JP Morgan’s COMEX Silver Stash Now Tops 86.5 Million Troy Ounces

14 January 2017 — Saturday


The gold price didn’t do much in the first hour of trading after it began in New York at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening.  Then it began to head lower as the dollar index crawled higher, with the Far East low tick coming at the dollar index high tick.  It began to edge higher from there — and it ran into ‘da boyz’ at the COMEX open just as it touched the $1,200 spot mark.  By the London p.m. gold fix, they had the price down 11 bucks at its low tick of the day.  It rallied a bunch in the next thirty minutes or so — and then inched higher until around 2:40 p.m. in the very thinly-traded after-hours market.  It then inched lower into the close from there.

The high and low ticks both came in New York.  They were reported as $1,201.80 and $1,187.50 in the February contract.

Gold finished the Friday session in New York at $1,196.90 spot, up $1.90 from Thursday’s close.  Net volume was sky high once again at just over 205,000 contracts.

Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson as usual and, as usual, the only volume that mattered occurred in the first two hours of COMEX trading in New York during the engineered price decline — and the engineered ramp job in the dollar index.  Volume didn’t really drop off to background levels until very late in the after-hours market.

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.  Click to enlarge.

For the most part it was the same price pattern for silver, so I’ll spare you the play-by-play.

Its low and high tick were recorded by the CME Groups as $16.61 and $16.855 in the March contract.

Silver finished the day at $16.805 spot, up 6.5 cents.  Net volume was very decent at just under 51,500 contracts.

Here’s the 5-minute silver chart courtesy of Brad as well.  It should come as no surprise that the volume pattern in this precious metal looks remarkably similar to the one in gold.  But there was an outlier volume spike almost at the 11:30 a.m. Denver time COMEX close.  Less than fifteen minutes later, volume cratered to background levels.

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. 

It was much the same for platinum, although its recovery off its engineered price decline was much more impressive.  It finished the Friday session at $982 spot — and 8 bucks from Thursday.

Ditto for palladium, except its recovery rally was nipped in the bud long before it even got a sniff of unchanged.  This precious metal was closed in New York yesterday at $749 spot, down 8 dollars.

The dollar index closed very late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 101.45 — and it began to crawl higher once trading began at 6:00 p.m. EST a few minutes later.  The high tick in the Far East, if you wish to dignify it with that name, came at 11 a.m. China Standard Time on their Friday morning, which corresponded with the low price ticks in the precious metals over there.  From that point it began to chop lower — and the usual ‘gentle hands’ appeared at the 101.01 mark at the COMEX open — and at the exact moment that gold touched $1,200 spot.  Then the powers-that-be hit the ‘ramp the dollar index/smack the precious metals’ button — and you know the rest.  The 101.67 high tick came at precisely 10:00 a.m. in New York — and it slid more than 50 basis points between then and 2:40 p.m. EST, which is when the New York rally in the precious metals came to an end.  The dollar index didn’t do a lot after that, closing at 101.20 — and down 25 basis points from Thursday.  It was down 44 basis points at its low tick, but had a huge intraday move.

For the second day in a row, it was only those ‘gentle hands’ that saved the dollar index from cratering.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index which I always include for entertainment purposes only.  The world’s so-called ‘reserve currency’ is acting anything but.

Not surprisingly, the gold stocks gapped down a bit at the open, hitting their respective low ticks at the London p.m. gold fix.  They launched back into positive territory, albeit barely, shortly afterwards, but sagged a bit until a few minutes before 2 p.m. in New York trading.  They rallied back into positive territory a few minutes later — and didn’t do a lot after that.  The HUI closed higher by 0.41 percent.

The first hour or so of trading in the silver equities was about the same as it was for the gold shares, but the silver equities never looked back after they got into positive territory, rallying further starting a few minutes before 2 p.m. EST…just like the gold shares.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed up a respectable 2.30 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

And here are two 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.

