-5-minute-silver

Platinum’s rally in morning trading in the Far East on their Wednesday ended the same way at 10 a.m. CST — and two hours later the price was down a buck on the day.  The price began to crawl higher once again — and by shortly after 12 o’clock noon in Zurich, it was back to ‘up’ five dollars on the day.  Except for the rally attempt at the COMEX open, that occurred in both silver and gold as well, it was a one-way tick to the day’s low tick, which was around $902 spot…which came shortly after the Zurich close.  Within thirty minutes it had gained at least five bucks of its losses back — and crawled higher into the close from there.  Platinum finished the Wednesday session in New York at $910 spot, down 6 bucks — and in the process, set a new intraday low price move by a hair.161201plati

Excuse me for pointing this out, but price of platinum is now $260 less per ounce than gold. What’s wrong with this picture?

Palladium did very little in Far East trading, but was up a couple of bucks by the Zurich open.  It took off from there, but was stopped dead in its tracks as it attempted to break above the $770 spot mark.  And every time it did break above it during the COMEX trading session, it was smacked back below it in short order.  Regardless of that price interference, palladium closed at another new high for this move up at $768 spot, up 8 dollars on the day.161201plad

Maybe it’s just me, but nobody seems to be asking the obvious question — and that is: what, in the real world of supply and demand, explains the incongruous price action between palladium and platinum which normally trade in lock step with each other?  One just set a new high — and the other a new low — and both are industrial metals that are used mostly in the same applications.

I suspect that it has to do with ‘da boyz’ and the paper games on the COMEX.

The dollar index closed very late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 100.97 — and dropped 10 basis points the moment that trading began at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening.  By 10 a.m. in Shanghai, it had rallied 30 basis points off its low — and that’s when most of the precious metals hit their respective highs in Far East trading.  From that point the dollar index chopped mostly sideways, before taking a header a few minutes after the London open.  The low tick of the day at that point was around 100.90.   At that juncture it appeared that the usual ‘gentle hands’ showed up — and it began to chop quietly higher in a rather wide range until shortly before 9 a.m. in New York.  Then the ramp job got really serious.  The 101.83 high tick came about 11:15 a.m. EST, but it was down to 101.47 by 1 p.m. — and it chopped quietly sideways for the remainder of the Wednesday session.  The index finished the day at 101.50 — and up 53 basis points from its Tuesday close.161201intraday-gif

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart — and you can read into it whatever you wish.161201-6-month-usd

The gold stocks gapped down a bit at the open — and then continued to sell off until their respective lows were set at 11:30 a.m. in New York.  They crawled unsteadily higher for the rest of the day, but the HUI still finished down 2.16 percent.161201hui

The silver equities followed a similar price path, except their lows came at the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close.  They recovered a decent amount of their losses as the Wednesday trading session moved along — and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed down ‘only’ 1.55 percent.161201silver-7

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that for Day 2 of the December delivery month…1,569 gold and 322 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday.  In gold, there were 18 different short/issuers, with the three largest being S.G. Americas, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, with 397, 334 and 316 contracts — and all of their respective client accounts.  In the long/stopper department, HSBC USA picked up 562 contracts for its own account…JPMorgan picked up 176 for its own account, plus another 461 contracts for its client account.  Canada’s Scotiabank stopped 214.  In silver, the only two short/issuers worthy of the name were Canada’s Scotiabank with 200 [which was a surprise to me] — and ABN Amro with 48 contracts.  JPMorgan was the largest long/stopper with another 151 contracts for its own account, plus Macquarie futures with 96 contracts for its own account as well.  This is another case where yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is worth a look if you have the interest — and the link to that is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Wednesday trading session showed that gold open interest in December fell by 5,721 contracts, leaving 6,830 still left open, minus the 1,569 mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Tuesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that only 4,938 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 5,721-4,938=783 short/issuers in gold were let off the delivery hook by the long/stoppers holding the other sides of those particular contracts.  If the long/stoppers that had insisted on delivery, the short/issuers would have been forced to buy the gold in the open market, driving up the price in process — and preventing the long/stoppers [‘da boyz’] on the long side of these trades from continuing the engineered price declines that we’re witnessing in real time right now.  We can’t have that, now can we?  Silver o.i. for December was entirely different.  Open interest fell by only 315 contracts, leaving 2,741 left…minus the 322 mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Tuesday’s Daily Delivery report showed that 717 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that another 717-315=402 silver contracts were added to the December delivery month!  That’s a lot…more than 2 million troy ounces!  It will be interesting to see who the short/issuer is on this amount in the days ahead…maybe even today.  And I would bet serious coin that the long/stopper will turn out to be JPMorgan.

