There Was No Christmas Cheer from JP Morgan et al Yesterday

24 December 2016 — Saturday


The gold price wasn’t allowed to do a lot yesterday, although it did spend the entire Friday session in positive territory.  It ‘rallied’ a bit starting at exactly 9:00 a.m. in New York.  It ran into the usual resistance at the London p.m. gold fix — and appeared to go ‘no ask’ about two minutes before the London close, which was 11:00 a.m. EST.  Then the instant that London did close, that price spike got capped and sold down until around 2:30 p.m. in the very thinly-traded after-hours market.  There was a sharp ‘rally’ in the last twenty minutes of trading — and the gold price came close to finishing on its high tick…such as it was.

The low and high ticks certainly aren’t worth looking up.

Gold finished the Friday session in New York at $1,133.50 spot, up $5.20 on the day.  As I expected, net volume was exceedingly light at a bit under 63,000 contracts.

I thought I’d throw in the New York Spot Gold [Bid] chart so you could get a closer look at the price ‘action’ in New York yesterday.

Silver rallied about a nickel in the first hour of trading in New York on Thursday evening — and then didn’t do much until the noon silver fix in London, which is 7:00 a.m. EST on the Kitco chart below.  Then it chopped quietly lower until shortly after 2 p.m. EST.  It rallied a bit into the close from there, but still finished down on the day.

Like gold, the high and low ticks aren’t worth looking up.

Silver was closed in New York  on Friday at $15.735 spot, down 1.5 cents from Thursday.  Net volume was also very light at just over 23,200 contracts.

Platinum trade pretty flat until noon in London and, like silver, it began to get sold lower.  But the selling pressure didn’t let up until the low tick was set about 12:20 p.m. in New York.  It rallied a few dollars off that low before trading sideways for the rest of the day.  Platinum didn’t close at a new low for this move down…but the rest of the gains from the big rally two Thursdays ago, vanished by the time that ‘da boyz’ were through with it yesterday.  Platinum finished the day at $889 spot, down another 13 bucks.

The palladium price chopped around a few dollars above unchanged yesterday, but by 9 a.m. in New York it was down a buck.  Then came the vicious little down/up spike at precisely noon EST.  It rallied back to unchanged in an instant — and then rallied a few dollars into positive territory by the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close.  It traded flat for the rest of the day.  Palladium closed up 3 dollars at $656 spot.

The dollar index closed very late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 103.09 — and continued to crawl lower once trading began a few minutes later at 6:00 p.m. EST on Thursday evening.  The 102.88 low tick came around 9:30 a.m. GMT in London — and it appeared that the usual ‘gentle hands’ showed up at that point.  It rallied a bit after that — and then really took off a few minutes before 8 a.m. EST in New York, with the 103.23 high tick coming at precisely 9:00 a.m. EST…which just happened to be the low tick for gold and silver.  Platinum and palladium were already under selling pressure by ‘da boyz’ by that time — and weren’t affected at all.  The index crashed back to its low of the day minutes before 11 a.m…but was ‘rescued again…and brought back above the 103.00 mark by 11:30 a.m. EST.  It didn’t do much from there until the last twenty-five minutes of trading — and then it sold off hard, as the dollar index finished the Friday session at 102.95 — and down 14 basis points from Thursday.

It was the third day in a row where the dollar index had a big intraday move in New York trading.  This time, only gold was affected…and not by much, but it was certainly noticeable if you check the major price direction changes.  It was barely noticeable in silver and, of course, ‘da boyz’ and their algorithms and spoofing were in full control of the price declines in platinum and palladium — and when they’re stomping around, it matters little what the currencies are doing.

Here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar chart — and the last time it looked this ‘toppy’ back in late November, it looked like it was going to roll over hard.  But as you can tell, it got saved by the usual ‘gentle hands’ the moment it plunged below the 100.00 mark — and the dollar index ramp job began anew.  How this current topping pattern resolves itself remains to be seen.