I shan’t bother posting the year-to-date chart, as it’s the same as the month-to-date for obvious reasons.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 61 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday.   In gold, the two short/issuers were JPMorgan with 50 contracts out of its client account, plus 11 from ADM from its client account as well.  Canada’s Scotiabank was the biggest long/stopper with 58 contracts.  I shan’t bother linking this activity.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that gold open interest in January decreased by 49 contracts, leaving 186 still open.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold contracts were posted for delivery on Monday, so that means that 49 short/issuers in gold didn’t have any physical gold behind them — and the long/stopper[s] holding the other side of these contracts decided to let them off the delivery hook, rather than insist they go into the spot market and buy physical to cover.  Silver o.i. in January was reported as unchanged at 229 contracts.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that zero silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday, so the numbers match for a change.

For the first time in a long time, an authorized participant added some gold to GLD, as their stocks rose by 95,279 troy ounces on Friday.  And as of 7:25 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 1,000 troy ounces of gold eagles — and 500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and no silver eagles.

Month-to-date the mint has sold 80,500 troy ounces of gold eagles — 24,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and 3,747,500 silver eagles.  Looking at these sales numbers in silver eagles so far in January, Ted’s of the opinion that JPMorgan is not a buyer of them so far this year.

There was a decent amount of gold moved in and out of the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Thursday.  There was 65,274 troy ounces received at Canada’s Scotiabank — and 44,937 troy ounces shipped out, with all but 47 kilobars [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] coming out of Brink’s, Inc.  The 47 kilobars were shipped out of Scotiabank.  The link to all this activity is here.

The torrid in/out pace in silver continues unabated, as 1,206,254 troy ounces were received — and another 1,183,292 troy ounces were shipped out the door to parts unknown.  Of the silver received, Scotiabank picked up 598,052 troy ounces — and JPMorgan stashed away another 608,201 troy ounces.   There were four different depositories involved in the ‘out’ activity, so I shan’t bother listing them.  But if you want to see for yourself, the link to all that silver action is here.

JPMorgan’s silver stash is now up to 86.6 million troy ounces…almost 48 percent of the total silver held by all eight registered COMEX depositories.  And it’s most likely enough to cover their existing short position in the COMEX futures market.  It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s precisely what they used it for at some point — and they’ve still got more to come.  Of course, as Ted Butler has been saying for a while now, JPMorgan still has 450+ million troy ounces of physical silver stashed elsewhere as well.

There was more big activity at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday.  They reported received a whopping 11,130 of them — and only shipped out 859.  All of this action was at Brink’s, Inc. — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

The numbers in the Commitment of Traders Report yesterday were nowhere near as bad as either Ted or I were expecting them to be — and we were both surprised, but happy about it.

In silver, the Commercial net short position only increased by 3,123 contracts, or 15.62 million troy ounces of paper silver.  They arrived at that number by selling 1,068 long contracts, plus they picked up another 2,055 short contracts courtesy of the Managed Money traders, as they went long.  The total of those two numbers is the change for the reporting week.

Ted said that the large Managed Money trader that snuck into the Big 4 trader category appeared to be still there.   And despite the fact that the overall Commercial net short position increased during the reporting week, the short position of the Big 4 traders actually declined by around 700 contracts during the reporting week just past.  The big ‘5 through 8’ traders only increased their short position by about 100 contracts — and the real heavy lifting came from Ted’s raptors, the remaining 31 Commercial traders other than the Big 8…as they sold about 3,700 long contracts.

Ted attributes all the decline in the short position of the Big 4 to JPMorgan — and he puts their net short position at 17,000 contracts, or 85 million troy ounces of paper silver…down from 18,000 contracts from last week’s COT Report.  JPMorgan has 86.6 million ounces of real silver in its COMEX warehouse, which is more than enough to cover it.

The Commercial net short position silver is up to 394.7 million troy ounces of paper silver.  On it’s face — and using the past as prologue — this is a wildly bearish number.  But things appear to be different this time, as the Managed Money traders refuse to go as short as they have in the past, so that means that the Commercial traders haven’t been able to cover their short positions on their usual engineered price declines like they used to be able to.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, the numbers didn’t make for quite as happy reading as the Managed Money went long to the tune of 4,441 contracts…about 1,300 contracts more than the Commercial traders went short.  They did this by adding 2,995 long contracts, plus they sold 1,446 short contracts.  The sum of those two numbers was the change for the reporting week.  That 1,300 contract difference between the Managed Money and the Commercial traders was taken up by the traders in the other two categories, the ‘Other Reportables and the Nonreportable/small traders.