As Ted Butler said in his mid-week commentary yesterday “It seems if there is one thing you can set your watch by…it is that JPMorgan has been steadfast in acquiring physical silver.  And my only explanation for why it doesn’t demand even more silver at this time is because to do so would jolt the price upward.

I would suspect that it will use the December delivery month as an opportunity to squeeze as much physical silver out of the short/issuers as it can.

There was a withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant took out a rather smallish 38,130 troy ounces.  And as of 7:26 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

For the month of November, there was 1,888,275 troy ounces of gold withdrawn from GLD.  How much of that was “plain vanilla” liquidation — and how much of that was Ted’s “big buyers” redeeming shares for physical metal — remains unknown.  But it was certainly going on during the month just past.  In SLV, there was 14,522,260 troy ounces of silver withdrawn and, without doubt, well over half of those ‘withdrawals’ were conversion of shares into physical by Ted’s “big buyer“…most likely with the initials JPM.

There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.

For the month of November, the mint sold 127,500 troy ounces of gold eagles — 24,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and 3,061,000 silver eagles.

There wasn’t much activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Tuesday.  There was 17,842 troy ounces deposited at Brink’s, Inc. — and 1,478.900 troy ounces/46 kilobars [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] shipped out of Canada’s Scotiabank.  The link to that activity is here.

It wasn’t overly busy in silver, either.  There was 126,494 troy ounces received at Brink’s, Inc. – and 40,478 troy ounces shipped out of Scotiabank.  A link to that activity is here.

The in/out action in the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong just never seems to let up.  On Tuesday, they reported receiving 8,262 kilobars, but only shipped out 410 of them.  All of that action was at Brink’s, Inc. as per usual — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

Once again I don’t have all that many stories for you today — and I hope there are a couple of the ones in the short list below that grab your attention.


Cyber Monday sales biggest online shopping day in U.S. history

Shoppers spent $3.45 billion on Cyber Monday on Samsung 4K TVs, PlayStation 4s and Barbie dolls among other products, marking the largest online sales day in U.S. history.

The data compiled by Adobe Digital Insights, easily surpassed prior estimates, and dismissed fears that strong web sales during the Thanksgiving weekend would hurt sales on Cyber Monday – the busiest day of the year for internet shopping historically.

It also underscored the broader shift to shopping online, which is making up for slower spending in stores.

Cyber Monday sales jumped 12.1 percent year-over-year and surpassed initial expectations that called for total sales of $3.36 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights.

This news item showed up on the Internet site at 11:32 a.m. EST on Tuesday — and it’s something I found in yesterday’s edition of the King Report.  Another link to it is here.

Consumer confidence hits 107.1 in November, versus 101.2 estimate

Consumers had a more optimistic outlook about the economy in November, according to a monthly survey released Tuesday.

The Consumer Confidence Index hit 107.1 in November, up from 98.6 in October, according to data from The Conference Board on Tuesday, the highest since July 2007.

Economists expected the consumer confidence index to hit 101.2, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

The survey, a closely followed barometer of consumer attitudes, measures confidence toward business conditions, short-term outlook, personal finances and jobs.

Franco added that while the majority of consumers were surveyed before the presidential election, it appeared from the post-election sample that optimism was not impacted by the outcome.

This story appeared on the CNBC website at 10:15 a.m. EST on Tuesday morning — and it’s the second article in a row that I lifted from yesterday’s edition of the King Report.  Another link to it is here.

Fake News List Death Knell for MSM – Paul Craig Roberts

Economic expert and journalist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts thinks the recent publication of the so-called ‘fake news” list recently published by The Washington Post signals a major turning point for all of the mainstream media (MSM). Dr. Roberts explains, “I think this is the death knell for the mainstream media. I think this list essentially kills the credibility of the mainstream media and certainly The Washington Post. It has demonstrated it is completely devoid of any integrity. I am a former Wall Street Journal editor, and if we had done something like that, Warren Phillips would have fired every one of us.  We would have been told to get out. You can’t carry on this kind of assault on people. I think this is a sign of desperation.

