More Precious Metal Price-Capping on Tuesday

11 January 2017 — Wednesday


The gold price didn’t do much in the first few hours of trading after New York opened at 6:00 p.m. EST on Monday evening.  But once the dollar index began to head south shortly after 10 a.m. China Standard time on their Tuesday morning, the gold price began to head higher, but with huge resistance, as volume exploded right away.  The gold price was up about 6 bucks by around 2:30 p.m. CST — but once the dollar index began to ‘rally’…’da boyz’ leaned on the gold price.  It chopped quietly lower until the COMEX open — and began to inch higher from there.  It really took off at the 9:30 a.m. EST open of the equity markets in New York, but was brutally capped starting even before the London p.m. gold fix, as it was about to break through its 50-day moving average.  Once the ‘fix’ was in, it drifted quietly lower for the rest of the Tuesday session.

Gold traded within a ten dollar price range again yesterday, so the high and low ticks aren’t worth looking up.

Gold was closed in New York on Tuesday at $1,187.30 spot, up $6.50 from Monday.  Net volume was very heavy at just under 180,000 contracts — and I certainly wasn’t happy to see that.

Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  There was decent volume in Far East trading, but JPMorgan et al really laid the lumber on that price rally that began at 07:30 Denver time on the chart below, which was the open of the equity markets in New York yesterday morning.  By noon MST/2 p.m. in New York, volume was back to background.

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 action on Tuesday was almost identical to gold’s, except for the fact that ‘da boyz’ stepped in right at 9:30 a.m. in New York/7:30 a.m. Denver time — and once it broke above its 50-day moving average at noon EST, they were there to smack it down [which they also did in gold at noon EST as well] — and within thirty minutes it was 20 cents lower in price.  It recovered a bit into the COMEX close — and then traded flat for the remainder of the day.

The low and high ticks in this this precious metal were reported by the CME Group as $16.575 and $16.955 in the March contract.

Silver finished the day at $16.755 spot, up 21.5 cents from Monday’s close.  Net volume was pretty heavy as well at just over 55,000 contracts.

Here’s the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart which I’m posting so you can see where JPMorgan et al stepped into the futures market a minute or so after the 9:30 open of the equity markets in New York, followed by the brutal thirty minute sell-off starting at noon EST.  The spot bid chart for gold looks similar, but they didn’t show up there until about five minutes before the fix.

And here’s the 5-minute tick chart for silver courtesy of Brad as well.  Note the huge volume the powers-that-be had to use to cap, then snuff out, the rally between 7:20 and 10:30 a.m. Denver time.  Like gold, by shortly after the COMEX close, volume was back to fumes and vapours.

Like the 5-minute gold chart, 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 as well.

Platinum was sold down a few dollars in early Far East trading, but rallied into positive territory on the dollar index swoon as well.  After that, its price path was almost the same as gold and silver’s, except that its rally off its low tick began about twenty minutes before the COMEX open.  It got capped at the London afternoon gold fix as well — and then chopped sideways into the close — and finished the day up 2 dollars at $977 spot.

It was pretty much the same price pattern for palladium as it was for platinum — and it’s obvious from the chart that its rally ran into big resistance in New York as well — and its rally was capped at the Zurich close, which was 11 a.m. EST.  After trading more or less sideways for the rest of Tuesday, it managed to tack on another dollar or so going into the 5:00 p.m. close.  Palladium closed up 8 bucks at $764 spot.

The dollar index closed very late on Monday afternoon in New York at 101.82 — and then didn’t do much after trading began a few minutes later at 6:00 p.m. EST.  But around 9:30 a.m. in Shanghai on their Tuesday morning, the index made a rally attempt back towards the 102.00 mark.  That attempt crashed and burned shortly after 10 a.m. CST.  The 101.52 low tick of the day came minutes before noon CST — and it looked like the usual ‘gentle hands’ showed up at that point.  It chopped quietly higher, finally breaking above the 102.00 mark around 12:35 p.m. GMT in London.  It rolled over 20 minutes later — and its [approximately] 101.65 New York low was printed at, or minutes before, the London p.m. gold fix.  It had a 25 basis point rally in the next thirty minutes before heading lower once again.  It caught a ‘bid’ around 11:20 a.m…but that petered out at its 102.10 high tick around 12:40 p.m. EST.  It dropped back to the 102.00 mark right away — and chopped sideways into the close from there, finishing the Tuesday session at 102.04 — and up 22 basis points.