Ted has always said that it’s always most important to watch what JPMorgan is doing, as they are the key in the silver price management scheme.  The fact that they most likely covered more of their short position during the reporting week is a very bullish development — and I look forward to what Ted has to say about this to his paying subscribers in his weekly review later today.

Here are three years worth of COT Reports — and even though it shows an increase in the net short position in the Commercial net short position for this week, it’s deceiving, as all eyes should be on the Big 4 in general — and JPMorgan in particular.   That bullish change is not visible in this report.  Click to enlarge.

In gold, the increase in the Commercial net short position was an amazingly small 8,204 contracts, or 820,400 troy ounces of paper gold.  They arrived at this number by selling 647 of their long contracts, plus the picked up 7,557 short contracts from the Managed Money traders.  The sum of those two numbers is the change for the reporting week.

Ted said that the the short position of the Big 4 traders decreased during the reporting week as well, just like it did in silver…down about 600 contracts.  His raptors, the 40 traders other than the Big 8, sold 2,800 contracts of their long position.  But the big surprise was the fact that the short position in the ‘5 through 8’ traders jumped by a chunky 6,000 contracts.  Ted pointed out that it appeared that the reason for that increase was that a Managed Money trader that was infecting the Big 4 category, fell back into the ‘5 through 8’ category during the reporting week.  My immediate question was…”if that’s the case, then why didn’t the short position of the Big 4 drop by an equivalent amount?”  It was a rhetorical question, as I said the only possible reason that I could see for that discrepancy was that the Big 4 traders covered a large chunk of their short position during the reporting week using that change in category by that one Managed Money trader as cover.

Ted said he would think about that overnight, so I reserve the right to be wrong — and if I’m really out to lunch on this, I’ll report on it in my Tuesday column.  But that was my initial impression.

But regardless of that fact, the bullish change in the Big 4 commercial traders is hugely bullish overall as well and, as in silver, I await the final word on this from Ted.

The commercial net short position in gold is now up to 12.58 million troy ounces.  An increase yes, but like in silver, that change masks what was really important…the improvement in the short position of the Big 4 traders or, most likely the Big One…JPMorgan.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated Report the numbers in gold were a bit more sobering, as the Managed Money traders went long to the tune of 19,122 contracts.  They did this by purchasing 7,777 long contracts, plus they covered 11,345 short contracts — and the sum of those two numbers was the change for the reporting week.

And, as is always the case, the difference between that 19,122 contract change in the Managed Money — and the 8,204 increase in the Commercial net short position was picked up by the traders in the other two categories that I mentioned for silver.

Like in silver, this COT Report was a bullish surprise as well — and not just for the much smaller than expected increase in the Commercial net short position, but for what was happening in the Big 4 category.  And, like in silver, the final word on this is up to Ted, as he’s the real authority on the COT Report, having studied it since it first came on the scene in 1974.

Here’s three years worth of COT Report in gold.  Click to enlarge.

Without doubt, there has been further increases in the Commercial net short position in both silver and gold since the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday.   But just how much is now a matter of speculation.  Will next week’s report be as big a surprise as this one?  Beats me, but the over-the-top volumes in both precious metals during the last ten days may be a smoke screen that ‘da boy’ are using to cover what’s going on in the Big 4 category…the only one that matters.

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 128 days of world silver production—and the ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 48 days of world silver production—for a total of 176 days, which is just about 6 months of world silver production, or about 427.7 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 394.7 million troy ounces.  So the Big 8…as usual…hold a short position larger than the Commercial net position to the tune of 427.7 – 394.7 = 33.0  million troy ounces…give or take.

Ted pegs JPMorgan’s short position at around 17,000 contracts/85 million ounces — which works out to around 35 days of world silver production that JPMorgan is short.  That’s compared to the 176 days that the Big 8 are short in total.

The approximate short position in silver held by Scotiabank works out to around 50 days of world silver production.  For the eighth week in a row, Scotiabank is the King of the silver shorts in the COMEX futures market.

The two largest silver shorts on Planet Earth—JPMorgan and Canada’s Scotiabank—are short about 85 days of world silver production between the two of them—and that 85 days represents around 66 percent/two thirds 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 12 days of silver production apiece.

