Greenspan Comments on Gold…and Silver!

18 February 2017 — Saturday


It was a very quiet market for gold in Far East trading on their Friday, as it flat-lined all day — and by the London open, it was down less than a dollar.  From there it chopped quietly higher until the noon GMT silver fix — and it chopped equally quietly lower for the rest of the day, closing on its low tick.

For the second day in a row, the low and highs aren’t worth looking up.

Gold finished the Friday session in New York at $1,234.60 spot, down $4.00 on the day.  Net volume was pretty quiet, relatively speaking that is, at just over 151,000 contracts.

Silver was sold down about a dime by the London open — and it chopped around either side of the $18 spot mark until it was sold below that price for the final time starting at 2:45 p.m. EST in the thinly-traded after-hours market.

The high and low ticks certainly aren’t worth looking up in this precious metal, either.

Silver was closed yesterday at $17.945 spot, down 11.5 cents from Thursday.  Net volume was very much on the quiet side at a bit over 33,500 contracts — but roll-over/switch volume out of March was heavy.

Platinum flat-lined until the Zurich open — and then rallied a small handful of dollars by around 10:30 a.m. CET [Central European Time].  The price then chopped more or less sideways until the COMEX open — and at that juncture ‘da boyz’ took over — and by the Zurich close, had it down to the $999 spot mark.  It recovered a few dollars from there, but really didn’t do much for the rest of the New York trading session.  Platinum was closed at $1,001 spot — and down 9 bucks from Thursday.

The palladium price was stair-stepped lower through most of Far East trading — and was down 4 dollars at the Zurich open.  It rallied in a couple of spots during the Zurich trading session, with the $793 high tick coming about 8:45 a.m. in New York.  Then JP Morgan et al showed up…setting the $773 low tick at 1 p.m. EST — and although it rallied a bit from there, it was sold down again after 4 p.m. in the very thinly-traded after-hours market.  Palladium was closed at $776 spot, down 15 dollars on the day.  Nothing free market about any of this New York price action.

The dollar index closed very late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 100.51 — and after a 2-hour up/down move of no consequence, it drifted down to its 100.45 low around 11:30 a.m. CST [China Standard Time] on their Friday morning.  Then at 1 p.m. CST it began to move higher, with the interim Friday high coming shortly after 10 a.m. in London.  It rolled over at that point, but got the usual ramp job starting at the 9:30 a.m. EST open of the equity markets in New York.  That ‘rally’ topped out at its 100.96 high tick a minute or so before 3 p.m. — and shed a small handful of basis points going into the Friday close.  The dollar index finished the week at 100.91 — and up 40 basis points from Thursday.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart — and you can read into it whatever you wish, as it’s just as managed as every other index is these days.  “There are no markets anymore, only interventions.” — Chris Powell, April 8, 2008…Washington, D.C.

The gold stocks opened about unchanged when trading began in New York on Friday morning, but began to sell off immediately, with most of the price damage coming by around 11:15 a.m. EST.  They continued to drift steadily lower from there, as the HUI closed down 2.66 percent.

The silver equities opened down a bit, but rallied into the green  a few minutes either side of the London p.m. gold fix — and then headed lower in a similar fashion as their golden brethren.  Nick Lairds’ Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index finished down 1.44 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

And here are 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 here are the year-to-date changes…

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 146 gold and 3 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved gold depositories on Tuesday.  In gold, the sole short/issuer was Canada’s Scotiabank — and the only two long/stoppers worth mentioning were HSBC USA and JPMorgan — with 79 and 54 contracts for their respective in-house [proprietary] trading accounts.  In silver, it was Macquarie Futures issuing all three contracts out of its own account.  Scotiabank picked up 1 of those contracts — and JPMorgan the other 2…both for their client account.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that gold open interest in February actually rose 46 contracts, leaving 949 still open, minus the 146 mentioned above.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 20 gold contracts were posted for delivery on Monday, so that means that another 20+46=66 gold contracts were added to the February delivery month.  Silver o.i. in February rose by…if this number can actually be believed…173 contracts, which is a lot, leaving 313 still around, minus the 3 mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that zero silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday.

For the first time since January 25, there was a reported withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant removed 76,194 troy ounces.  And as of 7:06 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

There was another small sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 1,500 troy ounces of gold eagles — and 50,000 silver eagles.

Month-to-date the mint has sold 21,000 troy ounce of gold eagles — 12,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and 610,000 silver eagles.  February is on track to be one of the slowest sales months in many, many years.  As Ted said in his weekly review last Saturday…retail silver bullion sales are “putrid“.

There wasn’t much activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Thursday.  There was 1,999 troy ounce received at Brink’s, Inc. — and that’s all the activity there was.  I shan’t bother linking this amount.