It was another day where the dollar index would have crashed and burned if allowed to do so.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index — and you can read into it whatever you wish, which should be nothing at all.

The gold shares were up a bit over 2 percent by the London p.m. gold fix yesterday — and then sold off into negative territory until 12:30 p.m. when the gold price began to rally anew.  They made it back into the green by the COMEX close — and then chopped sideways either side of unchanged for the rest of the Tuesday session.  The HUI closed up 0.40 percent.

The silver equities followed an identical price pattern as the gold stocks.  They were up about 4 percent at the ‘fix’ — and never got a sniff of negative territory, even after the price was run lower between noon and 12:30 p.m. in New York.  They rallied from their lows at that point — and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed higher by 1.84 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 3 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.  JPMorgan stopped 2 of the silver contracts for its client account — and Scotiabank picked up the other one.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Tuesday trading session showed that gold open interest in January declined by 25 contracts, leaving 136 still open. Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 23 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 25-23=2 short/issuers in gold were let off the January delivery hook by those holding the long side of their trades.  Silver o.i. in January dropped by 124 contracts, leaving 234 still around.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that exactly 124 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so the numbers work out perfectly for a change.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday — and as of 6:23 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.

I was expecting the folks over at the Internet site to update their short positions for both GLD and SLV last night, but that never came to pass.  Maybe they’ll do it later this morning EST.

The U.S. Mint had a small sales report yesterday.  They sold 5,500 troy ounces of gold eagles — and 2,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — but no silver eagles.

There wasn’t a lot of movement in gold at the COMEX-approved warehouses on the U.S. east coast on Monday.  They received 3,907 troy ounces — and shipped out 18,533.  There was a bit of in/out activity at Brink’s, Inc.  — and a hundred ounce bar was shipped out of Delaware.  The big ‘out’ movement was 12,056.250 troy ounces/375 kilobars [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] that left Scotiabank.  The link to this activity is here.

It was another huge day in silver, as 1,835,751 troy ounces were received — and 624,100 were shipped out.  There was 600,453 troy ounces shipped into CNT — and 613,167 troy ounces were shipped out.  JPMorgan picked up another 602,006 troy ounces as well.  Scotiabank received 633,291 troy ounces.  The link to all that action is here.

It was relatively busy over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Monday.  They received 3,537 of them, plus they shipped out another 6,095 of them.  All of that activity was at Brink’s, Inc. as per usual — and the link to that, in troy ounces is here.

Here are a couple of charts Nick passed around yesterday that you should already be familiar with.  They show the average daily prices [on a 2-minute tick basis] for all days that trading occurred in both gold and silver on Planet Earth during December.  Using averages such as this, any underlying price trends show up right away, as does the ongoing price management scheme in both precious metals.

I see that Nick has included the Shanghai fixes for gold.  This is the first I’ve heard of them.  But you’ll note that the powers-that-be leaned on the gold price starting shortly before the p.m. Shanghai gold fix — and, on average in December, they set the low price tick of the day at 4:00 p.m. EST in the thinly-traded after-hours market in New York.  After that it rallied back to its high tick of the day, which was minutes before the p.m. gold fix in Shanghai.

Wash, rinse, spin, repeat….!

Here’s the price management scheme in gold in plain sight.  And as Nick added in his comments with these charts…”December averages — still being sold at the London fixes.”  And elsewhere too, I might add.

The price management scheme in silver in December was somewhat different.  The high tick, on average, came around 12:30 a.m. in New York, which is 1:30 p.m. China Standard Time.  The low tick is pretty much in by the COMEX open.  Silver is allowed to rally until the 1:30 p.m. EST COMEX close — and then gets sold off until the close of trading at 5:00 p.m. in New York.  It rallies back to its early afternoon high in Shanghai, where the whole process, on average, was repeated every day during December.