On why the markets haven’t crashed, Dr. Roberts, who was an Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration, says, “The markets are all rigged. So, when you try to look at the markets in traditional ways such as price/earnings ratios, earnings growth, or sales growth or any kinds of things like this, they don’t know anything because the Federal Reserve has probably the largest trading desk in the world. They can trade anything, in fact, everything, and they have no limits on their pocketbook.  In order for the Fed to protect the dollar, the dollar’s exchange value from the massive outpouring of dollars that the Fed created to buy all the bonds, they had to stop the dollar from falling in relation to gold. So, they have to go in and sell massive amounts of gold shorts in the futures markets. This is how they knock the gold price down. . . . Unless the world runs on the dollar or unless the rest of the world abandons the dollar, I can’t see anything that would bring down this house of cards. They can continue this because the Fed can create all the money it wants. There is no limit.”

Well, there is a limit — and we’re about to find out what it is.  This 41-minute video interview with Greg Hunter was posted on the Internet site yesterday — and it’s worth watching if you have the time.  I found it in a GATA release late last night.  Another link to it is here.

RBS fails toughest Bank of England stress test as Barclays and Standard Chartered struggle

Royal Bank of Scotland has promised to take extra steps to bolster its financial resilience after the Bank of England found the lender could struggle in any future recession or financial crisis.

Barclays and Standard Chartered were also found to have “some capital inadequacies” and will have to build further capital buffers to keep themselves safe.

The Bank of England’s third annual stress test calculated what would happen to Britain’s biggest lenders in a global recession on the scale of the financial crisis, including a crash in house prices and stock markets.

HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander U.K. and Nationwide Building Society all passed the test.

RBS was the hardest hit. The bank, which is still mainly owned by the Government, failed to maintain its core capital buffers under the scenario, even once its coco bonds – intended to top up capital buffers – were bailed in.

This news item showed up on the Internet site at 3:07 p.m. GMT on their Wednesday afternoon, which was 10:07 a.m. in New York — EST plus 5 hours.  I thank Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for sharing it with us — and another link to this article is here.  Patrik sent along a tiny 1-chart Bloomberg article on this as well.  It’s headlined “BOE Sees $50 Billion More Misconduct Costs at U.K. Banks: Chart” — and it’s worth a quick look as well.

Brexit Price Rises Now Hit Bananas As Fruit Goes Up For First Time In 5 Years

Supermarkets have issued the first price rise to bananas in five years as post-Brexit vote currency fluctuations reek havoc with the cost of fresh produce.

German discounters Lidl and Aldi have all reportedly increased the cost of a pack of bananas from 68p to 72p – a six percent rise.

While Asda has raised the price of loose bananas to 72 pence per kilo – up from the standard 68p seen at its rivals, according to The Grocer.

Supermarkets carefully protect everyday purchases like bananas from price rises as these are more keenly noticed by shoppers — and by industry price monitors.

Yet The Grocer found the three stores had tinkered with pricing in some way.

If this pricing policy is actually in effect, then I expect that bananas are a loss-leader like turkeys used to be — and still may be, for all I know.  This news story appeared on the Internet site on Tuesday afternoon GMT — and it’s another contribution from Patrik Ekdahl.  Another link to it is here.

Erdogan comes face to face with U.S. and Russia in Syria

It is no secret, however, that Turkey’s major reason for the proposed zone is to prevent Syrian Kurds from establishing a contiguous region along the Turkish border. The zone would include the yet-to-be liberated al-Bab to the south, and if Ankara has its way, Manbij, just west of the Euphrates, as well.

On Nov. 22 at the conference “Turkey’s New Security Concept,” Erdogan claimed the FSA was at the gates of al-Bab and implied that victory was imminent. “But that won’t be enough,” he said. “From there, we will move on to Manbij. The PYD and YPG are in Manbij. … We want them to leave.”

A few days after these remarks, Erdogan had a rude awakening, when on Nov. 24 an apparent airstrike hit Turkish special forces accompanying FSA fighters near al-Bab. Four Turkish soldiers were killed and nine injured. Some believe the attack was actually an IS suicide bombing, but the Turkish military said on the day of the incident that the evidence pointed to a Syrian jet.

Adding to Ankara’s shock was that the strike occurred on the first anniversary of the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey after it strayed into Turkish airspace. Although Turkey and Russia reconciled over the event earlier this year, after Erdogan apologized to Russian President Vladimir Putin, it did not temper the widespread belief that Moscow had indirectly supported the attack on Turkish forces to avenge the downing of the jet. It is common knowledge that Syrian airspace is controlled by Russian-provided and -manned advance radar systems.