It was busier in silver, of course, as 873,830 troy ounces were received — but only 2,837 troy ounces were shipped out.  There was a container [600,297 troy ounces] shipped into CNT — and another 273,532 troy ounces received at Brink’s, Inc.  All of the ‘out’ activity, such as it was, came from Brink’s, Inc. as well.  The link to this action is here.

It was busiest over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday.  They received 3,300 of them — and shipped out 3,462.  All of this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. as per usual — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

The Commitment of Traders Report, for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday, February 17, did not make for happy reading in silver, but there were further improvements in gold.

In silver, the commercial net short position, increased by another 6,315 contracts, which was a number that neither Ted nor myself were expecting.  That represents 31.6 million troy ounces of paper silver.  The commercial net short position now stands at 99,027 contracts, or 495.1 million troy ounces of silver held short by the commercial traders.

Ted said that the Big 4 increased their short position by about 3,200 contracts — and he attributes virtually all of that to JP Morgan.  He says their short position is now up to 26,000 COMEX contracts — and actually could be a bit more than that.  The ‘5 through 8’ large traders added about 200 contracts to their short position during the reporting week — and Ted said that the raptors, the commercial traders other than the Big 8, sold their remaining 600 long contracts, plus added 2,300 contracts on the short side as well, which is a position they’ve only taken under the most bearish of price circumstances.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, it was almost a contract-for-contract match by the Managed Money traders, as they bought 6,041 long contracts, plus they covered 464 contracts…for a total weekly swing of 6,505 contracts.  As is almost always the case, what happened in the other two categories…the ‘Other Reportables’ and the Nonreportable/small trader category was irrelevant.

If you want to know why the silver price action has been lousy all week, the above changes in the commercial net short position explains it, as they were all over the silver price like the proverbial wet blanket during the reporting week.

Here’s the 9-year COT chart for silver — and it’s not pretty, no matter how you slice it or dice it.  And it’s only gotten worse since the Tuesday cut-off.  Click to enlarge.

In gold, it was exactly the opposite to what it was in silver, as the commercial net short position declined by 6,358 contracts, or 635,800 troy ounces of paper gold.  The commercial net short position is now down to 12.78 million troy ounces.  I mentioned in my Wednesday column that just eye-balling the 6-month gold chart, I was expecting a smallish decrease, so I got that right.  But that was probably more by good luck than good management, because I was many country miles out in what I thought silver was going to show…which was unchanged.  That’s why I qualified my guesses by saying that they were for “entertainment purposes only“.

Ted said that the Big 4 reduced their short position by another very decent amount…6,000 contracts or so.  But the ‘5 through 8’ traders went in the other direction, as they increased their collective short position by about 300 contracts.  Ted said that the raptors, the commercial traders other than the Big 8, increased their long position by around 700 contracts.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, it was all Managed Money once again — and almost to the contract as well.  They decreased their long position by 6,803 contracts — and they also covered 279 short contracts — for a total weekly change of 6,524 contracts…which is the difference between those two numbers.

Here’s the 9-year COT chart for gold — and it continues to improve by slight amounts with each passing week.  The click to enlarge feature is a must here as well.

I left Ted puzzling over the dichotomy between silver and gold from a COT standpoint.  Even I’m shaking my head about this one.  I just don’t know what to make of it, as silver is now in a very bearish configuration — and the set-up in gold is getting more bullish with each passing week.  I’ll be very interested in what he has to say about all this in his weekly commentary later today.

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 147 days of world silver production—and the ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 52 days of world silver production—for a total of 199 days, which is approaching seven months of world silver production, or about 483.5 million troy ounces of paper silver held short by the Big 8. [In last week’s report the Big 8 were short 192 days of world silver production. – Ed]

In the COT Report above, the Commercial net short position in silver is 495.1 million troy ounces.  So for the first time in ages, the commercial net short position is larger than the short position held by the Big 8 traders — to the tune of 495.1 – 483.5 = 11.6  million troy ounces…give or take.  What that means in plain English is that Ted’s raptors, the commercial traders other than the Big 8, have finally gone net short in silver, after being net long for what seemed like forever.  This is never a bullish sign.

In my conversation with Ted yesterday, he pegs JP Morgan’s short position at around 26,000 contracts, or 130 million ounces, which is up from the 23,000 contracts/115 million ounces they were net short a week ago.  130 million ounces works out to around 53 days of world silver production that JPMorgan is short.  That’s compared to the 199 days that the Big 8 are short in total.

The approximate short position in silver held by Scotiabank also works out to around 53 days of world silver production.  For all intents and purposes, JP Morgan and Canada’s Scotiabank are now short equal amounts of paper silver in the COMEX futures market at the moment.