Wash, rinse, spin, repeat….!  Any questions?

It was another slow news day, so I’ve included one rather lengthy article that would normally have to wait for Saturday, but thought I’d include in today’s column.


FX ‘Cartel’ Traders Said to Face U.S. Rigging Charges

Prosecutors are poised to charge the currency traders at the heart of one of the biggest U.S. market-rigging investigations, according to people familiar with the matter.

The imminent criminal charges are against members of ‘The Cartel’ chat group, the people said. These traders used instant messages to coordinate the rigging of foreign-exchange benchmarks by sharing confidential customer information, prosecutors have said in antitrust cases that led to guilty pleas by five banks in 2015.

The senior dealers who participated in The Cartel were Richard Usher, formerly of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Rohan Ramchandani, formerly of Citigroup Inc. and Chris Ashton, formerly global head of spot trading at Barclays Plc. Another member, Matt Gardiner, formerly of UBS Group AG, has been helping prosecutors build cases against the traders, people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg News.

Lawyers for Ashton, Gardiner and Ramchandani declined to comment. Usher’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.

The men are located outside of the U.S., meaning they would have to be extradited, a process that can take months, if not years. They are probably going to fight back against the charges, one of the people said.

No surprises here.  This Bloomberg news item appeared on their Internet site at 3:21 a.m. Denver time on Tuesday morning — and was updated about two hours later.  I found it embedded in a GATA release — and another link to it is here.

Chicago, New York in Worst Financial Shape Among Large U.S. Cities

Chicago and New York rank at the bottom of a new analysis of fiscal strength based primarily on data from 2015 financial reports issued by the cities themselves. The analysis includes 116 U.S. cities with populations greater than 200,000.

Chicago’s position at the bottom of the ranking is no surprise to anyone who follows municipal finance. The Windy City has become a poster child for financial mismanagement, having suffered a series of ratings downgrades in recent years. Aside from having thin reserves and large volumes of outstanding debt, Chicago is notorious for its underfunded pension plans.

For example, the city’s Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF) reported $4.7 billion in assets and $14.7 billion of actuarially accrued liabilities at the end of 2015, representing a funded ratio of just 33 percent. The actuarial calculations rely on a controversial practice of discounting future benefits at a rate of 7.5 percent, which is the assumed return on the fund’s portfolio return. If a more conservative assumption was employed, MEABF’s liabilities would be higher and its funded ratio lower.

While Chicago’s place at the bottom of the list is unsurprising, New York City’s position — just one step above — was unexpected. An extended bull market and soaring real estate prices have pumped money into the Big Apple’s coffers. Total municipal revenues rose from $60 billion in 2009 to $81 billion in 2015. But the city has been spending the money almost as quickly as it has been coming in.

New York City also carries a very heavy debt burden. According to a report issued by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York’s per capita debt greatly exceeds that of all other large U.S. cities, and is even 50 percent higher than that of Chicago. But the comptroller’s report only focuses on bonded debt. Government financial accounting standards require cities to report other long-term obligations such as pensions, compensated absences for municipal employees (accrued sick and vacation leave payable at retirement) and “other post-employment benefits” (or OPEB).

This story was posted on Internet site on Monday — and it comes to us courtesy of Brad Robertson.  Another link to this article is here.

Dollar’s reserve currency status destroys U.S. manufacturing — Hugo Salinas Price

Hugo Salinas Price, president of the Mexican Civic Association for Silver, explains how the U.S. dollar’s role as the world reserve currency has destroyed so much manufacturing in the United States. The only way countries can obtain dollars, Salinas Price writes, is to export to the United States, and they can do that only if they price their products below the prices charged by U.S. manufacturers.

An alternative system, Salinas Price writes, would require a different reserve currency, the contrivance created by the International Monetary Fund — Special Drawing Rights — or a certain rather scarce yellow metal that used to do the job well and impartially.

