Doug Pollitt: “Tinfoil Hat Crowd” Was Right, and Gold Mining Executives Are Saps

17 December 2016 — Saturday


The gold price inched unsteadily and quietly higher until around 11:30 a.m. GMT in London, before beginning to decline in a similar fashion.  The low tick, which was Thursday’s closing price, came a minute or so before London closed at 11 a.m. EST.  Then minutes later, away it [along with the other three precious metals] went to the upside — and the short buyers and long sellers of last resort had to step in minutes before 11:30 a.m. in New York, as the market was about to go “no ask”.  The associated volume was pretty heavy.  From there it was sold quietly lower until around 3:20 p.m. in the thinly-traded after-hours market.  It crawled equally as quietly higher into the close from there.

The low and high ticks, which came within an hour of each other, were recorded by the CME Group as $1,128.50 and $1,143.20 in the February contract.

The gold price finished the Friday session at $1,134.60 spot, up $6.40 from Thursday.  Net volume was pretty heavy at 165,000 contracts.

Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  There was a bit of volume in mid-afternoon trading in the Far East on their Friday afternoon, but most of the volume…as usual…occurred during the COMEX trading session.  The standout feature, of course, was the volume on the big rally in late morning trading in New York — and once the COMEX closed at 11:30 a.m. Denver time on the chart below, volume fell back to fumes and vapours.

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‘ feature is a must.

The silver price was up about 15 cents by shortly before the London open yesterday morning — and after a down/up price dip, with the low coming at precisely 9:00 a.m. GMT in London, it began to crawl lower from there.  Then, like the gold price, once it touched its closing price from Thursday, a minute or so before London closed for the weekend, away it went to the upside a few minutes after 11 a.m. EST.  The high tick of the day came around 11:50 a.m. — and it chopped quietly lower until 2:40 p.m. EST in the thinly-traded after-hours market.  The price didn’t much after that.

The low and high ticks were reported as $15.975 and $16.33 in the March contract.

Silver closed in New York on Friday at $16.07 spot, up 12 cents on the day.  Net volume was pretty chunky as well at a hair over 52,000 contracts.

And here’s the 5-minute silver chart courtesy of Brad Robertson as well.  There was considerable volume on that 9:00 a.m. GMT down/up price spike in early morning trading in London.  That shows up thirty minutes or so either side of 02:00 a.m. Denver time on the chart below.  The volume around the big price activity in New York wasn’t as impressive.  And, like gold, the volume dropped off to next to nothing after the 11:30 a.m. MST COMEX close, as the traders headed home to the Hamptons for the weekend.

Platinum was up 10 bucks by 11:30 a.m. China Standard Time on their Friday morning — and then chopped more or less sideways until around 11:20 a.m. in New York.  At that point it joined the gold and silver party, blasting higher until JPMorgan and their algorithms were forced to intervene.  It got hammered ten dollars off its high tick by the COMEX close — and didn’t do much after that.  At its high, platinum was up $40 on the day, but was closed at $925 spot, up 32 dollars.  It could just as easily finished up $320 on the day if ‘da boyz’ hadn’t shown up as short buyers and long sellers of last resort when they did.

Palladium traded down a dollar or so below unchanged until shortly after 1 p.m. in Shanghai trading — and then began to drift lower.  The $679 spot low tick began around 9:40 a.m. EST — and lasted until it blasted higher around 11:20 a.m. when it joined platinum’s rocket ride.  An hour later it was capped as it touched unchanged on the day and, like platinum, got hammered lower starting at 1:00 p.m. EST — and by the COMEX close, almost half of its earlier gains had vanished.  It did rally about 5 bucks in the after-hours market, however.  Palladium was closed on Friday afternoon in New York at $695 spot, down 6 dollars from Thursday.  Like platinum, it would have rallied to the moon if ‘da boyz’ and their algos hadn’t shown up when they did.

The dollar index closed very late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 103.11 — and began to drift lower once trading began a few minutes later at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening.  That lasted until 12:30 p.m. GMT in London — and it chopped higher until a few minutes before the 11 a.m. EST London close.  The 103.27 high tick of the day was printed at that juncture.  Then down it went.  The low tick of 102.62 was printed less than an hour later around 11:45 a.m. EST.  It rallied from there until precisely 3:00 p.m. in New York — and headed lower into the close.  It finished the Friday session at 102.82 — down 29 basis points from Thursday.