The gold shares opened unchanged — and began to rally immediately.  Their respective high ticks came a few minutes after the 11 a.m. EST close of trading in London — and they more or less chopped sideways from there, as the HUI closed higher by a respectable 2.29 percent.

The price pattern for the silver equities was similar in most respects, except for two things… the sell-off after the 11:05 a.m. EST high tick was far more substantial than in the gold stocks — and the silver shares rallied a decent amount in the last thirty minutes of trading.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed up 1.12 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.  The Click to Enlarge feature really helps on all three.

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

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

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 1 gold and 7 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.  Canada’s Scotiabank stopped all 8 contracts.  I shan’t bother linking this volume.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that gold open interest in December dropped by 45 contracts, leaving 563 still around.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday, so that means the obvious — and that is that 45 gold contracts on the short/issuer side were let off the delivery hook by those holding the long side of those trades.  Silver o.i. in December declined by 13 contracts, leaving 218 still open.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 13 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday, so the numbers work out perfectly.

There are only two delivery days left in December, next Thursday and Friday — and the 563 remaining gold contracts, plus the 218 remaining silver contracts, all I have to be dealt with on either of those two days.  As I said yesterday, I’ll be very interested in who the short/issuers are — and wondering why they’re waiting for the very last possible moment before delivering physical metal.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday — and as of 6:16 p.m. EST on Friday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.

With the U.S. Mint out of the picture until sometime in January, I’ve been waiting somewhat impatiently for the Royal Canadian Mint to post their Q3/2016 report.  I’ve been checking their website several times a day since the middle of October.  Finally, during the first week of December, they put up the following statement “Royal Canadian Mint’s Third Quarter Financial Report for Fiscal 2016 is expected to be released by December 23, 2017.

That didn’t stop my usual routine of checking their website several times a day — and when I checked again yesterday, expecting the report to be there, I got this statement instead…”Royal Canadian Mint’s Third Quarter Financial Report for Fiscal 2016 is expected to be released by February 23, 2017.

Excuse me for wondering that the heck that’s all about.  February 23rd should be the release date for their 2016 annual report, plus their Q4/2016 data.  I’ve been following their numbers for about a decade now — and this is the first time this has ever happened.  If, in fact they do meet this new target date, the data will be almost five months old.

There was a decent amount of gold moved around over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Thursday.  They reported receiving 36,972.500 troy ounces/1,150 kilobars [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] — and it’s the second shipment of gold in two days that went into the new International Depository Services of Delaware warehouse.  There was also 16,075.000 troy ounces/500 kilobars [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] shipped out the door over at Canada’s Scotiabank.  The link to all this activity is here.

In silver, there was 796,963 troy ounces received at Brink’s, Inc. — and 13,681 troy ounces shipped out of Canada’s Scotiabank — and the link to that is here.

It was another huge day over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday.  They reported receiving 7,058 of them, plus they shipped out another 6,123.  All of this action was at Brink’s, Inc. as per usual — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

Ted’s comments on Wednesday about what might be in Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report were pretty much right on the money, as he had this to say about it at that time…

“In terms of numbers of contracts, I would guess the headline number of net commercial shorts to drop by 10,000 to 15,000 contracts in gold or more — and in silver by at least the 5,400 contracts the headline number increased last week. But I’m not overly obsessed with what the actual numbers might be, because I’m convinced the commercials went all out to rig prices lower, particularly after the Fed announcement, so that they could buy as many gold and silver contracts as possible. In other words, this week’s changes are more dependent than anything else on how many managed money contracts could be induced for sale (both long liquidation and new short selling).  The commercials would have bought any and all contracts offered for sale, with the actual amount dependent on what the managed money traders actually sold.”  Silver analyst Ted Butler: 21 December 2016

In silver, the Commercial net short position declined by a very decent 7,183 COMEX contracts, or 35.9 million troy ounces of paper silver.  They arrived at this number by purchasing 230 long contracts, plus they covered 6,953 short contracts — and the total change for the reporting week is the sum of those two numbers.