The two largest silver shorts on Planet Earth—JP Morgan and Canada’s Scotiabank—are short about 106 days of world silver production between the two of them—and that 106 days represents 72 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 20 days of world silver production apiece.  The four traders in the ‘5 through 8’ category are short, on average, 13 days of world silver production apiece.

To put it another way, the short positions of Scotiabank and JP Morgan combined, represents more than 50 percent of the short position held by all the Big 8 traders combined.  How’s that for a concentrated short position within a concentrated short position?

The Big 8 are short 49.5 percent of the entire open interest in silver in the COMEX futures market — and that number would be around 55 percent once the market-neutral spread trades are subtracted out.  In gold it’s 39.1 percent of the total open interest that the Big 8 are short.

In gold, the Big 4 are short 39 days of world gold production, down from 41 days last week — and the ‘5 through 8’ are short another 19 days of world production, which is unchanged from the prior week, for a total of 58 days of world gold production held short by the Big 8.  This is the lowest I can remember it being in a long time.  Based on these numbers, the Big 4 in gold hold about 67 percent 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 quite as bad as silver in that regard, but close enough to be considered the same, which is outrageous.

The “concentrated short positions within a concentrated short position” in silver, platinum and palladium held by the Big 4 are about 74, 73 and 71 percent respectively of the short positions held by the Big 8.  All these percentages are basically unchanged from last week’s COT Report.

I don’t have all that many stories for you today, but I’ve got a fair number that I’ve been saving mainly for content reasons — and I hope you have time in what’s left of your weekend to spend the time on the ones that interest you the most.


Flynn’s Gone But They’re Still Gunning For You, Donald — David Stockman

I say good riddance to Flynn because he was a shrill anti-Iranian warmonger. But let’s also not be fooled about what’s happened here.

The Flynn affair proves that the Deep State taps the phone calls of the President’s own closest advisors as a matter of course.

This is the real scandal as Trump himself has rightly asserted.

The very idea that the already announced top national security advisor to a President-elect should be subject to old-fashion “bugging,” albeit with modern day technology, overwhelmingly trumps the specious Logan Act charge at the center of the case.

This very worthwhile commentary by David put in an appearance on the Internet site yesterday — and I thank Peter Holland for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.

Pat Buchanan: The Deep State Targets Trump

And what were Flynn’s offenses?

In December, when Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats, Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador. He apparently counseled the envoy not to overreact, saying a new team would be in place in a few weeks and would review U.S.-Russian relations.

That’s neither illegal nor improper,” writes Lake.

Vladimir Putin swiftly declared that there would be no reciprocal expulsions and U.S. diplomats and their families would be welcome at the Kremlin’s Christmas and New Year’s parties.

Diplomatic crisis averted. “Great move … (by V. Putin),” tweeted Trump, “I always knew he was very smart.

But apparently, this did not sit well with the deep state.

This must read commentary by Pat showed up on his website on Thursday — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it along.  Another link to it is here.

Trump’s Repeal of Bipartisan Anti-Corruption Measure Proves He’s a Fake — Matt Taibbi

On October 13th of last year, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Donald Trump gave a desperate speech at a desperate moment. A week after the surfacing of the infamous “grab them by the pussy” video, Trump presented himself as the common man’s only defense against a vast conspiracy of global financial interests:

There is nothing the political establishment will not do,” he said, “and no lie they will not tell, to hold on to their prestige and power at your expense.

Including running Donald Trump as an anti-corruption candidate! He went on:

For those who control the levers of power in Washington, and for the global special interests they partner with, our campaign represents an existential threat,” Trump said. “It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class … and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.

In conjunction with this speech, which was sold as the “crossroads of history” address (and triggered a new hashtag, #TrumpTheEstablishment), Trump released a 100-day “action plan” that supposedly targeted “special interest corruption.

This very interesting and right-on-the-money commentary by Matt was posted on the Internet site on Thursday sometime — and it comes to us courtesy of Cornelis de Deugd.  Another link to it is here.

Glenn Greenwald: Empowering the “Deep State” to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy

This video interview was posted on the Internet site on Thursday.  The interview with Glenn, hosted by Amy Goodman, starts at the 32:49 minute mark — and runs for about 11 minutes.  I thank Judy Sturgis for sending it our way.

Calexit: Beat the Crowd — Dennis Miller

Our country has become bitterly divided. No matter who won the election, I predicted we would soon be reading about states wanting to secede from the union.

Even before President Trump was sworn in, the California movement, known as Calexit, began. The first step is to ask voters to adopt a state Constitutional Amendment revoking the U. S. Constitution as the supreme law. makes this appeal:

As the sixth largest economy in the world, California is more economically powerful than France and has a population larger than Poland. Point by point, California compares and competes with countries, not just the 49 other states.