The big rallies in gold and silver in morning trading in New York coincide almost exactly with the big down draft in the dollar index…but they weren’t that close in platinum and palladium.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index — and you’re free to read into it whatever you wish.

The gold stocks opened just above unchanged — and rallied until around 10:25 a.m. in New York.  They slid into negative territory by two minutes after 11 a.m. EST, but then blasted skyward as the gold price spiked — and the dollar index cratered.  Their respective high ticks came a few minutes before noon — and then chopped quietly lower into the close.  The HUI finished up 1.13 percent.

The silver equities followed an identical path to their golden brethren, except their sell-off into the 11:02 a.m. EST low was far more severe, so their subsequent rally back into positive territory didn’t get as high — and as they sold off in afternoon trading on Friday, they couldn’t squeeze a positive close.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed down 0.87 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

And here are the usual three charts from Nick that tell all.  The first one shows the changes in gold, silver, platinum and palladium for the past week, in both percent and dollar and cents terms, as of Friday’s closes in New York — along with the changes in the HUI and Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index — and the Click to Enlarge feature really helps on all three.  None of them are pretty to look at.

And the chart below shows the month-to-date changes as of Friday’s close — and they’re ugly.

And below are the year-to-date changes as of the close of trading yesterday.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 40 gold and 56 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday.  HSBC USA and ABN Amro were the two short/issuers of note, with 27 and 11 contracts respectively.  Canada’s Scotiabank picked up 25 of them — and the other 15 contracts were split up between six different long/stoppers.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that gold open interest in December fell by 440 contracts, leaving 879 left, minus the 40 mentioned just above.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 448 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery on Monday, so that means that another 448-440=8 gold contracts were added to December.  Silver o.i. in December dropped by 367 contracts, leaving 326 still around, minus the 56 mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 354 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery on Monday, so that means that 367-354=13 short/issuers were let off the delivery hook by the long/stoppers holding the other side of their contracts.

There was another decent-sized withdrawal/conversion of shares in GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant took out 171,552 troy ounces.  And I was surprised to see that an a.p. actually deposited 1,327,550 troy ounces of silver into SLV.  I would suspect that it was done to cover all or part of an existing short position.

With no sales reports from the U.S. Mint this week, it’s obvious that their 2016 year is done.  For the month of December they sold 29,000 troy ounces of gold eagles — 7,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and 240,000 silver eagles.

Year-to-date the mint sold a whopping 985,000 troy ounces of gold eagles, plus another 217,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes.   You have to go back many years to find gold coin sales of this amount.  They also sold 37,701,500 silver eagles.  This is certainly isn’t a record by any stretch of the imagination.  And as Ted Butler has been pointing out for years, with punk retail sales in bullion coins, it’s been his ‘big buyer’ with the initials JPM that have been picking up most of these coins in last five years or so.

There was decent movement in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Thursday.  Only 192 troy ounces was reported received, but 116,904 troy ounces was shipped out.  Of that amount, there was 100,829 troy ounces shipped out of Brink’s, Inc. — and 16,075.000 troy ounces/500 kilobars [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] shipped out of Canada’s Scotiabank.  The link to that action is here.

In silver, there was 594,734 troy ounces received — and that all went into Brink’s, Inc. — and one good delivery bar weighing 965 troy ounces was shipped out of HSBC USA’s vault.  The link to that activity is here.

It was another busy day over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday.  They reported receiving 14,128 of them, but shipped out only 1,036.  All of the action was at Brink’s, Inc. — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

Yesterday’s Commitment of Traders Report, which is totally irrelevant now, showed the expected increase in the Commercial net short position in silver.  But the number was somewhat larger than I was hoping to see.  There was certainly an improvement in gold, but not as much as I was hoping for.  However, there’s a reason for that.  But first things first.

In silver, the Commercial net short position increased by 5,391 contracts, or 26.96 million troy ounces of paper silver.  They arrived at this number by selling 1,214 long contracts, plus they added 4,177 short contracts — all of which [except for 31 contracts] came courtesy of the Managed Money traders.  The total of these two numbers is the change for the reporting week.  The Commercial net short position in silver now sits at 405.7 million troy ounces of paper silver.

