Russia Adds Another 1 Million Ounces of Gold to Their Reserves in January

21 February 2017 — Tuesday


Note:  Even though Ted mentioned it in our telephone conversation on Friday, it never twigged on me that President’s Day in the U.S. just might be a market holiday as well…and it was.  And for that reason, today’s column is going to be somewhat shorter.  It’s also a holiday here in Canada as well…Family Day.

It was pretty unexciting in the gold market on Monday.  When the markets opened in New York on Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. the gold price rallied as the dollar index fell.  The low tick of the day, such as it was, came shortly after 2:30 p.m. China Standard Time [CST] on their Monday afternoon — and the subsequent rally got capped at five minutes before what would have been the COMEX open in New York.  It was sold off a hair after that — and the markets closed at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Gold finished the holiday-shortened session at $1,237.00 spot, up $2.40 from Friday’s close, but would have obviously finished much higher if allowed.  Net volume was exceedingly light at just over 63,000 contracts.

The price action in silver was mostly similar for awhile on Monday, but the price action was far more erratic.  It closed the London session [11 a.m. EST] back at $18 spot — and then jumped up a few more pennies right after that, before chopping sideways for the rest of the day.

Silver closed at $18.02 spot — and up 7.5 cents from Friday.  Net volume was fumes and vapours at something around 13,500 contracts.

Platinum spent most of the Monday session chopping a dollar or so either side of unchanged, but an hour after the Zurich close, it was up 4 bucks on the day — and it finished at $1,005 spot.

It was more or less the same for palladium, although around 3:30 p.m. CET in Zurich, it had a ten dollar ‘price adjustment’ to the downside in just seconds.  It recovered half of that equally quickly, before chopping sideways for the rest of the day — and finished down 5 dollars at $771 spot.

The dollar index closed very late on Friday afternoon in New York at 100.91 — and began to head lower the moment that trading began at 4:00 p.m. EST on Sunday afternoon.  It’s 100.74 low tick of the day came at 8:35 a.m. JST in Tokyo — and from there it chopped quietly higher back towards the 101.00 mark.  The closest it got was 100.98 about two hours later.  It chopped quietly lower until around 9:20 a.m. in London — and then chopped quietly higher for the rest of the Monday session, closing at the 100.90 mark, which was basically unchanged from its Friday.  Nothing much to see here.

Here’s the 3-day intraday chart so you can see Friday, Sunday and Monday’s action, all in one go.

With New York closed, there’s no updated 6-month U.S. dollar chart today.

There weren’t any other charts as well — and no CFTC data, or GLD or SLV updates either.  The mint was closed too.

Despite that, I have a couple of data points for you.

Firstly, the folks over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank updated their website with the goings-on inside their gold and silver ETFs as of the close of business on Friday, February 17 — and this is what they had to report.  The amount of gold in their gold ETF increased by 2,473 troy ounces — and their silver ETF added 214,445 troy ounces.

Since yesterday was the 20th of the month — and it fell on a weekday — the good folks over at The Central Bank of the Russia Federation updated their website with January’s data.  That data included the fact that they added 1 million troy ounces/31.10 metric tonnes of gold to their reserves during that month.  That addition brings their total gold stash up to 1,645 metric tonnes.  Here’s Nick’s most excellent chart showing the change.  Click to enlarge.

The only reason for a column was to unload all the stories that I’d accumulated over the weekend — and I hope you’ll find something from the selection I’ve picked out.


The Mother of All Financial Bubbles Will be unimaginably destructive when it bursts — Chris Martenson

We are now living through the mother of all financial bubbles. We’ve been living with it so long now that we have to take three giant steps backwards to even detect its broad outlines.

As a reminder, a bubble exists when asset prices rise beyond what incomes can sustain. Florida swampland in the 1920’s, tech stocks in the late 1990s, or Toronto real estate today — all are fine examples of this.

The U.S. government and the private banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve, in cahoots with a very compliant and complicit mainstream media, are doing everything in their vast and considerable power to convince us that we are living in an golden era of risk-free prosperity. And that tomorrow will be even better.

Now, regular readers of‘s reports will know there’s a mountain of evidence contracting this. But it’s critical to understand that this is the same public perception management style as we’ve recently seen at Oroville: Deny, deny, deny… and then finally admit the obvious.

So let’s take those three giant steps backwards and see if we can spot the flaw in the ‘everything is awesome!’ meme that the Fed et al are trying to paint for everyone by flooding the “markets” with so much thin-air liquidity (between $150-$200 billion a month) that nobody has any clue what anything is truly worth anymore.