Since 1987, California has been subsidizing the other states at a loss of tens and sometimes hundreds of billions of dollars in a single fiscal year.

…In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment, and to the detriment of our children.

They outline reasons why citizens should vote for secession. Point 9 is a bit different, “California has some of the best universities but in various ways, our schools are among the worst in the country.

This interesting commentary by Dennis was posted on his website on Thursday — and another link to it is here.

Expert: What You Need To Know About The Oroville Dam Crisis — Chris Martenson

To make sense of the fast-developing situation at California’s Oroville Dam, Chris spoke with Scott Cahill, an expert with 40 years of experience on large construction and development projects on hundreds of dams, many of them earthen embankment ones like the dam at Oroville.

Scott has authored numerous white papers on dam management, he’s a FEMA trainer for dam safety, and is the current owner of Watershed Services of Ohio which specializes in dam projects across the eastern U.S. Suffice it to say, he knows his “dam” stuff.

Scott and Chris talk about the physics behind the failing spillways at Oroville, as well as the probability of a wider-scale failure from here as days of rain return to California.

Sadly, Scott explains how this crisis was easily avoidable. The points of failure in Oroville’s infrastructure were identified many years ago, and the cost of making the needed repairs was quite small — around $6 million. But for short-sighted reasons, the repairs were not funded; and now the bill to fix the resultant damage will likely be on the order of magnitude of over $200 million. Which does not factor in the environmental carnage being caused by flooding downstream ecosystems with high-sediment water or the costs involved with evacuating the 200,000 residents living nearby the dam.

Oh, and of course, these projected costs will skyrocket higher should a catastrophic failure occur; which can’t be lightly dismissed at this point.

Scott explains to Chris how this crisis is indicative of the neglect rampant across the entire US national dam system. Oroville is one of the best-managed and maintained dams in the country. If it still suffered from too much deferred maintenance, imagine how vulnerable the country’s thousands and thousands of smaller dams are. Trillions of dollars are needed to bring our national dams up to satisfactory status. How much else is needed for the country’s roads, railsystems, waterworks, power grids, etc?

Although this news item has disappeared from the headlines for the moment, I can absolute guarantee you that it will return again soon.  This 47-minute podcast interview with dam expert Scott Cahill was posted on the website on Monday, but for obvious reasons, had to wait for today’s column.  I thank Dennis Meredith for bringing it to our attention — and another link to it is here.

Lawrence Solomon: Finally it’s safe for the whistleblowers of corrupted climate science to speak out

Whistleblowers at the U.S. government’s official keeper of the global warming stats, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), claim their agency doctored temperature data to hide the fact that global temperatures plateaued almost 20 years ago.

Can the whistleblowers be believed in this claim, originally made in 2015? And in the further claim that NOAA then rushed this doctored data into print in time for the UN’s Paris global warming summit of world leaders, to dupe any doubters that the planet was in fact overheated?

Of course the whistleblowers can be believed, and not just because NOAA repeatedly stonewalled inquiries, even failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. No one paying attention can have any doubt that the governmental global warming enterprise has been a fraud. It’s been lies from the start, starting with the very mandate of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which astonishingly ruled out factors like the sun as being worthy of investigation.

Among those astonished was the Danish delegation to the IPCC. It discovered at one of the IPCC’s early meetings a quarter-century ago that its scientists could not present their study, newly published in the prestigious journal Science, showing a remarkable correlation between global warming and solar activity. To their further astonishment, to squelch dissent the IPCC cabal set out to destroy the reputation of its chief author, falsely accusing him of fabricating data.

This amazing and must read article showed up on the Internet site at 3:26 p.m. EST on Thursday afternoon — and my thanks go out to Roy Stephens for finding it for us.  Another link to it is here.

The Great Global Warming Swindle

As I’ve said since Day One when this global warming [which has now morphed into Climate Change once it was proven that there was no Global Warming] thingy surfaced way back when, that it was all bulls hit — and as you known, that’s the way it has turned out.  This 1 hour 13 minute documentary, which appears to be about ten years or so old, spells the hoax out for you…chapter and verse…as the previous Financial Post story only hints at.  Of course it’s a must watch — and I thank Victor Stewart Naylor for sharing it with us.

Vladimir Putin’s statement at the annual meeting of the Federal Security Service

These annual FSB Board meetings give us a chance to meet and not only thoroughly analyse and review the results of the agency’s work over the period, but also to discuss at length all important national security issues in general and outline the priorities for the immediate future and the longer-term.

The FSB plays a key part in protecting our constitutional order and our country’s sovereignty, and in protecting our people from threats at home and abroad.