Ted said that the Big 4 increased their short position by around 1,800 contracts — and he certainly wasn’t happy to see that.  But it’s totally irrelevant now.  The raptors, the Commercial traders other than the Big 8, reduced their long position by about 3,600 contracts.  The short position of the ‘5 through 8’ large traders barely changed at all during the reporting week.

Ted pegs JPMorgan’s short position at 20,000 contracts, up 1,000 contracts from last week’s report.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, the Managed Money traders were in lock step with the Commercials, as they increased their long position by 3,470 contracts, plus they covered 1,890 short contracts…for a total of 5,360 contracts.  That’s only 31 contracts less than the weekly change in the Commercial net short position shown above.

Here’s the 9-year COT Report chart, which I’m posting for entertainment purposes only, as the above numbers are already ancient history since the Tuesday cut-off.  Click to enlarge.

In gold, the Commercial net short position declined by only 5,058 contracts, or 505,800 troy ounces of paper gold.  They arrived at this number by selling 94 long contracts — and they reduced their short position by 5,152 contracts.  The difference between those two numbers is the change in the Commercial net short position for the week.  The Commercial net short position in gold is down to 14.99 million troy ounces.

Ted said that the Big 4 traders decreased their short position by about 2,500 contracts, plus Ted’s raptors, the Commercial traders other than the Big 8, reduced their long position by around 4,500 contracts.  The surprise was the fact that the Big ‘5 through 8’ traders actually increased their net short position by about 1,900 contracts during the reporting week.  The reason that number went up is because, for the second week in a row, one or more of the Managed Money traders now has a short position so large, that it finds itself in the Big ‘5 through 8’ category temporarily.  I would guess that the “usual suspects” in this category actually decreased their short position during the reporting week, as did the Big 4…it’s just that it was masked by the huge increase in the short position of the Managed Money trader[s].

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report it was all Managed Money traders, plus a lot more.  They sold 4,706 long contracts, plus they piled onto the short side to the tune of 8,894 contracts…for a total weekly swing of 13,600 contracts…almost three times the size of the change in the Commercial net short position.

It’s Managed Money numbers like these in gold, plus the corresponding ones in silver, that are proof positive that prices are set as a result of the tango between the Commercial traders on one side — and the Managed Money traders on the other.

Here’s the 9-year COT chart for gold and, like its silver counterpart, is very much “yesterday’s news”.  Without doubt, these same Managed Money traders in gold have sold the rest of their longs, plus gone massively short on top of that during the reporting week.  But to how much in each of these two categories is something we’ll have to wait until next Friday to see.

Next week’s COT Report will be a sight to see, of course…but we still have two more trading days in this reporting week to get through — and anything can happen between now and the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday.

Here’s Nick Laird’s “Days to Cover” chart updated with yesterday’s COT data for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday.  It shows the days of world production that it would take to cover the short positions of the Big 4 — and Big ‘5 through 8’ traders in each physically traded commodity on the COMEX.  These are the same Big 4 and ‘5 through 8’ traders discussed in the COT Report above.  Click to enlarge.

For the current reporting week, the Big 4 are short 130 days of world silver production—and the ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 49 days of world silver production—for a total of 179 days, which is 6 months of world silver production, or about 435.0 million troy ounces of paper silver held short by the Big 8.

In the COT Report above, the Commercial net short position in silver is 405.7 million troy ounces.  So the Big 8…as usual…hold a short position larger than the Commercial net position to the tune of 435.0 – 405.7 = 29.3  million troy ounces…give or take.  And not to be forgotten is the fact that Ted pegs JPMorgan’s short position at around 20,000 contracts/100 million ounces — which works out to around 41 days of world silver production that JPMorgan is short.  That’s compared to the 179 days that the Big 8 are short in total.

And as bad as those number are, the Big 8 are short 53.3 percent of the entire open interest in silver in the COMEX futures market — and that number would be closer to 60 percent once the market-neutral spread trades were subtracted out.  In gold it’s up to 42.2 percent of the total open interest that the Big 8 are short.