Ted said that the Big 4 traders reduced their short position by around 2,600 contracts, but the ‘5 through 8’ large traders only reduced their short position by about 100 contracts.  Ted’s raptors, the Commercial traders other than the Big 8, added around 4,500 contracts to their long positions.  The sum of those three numbers adds up [within 100 contracts] of the 7,183 contract change in the Commercial net short position.

Ted pegs JPMorgan’s short position at 18,000 contracts — and mentioned the fact that it’s probably closer to 16,500 contracts once you subtract out the long contracts that got extinguished when they took physical delivery of the 1,500+ COMEX contracts so far in December.

The Commercial net short position in paper silver is now down to 369.7 million troy ounces.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, it was “all for one, and one for all” in all three categories…as the Managed Money Traders, the Other Reportables, along with the Nonreportable/small trader category, all sold longs and added to short positions.  The Managed Money traders were not the dominant players for a change, although they did add 2,438 contracts to their short position during the reporting week.  They also sold a tiny 421 long contracts, which must be just about all they have left.  That leaves a core non-technical/Managed Money long position of 59,215 contract that are held by what I call the ‘unblinking longs’…those traders that don’t buy or sell on the penetration of moving averages.  I’d dearly love to know who they are — and if they have any very arms-length relationships with any or all of the Big 8 commercial traders.

Here’s the 9-year COT chart for silver — and there was certainly decent improvement this week.  But unless the Big 8 commercial traders can coax the sale of a material number of long contracts, or entice these same traders to go heavily onto the short side, we’re looking at the bottom of the market right now.  Click to enlarge.

In gold, the Commercial net short position dropped by 15,864 contracts, or 1.59 million troy ounces of paper gold.  They arrived at this number by adding 1,817 long contracts, plus they covered a fairly chunky 14,047 short contracts — and almost all of this improvement came at the expense of the Managed Money traders.

Ted said that the Big 4 — and ‘5 through 8’ large traders only decreased their net short positions by around 1,900 and 1,400 COMEX contracts respectively.  The heavy lifting came courtesy of Ted’s raptors, the Commercial traders other than the Big 8, as they added approximately 12,600 contracts to their growing long position.

As has been the case for the last number of weeks, the commercial net short positions of the Big 4 and ‘5 through 8’ large traders probably increased more than the headline numbers above show — and that’s because one or two of the Managed Money traders now has a short position so large that they now fall into the ‘5 through 8’ large trader category — and I was wondering out loud if maybe one had slipped into the Big 4 category after this week’s price/volume action.  Ted and I spent some time discussing this possibility — and I look forward to what he has to say in his weekly review, which won’t be out until Sunday, because he’s celebrating Christmas one day early this year.

While on the subject of the Managed Money traders in gold, under the hood in the Disaggregated Report, these traders sold 8,562 long contracts, plus they added 6,351 short contracts, for a total weekly change of 14,913 COMEX contracts, which is by far the lion’s share of the 15,864 contract decline in the Commercial net short position mentioned above.  The difference, about 950 contracts, came courtesy of the traders in the Other Reportable and Nonreportable/small trader categories.

Before I forget, the Commercial net short position in gold is now down to 13.40 million troy ounces.

Here’s the 9-year COT chart for gold — and the same thing can be said about it, that was just said about silver. Unless the Big 8 commercial traders can coax/coerce the sale of a material numbers of long contracts, or entice these same traders to go heavily onto the short side, we’re looking at the bottom in the gold market as well.  Click to enlarge.

Are these current price bottoms cast in stone now?  In a word…no.  Or perhaps…maybe.  Please don’t forget what Ted said — and that was that the treachery of JPMorgan et al should never, ever be underestimated.

But, having said that, unless the Managed Money traders are prepared to pile onto the short side to the extent they have in the past, there isn’t much room to the downside from a price perspective — and the Big 8 commercial traders will be stuck with large short positions that they can’t cover.  Of course that doesn’t apply to JPMorgan, as they have more than enough physical metal to cover their short position in silver — and maybe gold as well.