This news item put in an appearance on the Internet site on Tuesday — and is certainly a must read for any serious student of the New Great Game.  I thank Roy Stephens for pointing it out — and another link to it is here.

Here Are the Details From the OPEC Production Cut Deal

The global oil market has witnessed a serious challenge of imbalance and volatility pressured mainly from the supply side. It has led to significant investment cuts in the oil industry, which has a direct impact on offsetting the natural depletion of reservoirs and in ensuring security of supply to producers.

Current market conditions are counterproductive and damaging to both producers and consumers, it is neither sustainable nor conducive in the medium- to long-term. It threatens the economies of producing nations, hinders critical industry investments, jeopardizes energy security to meet growing world energy demand, and challenges oil market stability as a whole.

There is a firm and common ground that continuous collaborative efforts among producers, both within and outside OPEC, would complement the market in restoring a global oil demand and supply balance, in particular the draw-down in the stocks overhang, which is currently at a very high level.

At this conjuncture, it is foremost to reaffirm OPEC’s continued commitment to stable markets, mutual interests of producing nations, the efficient, economic and secure supply to consumers, and a fair return on invested capital.

Consequently, the recovery of oil market balance could be addressed through dialogue and cooperation among producing countries as a way forward for cohesive, credible, and effective action and implementation. Hence, it is under the principles of good faith that countries participating in today’s meeting agree to commit themselves to the following actions…

This longish Zero Hedge article was posted on their Internet site at 1:55 p.m. EST on Wednesday afternoon — and my thanks got out to Richard Saler for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.

Mobs Lock Up Bankers During India’s Cash Chaos

Bankers are bracing for long hours and angry mobs as pay day approaches in India, the first test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to invalidate almost all cash in circulation.

Already people who are frustrated are locking branches from outside in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu and abusing staff as enough cash is not available,” said CH Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All India Bank Employees’ Association. The group has sought police protection at bank branches for the next 10 days, he added. “This is the fallout of one of the worst planned and executed government decisions in decades.”

He estimates that about 20 million people — almost twice the population of Greece — will queue up at bank branches and ATMs over the coming week, when most employers in India pay their staff. In an economy where 98 percent of consumer payments are in cash, banks are functioning with about half the amount of currency they need.

We are bracing ourselves for payday and fearing the worst,” said Parthasarathi Mukherjee, chief executive officer at Chennai-based Laxmi Vilas Bank Ltd. “If we run out of cash we will have to approach the Reserve Bank of India for more. It is tough.

This interesting, but not surprising Bloomberg article showed up on their Internet site at 2:42 a.m. Denver time on Wednesday morning — and it was updated about two hours later.  It’s another offering from Patrik Ekdahl, for which I thank him — and another link to it is here.

The World Is Feeling the Might of China’s Commodity Traders

The Chinese speculators shaking up global commodity markets are switched-on, flush with cash and probably not getting enough sleep.

For the second time this year, trading has exploded on the nation’s exchanges, pushing prices of everything from zinc to coal to multi-year highs and sending authorities scrambling to deflate the bubble before it bursts. Metals brokers described panic earlier this month as the frenzy spread to markets in London and New York, prompting wild swings in prices that show no signs of abating.

While billions of yuan have poured in from herd-like Chinese retail investors who show little regard for market fundamentals, brokers and traders say even more is coming from an expanding army of deep-pocketed hedge funds. They’re chasing better returns in commodities as stocks and real estate fade, often using algorithms and trading late into the night, when markets in London and New York are most active.

There is no doubt that the price moves and the bigger volumes worldwide are being driven by the Chinese, and by professional speculators and financial players,” said Tiger Shi, managing partner at brokerage BANDS Financial Ltd., which counts several of those funds as clients. “The western hedge funds and institutional investors don’t really know what’s going on. Often they were used to trading macro factors or Fed policy, but now they find they have fewer advantages.

The sooner that these ‘traders’ discover the precious metal market, the happier we’ll all be.  For the moment, JPMorgan et al are still stomping around in the COMEX futures market with no one to stop them — and stronger than ever.  This is another Bloomberg story, this one from Tuesday afternoon at 5:18 p.m. EST — and it was updated at 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday morning.  I found it embedded in a GATA release yesterday — and another link to it is here.

Drone footage reveals quake-made canyon in New Zealand

Gobsmacking” drone footage has captured an up-close view of a massive canyon created near Mt. Lyford by this month’s 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake.