The two largest silver shorts on Planet Earth—JPMorgan and Canada’s Scotiabank—are short about 86 days of world silver production between the two of them—and that 86 days represents around 66 percent of the length of the red bar in silver in the above chart.  The other two traders in the Big 4 category are short, on average, about 22 days of world silver production apiece.

As I stated just above, based on Ted’s estimate of JPMorgan’s short position of 19,000 contracts, JPMorgan is short around 39 days of world silver production all by itself.  Because of that, the approximate short position in silver held by Scotiabank works out to around 44 days of world silver production.  For the fourth week in a row, Scotiabank is the King of the silver shorts in the COMEX futures market, but not by much this week.

In gold, the Big 4 are short 41 days of world gold production, down from 42 days last week — and the ‘5 through 8’ are short another 19 days of world production [up from 18 days last week], for a total of 60 days.  Based on these numbers, the Big 4 in gold hold about 68 percent of the total short position held by the Big 8.  How’s that for a concentrated short position within a concentrated short position?

The “concentrated short positions within a concentrated short position” in silver, platinum and palladium held by the Big 4 are about 72, 70 and 66 percent respectively of the short positions held by the Big 8.

I have an average number of stories for you today — and I hope you have time during the rest of the weekend to read the ones that interest you.


Marc Faber: U.S. stock rally may end soon

By any standard, this is a very aging bull market.”

These two CNBC video clips…one is 1:43 minutes long, the other 2:04 minutes…found a home over at the Internet site on Thursday sometime — and I thank Judy Sturgis for sharing it with us.

Putin Lashes Out at Obama: “Show Some Proof or Shut Up

Putin has had enough of the relentless barrage of U.S. accusations that he, personally, “hacked the U.S. presidential election.”

The Russian president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Friday that the U.S. must either stop accusing Russia of meddling in its elections or prove it. Peskov said it was “indecent” of the United States to “groundlessly” accuse Russia of intervention in its elections.

You need to either stop talking about it, or finally show some kind of proof. Otherwise it just looks very indecent”, Peskov told Reporters in Tokyo where Putin is meeting with Japan PM Abe, responding to the latest accusations that Russia was responsible for hacker attacks.

Peskov also warned that Obama’s threat to “retaliate” to the alleged Russian hack is “against both American and international law”, hinting at open-ended escalation should Obama take the podium today at 2:15pm to officially launch cyberwar against Russia.

This Zero Hedge piece, dateline 6:37 p.m. EST on Friday evening has obviously been updated at least once on Friday, as I received it from reader M.A. at 9:58 a.m. EST on Friday morning.  It’s worth reading — and another link to it is here.

Venezuelan Odyssey for Cash Endures With Delay of New Bills

The largest denomination of Venezuela’s crippled currency was pulled from circulation before the new, larger-denomination bills were able to enter it, ATMs and wallets are mostly empty, and Christmas is just a little more than a week away.

Since Sunday’s shock announcement that [almost] all 100-bolivar notes were being called in by the government to combat the hoarding of currency so worthless that it needs to be weighed to be spent, the past week’s daily scenes of frustrated people crowding banks and automated teller machines to deposit the bills culminated Friday in utter exasperation following President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement late Thursday that the new money would be late.

While debit and credit cards can be used at stores that accept them, buying gasoline is becoming increasingly difficult because most filling stations accept only cash.

This is terrible — it makes you feel completely impotent!” complained Wilmer Valero, a 42-year-old heavy-machinery technician, upon visiting a fourth ATM in Caracas Friday morning. “We have money in the bank, but there’s no cash. If this is what Caracas is like, I don’t even want to imagine the interior of the country,” he said before abandoning the bank to try his luck at another ATM.

Wow!  This Bloomberg article appeared on their Internet site at 8:52 a.m. MST on Friday morning — and it comes to us courtesy of Swedish subscriber Patrik Ekdahl.  Another link to it is here.

 Britain’s HSBC closes a quarter of high street bank branches in two years

HSBC has closed more than a quarter of its U.K. branches in just two years, according to new research by Which? In total, high street banks have closed more than 1,000 branches since January 2015.

Closures often happened in rural areas with poor broadband speeds, leaving consumers without limited access to online banking and no local branch, Which? said.

The latest report confirms research by the BBC showing that parts of Wales, Scotland and south west England lost the most branches per person last year.