Salinas Price’s commentary is headlined “Trump’s Ignorance” and it’s posted at the Mexican Civic Association for Silver…  Another link to it is here.  It’s another article I found on the Internet site.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is out of touch with the 99 per cent

It’s minus 13C on an Ontario Sunday morning, and the Tim Hortons up at Highway 9, handily located between Orangeville and Shelburne, is doing brisk business. A steady stream of folks in SUVs and F-150s make their way to the drive-through window to collect their breakfast sandwiches and double-doubles. Their heavy parkas come from Mark’s Work Wearhouse, not Patagonia.

This would be an excellent place for Justin Trudeau to start his listening tour.

Mr. Trudeau’s listening tour, hastily announced last week, is damage control for the revelation that he and his family enjoyed a secret winter getaway at the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas. I don’t know why anybody in the PMO thought they could keep it secret. Their attempts to do so (they cited privacy concerns) simply aroused the slumbering jackals of the media, who sniffed out the story within hours.

A winter getaway in the sun is every Canadian’s birthright, and no one begrudges the Trudeau family one of their own. But two things strike me as wrong-footed about his decision to accept the hospitality of the Aga Khan and his attempt to keep it off the record. First, his job involves a certain sacrifice of privacy, alas. People want to know where he’s going, and they’re not wrong to do so. Second, the optics. A villa in St. Kitts is one thing (see Christmas, 2015), but being hosted by a zillionaire with a private island, yachts and helicopters is a bit much – especially when your government has made a habit of donating millions of dollars to one of your host’s philanthropic efforts. It looks a bit too chummy, to say nothing of a bit too 0.001 per cent.

His dad, former Prime Minster Pierre Elliot Trudeau, was sort of like that as well…very aloof — and didn’t give damn about the common man.  So, like father, like son.  This right-on-the money opinion piece was posted on The Globe and Mail website on Monday sometime — and I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us.  Another link to it is here.

Volkswagen to Pay $4.3 Billion to Settle Diesel Scandal, Will Plead Guilty to Criminal Charges

Confirming recent leaks, Volkswagen – whose former head of US regulatory compliance was arrested on Saturday – said it was in “advanced discussions”  with U.S. authorities to resolve charges related to its diesel emissions scandal, and has negotiated a “concrete draft of a settlement” that would see it pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties, and would require the German carmaker to enter a guilty plea to various criminal charges, strengthen compliance systems and install an independent monitor for three years.

The agreement, which has yet to be finalized, would lead to an expense that exceeds current provisions, the German automaker said. It also includes a guilty plea to some criminal charges, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker said:

In case of a settlement agreement, the payment obligations are expected to lead to a financial expense that exceeds the current provisions. The concrete impact regarding the annual result 2016 cannot be defined at present due to its dependency on various further factors.

According to Bloomberg, VW’s management and supervisory boards are scheduled to review the settlement today or Wednesday and may raise provisions related to the scandal, which currently total €18.2 billion ($19.2 billion). A final agreement also needs to be approved by U.S. courts. The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on Volkswagen’s statement.

This news item put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge Internet site at 8:10 p.m. on Tuesday evening EST — and another link to it is here.

Hungary Plans to Crackdown on All Soros-Funded NGOs

Hungary plans to crack down on non-governmental organizations linked to billionaire George Soros now that Donald Trump will occupy the White House, according to the deputy head of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party.

The European Union member will use “all the tools at its disposal” to “sweep out” NGOs funded by the Hungarian-born financier, which “serve global capitalists and back political correctness over national governments,” Szilard Nemeth, a vice president of the ruling Fidesz party, told reporters on Tuesday. No one answered the phone at the Open Society Institute in Budapest when Bloomberg News called outside business hours.

I feel that there is an opportunity for this, internationally,” because of Trump’s election, state news service MTI reported Nemeth as saying. Lawmakers will start debating a bill to let authorities audit NGO executives, according to parliament’s legislative agenda.