Pete Turner, of Christchurch-based Turners Media Productions, recorded the huge rupture in the landscape on a property near the Lottery River owned by Kara Lynn and Stephen Palmer.

Turner, a CAA-approved UAV operator, drove his truck to the back of their property and came to a stop where what was a slope had given way to form a sheer cliff face.

There, he deployed a drone to get a picture of what lay beyond the edge.

I’m guessing, probably from where I was standing, the bottom of the closest cliff face was around 30m – but if you look at the bottom of the actual gully, it would be at least 50m deep.

This very interesting story, with a must watch 1:24 minute video embedded, was posted on The New Zealand Herald‘s website at 12:58 p.m. NZDT on their Wednesday afternoon — and I thank Kiwi reader Jon Wallace for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.

Gold Seen at Risk of Further Battering in 2017 as Rates to Climb

The worst is yet to come. At least that’s the opinion of the top two gold forecasters who say bullion will suffer further losses in 2017 as interest rates climb and the dollar strengthens.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. and ABN Amro Group NV see gold sliding to $1,100 an ounce by the end of next year as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy, real Treasury yields increase and the U.S. currency rises. Prices were at $1,185.77 Wednesday. The banks were ranked first and second as forecasters in the third quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

After briefly soaring to $1,337.38 as it became clear that Donald Trump was about to pull off a shock victory in the U.S. presidential election, gold slumped to a nine-month low of $1,171.18 last week on speculation that his pledges to increase spending and revitalize the economy would boost interest rates and augment the attraction of other investments such as stocks and bonds.

From an investor point of view there is little reason to hold gold,” said Georgette Boele, a currency and commodity strategist at ABN Amro. “Rising inflation expectations are more than countered by the rise in U.S. Treasury yields and expectations about upcoming rate hikes by the Fed. As long as real yields rise and there are no major inflation fears, prices will go lower.

What bulls hit, dear reader.  I remember stories like this a year ago when gold and silver were at their lows — and that scenario is about to be repeated this time around as well.  The bottom will be in when ‘da boyz’ have covered as many of their short positions as possible — and gone as long in the COMEX futures market as they can get.  This Bloomberg article showed up on their website at 5:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday afternoon — and it’s the final offering of the day from Patrick Ekdahl, for which I thank him.  It ain’t worth reading, but if you insist, another link to it is here.

India’s golden quest to tackle ‘black money’ and the lessons from a century ago

The Indian government has been trying to reduce its citizen’s demand for imported gold through a number of means over the last few years. This is part of a wider crack down on currency used in the black market, that included the withdrawal and replacement of its two largest denomination bank notes in early November. The strategy will likely have some unintended consequences if we take our cues from the events of 1910.

Indians’ famous love for gold has created serious and ongoing economic issues for the nation. In 2011, Australian investment bank Macquarie estimated that 78{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of India’s household savings were held in gold.

In effect, this means that India has a dual currency system where people choose to save mostly in gold rather than rrupees. This is unlike any other major economy and begs the question: how do you wean a population off a precious metal?

This thoughtful article, which is certainly a must read in my opinion, appeared on Internet site on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. EST — and it’s when he starts to discuss silver that this article really gets interesting.  I found it on the Sharps Pixley website very late last night Denver time — and another link to it is here.

Massive 3,000-year-old Celtic gold belt found in British farmer’s field

A huge 3,000-year-old Celtic golden belt, so large that it’s believed to have been worn by a pregnant woman or a prized animal in the course of a sacrifice, has been unearthed in a Cambridgeshire field, in Eastern England.

According to the British Museum, the torc is one of the largest and most spectacular ever discovered in England, and it is one of thousands of archaeological finds made by members of the public last year.

The thick twisted band, found by an anonymous treasure hunter walking with his metal detector, is made from 730 grams/1.61 lbs. of high-grade gold.

While torcs are usually described as collars, longer ones are believed to have been worn as belts. For the Iron Age Celts, the gold torc seems to have been a key object, identifying the wearer as a person of high rank, and many of the finest works of ancient Celtic art are, in fact, torcs.

The above four paragraphs are all there is to this brief gold-related news item that appeared on the Internet site sometime late Tuesday.  But the two embedded photos are a must to view.  The 3,000 year old craftsmanship is amazing — and I’d love to see any goldsmith attempt to duplicate this without today’s tools.  It comes to us courtesy of Ellen Hoyt — and another link to it is here.