HSBC closed more than any other bank, axing 321 branches. RBS closed 191 branches, which equates to 10 per cent of its total, while Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, shut 180, Which? said.

This news story was posted on the Internet site on Wednesday — and I thank Patrik Ekdahl for sliding it into my in-box in the very wee hours of Saturday morning MST.  Another link to it is here.

Revealed: How Theresa May’s fight for British expat rights was met with silence from E.U. leaders

Shortly before leaving the summit in Brussels, the Prime Minister made a brief presentation to the 27 leaders on the U.K.’s Brexit position, highlighting her desire to guarantee the rights of migrants.

According to one of the European leader’s aides, there was an awkward pause as they waited for her to leave the room before she said: “I think I’d better leave now.“.

The source told The Times: “She was very polite but it was a bit embarrassing. It was a difficult moment for diplomatic etiquette.

In her speech Mrs May also said that the Government plans to push ahead with triggering Article 50, which will formally open two years of Brexit talks, in March despite a Supreme Court case.

European leaders are refusing to enter into discussions about Brexit with Britain until Article 50 is triggered. Earlier this year Mrs May told Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, about her desire to secure an early deal on migrants’ rights but was rebuffed.

This news item showed up on the Internet site at 12:22 p.m. GMT on their Friday afternoon, which was 7:22 a.m. in New York — EST plus 5 hours.  I thank Roy Stephens for pointing it out — and another link to it is here.

Britain will be handed £50bn exit bill by E.U. when Theresa May triggers Article 50, chief negotiator for Brussels warns

Michel Barnier has told colleagues that the U.K. must keep paying “tens of billions” annually into the E.U. budget until 2020.

The bill would include the U.K.’s share of outstanding pensions liabilities, loan guarantees and spending on U.K.-based projects.

The demands, which came as the Prime Minister held meetings with other European leaders before being excluded from a dinner at an E.U. summit, were dismissed by senior Conservatives who refuted the idea of paying such a bill.

Others shrugged off the demands and claimed they were simply the E.U.’s opening position in an attempted negotiation.

Iain Duncan Smith, the former work and pensions secretary and Leave campaigner, said that the figure is a “dreadful joke” and that the true amount will be “peanuts”.

This news item put in an appearance on the Internet site at 10:40 a.m. GMT on Thursday morning in London, which was 5:40 a.m. in Washington — EDT plus 5 hours.  I found it in yesterday’s edition of the King Report — and another link to it is here.

Tales of the New Cold War: Obama & the Democrats Allege Trump and Tillerson Have Kremlin Ties — John Batchelor Interviews Stephen F. Cohen

Very appropriately Batchelor and Cohen continue the discussion of the New McCarthyism and its affects on geopolitical policies and internal politics of the United States. Batchelor opens the discussion with the choice of Trump for Sec. State, Rex Tillerson; the mounting backlash – an investigation really – over the allegations that Putin aided Trump in the election, and concluding with some outrageous statements by Obama. As Batchelor puts it: “The New Cold War (NCW) has just landed on the front page”, and “the nation trembles”. Both pundits agree that all of this is just too implausible to even be acceptable as a plot in a novel. One can only imagine what the American citizen thinks about all of this….As Cohen reminds us, all of these events, the anguish and the rage and resulting fear mongering about a Putin getting Trump into the White House are not based on any facts, and now there is a constitutional crisis based on nothing but allegations and lies –essentially assumptions based on assumptions that are questionable goals for the groups pushing a common agenda. Cohen then goes on to examine Putin’s goals and compares them to the dogmatic hyperbole in Washington. Putin always wanted to work with the West in order to help his country, and, of course, attempting to destabilize the US (attack democracy) and start a NCW is not at all conducive to these goals.

In the second half of the podcast Rex Tillerson’s background as CEO of the oil giant Exxon Mobile Corporation is discussed as a motive for worry of the neo-conservative opposition in Washington. He was involved with Putin early in the previous decade negotiating for involvement with Russian oil and gas fields and it is clear that he still has a business outlook for dealing with Russia, not a belligerent one. His opposition is in the process of labelling him (as Cohen points out was done to him too) as a “stooge of the Kremlin”. Trump gets that label too, of course, and Cohen points to Trump’s own difficulty in investing in Russia – but there is no animosity over that failure; it is just business. All of this points to expertise and superb qualifications for Secretary of State, and recognition by Trump that this is the right person for a business agenda with Russia. That means to his opposition that détente is Trumps agenda as president. But Cohen also points out that all the opposition coming from the Obama State department (and others) is based on fear of job security. (All swamp dwellers waiting to be drained.)