Let me say from the start that last year’s results were positive and show good development. This concerns your work to counter terrorism and extremism, a series of successful counterintelligence operations, your efforts to combat economic crime, and other areas.

At the same time, demands on the quality and results of your work grow constantly. The global situation has not become any more stable or better over the past year. On the contrary, many existing threats and challenges have only become more acute.

This Putin speech appeared on Internet site on Thursday — and I thank Roy Stephens for his second offering in today’s column.  Another link to it is here.

Kremlin-Baiting Trump: Allegations So Far — John Batchelor Interviews Stephen F. Cohen

What is immediately surprising about this broadcast is the lack of significance put on the resignation of Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Although a serious event and disruptive for the Trump presidency Cohen looks upon this event as but another form of damage to the seemingly ever escalating efforts to unseat this presidency. He further opines that the transcripts of conversations between Flynn and the Russians are not particularly conclusive of wrongdoing. The rabble of the MSM (NYT et al) are also very frothy about a new Russian cruise missile (allegedly, as this smells like fake news) revealed to have been “secretly” deployed in violation to a 1987 treaty banning new land based intermediate ranged missiles. But Cohen is most upset with the escalating rants by the MSM that the president has committed treason when using Russian help in his election win – constantly encouraged by “facts” leaked from the Intelligence Community.  Cohen also explains how all of this is very damaging to a Washington two party system.

Then follows a discussion about the foundations of the MSM in its campaign of Kremlin-baiting of Trump; there are six main “categories” of disinformation that were used, and as Cohen states, room for additions. Cohen debunks all of them using facts, and comparisons with past presidents to put the argument into historical context. Again we should be reminded that this monstrous artificial and downright treasonous attack on a constitutionally elected president is very visible to other world leaders, populations, and Americans, and Cohen is absolutely correct that this is very damaging to U.S. national security. To sum up, the world can see that American foreign policy is made up of fake facts, and that the U.S. electoral system is a sham.  This is profound institutional damage to the United States.

The discussion next shifts to the Ukrainian connection and how Paul Manafort, Trump’s ex-campaign manager was central to an unsubstantiated smear campaign to target Trump. This explanation well shows the extent to which the anti-Trump side can manufacture realities to fit any complaint. Essentially a campaign to defame based on tabloid news level “information”. The truth is in the details and these examples are important for context and to measure how extreme is this campaign. Everything is fed back to supporting the allegation that the Russians hacked the DNC, fed WikiLeaks information, and supported Trump’s win in the election. It is only at the end of the broadcast that Cohen explains what probably happened to Michael Flynn and it is an important listen. There was historical precedence for his behavior which was, in its communications with Russia neither illegal nor even improper. And no, this is not the end of the Trump administration according to Cohen.

It is not difficult to see that if there is no official dissent of the “facts” against Trump and his alleged relationship with Moscow, that at some point there may be an effort to impeach. If everyone is properly on board – from the Judiciary to Congress – then the salacious nature of the charges, and worse, the “proof” or lack of it may be acceptable to TPTB. We can expect to see testimony of the top people in the Intelligence Agencies all uniformly condemning of the “official” crimes” of Trump, and the glaring poisonous defamations will be accepted for truth – as they have been up to now.  What we are watching is a new level of deceit being institutionalized, deemed acceptable, in the functioning of Washington politics; for perpetrators and victim alike the end result will eventually be fatal for the whole government and the country.  And the world looking on can expect the same treatment and knows it.

I posted this interview in my Thursday column, but without the Larry Galearis executive summary, as it wasn’t available at that point.  But I said that I would be reposting it in today’s column — and here it is.  The link came via Ken Hurt — and the big THANK YOU always goes out to Larry for “all of the above”.  Another link to it is here.

The real sultans of Istanbul: cats

Istanbul’s love of cats is world-famous. From tributes to Tombili, the late feline phenomenon, to social media photos and short clips, cat lovers can find their fill of cat accolades posted from the streets of Istanbul. And now that love has been documented in a new film.

The cats are strays but have names. Their favorite hangouts and foods are well-known to locals. Kids grow up hearing the warning, “If you kill a cat, you have to build a mosque to receive God’s forgiveness.”

The neighborhoods take care of them, yet they have no official owners.

So how would you like to see a cat’s daily life on the streets of Istanbul? The movie “Kedi” (Turkish for “cat”) will show you. It’s not animated, as some might expect. Ceyda Torun, the director of “Kedi,” was six months pregnant when she and her crew started shooting in the streets and alleys of the megalopolis in April 2014. The actors in the documentary are peculiar: seven cats, each with a unique character.