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 125 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 174 days, which is just about 6 months of world silver production, or about 422.8 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 369.7 million troy ounces.  So the Big 8…as usual…hold a short position larger than the Commercial net position to the tune of 422.8 – 369.7 = 53.1  million troy ounces…give or take.  And not to be forgotten is the fact that Ted pegs JPMorgan’s short position around 18,000 contracts/90 million ounces — which works out to around 37 days of world silver production that JPMorgan is short.  That’s compared to the 174 days that the Big 8 are short in total.

And as bad as those number are, the Big 8 are short 52.9 percent of the entire open interest in silver in the COMEX futures market — and that number would be well over 55 percent once the market-neutral spread trades were subtracted out.  In gold it’s up to 41.2 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 81 days of world silver production between the two of them—and that 81 days represents around 65 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.  The four large traders in the ‘5 through 8’ category are short, on average, about 12.5 days of silver production apiece.

As I stated just above, based on Ted’s estimate of JPMorgan’s short position of 18,000 contracts, JPMorgan is short around 37 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 fifth week in a row, Scotiabank is the King of the silver shorts in the COMEX futures market.

In gold, the Big 4 are short 40 days of world gold production, down from 41 days last week — and the ‘5 through 8’ are short another 19 days of world production [unchanged from last week], for a total of 59 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, 67 and 67 percent respectively of the short positions held by the Big 8.

Here are two 2-year charts that Nick passed around very late last night Denver time.  They show the updated weekly transparent gold and silver holdings from all the published repositories, mutual funds and ETFs.  And as you can tell from the charts, even though gold and silver prices are down substantially during the last six months, it certainly hasn’t induced a panic out of the physical metal — and that’s particularly true in silver.  Click to enlarge for both.

I have very few stories for you today — and with the holiday season upon us, that’s the way it should be.


Third-quarter U.S. GDP growth spurt is already fading

The U.S. economy grew faster than originally reported in the third quarter, but fresher data show that growth is slowing sharply in the final three months of the year.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that gross domestic product grew at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter, up from the last estimate of a 3.2 percent pace. That was the fastest pace of growth in two years.

The better showing was the result of upward revisions to the level of business investment in structures and intellectual property products. Spending by state and local governments also was stronger than reported in the previous estimate.

The strong third-quarter showing followed an anemic 1.4 percent gain in the second quarter. And a closer look at the latest numbers suggest the growth spurt won’t last.

This CNBC news item showed up on their Internet site at 11:26 a.m. EST on Thursday morning — and I plucked it from yesterday’s edition of The King Report.  Another link to it is here — and it’s  worth reading if you have the interest.

Truman’s True Warning on the CIA — Ray McGovern

Fifty years ago, exactly one month after John Kennedy was killed, The Washington Post published an op-ed titled “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence.” The first sentence of that op-ed on Dec. 22, 1963, read, “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency.

It sounded like the intro to a bleat from some liberal professor or journalist. Not so. The writer was former President Harry S. Truman, who spearheaded the establishment of the CIA 66 years ago, right after World War II, to better coordinate U.S. intelligence gathering. But the spy agency had lurched off in what Truman thought were troubling directions.

Sadly, those concerns that Truman expressed in that op-ed — that he had inadvertently helped create a Frankenstein monster — are as valid today as they were 50 years ago, if not more so.

Truman began his article by underscoring “the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency … and what I expected it to do.” It would be “charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without Department ‘treatment’ or interpretations.

Truman then moved quickly to one of the main things bothering him. He wrote “the most important thing was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions.

This commentary was sent to us by Larry Galearis last Sunday — and for length and content reasons it had to wait for my Saturday column.  It’s datelined 13 December 2013 — but it’s even more relevant today then it was back then.  It’s definitely worth reading — and another link to it is here.

A Wall Street Christmas Story: Kevin Horrigan

The child snuggled on my lap, the lights of the tree twinkling in her bright eyes. “Grandpa,” she said, “tell me a Christmas story.

The one about the baby in the manger, the angels, and the shepherds?

Not that one.”