In the final, and all too brief, segment Batchelor asks about the motives of the war party in attacking Trump. Are they trying to intimidate or influence him, or subvert what they see as new policies for NATO, Ukraine, Russia and Syria? Cohen in response wonders why the contention spans traditional bipartisan lines in government. He speculates that the motives are varied; as with the Hillary camp with a constitutional challenge to take back the election, fear by other groups that would see their government jobs at risk, and a main opposition (probably led by Sen. McCain) that cannot tolerate any national security partnership with Russia and wishes “to discredit both Trump and Putin to accomplish this goal. Unfortunately, Cohen was cut short here. We can only speculate what is behind the goals of McCain – and the war faction. I believe the goals of the “deep state” are being expressed , as they have been in a long and tawdry history of the empire dealing with the rest of the world. My speculation is that the “deep state’s” main faction is strongly connected to the military, industrial, security complex, and most of the time the MSM moguls cooperate.

It is perhaps not a coincidence that the events of the previous cold war with the Soviet Union also included a McCarthy figure stirring the pot, and now the NCW has its own version. When a pattern such as this occurs, one is inclined to ask what the goals were then and what they are today? In the more modern past we saw the Vietnam War (and in Cambodia too), and numerous proxy wars and regime changes, in central and South America right up to the present with Venezuela. The corruption of the media was also a trait then as it is now, and it is obvious that the American public had to be on side or neutralized; but the geopolitical meddling was driven by criminal profits and a gut motive of dealing with competition to the empire as expressed in the Wolfowitz Doctrine. That criminal motives and foreign policy were so intimately mixed is the amoral feature that is the constant with the past. But there is an escalation that is more than a stridency factor in the New McCarthyism. Today there is a goal to deny a whole presidency and to neuter the move to détente with Russia. The means now seem to be subversion of government institutions themselves (electoral college system), and we may well be watching a coup of sorts in progress. Trump is fighting a interconnected group that has slowly gained control over foreign policy and the government institutions serving it, an entrenched opposition that has everything to lose.

This 40-minute audio interview appeared on the Internet site on Tuesday, but for obvious length and content reasons, always has to await my Saturday missive — and here it is.  I thank Ken Hurt for providing the link and, as always, the really important kudos are for the effort that Larry Galearis puts into wordsmithing these incredible executive summaries.  They’re just as much a must read, as the audio presentation is a must listen.  Another link to ‘all of the above’ is here.

Stephen F. Cohen: False Narratives of a New Cold War

We’re shut out now. There hasn’t been an op-ed in The New York Times or Washington Post editorial pages arguing that the United States is at least equally to blame for this new Cold War crisis. They simply will not accept those articles…So this is the problem. In a democracy we fight through discourse. If you can’t get to the mainstream media  and make the argument, then there’s no way of slowing the drift toward catastrophe.
Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University

Stephen Cohen just recorded an incredibly trenchant interview regarding the extreme dangers of the recent explosion in Russia hysteria with Brian Lehrer on WNYC.

This 27:42 minute audio interview showed up on the Internet site yesterday — and another link to it is here.

Trump, Russia and China — Alasdair Macleod

Even before he takes office, President-elect Trump is turning the world upside down.

It has become clear his attitude towards Russia and China is very different from that of his predecessors. Amazingly, he is already wresting power from the deep state, causing it great resentment, which under Obama, Clinton and the Bushes, ran geopolitical policy. From January, barring accidents the world will not be the same, the establishment up-ended.

This short article builds on information available to date and speculates how America’s relations with Russia and China are likely to evolve, and the implications for NATO and Europe. It attempts to cut through the disinformation and noise (from all sides) to assess how Trump will change super-power relations.


President-elect Trump has signalled his respect for President Putin as a leader, and Putin, who has been careful to not comment on the US presidential election, has indicated his respect for Trump. Furthermore, Trump, who admittedly said lots of contradictory statements to get elected, clearly wishes to reduce America’s funding commitment to NATO and to reduce American involvement in the Middle East. These objectives will obviously find favour with Putin, and could form the basis of a relationship reset between Russia and the West.