And to put it another way, the short positions of Scotiabank and JPMorgan combined, represents a bit under 50 percent of the short position held by all the Big 8 traders combined.

And as bad as those number are, the Big 8 are short 51.9 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 are subtracted out.  In gold it’s 37.1 percent of the total open interest that the Big 8 are short.

In gold, the Big 4 are short 40 days of world gold production, unchanged from last week — and the ‘5 through 8’ are short another 19 days of world production, an increase from 17 days last week, for a total of 59 days of world gold production held short by the Big 8.  Based on these numbers, the Big 4 in gold hold about 67 percent/two thirds of the total short position held by the Big 8.  How’s that for a concentrated short position within a concentrated short position?  At least it’s not as bad as silver in that regard.

The “concentrated short positions within a concentrated short position” in silver, platinum and palladium held by the Big 4 are about 73, 71 and 68 percent respectively of the short positions held by the Big 8.

And the fact that there are now Managed Money traders temporarily intruding in the Big 4 and Big 8 categories, changes nothing with respect to this chart, as we’re not talking about the Commercial net short position here.

Here are the first two charts that Nick Laird sent around about 1:30 a.m. EST this morning.  They show gold and silver imports into India for November.  During that month they imported 109.868 tonnes of gold, plus about 325 tonnes [10.5 million troy ounces] of silver.  The Click to Enlarge feature works wonders for both charts.

This next chart shows Silk Road Gold Import for November — and they totalled 359.6 tonnes.  And as Nick pointed out in his covering e-mail…”it was 100 tonnes greater than world gold production” during that period.

I only have an average number of stories for you today — and only one that I’ve been saving for my Saturday column — and that’s the usual Stephen F. Cohen interview with host John Batchelor.


Investors are bracing for a massive stock-market sell-off

If options traders are correct, stocks are in for a wild ride in February.

Demand for one-month call options tied to the CBOE Volatility Index, a popular gauge of stock-market volatility, has spiked in the past week, a sign that some are bracing for a sharp downturn following the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

In that time, investors have purchased 250,000 VIX call options with a strike price at 21, and another 100,000 with the strike at 22, according to Brian Bier, head of sales and trading at Macro Risk Advisors, an options brokerage. The options cost roughly 49 cents per contract, Bier said.

By comparison, the CBOE Volatility Index VIX, -2.69{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}  was at 11.16 in midday trading on Friday, so it would take a massive selloff to make these options profitable, Bier said.

Call options represent bets that the level or price of a given asset or index will rise during a given time—in this case, the period between Friday and Feb. 15, when these options expire.

This news story put in an appearance on the Internet site at 4:48 p.m. EST on Friday afternoon — and I thank Scott Linn for bringing it to our attention.  Another link to it is here.

Everything You Want to Know about Junk Bond Default Rates

Moody’s Investors Service issued a report this week that is chock full of facts about default rates of corporate issuers.

The good news: Default rates are falling.

Below are 10 key facts, culled from the report:

  1.  The number of defaulting issuers reached 142 in 2016, the highest since 2009.
  2. With the number of defaults declining in the fourth quarter, the trailing 12-month global speculative grade  default rate was also lower at 4.4{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}, down from 4.6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} in the prior quarter.
  3. For the US, the default rate edged up to 5.6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} from 5.5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}; in Europe, the rate declined to 2.1{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} from 2.5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}.\
  4. We expect the global speculative-grade default rate to peak at 4.5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} in the first quarter before declining to 3.0{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} by the end of the year.

This short, but very interesting article was posted on the Internet site at 6:00 p.m. EST on Friday evening — and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for bringing it to our attention.  Another link to it is here.

Apple’s Macs were the biggest losers of the PC industry in 2016

Apple was the PC manufacturer that lost the most market share in 2016, with its Mac laptops and desktops ceding 9.8{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} market share to other companies, according to a report from analyst firm IDC.

Overall, 2016 marked the fifth consecutive year of decline in the overall PC industry, with a 5.7{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} dip in PC shipments from 2015. Dell was the biggest winner for the year, showing a 4.3{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} gain in market share.