This easily falls into the “you can’t make this stuff up” category!  If I hadn’t read it myself, I would never have believed it.  This amazing story put in an appearance on the Internet site last Saturday.  Roy Stephens sent it to me on Sunday and, for obvious reasons, had to wait for today’s column.  Another link to it is here.

Take a Virtual Tour of Picturesque Northern Iran

Archaeologists believe the picturesque Golestan Province to be one of the most culturally and historically important parts of Iran.

The province derives its name from an Old Persian world Varkana meaning “land of wolves,” and wild wolves are indeed still roaming the plains and forests of Golestan.

Situated in the Northern part of the country, the province is home to a number of peoples: Persians, Turkmens, Baluchis, Kurds, Turks and Kazakhs.

Among the province’s historical sites are the Great Wall of Gorgan, the second biggest defensive wall in the world, and Gonbad-e Qabus tower, the world’s tallest brick tower which was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.

Apart from the rich historical background, Golestan Province is also remarkable for its landscapes. In today’s photo gallery, Sputnik takes you through the glorious scenery of the Northern province.

This wonderful 15-photograph pictorial essay is a rare glimpse into a world that has been basically closed to us in the West — and it’s well worth a couple of minutes of your time.  It was posted on the Internet site on Sunday — and is another one of those stories that had to wait for my Saturday column.  I thank ‘aurora’ for bringing it to our attention — and another link to it is here.

Marc Faber: Trump will be good for Asia, but not for the reason you think

President Donald Trump’s protectionist rhetoric will be good for Asia, pushing the region’s stock markets to outperform, said Marc Faber, the publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report.

Trump may publish harsh tweets, but that’ll only send the Asian markets down for a day or so, Faber, also known as Dr. Doom for his pessimistic views, told CNBC‘s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

It is a Chinese-centric Asia nowadays,” he said. “The exports of Taiwan, South Korea, to China are much more important than to the U.S. All the Asian countries for them, exports to China are the key, tourists from China are the key.

During his campaign, Trump vowed to label China a currency manipulator for the purposes of a competitive trade advantage, even though the country has actually been propping up its currency.

There are two video clips with Marc.  The first one runs for 1:34 minutes — and it’s linked here.  The second runs for 2:30 minutes — and it’s linked here.  Both are with CNBC‘s Bernie Lo out of their studios in Hong Kong.  The interviews were conducted early Thursday morning China Standard Time, which was late on Wednesday evening in New York.  I thank Ken Hurt for sending them our way yesterday.

Doug Noland: China Credit and Global Inflationary Dynamics

I strongly contend that a more than one-half Trillion ($) one-month Chinese Credit expansion in early 2017 will exert divergent inflationary impacts to those from early 2016. Why? Because of distinct differences in respective inflationary backdrops. This time last year, disinflationary pressures were demonstrating powerful momentum. The Chinese economic slowdown was gathering force, the financial system was under mounting stress, funds were fleeing the country, and fear was overwhelming greed. Compared to this time last year, crude prices are today about a third higher. Importantly, last year’s massive Credit expansion upended disinflationary forces.

Today’s inflationary backdrop offers a notable contrast: the inflationary path of least resistance is now higher. This argues that Credit excesses will exert a more robust impact on inflationary biases throughout the Chinese economy, inflationary forces that have achieved powerful self-reinforcing momentum. Furthermore, official efforts to restrict financial outflows add a further dimension to the analysis. Not only do I expect this year’s Credit to exhibit more potent effects, it is also likely that tighter regulations ensure less finance leaks out of the system through international flows. In short, unprecedented quantities of new “money” and Credit will in 2017 further inflate a Chinese economic system already terribly maladjusted by years of unprecedented monetary excess.

Already this year, Emerging Market equities (EEM) have posted double-digit gains (10.1{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}). Stocks in Brazil and Argentina are up 12.5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} and 16.3{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}. Indian stocks have risen 6.9{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}. Too be sure, the incredible Chinese Credit boom is playing a major role in fueling strengthening inflationary biases throughout developing markets and economies.

It is a prevailing 2017 theme that global markets are extraordinarily vulnerable to an unexpected change in the monetary backdrop. Count me just as skeptical of the current equities surge as I was of last year’s surging bond markets. In my mind, the 2017 bull story for equities is as dubious as last year’s deflation histrionics – rationalization for a surge in bond prices driven more by a powerful global market dislocation than underlying fundamentals.

Doug’s weekly Credit Bubble Bulletin was posted on his website late last night Denver time — and it’s always worth reading.  Another link to it is here.

London bullion banks will pretend to be transparent next week

Some banks will start testing a new bullion-trading platform next week as part of the London Bullion Market Association’s push to make the city’s over-the-counter market more modern and transparent.