Orban, the first European leader to publicly back Trump’s campaign, has ignored criticism from the European Commission and U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration for building a self-described “illiberal state” modeled on authoritarian regimes including Russia, China and Turkey. In 2014, Orban personally ordered the state audit agency to probe foundations financed by Norway and said that civil society groups financed from abroad were covers for “paid political activists.”

This Bloomberg story was posted on their Internet site at 9:44 a.m. MST on Tuesday morning — and updated about an hour later.  I picked it out of a Zero Hedge story — and another link to it is here.

No bombshell: the intelligence report on Russia and the election was ineffective

On Friday, the director of national intelligence released a report accusing the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, of directly interfering in the U.S. presidential election with the aim of undermining Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump. While most of the main conclusions had already been anonymously leaked to journalists either before or after the election, the report represents an open declaration by the CIA, FBI and NSA that a foreign power played a role in securing the president-elect’s victory.

The DNI report has come in for some criticism, and not only from Trump’s defenders. Kevin Rothrock, an editor for the Moscow Times, has a good summary of its shortcomings, which include inaccurate statements about Russian politics and a bizarre overemphasis on the role of RT, the Kremlin-controlled media network. “America’s case against the Kremlin suffers from some major flaws that should be acknowledged,” he writes, “even by individuals who argue reasonably that the Russian government likely used hackers to attack and undermine democratic institutions in the U.S.

These flaws may best be understood as a result of growing panic within the U.S. intelligence community. Trump is less than two weeks away from taking office, and he’s already pledging to pare down the CIA and attacking the agency frequently on Twitter. The same day the report was released, the agency’s former director James Woolsey quit Trump’s transition team, former acting director Michael J Morell denounced Trump in a New York Times op-ed and NBC aired an interview with former director Leon Panetta that also harshly criticized Trump. There is no precedent for this kind of open clash between an incoming president and the intelligence community.

Given that many current CIA officials reasonably fear for their jobs, the report’s sloppiness isn’t all that surprising. Nor is the lack of major new information, since most of the key details had already been leaked, and the report’s significance lies mainly in the agencies putting them on the record.

This must read opinion piece showed up on Internet site at 8:32 p.m. GMT on Monday evening, which was 3:32 p.m. in New York…EDT plus 5 hours.  I thank Patricia Caulfield for pointing it out — and another link to it is here.

The real significance of the ODNI report on “Russia’s election interfering” – The Saker

I have to confess that my first reaction was to simply ignore this report as an irrelevant load of nonsense.  Then I listed to a Ukrainian blogger, Anatoli Sharii, making fun of this report for over 10 minutes.  Listening to him my first reaction was “can’t be – Sharii is in overkill mode”.  But then Sharii began quoting the report at length and I simply could not believe my eyes (I was reading the original English text which Sharii had translated into Russian): every word Sharii said was true.  That’s when I decided to download this document and read it.  Here it is embedded for you to read.  Please do read the full text.  It is absolutely amazing

First, remember what the stated goal of this report was: to convince President-Elect Donald Trump that the Russians had actively interfered in the U.S. Presidential elections.  Since Donald Trump openly and repeatedly expressed his deepest skepticism about this entire issue, this report is the best the Neocons got to try to make him change his mind.

Second, there is this key sentence in the first page of the report: “while the conclusions in the report are all reflected in the classified assessment, the declassified report does not and cannot include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence and sources and methods“.  Translated in plain English this means this: “while we cannot tell you exactly how we know what we know, lest the bag guys find out about a super-secret intelligence gathering methods, we promise you that the conclusions made public today are supported by our research.  In other words, while “sources and methods” are kept secret, the conclusions made public do faithfully summarize our findings.  In even simpler words we could say “our conclusions are exhaustive, there are no other findings kept secret, only our methods and means have been classified”.

About half the report is basically a long, paranoid rant about how effective RT and Sputnik are — and how popular they have become in the West.  Seriously, they are trying to convince Trump that the Russians are bad, bad, bad by saying that RT has good talk shows!  This simply blows my mind.