We already had some signs in the middle of 2016 that it was going to be a rough year for Apple: In the second and third quarters of the year, shipments of Apple’s Macs were declining way faster than industry average, as people waited impatiently for the company to release a new MacBook Pro.

The fourth quarter of 2016 went a little better for Apple. That new MacBook Pro, which arrived in October 2016, stabilized things for Apple, and it saw a meager 0.8{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} decline over the same period in 2015, according to IDC. But it wasn’t enough to totally regain the ground that Apple had already lost to Windows-based PCs earlier in the year.

This business-related news item was posted on the Internet site at 12:08 a.m. EST on Friday morning — and it comes to us courtesy of Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl.  Another link to it is here.

Doug Noland: Off to an Interesting Start

Enthusiasm goes beyond just a bout of central bank-induced market euphoria. Confidence at this point has made strong inroads throughout the real economy – consumers, small business and company management. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard such positive sentiments conveyed during big bank quarterly conference calls. Inflationism has worked its magic, for now. Folks have really bought in.

Bubble analysis for a while now has highlighted the divergence between inflating securities prices and deflating economic prospects. A case could be made these days that this gap is in the process of narrowing. I would counter that economic prospects have brightened only due to prolonged extraordinary global monetary inflation and resulting asset inflation.

It’s an especially challenging period to put into perspective. From the Bubble (global government finance – Granddaddy of All Bubbles) perspective, all the pieces are fitting into place. Things certainly do turn crazy near the end – and 2016 was consistent with this thesis. Record stock prices were spurred by central bank responses to early-2016 market fragilities. Brexit and the Trump phenomenon arose from deep public dissatisfaction. Today’s confidence may have notable breadth, yet I question its depth.

Global markets are unstable, economies are unstable, societies are unstable, democracies are unstable and the geopolitical backdrop is unstable. Yet for going on nine years (incredible or what?) instabilities have been harnessed by the powerful triad of low borrowing costs, central bank electronic printing presses and literally Trillions of “money” with apparently no other purpose than to inflate securities and asset prices. Moreover, monetary disorder on such an unprecedented global scale has been around for so long that it passes as normal. And with so much uncertainty in the world the only thing certain is that global central banks will soldier on with QE and near zero rates.

Doug’s weekly Credit Bubble Bulletin is almost a must read for me.  This one showed up on his website around midnight Denver time — and another link to it is here.

CFTC Orders J.P. Morgan Securities LLC to Pay $900,000 for Supervision Failures

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and settling charges against J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (JPMS), a Delaware corporation headquartered in New York City, for failing to diligently supervise its officers’, employees’, and agents’ processing of exchange and clearing fees it charged customers for trading and clearing Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (CME) products and products from certain other exchanges during 2010 to 2014. JPMS is registered with the CFTC as a Futures Commission Merchant and a swap dealer.

The CFTC Order requires JPMS to pay a $900,000 civil monetary penalty and cease and desist from violating the CFTC regulation governing diligent supervision.

The CFTC Order explains that customer transactions executed on exchanges are subject to payment of exchange and clearing fees that are applied to each transaction in the normal course of business. Clearing firms such as JPMS receive invoices for these fees from the exchange clearinghouses, which the firms pass on to their customers, the CFTC Order states.

Here, the CFTC Order finds that JPMS failed to implement and maintain adequate systems for reconciling invoices from exchange clearinghouses with the amounts of fees actually charged to its customers. JPMS’ fee reconciliation process was largely manual and carried out by only one employee at the end of the month using three different JPMS systems. In addition to insufficient staff to complete the fee reconciliation process accurately, JPMS did not have adequate written policies and procedures in place regarding its clearing and exchange fee reconciliations. According to the CFTC Order, this led to instances in which JPMS overcharged some customers in an aggregate amount of approximately $7.8 million. The CFTC Order finds that JPMS discovered the problem in 2014, self-reported it to the CFTC, and thereafter took remedial steps, including refunding adversely affected customers.

The Order recognizes JPMS’ significant cooperation with the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement during the investigation of this matter.

This licensing fee-related story showed up on the Internet site on Wednesday — and I thank ‘Donna’ for passing it around yesterday.  Another link to this CFTC announcement is here.

Why the CIA, Democrats and the Deep State Hate Trump

Last night on Fox, Tucker Carlson interviewed Glenn Greenwald on his recent story in The Intercept entitled The Deep State Goes to War with President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer.