Several banks will be asked to input mock trades into the platform built by Autilla Inc. which will then feed into a new trade data repository developed by Boat Services Ltd., Autilla Chief Executive Officer Mike Greenacre said. Testing may take up to four weeks and the platform may start around late March.

The two London-based startups last year won a contract with the LBMA to help improve how precious metals are traded in London, where about $5 trillion of gold changes hands annually. The OTC market has come under increased scrutiny from regulators pushing for tighter commodity-trading controls, while also facing competition from new products listed by exchanges.

Autilla is the connection system many of the banks will use to feed into the trade-reporting platform,” Greenacre said by phone on Friday. “The main challenge will be getting it to connect with individual banks’ systems.

All of the LBMA’s trading members will be required to use Boat’s reporting system, known as LBMA-i. Using Autilla’s trading platform will be optional, but all transactions on it will be reported directly to the trade repository.

This Bloomberg story showed up on their Internet site at 8:33 a.m. Denver time on Friday morning — and I found it in a GATA dispatch last night.  The above headline, provided by Chris Powell, is probably closer to the truth than the real headline, which reads “Banks to Test London Gold-Trading Platform in Transparency Push“.  Another link to it is here.

Ronan Manly: A chink of light into London’s gold vaults?

Gold researcher Ronan Manly today examines reports that the London bullion banks plan to become more transparent and he offers a dozen criteria that real transparency would have to meet. He concludes that the banks’ idea of transparency isn’t transparency at all.

Manly’s rather longish analysis is headlined “A Chink of Light into London’s Gold Vaults?” and it was posted on the Internet site yesterday sometime.  I found this gold-related news item on the Internet site yesterday afternoon — and another link to it is here.

Indian gold prices flip to discount for first time in 7 weeks

Gold started trading at a discount to official prices in India on Friday for the first time in seven weeks, and buyers elsewhere in Asia held back purchases, waiting for rallying bullion prices to ease.

Gold crept higher on Friday as investors opted for its relative safety given uncertainty about U.S. and European politics and the direction of stock markets.

Gold, on track for a third week of gains, has risen about 7.5 percent in 2017.

The physical side has been very weak still, as people are hesitant in buying at these levels,” said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.

We are seeing only those who are buying for investment purposes since Donald Trump came in January. (The) rest of them aren’t buying and (are) waiting for prices to come down.

This gold-related Reuters news story, co-filed from Mumbai and Bengaluru, was posted on their website at 5:06 p.m. IST on their Friday afternoon — and I found it on the Sharps Pixley website.  Another link to it is here.

The World Gold Council Interviews Alan Greenspan:  Gold…The Ultimate Insurance Policy

Significant increases in inflation will ultimately increase the price of gold. Investment in gold now is insurance. It’s not for short-term gain, but for long-term protection. I view gold as the primary global currency. It is the only currency, along with silver, that does not require a counterparty signature. Gold, however, has always been far more valuable per ounce than silver. No one refuses gold as payment to discharge an obligation. Credit instruments and fiat currency depend on the credit worthiness of a counterparty. Gold, along with silver, is one of the only currencies that has an intrinsic value. It has always been that way. No one questions its value, and it has always been a valuable commodity, first coined in Asia Minor in 600 B.C.

The gold standard was operating at its peak in the late  19th and early 20th centuries, a period of extraordinary global prosperity, characterised by firming productivity growth and very little inflation.

But today, there is a widespread view that the 19th century gold standard didn’t work. I think that’s like wearing the wrong size shoes and saying the shoes are uncomfortable! It wasn’t the gold standard that failed; it was politics.  World War I disabled the fixed exchange rate parities and no country wanted to be exposed to the humiliation of having a lesser exchange rate against the US dollar than it enjoyed in 1913.

Britain, for example, chose to return to the gold standard in 1925 at the same exchange rate it had in 1913 relative to the US dollar (US$4.86 per pound sterling). That was a monumental error by Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. It induced a severe deflation for Britain in the late 1920s, and the Bank of England had to default in 1931. It wasn’t the gold standard that wasn’t functioning;  it was these pre-war parities that didn’t work. All wanted  to return to pre-war exchange rate parities, which, given  the different degree of war and economic destruction  from country to country, rendered this desire, in general, wholly unrealistic.

Today, going back on to the gold standard would be perceived as an act of desperation. But if the gold standard were in place today we would not have reached the situation in which we now find ourselves. We cannot afford to spend on infrastructure in the way that we should. The U.S. sorely needs it, and it would pay for itself eventually in the form of a better economic environment (infrastructure). But few of such benefits would be reflected in private cash flow to repay debt. Much such infrastructure would have to be funded with government debt. We are already in danger of seeing the ratio of federal debt to GDP edging toward triple digits. We would never have reached this position of extreme indebtedness were we on the gold standard, because the gold standard is a way of ensuring that fiscal policy never gets out of line.