This commentary by Alasdair, which I must admit that I haven’t read yet, was posted on the Internet site on Thursday sometime — and I thank Peter Holland for bringing it to our attention.  Another link to it is here.

Unlike Western mainstream media, I’ve spent the last three days in East Aleppo

Western media and propaganda have supported the incarceration, torture, abuse and horror that these civilians had had to go through says journalist Vanessa Beeley. Columnist Brent Budowsky and Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute join the debate.

After liberating eastern Aleppo, government troops are making advances against terrorists that still control several districts of the Syrian city.

In response, the militants have again been targeting civilian areas of western Aleppo.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media continue to blame President Assad and Russia for the civilian suffering.
The grim picture of Aleppo’s liberation painted in the mainstream media has prompted crowds to protesters on the streets of European cities. People gathered in the German city of Hamburg as well as Paris calling to stop the slaughter of people in Aleppo.

Also, the lights of the Eiffel Tower have been turned off in solidarity with the civilians of Aleppo.

RT spoke to independent researcher and journalist Vanessa Beeley, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute Daniel McAdams and columnist for ‘The Hill‘ Brent Budowsky and heard some very different opinions on the Syrian conflict.

Breakthrough in Japan, Russia islands row eludes PM Abe, Putin

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin wrapped up two days of talks on Thursday, with numerous economic deals but no big breakthrough on a territorial row that has overshadowed ties since World War Two.

Putin was heading home with promises of economic cooperation after appearing to achieve what experts said was a key objective – easing international isolation when Russia faces Western condemnation over the destruction of eastern Aleppo in Syria, where it is backing President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Abe and Putin agreed to launch talks on joint economic activities on disputed islands at the center of the territorial row as a step toward concluding a peace treaty formally ending World War Two, the two sides said in a joint statement.

The islands in the Western Pacific, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kuriles in Russia, were seized by Soviet forces at the end of World War Two and 17,000 Japanese residents were forced to flee.

The dispute over their sovereignty has prevented the two countries signing a peace treaty.

This Reuters story, filed from Tokyo, appeared on their website at 12:26 p.m. EST on Friday — and it comes to us courtesy of Zero Hedge, via Brad Robertson.  Another link to it is here.

Asia Gold-China premiums jump to 3-yr highs, Indian demand stays weak

Gold premiums in China surged to their highest in nearly three years this week on fears of limited supply of the metal, while demand in India remained weak amid low prices due to a severe cash crunch following the government’s demonetisation move.

The supply shortage, traders said, was due to Beijing’s efforts to restrict import licenses.

The import curbs may be part of China’s efforts to limit yuan outflows after the currency’s slide to its weakest in more than eight years, traders said.

China allows only 13 banks, including three foreign lenders, to import gold, according to the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

The drag on supply is having an impact on pricing,” said Cameron Alexander, an analyst with Thomson Reuters-owned metals consultancy GFMS.

Gold premiums in China against the international benchmark rose to over $40 an ounce this week, the highest since January 2014, according to Thomson Reuters data. Last week, premiums were quoted around $28-$30.

This gold-related Reuters article, co-filed from Bengaluru and Mumbai, was posted on their Internet site at 3:51 a.m. EST on Friday morning — and I found it embedded in a GATA release.  Another link to it is here.

Another social cost of gold price suppression: Ruined environment

Another huge social cost of gold price suppression can be seen in an illustrated essay posted this week by the internet magazine Sapiens about the environmental damage done by wildcat gold mining in the Amazon River rain forest.

That is, environmental remediation is always a big cost of responsible gold mining. But when the gold price is pushed below the point where environmentally responsible mining can be done profitably, controlled by governments and major corporations, which can be held to account, wildcat miners take over and mine without remediation, extracting the natural wealth while failing to repair the damage they do.

Governments that are usually pretty weak to begin with may be able to hold corporations to account but are not able to police thousands of wildcatters, who can vanish quickly.

The illustrated essay is headlined “Gold Glimmers in the Amazon” and it was posted on the Internet site on Tuesday — and for length reasons it had to wait for today’s column.  It’s definitely worth your while — and it’s another gold-related news item that I found on the Internet site.  Another link to it is here.