Greenwald charged that the recent unsourced allegations about Donald Trump in Russia is the work of the American intelligence community. Greenwald goes on to state that the Democrats are now desperately supporting any negative dirt on Trump – including unsourced commercially contrived – and flat out fake news – designed to weaken Trump as much as possible before he becomes president.

The reason is obvious; once inaugurated, Trump’s cabinet appointees will move swiftly to clean out the intelligence community of folks who have been abusing their power by having their security clearances pulled, thus ending their careers all together. And rightly so.

This 10:17 minute video hosted by Bill Still includes the above Carlson/Greenwald interview.  I posted that Greenwald story in my column either yesterday or on Thursday.  This video is certainly worth watching if you have the interest — and I thank Roy Stephens for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.

The Establishment Is Trying to Steal the Presidency From Trump — Paul Craig Roberts

Reuters reports that 2,700 U.S. troops accompanied by tanks are moving across Poland toward the Russian border. Col. Christopher Norrie, commander of the 3rd Armoured Brigade Combat Team, declared: “The main goal of our mission is deterrence and prevention of threats.” Apparently, the colonel is not sufficiently bright to realize that far from preventing threats, the force he is leading presents as a threat. And to no less a military power than Russia.

What is the point of this minuscule force? It would not constitute a threat to Russia if it were 100 times larger, perhaps even one thousand times larger. Remember, Hitler invaded Russia against an unprepared Stalin with the largest and best military force the world had ever seen in the largest military operation in human history. The German invasion force was comprised of 3,800,000 troops, 600,000 motorized vehicles, 3,350 tanks, 7,200 artillery pieces, and 2,770 aircraft. The Red Army, despite its officer corps having been purged by Stalin, ate up this magnificent force and won the war against Germany.

Compared to Stalin’s Russia, Putin’s Russia is prepared. NATO is not capable of assembling a large enough force to invade Russia. So what is the point of the 2,700 U.S. troops moving across Poland toward Russia?

The answer is to keep alive the Western propaganda that Russia is a threat and to make it as
difficult as possible for Trump to normalize relations with Russia. It is extraordinary that the U.S. military is conducting this provocative exercise that contradicts the policy of the incoming president. The U.S. military, the CIA, and their whores in the U.S. media are undemocratically pursuing their own agenda independently of the policy of the president-elect. According to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, U.S. intelligence officials have even warned the Israeli government not to share intelligence information with the Trump administration, because Putin has “leverages of pressure” over Trump and Trump will leak the information to Russia and Iran.

This commentary by Paul is certainly a must read in my opinion — and I thank Brad Robertson for sharing it with us.  Another link to it is here.

Making an Example of Volkswagen — The New York Times…Editorial Board

For too long, big corporations and financial institutions have been able to pay fines for their misdeeds and settle civil cases while escaping criminal indictment. Now, in the final days of the Obama administration, the Department of Justice has delivered a strong message to multibillion-dollar companies and their executives: No one is “too big to jail.”

On Wednesday, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to its emissions-cheating scandal, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate the Clean Air Act, customs violations and obstruction of justice. The company agreed to pay the United States $4.3 billion in fines. This is on top of the $16 billion it has agreed to pay American diesel car owners. The total is likely to go higher: The company still faces criminal investigations by attorneys general in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

In addition, federal prosecutors announced criminal charges against six Volkswagen executives. One, Oliver Schmidt, was arrested in Florida last week; the other five are believed to be in Germany. Charges include conspiracy to defraud the United States, defraud customers and violate the Clean Air Act.

On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency accused Fiat Chrysler of installing software that allowed 104,000 diesel vehicles to evade emission standards.

How come Jamie Dimon ain’t in jail???  This editorial appeared on The New York Times website on Thursday — and I thank Patricia Caulfield for pointing it out.  It’s worth reading — and another link to it is here.

Deutsche Bank Bans Text Messages, WhatsApp on Company Phones

Deutsche Bank AG has banned text messages and communication apps such as WhatsApp on company-issued phones in an effort to improve compliance standards.