Which, of course dear reader, is the sole reason that Nixon “temporarily” took the U.S. [and the rest of the world] off the gold standard back in 1971…because they wouldn’t have been able to deficit spend the world into insolvency with it in place.  I was very much intrigued by the fact that Mr. Greenspan not only mentioned silver in the same sentence as gold, but did so more than once.  This longish WGC interview starts on Page 11 of this huge  2.41MB pdf file, so it make take a second for it download to your desktop.  I thank Judy Sturgis for bringing it to my attention — and now to yours.  Another link to it is here.


The click to enlarge feature is useful for all of these.


I view gold as the primary global currency. It is the only currency, along with silver, that does not require a counterparty signature. Gold, however, has always been far more valuable per ounce than silver. No one refuses gold as payment to discharge an obligation…Gold, along with silver, is one of the only currencies that has an intrinsic value. It has always been that way.” — Alan Greenspan, February 2017

Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ was a no-brainer once I found it on the Internet site earlier this week.  The Russian musicians, Leonid and Friends, have just issued their cover version of Chicago’s famous 1975 tune “Old Days” — and I consider it to be as good as, if not better than, the original.  The musicianship is off the charts — and the vocals are spot on.  The video footage, editing and sound recording are world class in every respect.  Nothing is missing.  The link is here…and enjoy!  Even Ted Butler, who is a huge Chicago fan, was impressed.  Full screen is a must — and turn up the sound as loud as you can stand!

Today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ comes courtesy of Edvard Grieg — and I’ve posted it before, but it was a long time ago.  It’s from Act IV of Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play, Peer Gynt.  Along with ‘Morning Mood‘ andIn the Hall of the Mountain King‘…it’s the most performed of all the works of the incidental music that Grieg composed for this play.  It’s Solveig’s Song.  And here’s Norwegian soprano Marita Solberg doing the honours in an open-air concert featuring an orchestra I should know — and a conductor who I should know as well — but both names escape me at this hour.  I’m not sure if this music is happy or sad, but it is beautiful.  This is a stunning performance, as she just rips your heart out.  The link is here.

There’s not much to report on regarding precious metal activity yesterday, at least in gold and silver.  There wasn’t much volume, as there wasn’t much going on with their respective prices.  Platinum and palladium were taken out to the woodshed by ‘da boyz’ during the COMEX trading session for whatever reason, but that’s a different issue.

I would certainly suspect that there’s been further deterioration in the short positions in both gold and silver since the Tuesday cut-off.  That would put silver in an even more bearish configuration than it is now, but wouldn’t make a lot of material difference for gold.  But before speculating on what may or may not happen going forward, it should be remembered that there are two more business days left in the reporting week before the Tuesday cut-off, so I’ll just keep these thoughts on the back burner until after the COMEX close on that day.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper.  Gold is still hanging in there just above its 100-day moving average — and in silver, it’s a few pennies above its 200-day moving average.  The click to enlarge feature helps a bit with the first four charts.

I must admit that I haven’t read all of Greenspan’s interview with the folks over at the World Gold Council, but was more than shocked to see him mention silver, along with gold, three times in the same paragraph.  Why did he even bring that metal into the commentary was the first question that I asked myself.

Not that I want to read too much into what he said, but I just can’t help myself.  If gold is going to make some sort of reappearance in the world’s financial system at some point, backing the IMF’s SDRs…or in some other form, one can only imagine what the gold price will have to be — and what a corresponding silver price might go with it.

Suddenly JPMorgan’s huge silver stash, along with the enormous long positions held by the non-technical funds in the COMEX futures market takes on more meaning.

But this is certainly speculation on my part — and maybe wishful thinking — so I urge you to be careful what you read into this.  However, I can’t shake the feeling that Greenspan included silver in his commentary deliberately, as the years have shown that he’s careful not only what he says, but how he says it.

Just thinking out loud at 2:09 a.m. EST on Saturday morning.

However, back in the real world, we’re currently looking at a bearish configuration in the COMEX silver market — and what appears to be a very bullish scenario for gold.  How the heck did this come about?

Considering where gold and silver sit vis-à-vis their respective moving averages, I’m still amazed that the Managed Money traders haven’t shown up en masse in both these precious metals at this juncture…and I continue to wonder at their more than uncharacteristic change in behaviour on the short side in silver — and now on the long side in both these precious metals as well.  It’s not just a handful of these traders who have appeared to change strategies, but virtually all of them — and all at once.  I’d love to know the reasons behind it — and I don’t wish to go, as Ted Butler said, too far down this particular rabbit hole…at least for the moment.

I await the Sunday night open in New York with great interest.

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


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