Doug Pollitt: “Tinfoil hat crowd” was right, and gold mining executives are saps

Responding to the documentation just disgorged by Deutsche Bank in federal court in New York, Doug Pollitt of investment house Pollitt & Co. in Toronto today declares victory for the “tinfoil hat crowd” in the contest over manipulation of the monetary metals markets.

But more important, Pollitt chides the gold mining industry for playing saps for the banks that buy and rig the price of the industry’s product.

The organizations the gold mining industry depends upon to market its metal did not have their clients’ best interests in mind,” Pollitt writes. “This may still be the case. Perhaps a gold mining company (or two) will read this note and if they do, by the time they are done, they may well think that there may be a better way to get their product into the hands of the people who want it.” …

Gold is down $200 in five weeks and some equities are back where they started from. Yet the sector’s survival instinct remains difficult to discern. Maybe they don’t feel … that they can do anything about it. Maybe price-taker mentality is burned into their collective brain. N.M. Rothschild’s walked away from the fix in 2004. After almost a hundred years of operation, maybe it is time the gold producers showed a bit of pride and did so too.

This commentary applies even more to the primary silver producers.  With Doug’s kind permission, his letter was posted on the Internet site yesterday in the PDF format — and it certainly falls into the must read category.  Another link to it is here.


The first one is the grand prize winner in National Geographic’s 2016 Nature Photographer of the Year.  He is French photographer Greg Lecoeur — and the second photo was taken by him as well.  Photos like these relegate my feeble attempts to the dumpster.  The second shot, taken near Havana, Cuba, was using a 10mm fish-eye lens — and that means that he was probably within a foot of this American crocodile‘s mouth when he took it.  Click to enlarge.


Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ is an oldie-but-goodie from late 1966.  The Spencer Davis Group was part of the ‘British Invasion’ back then — and I remember listening to them on Yonge Street in Toronto in my hippy days.  I hope you enjoy it — and the link is here.

I guess I better get with the Christmas spirit, since there’s only a week left.  Here’s a live performance of John Williams’ “Star of Bethlehem” from the hit 1990 movie “Home Alone“.  The movie was a little infantile for me, but this Christmas tune has withstood the test of time — and gets more airplay every year — and deservedly so.  The link is here.

If it hadn’t been for the obvious appearance of the short buyers and long seller of last resort in late morning trading in New York, the big rallies we’ve all been waiting for would have materialized at that instant — and silver would certainly have closed with a 3-digit price.  Heaven only knows what the other three precious metals would have closed at.  But it would have certainly turned into that short covering rally for the ages that both Ted and I have spoken about for years.

Of course, on the other side of that coin, would have been a melt-down in all things paper — and that was not in the cards, at least not yesterday.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper — and I would guess from yesterday’s price action, that we’ve seen the bottom for this move down.  But Ted was quick to point out on the phone yesterday that one should never underestimate the treachery of JPMorgan et al when they’re in a short covering frenzy…a point that I mentioned in yesterday’s column as well.

You can’t read even the main stream media now without running into some sort of story about price management in both silver and gold these days.

As I pointed out earlier this week, these bombs are starting to fall ever closer to the real target — and that’s JPMorgan and the CME Group that protects them.  You have to wonder if they’re starting to feel the heat from all this — and that these big COMEX deliveries, particularly in silver, represents their last swing for the fence.

And as I’ve pointed out over the years, when this price management scheme does end, it won’t end in a news vacuum, there will be one or more other events going on that the powers-that-be can point to as the reason that precious metal prices are melting up — and everything else [most likely] is melting down.

And with Trump, Putin and Russia in the news as much as they have been, an event where they can blame it on one or “all of the above” wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

The other thing I’ll be watching for on Monday is the fact that since it’s the 20th of the month — and it falls on a weekday, the good folks over at The Central Bank of the Russian Federation will have updated their website with November’s data.  And when I check it on Monday morning, I’ll be more than interested in seeing how much they gold they added to their reserves that month.

Whatever is going on out there, could lead to a very interesting end to 2016 — and although I’m hoping for nothing but good things, it’s important to remember that at times like this in history, one should be careful of what one wishes for.

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend — and I’ll see you here on Tuesday.


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