The functionality will be switched off this quarter, chief regulatory officer Sylvie Matherat and chief operating officer Kim Hammonds told staff in a memo on Friday. Unlike e-mails, text messages can’t be archived by the bank, said a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.

We fully understand that the deactivation will change your day-to-day work and we regret any inconvenience this may cause,” Matherat and Hammonds said in the memo obtained by Bloomberg. “However, this step is necessary to ensure Deutsche Bank continues to comply with regulatory and legal requirements.

The policy also applies to private phones used by employees for work purposes. Communication apps such as WhatsApp, Google Talk, iMessage are also prohibited, the memo said.

This Bloomberg news item was posted on their Internet site at 9:13 a.m. Denver time yesterday morning — and it was subsequently updated about ninety minutes later.  I found it in a GATA release, along with this comment from Chris Powell…”Will this stop traders from using personal cell phones for text messages?”  Another link to this story is here.

Unsubstantiated” Allegation Trump Compromised by Russians:  John Batchelor Interviews Stephen F. Cohen

“…The decision of top intelligence officials to give the president, the president-elect and the so-called Gang of Eight — Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress and the intelligence committees — what they know to be unverified, defamatory material was extremely unusual.”

The appendix summarized opposition research memos prepared mainly by a retired British intelligence operative for a Washington political and corporate research firm. The firm was paid for its work first by Mr. Trump’s Republican rivals and later by supporters of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The Times has checked on a number of the details included in the memos but has been unable to substantiate them.

The memos suggest that for many years, the Russian government of Mr. Putin has looked for ways to influence Mr. Trump, who has traveled repeatedly to Moscow to investigate real estate deals or to oversee the Miss Universe competition, which he owned for several years. Mr. Trump never completed any major deals in Russia, though he discussed them for years….”

This 40-minute audio interview showed up on the Internet site on Tuesday — and for the usual reasons, had to wait for today’s column.  Larry Galearis is still under the weather with the flu, so there’s no ‘executive summary’ again this week, so I just stole the above text from John’s website as filler.  Another link to this interview is here — and I thank Ken Hurt for bringing it to our attention.

Central-Bank Bashing Has Gold Only Asset Safe From Meddling

Baring Asset Management’s Christopher Mahon has one major conviction about 2017: it will be the year in which central-bank bashing by politicians becomes the new normal, so he’s seeking shelter in gold.

This year is the turning point,” Mahon said in an interview on Monday. “For seven years or so, central banks have largely escaped critique even though one could argue that their policies have been pretty inadequate in many senses. It’s very plausible now that politicians stand up and throw stones at central bankers.

Mahon is betting that gold will rise if political intervention causes central banks to miss inflation and growth targets. In the past few months he’s built up a 4 percent allocation to bullion in his £1.7 billion ($2.1 billion) Dynamic Asset Allocation Fund, which outperformed 80 percent of peers last year.  Jim Rickards, author of New York Times best seller Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, is even more bullish: he recommends putting 10 percent into gold.

This so-called “asset manager” has obviously never heard of JPMorgan et al.  This Bloomberg article showed up on their website at 5:01 p.m. MST on Thursday afternoon — and was updated about twelve hours later.  I thank Harold Jacobsen for sending it our way — and another link to it is here.

Gold price hits ceiling at $1,200 an ounce

The gold price rally is continuing to run aground near its seven-week high of slightly more than $1,200 an ounce, according to experts.

Trading set a new bar for the year so far this week, reaching its highest level since mid-November of $1,207 an ounce yesterday.

But prices have since fallen back and dropped below the psychologically-important $1,200-an-ounce level to $1,193 overnight. Spot gold was changing hands at $1,197 an ounce this morning in London.

The dip coincided with a rebound for the dollar, which took a sharp hit earlier this week following president-elect Donald Trump’s chaotic press conference.

With JPMorgan et al managing the price to perfection, this is the ‘best’ commentary that the main stream press can come up with.  This one appeared on the British website on Thursday — and it comes to us courtesy of Patrik Ekdahl.  Another link to it is here.

Lady Liberty will be a black woman on a U.S. gold coin in April

The United States Mint will release in April a commemorative gold coin that will feature Lady Liberty as a black woman, marking the first time that she has been depicted as anything other than white on the nations currency.