I don’t know what Trump was thinking when he listened to this load of bovine excreta, but I know that had I been in his position I would have literally kicked the folks presenting this report down the stairs of my house and that I would have immediately fired all the persons and offices linked to the drafting of this text.

This longish commentary by The Saker was one that I was saving for Saturday, but since it’s such a slow news day, I thought I’d stick it in today’s column.  It was posted on his website on Sunday — and it’s certainly worth reading if you have the time, or the interest.  I thank ‘aurora’ for passing it around in the wee hours of yesterday morning EST — and another link to it is here.

Toshiba asks creditors not to call in loans: sources

Toshiba Corp met creditors on Tuesday and asked them not to use provisions in debt agreements to call in their loans early, giving the troubled company time to work out a turnaround plan, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

It was the first such meeting since the conglomerate, which is still recovering from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal, shocked investors last month by announcing cost overruns at a U.S. nuclear business bought in 2015 which could now mean a charge against profit topping $4 billion.

About 80 creditors, including regional banks and life insurance companies, attended the meeting, said the sources, who declined to be identified as they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.  Toshiba executives briefed creditors about the background leading up to the massive write-down and the schedule of how it would work out the matter, the sources added.

Bankers said such a meeting was rather routine for a company in trouble and that, even though credit-rating downgrades after the write-down warning put Toshiba in violation of loan covenants, it was routine for them to grant waivers in such cases to avoid a funding crisis.

This Reuters article was posted on their Internet site at 5:52 a.m. on Tuesday morning EST — and it’s comes to us from Zero Hedge via Brad Robertson.  Another link to this news item is here.

Dubai imposes 5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} import duty on gold jewellery

Dubai has imposed a 5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} import duty on gold and diamond jewellery, a move which is likely to hurt Indian exports at a time when demonetisation has hit business at home.

The new levy may, however, boost bridal jewellery sales in India because many Indian shoppers had turned to Dubai owning to the cheaper gold there and the price difference may no longer be attractive enough.

Nearly 45-50{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of gold jewellery consumed in Dubai comes from India.  It will hurt some big exporters to Dubai from India,” said Rajiv Popley, director of Mumbia-based jewellery firm Popley & Sons.  Jewellery design in Dubai is expected to get a major boost as dependence on imports from imports from India reduces, executives said.  The import duty is being seen as a precursor to the introduction of a value-added tax regime in Dubai, they said.

This gold-related news item, filed from Kolkata, was posted on the Economic Times of India website at 11:00 a.m. IST on their Tuesday morning.  I found it on the Sharps Pixley website last night — and another link to it is here.

Is China falling out of love with gold? Does it make any difference? — Lawrie Williams

According to the latest data we have received, the Chinese central bank, The People’s Bank of China, REDUCED its gold holdings in December by a quite substantial 20.98 tonnes – the first time it has reported a reduction in its gold reserves certainly for at least 16 years – probably more.  Over this period it has been adding to its reserves, although sometimes only reporting its rises at five or six year intervals, but the obvious conclusion has been that within these long intervals it has been building its reserves on a month-by-month basis but not reporting this.  Since mid 2015 it has been reporting its gold reserve purchases on a month by month basis, although recently these have fallen to a relative trickle – and the PBoC now appears to have reported a substantial sale

China has been known to play reporting games with its announced gold reserve levels, with gold volumes held in ‘non-reportable’ accounts which have then subsequently been moved into its Forex holdings as reported to the IMF.  The latest PBoC announcement puts the nation’s gold reserve at 1.821 tonnes – down from 1,842.6 tonnes as reported to the IMF for November (there is a marginal disparity here between the two reports, but of less than one tonne).

Now this may be a blip, an accounting correction, or a change in tack by the central bank – we probably won’t know without official comment from the Chinese, or until we see the January 2017 figure in a month’s time – if then – but we do know that Chinese Forex reserves have been under pressure, despite their apparently huge US$3 trillion plus size.