The one about the reindeer with the red nose?


Then what story, child?

The one about the investment bankers in New York who get their annual bonuses every year at Christmas time and buy yachts and BMWs and real estate.

It is her favorite story. It never grows old.

This hilarious Christmas story appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch back on December 17, 2006—and is no longer available on that website.  The only reason I have it, is because Chris Powell saved it as a GATA release—and here it is now.  Enjoy—or not!  Another link to it is here.

Doug Casey on What Trump Means for Your Personal Finances and Freedom

So, Trump has won the election. Of course anything can happen between now and his presumed inauguration on January 20. The Swamp Creatures tried to cause a recount in so-called Purple States that would have changed the number of electors in Hillary’s favor. They tried other ways to somehow influence Trump electors to vote for Hillary. None of this would have been an issue if Baby Bush II, Jeb, had been the Republican nominee, as was supposed to have happened. It all just shows what a transparent (a word these people love to use) fraud “democracy” has become.

Let the hoi polloi cast a meaningless vote, so they have the illusion of being in control. Instead of seeing themselves as subjects, they’ll think they’re “we the people,” who actually have some say in what happens. That way they’ll pay their taxes willingly, enthusiastically sign on to aggressive wars on the other side of the world against people they know nothing about, and generally do as they’re told. Because it’s supposed to be patriotic. “Democracy” is a much more effective scam for controlling the plebs than kingship or dictatorship.

That said, the Establishment, the Deep State, was genuinely shocked and appalled by Trump’s victory. As Baby Bush the First would have said, they misunderestimated how angry the average voter was. That’s because the Coastal Democratic Elite are totally out of touch with the common man. But they needn’t fret too much. They’ll be re-installed, with a vengeance, in four years.

This commentary by Doug showed up on the Internet site on Friday — and another link to it is here.

Credit Suisse Settles With DOJ For $5.3 Billion; Will Pay $2.5 Billion Civil Penalty

Credit Suisse Group AG agreed to pay $5.28 billion to resolve a U.S. investigation into its business in mortgage-backed securities as officials work through a backlog of crisis-era bank cases.

The Swiss lender will pay a $2.48 billion civil penalty and $2.8 billion in relief for homeowners and communities hit by the collapse in home prices, it said in a statement Friday. Credit Suisse will take a pretax charge of about $2 billion in addition to its existing reserves during the fourth quarter.

The announcement follows a $7.2 billion settlement in a related case by Deutsche Bank AG, which was announced earlier on Friday. The Justice Department on Thursday sued Barclays Plc for fraud over its sale of mortgage bonds after the bank balked at paying the amount the government sought in negotiations. The lawsuit announced on Thursday is rare for big banks, which typically settle with the government rather than risk drawn-out litigation and a possible trial.

With this settlement, the largest remaining major uncertainty is now eliminated” for Credit Suisse, said Peter Casanova, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux who has a buy rating on the stock. “This is good news.”

But nobody goes to jail.  This story was posted on the Bloomberg website at 11:37 p.m. Denver time on Thursday night — and was subsequently updated about an hour later.  I found it embedded in a news item over at the Zero Hedge website — and another link to it is here.

Italy’s Monte dei Paschi bail-in is a bailout

Monte dei Paschi’s rescue is a bailout masquerading as a bail-in. European rules now mean governments that save banks have to force losses on creditors, or convert them into shares. Italy is doing that with MPS, but adding an unjustified bit of financial engineering that makes it no better than bank bailouts from 2008.

At first glance the MPS rescue, announced on Dec. 23, appears a classic application of European rules. The bank has been unable to raise the €5 billion it needs to fill a capital shortfall created by stress tests. Ergo, under article 32 of the Banking Recovery and Resolution Directive, the government can step in. Under state aid rules, that requires MPS’ €4 billion-plus of subordinated debt to convert into equity.

Yet the government is bolting on another leg. The bank can then swap those shares held by retail investors for a new bond, this time a senior-ranking one, with little default risk. That would create a problem for MPS, as it would have less equity. So, the government will then buy those shares from the bank. Economically, it looks similar to the government simply buying the shares directly from retail creditors.