The coin, with a $100 face value, will commemorate the 225th anniversary of the Mint’s coin production, the Mint and the Treasury Department announced on Thursday. Going on sale April 6, it will be 24-karat and weigh about an ounce.
It is part of a series of commemorative coins that will be released every two years. Future ones will show Lady Liberty as Asian, Hispanic, and Indian “to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States,” the Mint said in a statement.

This news item showed up on The New York Times website on Friday — and I found it in a dispatch on the  Internet site.  Another link to it is here.

Hoard of gold discovered in piano in Shropshire, U.K.

The discovery was made in Shropshire before Christmas when its new owners had it retuned and repaired.

Experts think the valuables might have been “deliberately hidden” in the instrument more than 100 years ago.

An inquest opened at Shrewsbury Coroner’s Court earlier to determine whether the find can be classed as treasure, or whether an heir to the cache can be traced.

Peter Reavill, of the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, described the find as “a stunning assemblage of material“.

Unfortunately there are no photos of this “stunning assemblage of material“…but the story is certainly worth reading nonetheless.  It was posted on the Internet site on Thursday sometime — and my thanks go out to David Larsen for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.


Here are two photos of octopus — and as you can tell from the first shot, this one isn’t very big — and this is the best cover he could find in the middle of nowhere.  When you’re scuba diving, you have to look for these thing in cracks and holes in reefs, because they’re very shy — and don’t want to have anything to do with humans.  The blue-ringed octopus in the second shot is about the same size as the one in the first photo.  The major difference between this one and the octopus in the first shot, is that they are dangerous to humans if provoked and handled, because their venom contains tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin powerful enough to kill humans.  The Click to Enlarge feature is really useful here.


Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ dates from 1967 and was written for the musical “Hair”.  The Fifth Dimension do the honours — and the link is here.  I was 19 years young and doing the hippy thing in Toronto way back then.

Today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ is something ‘aurora’ sent my way on Wednesday.  I haven’t played this showpiece on my stereo for years, so I just had to go and dig it out.  It’s the Polovtsian Dances by Alexander Borodin, which he composed for his opera ‘Prince Igor‘…which remained unfinished at his death in 1887.  It’s not often performed with the choral parts, but it is in this performance.  There are no names given for either the orchestra, or the chorus, but as per my classical ‘blast from the past’ last week…Valery Gergiev conducts.  You should recognize the music instantly.  The link is here.

It was obvious that JPMorgan et al were keeping gold from trading much above the $1,200 spot level — and keeping silver well away from $17 spot.

So far, they haven’t allowed silver to close above its 50-day moving average — and gold has closed above its for three straight trading days, but not by significant amounts.

Here, as usual,  are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals…plus copper…so you can see what I’m talking about.

Yesterday’s COT Report, for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday, certainly changes the optics about what might have happened since the cut-off.  One has to wonder, that maybe hidden underneath these enormous volume numbers, the Big 4…principally JPMorgan…are in the throes of a short-covering frenzy — and letting the other Commercial traders do the heavy lifting of keeping precious metal prices in line.

That’s what Friday’s COT Report indicated — and it’s possible that this process is ongoing, but out of sight as well.  If that turns out to be the case, then Jamie Dimon & Co. will be all set up to pull off Ted’s perfect double cross.

That’s wild-ass speculation on my part — and only next Friday’s COT Report, which falls on Donald Trump’s inauguration day, will tell us more.

I’m also watching the intensifying denigration of President-elect Trump with some fear and trepidation.  The long knives from all parts of Eisenhower’s “military/industrial complex,” Wall Street, the media, plus the combined U.S. ‘intelligence’ agencies, are out for this man — and January 20th could turn into another “day of infamy” if this continues.

I’ll be en route to Vancouver to speak at a gold conference while the inauguration — and the events surrounding it are unfolding next Friday.  By the time I arrive at my hotel, it could be a completely different world, as that day promises to be historic, but not in a good way, if the Deep State wins out.

If events degenerate into madness and chaos, it could prove to the perfect setting for JPMorgan to step back — and let nature take its course in the precious metal [plus other] markets, as it would be the perfect cover and ending to what silver analyst Ted Butler calls “the perfect crime“.

So we wait some more.

I’m done for the day — and the week — and I’ll see you here on Tuesday.


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