This is ‘Part 1’ of a 2-part commentary from Chris Martenson — and be warned in advance that you have to ‘enroll’ to read Part 2.  This part put in an appearance on the Internet late last Friday evening — and I thank Brad Robertson for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.

The Fight of the Century — Jeff Thomas

In March 1933, the Enabling Act was passed by the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament. Its purpose was to provide Chancellor Adolf Hitler with the ability to bypass the Reichstag. It allowed him (amongst other measures) emergency powers to legally wage pre-emptive war without any further parliamentary or presidential approval, or even discussion.

In January 2017, H.J. Res 10 was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. Its intent was simple and straightforward:

This joint resolution authorizes the President to use the U.S. Armed Forces as necessary in order to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Introduced by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), the bill seeks to give the president unilateral authority to legally wage pre-emptive war without any further Congressional approval, or even discussion.

So, is it possible that the U.S. is following a similar path to that of 1930’s Germany? Well, let’s look a bit closer and see.

This very interesting and very worthwhile commentary by Jeff showed up on the Internet site on Monday — and another link to it is here.

Trump Dreams vs. Trump Reality: Hopes Still Permitted! —  The Saker

What the deep state demonstrated this week is that everybody in the Executive Branch serves not at the pleasure of the President, but at the pleasure of the deep state, including probably Donald Trump himself.

For a lot of Trump supporters the past week has been a painful one. Whether we chose to react with abject panic or pretended like nothing happened, something did happen and it was something big: the Three Letter Agencies pulled-off a de facto coup against Donald Trump by forcing him to fire his most important foreign policy advisor and the man who had dared to declare that he wanted to reform the bloated and largely ineffective U.S. intelligence community.

There is no way of putting a brave face on what happened. Not only because it showed that Trump is not loyal to those who are loyal to him, but because this episode pretty much killed what I would call the “Trump dream”. I chose my words carefully here. I speak of “Trump dream” as opposed to the Trump reality. Let me explain.

This must read commentary by the Saker was posted on the Internet site on Sunday — and it comes to us courtesy of Larry Galearis.  Another link to it is here.

Europe wants Britain to pay billions into E.U. schemes up until 2023

The European Commission wants Britain to be paying into E.U. projects for four years after it has signed a Brexit deal, with final payments continuing up until the end of 2023, the Daily Telegraph has learned.

The plan is part of a European Union demand that Britain settles a €60bn “Brexit bill” before being granted a deal that will govern future trade relations.

The suggestion that Britain should pay in installments up until 2023 was made at a meeting earlier this month between Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, and senior officials from the 27 remaining E.U. member states.

The Commission wants the U.K. to pay in installments from the day of departure in 2019 up until 2023, which is when the financial demands of the E.U.’s seven-year budget cycle are at their highest,” said an E.U. diplomatic source with knowledge of the meeting.

Theresa May promised that Britain would stop making “vast contributions” to the annual E.U. budget after Brexit, but the E.U. will demand that Britain keeps making payments to honour commitments already made in the 2014-2020 budget round.

As Bill King said in his Tuesday Report…”E.U. delusions are at a new high.”  His King Report is where this Internet story appeared.  It was posted on their website at 9:00 p.m. GMT on Monday evening — which was 4:00 p.m. in Washington — EST plus 5 hours.  Another link to it is here.

After seven years of bailouts, Greeks sink yet deeper in poverty

Greek pensioner Dimitra says she never imagined a life reduced to food handouts: some rice, two bags of pasta, a packet of chickpeas, some dates and a tin of milk for the month.

At 73, Dimitra – who herself once helped the hard-up as a Red Cross food server – is among a growing number of Greeks barely getting by. After seven years of bailouts that poured billions of euros into their country, poverty isn’t getting any better; it’s getting worse like nowhere else in the E.U.

It had never even crossed my mind,” she said, declining to give her last name because of the stigma still attached to accepting handouts in Greece. “I lived frugally. I’ve never even been on holiday. Nothing, nothing, nothing.”
Now more than half of her €332/US$350) monthly income goes to renting a tiny Athens apartment. The rest: bills.

This very depressing Reuters story, filed from Athens, was posted on their Internet site at 4:31 p.m. EST on Monday afternoon — and I found it in a GATA dispatch.  Another link to it is here.

Russia Has the Lowest National Debt in Europe: Meanwhile, in America…

The news that Russia is set to settle up all old Soviet debts by year-end highlights — we think not unintentionally — one of the glaring differences between how Moscow and Washington operate.