This very interesting Reuters article, filed from London, appeared on their Internet site at 5:34 a.m. EST on Friday morning — and it comes to us courtesy of Richard Saler.  Another link to it is here.

Putin says Russia not interested in arms race, Trump’s nuke comment ‘nothing new

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said Donald Trump‘s comment seeking to expand U.S. nuclear capabilities is “nothing new” because the U.S. president-elect made the proposal during the election.

Putin responded to Trump’s Thursday-night tweet during his year-end, hours-long press conference.

Of course the U.S. has more missiles, submarines and aircraft carriers, but what we say is that we are stronger than any aggressor, and this is the case,” Putin said. “As for Donald Trump, there is nothing new about it, during his election campaign he said the U.S. needs to bolster its nuclear capabilities and its armed forces in general.

Putin said Russia was not seeking to create more nuclear warheads or to enter a Cold War-era arms race. He said Russia was working to improve current armament to the point it could pierce through missile defense systems

This UPI story, filed from Moscow, was posted on their website at 9:45 a.m. on Friday morning EST — and I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us.  Another link to it is here.

War-Criminalizing Putin as Obama Exits the Field:  John Batchelor interviews Stephen F. Cohen

Batchelor and Cohen once more this week return to the evolving constitutional turmoil around preventing President elect Trump from taking office in January. In the background to this are related headlines from the New McCarthyism, the so-called “hack” of the DNC, the plans to investigate Russian involvement in Trump win, the “threat” from Russia in various NATO fronts, and unrelated but very important, the assassination in Turkey of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, and the meeting in Moscow with diplomats from Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey (without the significant presence of an American representative or acknowledgement to the U.N.) Also in the news was the terrorist incident in Berlin early this week. Batchelor avers that much of this has unleashed the fears that the U.S. is “losing the New Cold War” (even as none have officially admitting that there even is one). Cohen sums up the situation succinctly by stating that Washington and the MSM “prefer to fight Putin’s Russia than international terrorism”. And what an amazing conclusion given the official reaction to 911 with the “War on Terror” and stated reasons for war in the M.E and Afghanistan!  The latest terrorist event in Berlin and even the assassination of an ambassador does not diminish this mindset. Trump, however, does not share this position and has officially documented this to the DOD. Cohen’s position of the demonization of Putin that Washington considers Russia the existential threat as “primitive politics” and its attacks on Russia as “pornographic”.

The pundits also discuss the “hack” of the presidential elections. Although he does not believe the Russians were involved, he does agree that an investigation should occur for the simple reason that an official accusation was made. Although Cohen has not made up his mind if any hacking was possible, it is unlikely that Russia had any involvement in the election. It is only when one examines why Hillary Clinton started the whole “Putin stole the election for Trump” tirade that we can clearly see how despicable, damaging, and tragic this period has been for Washington. Even if there were some proof of Russian involvement, the details would, according to Cohen, be classified.

As a result we have a constitutional crisis generated by falsehoods that has probably destroyed the Democratic Party, damaged the credibility of the current presidency, the FBI, the CIA, the US Congress, the Senate, the Department of Defence and the whole Fourth Estate. And he also notes that the NY Times has also accused the people around Trump with treason and sedition! And we can think back about where this all started with Hillary Clinton and her “difficulties” in the DNC and her election loss.  Now the Clintons are faced with combined goals of preserving both the Clinton’s control of the Democratic Party and the Clinton Foundation, and encouraging war with Russia. One should argue that the damage is nowhere near commensurate with any gains by Washington, and deplorably the damage costs are all to benefit the Clintons and the deep state. And the damage is massive! But the clear winner, and Cohen is right about this, is that Putin in the eyes of the world has virtually inherited through the disasters of American foreign policy the position of “pre-eminent statesman of our times” The terrible in-fighting over the Trump election simply adds to the disquiet that the rest of the world views the United States. For the reportedly fifty percent of Americans who are unconvinced that Russia is the meddler as portrayed by their own government and the MSM, there must be a growing and similar mindset. It reminds me of that 1970s quote from that TV show, Kung Fu: “For every gain there is a loss, for every loss there is a gain.