Once again, here are two more photos in the continuing series of finalists in the 2016 Comedy Wildlife Photography AwardsClick to enlarge.161201photo-1



“There’s no question that the market structure is still improving, but the big question is how much more to go?  I still think there’s not much more to go, but that will only be known in hindsight, after the price bottom has been recorded.  In the interim, new prices lows can be made.  Also, even if we are at or close to the bottom (as I believe), there is no way of determining in advance how long before the rally begins.  Given all the facts and what’s transpiring in other markets, it wouldn’t seem the wait for a rally in gold and silver would be terribly long.  More important, of course, is the nature and extent of the coming rally and the current low level of risk in holding silver positions.” — Silver analyst Ted Butler: 30 November 2016

Just like Wednesday of last week, JPMorgan et al waited until the day after the cut-off for Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report, before laying the lumber to gold, silver and platinum prices once again.  It mattered not that West Texas Intermediate Crude closed higher by 9.31 percent yesterday — and the engineered price declines were cloaked in another engineered ‘rally’ in the U.S. dollar index.

As Paul Craig Roberts said in his interview in the Critical Reads section above —  “The markets are all rigged. So, when you try to look at the markets in traditional ways such as price/earnings ratios, earnings growth, or sales growth or any kinds of things like this, they don’t know anything because the Federal Reserve has probably the largest trading desk in the world. They can trade anything, in fact, everything, and they have no limits on their pocketbook.  In order for the Fed to protect the dollar, the dollar’s exchange value from the massive outpouring of dollars that the Fed created to buy all the bonds, they had to stop the dollar from falling in relation to gold. So, they have to go in and sell massive amounts of gold shorts in the futures markets. This is how they knock the gold price down…”

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper — and as I noted at the top of the column, gold was closed at a slight new low for this move down, but ‘da boyz’ didn’t quite get that far in silver.  Platinum did hit a new intraday low, but only by the tiniest amount.  Palladium closed a new high tick for this move up.161201-6-month-gold


And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and as you probably already know, the powers-that-be were hard at work in very early morning Far East trading on their Thursday.  After edging higher by a few dollars, the price began to chop lower — and shortly after 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning, ‘da boyz’ spun their algos, pulled their bids — and the gold price cratered, setting a new intraday low for this move down in the process.  It was back to unchanged by shortly after 1 p.m. CST — and has been chopping sideways since — and is down 60 cents at the moment.  Not surprisingly, the engineered price decline in silver was identical — and the silver price came very close to its intraday low tick from late last week.  After its price got smacked, it was back to unchanged at the same time as gold — and is trading down only a penny from its New York close yesterday afternoon.  Ditto for platinum in every respect — and it’s down only a dollar right now.  Palladium, trading in another universe, was hoeing its own row as always — and is currently up 3 dollars.

Net HFT gold volume is way up there at just under 53,500 contracts — and that number in silver is pretty healthy as well, at 13,500 contracts.  The dollar index began to head lower as soon as trading began at 6:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday evening in New York — hitting its current 101.20 low tick around 2:15 p.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday afternoon.  That was 30 basis points lower than its close on Wednesday.  It rallied a bit from there — and is down 27 basis points as London opens.

As you can tell, what the dollar index is doing…rising or falling…means nada, nothing, zip, zero, etc. when it comes to precious metal prices.  All that matters is what JPMorgan et al are doing in the COMEX futures market…and not what everyone else is saying on the Internet.

Ted’s quote above is doubly important now as ‘da boyz’ continue to slice the gold, silver and platinum price salamis to the down side — and with each slice, the internal structure of the COMEX futures market turns ever-more bullish.

And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:05 a.m. EST, I see that the gold price is down $2.30 now that London has been trading for an hour — and silver is down 4 cents.  Platinum is down 3 dollars currently — and palladium is still up the same 3 bucks it was an hour ago now that Zurich has been trading for an hour as well.

Net HFT volume in gold is just over 62,000 contracts — and that number in silver is just under 15,000 contracts.  These are huge numbers for this time of day, but not entirely surprising because of the price action in morning trading in the Far East.  The dollar index has been rallying a bit — and is down only 15 basis points at the moment.

It’s obvious that ‘da boyz’ no longer care who’s watching what they’re doing, they want this over and done with as quickly as they can, so nothing will surprise me when I check the charts when I get out of bed later this morning.

That’s all I have for today — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.

NOTE: I’m having problems with the e-mail version once again — and I’ll send it out as soon as I can.


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