This, of course, drives a coach and horses through the mainstream analysts’ early year estimates of central bank buying during 2016, and only leaves Russia and Kazakhstan as continuing regular gold buyers of any significance.  With reported Indian demand being heavily down this year – although the volume of smuggled gold into that nation makes the true figures difficult to ascertain –  and the fall in SGE withdrawals in China, the projected gold supply/demand balance will have been upset quite considerably during the year.  Thus month by month demand figures from China, India and countries like Turkey, and whether new mined gold output has indeed peaked as some analysts have been predicting, could make 2017 a pretty uncertain year for gold fundamentals.

This commentary by Lawrie was posted on the Sharps Pixley website yesterday sometime — and another link to it is here.

Prince didn’t own any stocks when he died — but he did own over $800,000 in gold bars

Prince certainly didn’t make [for] a conventional investor.

In an evaluation of the music legend’s assets first reported on by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bremer Trust found that the “Purple Rain” singer had no stocks, bonds, or other financial assets but did have a substantial number of gold bars.

Prince, who died of a drug overdose in April, owned 67 10-ounce gold bars worth a combined $836,166.70, according to the statement filed in Minnesota court.

This surprising news item appeared on the Internet site at 8:53 a.m. EST on Monday morning — and I thank reader G.H. for bringing it to my attention — and now to yours.  Another link to it is here.


Here are two photos of sperm whales that I pulled off the Internet.  The second shot looks like a calf, as it certainly isn’t full size — and it’s awfully small to be a female.  The click to enlarge feature is very useful for both shots.


It was another day that could have been the ‘big one’ — as it was obvious that if the powers-that-be hadn’t stepped in at or just before the London p.m. gold fix again yesterday, we’d be looking at precious metal prices beyond the dreams of avarice once again.

It was also obvious that the 50-day moving averages in both gold and silver were being well defended — and I’m not at all happy with the net volume numbers once again, as they were very chunky.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper as usual.  It remains to be seen whether we power higher in price at this point, or if JP Morgan et al engineer a price decline at silver and gold’s respective 50-day moving averages.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I note that all the precious metals did next to nothing from a price perspective during the Far East trading session on their Wednesday.  Gold is up 70 cents, silver is up 3 cents — and platinum is up a dollar…and palladium is down a dollar.

HFT gold volume is a bit over 30,000 contracts, which is pretty heavy considering the fact that gold has been trading within a few dollars of unchanged for the last nine hours or so.  Roll-over/switch volume is decent.  Net HFT silver volume is a hair over 8,000 contracts, with no roll-over/switch volume worthy of the name.

The dollar index was up about 11 basis points by shortly after 1 p.m. CST on their Wednesday afternoon, but has been drifting quietly lower since — and is up 1 whole basis point as London opens.

Yesterday, at the close of COMEX trading, was the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report — and after yesterday’s price/volume action, I’m not the slightest bit optimistic about what the numbers will show.  They will be ugly, unless a lot of this volume during the reporting week was of the spread trade variety.

Ted said that were quite a long way from a very bearish structure in the COMEX futures market in either gold or silver — and I agree.  Can we rally more from here?  Most certainly, but it appears that this rally, however long it lasts, or is allowed to last, is destined to end the same old way at some point.

But, as I always like to add…I’d love to be proven spectacularly wrong about that.

And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EST this morning, I see that all four precious metals are higher by a hair in tiny rallies that began shortly after the London/Zurich opens, but they weren’t allowed to get far.  Gold is currently up $2.20 an ounce, silver is up 3 cents — and platinum and palladium are sitting at up 1 dollars…and unchanged…respectively.

I wouldn’t read a thing into these rallies.

Net HFT volume is just over 38,000 contracts — and that number in silver is just over 9,100 contracts.  The dollar index has been chopping sideways for the last couple of hours — and is currently unchanged from Tuesday’s close in New York.

Far East and early London/Zurich trading price action has been a lot like watching grass grow, or paint dry — and I have no idea what may or may not happen as the balance of the trading day unfolds.  Although it’s a certainty that whatever price action that matters, will commence once New York opens.

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


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