As usual, there is much more to hear in the actual podcast.

This 40-minute audio interview was posted on the Internet site on Tuesday — and I thank Ken Hurt for sending us the link.  But, as always, the biggest kudos are reserved for Larry Galearis for wordsmithing his incredible weekly Executive Summaries — and this one is no exception.  It’s a must listen for any serious student of the New Great Game — and another link to it is here.

World Trade Falls to 2014 Level, just in Time for a “Trade War”

If you get into a trade war with China, sooner or later we’ll have to come to grips with that,” Carl Icahn, now special advisor to President-Elect Trump, told CNBC on Thursday. “I remember the day something like that would really knock the hell out of the market.

A trade war with China surely would be another wall of worry for stocks to climb. Trump’s rhetoric against China, each morsel packaged into 140 characters or less, has already recreated much-needed turbulence.

But maybe if you’re going to do it,” Icahn said about the looming trade war with China, “you should get it over with, right?

This comes after rumors emerged that Trump’s transition team is chewing over the idea to impose import tariffs of up to 10{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}, “according to multiple sources,” including a “senior Trump transition official,” CNN reported. The idea is to boost U.S. manufacturing. The new tariffs could be imposed by executive order or by Congress as part of broader tax reform legislation.

This short article put in an appearance on the Internet site on Friday — and I thank Richard Saler for his second offering in today’s column.  Another link to it is here.



I have two Christmas ‘blasts from the past’ for you today.  The first is one of the compositions from George Fredric Handel’s “Messiah“.  I post this piece every Christmas — and here’s the incomparable Dame Emma Kirkby and David Thomas doing the honours.  I’ve owned this particular recording for thirty years  I still consider it to be the definitive version of this work — and the link is here.

The second Christmas piece, the “Coventry Carol“, dates from 16th century England.  It’s another tune that I post during the holiday season.  This ‘a capella‘ rendition by a group of Lithuanian singers that call themselves “Quorum”…is simply outstanding — and the link is here.

It was only the gold price that traded along with what was happening in the currencies — and even then, it’s price action was kept on a short leash — and not allowed to respond as the dollar index took another 50+ basis point header during the New York trading session.  JPMorgan et al were predominantly occupied with silver, platinum and palladium.

As I mentioned at the top of today’s column, a new low price in platinum wasn’t set on Friday, but the remainder of the price gains from the big surprise rally on Thursday, December 15 disappeared yesterday…buried under an avalanche of spoofing and algo spinning.  And not to be forgotten is the fact that silver was closed at a new low for this move down — and ‘da boyz’ set a new intraday low for palladium as well.  Silver had a new intraday low price set on Tuesday, but did not close at a new low.  On Friday it did.  So the salami slicing has continued right up until Christmas.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper, so you can see all this ‘slicing’ for yourself.

Although it is the Christmas season, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if JPMorgan et al continued their attacks on the precious metals during the holiday-shortened week between Christmas and New Years.  Their steely-eyed determination yesterday came as a bit of surprise, as I wasn’t expecting much in the way of price activity, but they had their way with the precious metals once again.

Of course it’s the rally that begins after this that we should focus on now — and it remains to be seen if this one will be Ted’s “Big One” or not.  As is always the case, it’s what JP Morgan does or doesn’t do once it commences that really matters.  If they’re prepared to go short again, then it will be the “same old, same old” as we had last year at this time.  But if not — and JP Morgan lets the other members of the Big 8…which automatically becomes the Big 7…burn in hell in a short-covering rally for the ages — we’ll know almost from the moment it begins.

Time will tell…and not too much time at that.

Depending on what’s going on, I may or may not have a column on Tuesday.  But if I do, there won’t be much in it — and that will be pretty much the case for the remainder of my missives next week as well.

Season’s Greetings to you and yours this holiday season.


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