Moscow can’t afford to print rubles like there’s no tomorrow, so it lives in a reality-based world where pragmatism and agreement-by-consensus guides its domestic and foreign policies.

In contrast, Washington relies on confidence in and demand for the dollar, “allowing” it to print as much money as it needs to spend on fun projects such as “rebuilding” Afghanistan, which currently costs $13 million/day, even though the war “ended” three years ago.

So it’s not particularly surprising that Russia currently has the lowest national debt in Europe.

As for Russia, its debt-to-GDP ratio accounts to 18.3 percent in 2015. And it’s expected to continue to go down. In absolute terms, Russia’s government debt is roughly $147 billion.

This news item appeared on the Internet site on Saturday — and I thank ‘aurora’ for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.

Lavrov Tells It Right to Pence’s Smug Face: Russia Will End U.S.-Led World Order

Aiming to calm European fears about US-Russia ties, Vice President Mike Pence told world leaders Saturday that the United States will stand firm against Moscow while also seeking avenues for cooperation.

This is the opening line to CNN‘s report on the predictable saber-rattling that took place at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

Pence also told the audience that Washington remained “unwavering” in its commitment to NATO as it faced a “more assertive Russia.

Shortly after Pence had finished his war liturgy, Russia’s Foreign Minister took to the podium.

Sergei Lavrov phrased his comments in a very simple manner, so that his American counterparts could understand:

Lavrov said that the time when the West called the shots was over and, dismissing NATO as a relic of the Cold War, added: “I hope that (the world) will choose a democratic world order — a post-West one — in which each country is defined by its sovereignty.

Lavrov said Moscow wanted to build relations with Washington which would be “pragmatic with mutual respect and acknowledgement of our responsibility for global stability.

Lavrov is a career diplomat and a true gentleman. But we’ve noticed a subtle change in his approach to U.S. bullshittery over the last two years.

This right-on-the-money must read article was posted on the Internet site on Sunday — and I thank Roy Stephens for finding it for us.  Another link to it is here.

JPMorgan, HSBC among dozen banks facing fines for rigging South African rand

South Africa’s antitrust investigators urged that a dozen banks be fined for colluding and manipulating trades in the rand, potentially becoming the latest in a string of penalties handed to lenders around the world for rigging currencies.

The Competition Commission identified lenders including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC Holdings Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Credit Suisse Group AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nomura Holdings Inc. as among those that participated in price fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency pairs involving the rand since at least 2007. It referred the case to an antitrust tribunal, concluding an investigation that began in 2015.

The outcome of the probe comes as President Jacob Zuma and his governing African National Congress step up pressure to break the dominance of the country’s four largest lenders and force them to lend more to black clients. Zuma and the banks are also locked in a stand-off after the lenders closed the accounts of companies tied to his friends, the Gupta family, who are accused of using their relationship with him to influence government appointments and contracts.

The timing for banks couldn’t be worse,” said Adrian Saville, the chief strategist at Citadel Investment Services & Cannon Asset Managers. “It comes at a time when they’re trying to demonstrate impeccable behavior. It makes a case for intervention.

This Bloomberg news item showed up on their website last Wednesday — and was updated on Thursday morning.  It’s another article I found posted on the Internet site — and another link to it is here.

Jim Rickards: China Disaster to Trigger Gold Run, Trump to Appoint 5 of 7 Fed Governors

Mike Gleason: Well, first off, Jim, you just published an article at the Daily Reckoning regarding China that I want to have you comment on. Now, since the election of Donald Trump who is advocating for import taxes on goods from China and elsewhere, most of the focus has been on trade and China’s efforts to devalue their currency. A trade dispute with China could certainly have significant repercussions in the U.S., but you raise a host of considerations beyond tariffs and currency markets. Talk for a minute about the internal politics of China, and then if you would, share some of the macroeconomic shifts you see developing between the U.S., China, and Russia, because things seem to be heating up here.

Jim Rickards: Sure. The thesis on China is really independent of the election of Donald Trump and Trump’s policy. Now, I think that’s a big deal obviously. Trump has very firm views on China and he’s got a staff of advisors who are going to pursue those, so I think there are a lot of very important things in play in the area of currency manipulation, tariffs, trade, subsidies to Chinese state owned enterprises, et cetera. We’ll talk a little bit about that but there are bigger things going on in China that are true, regardless of Trump’s policies, even regardless of his president. Just to cut to the chase, China is going broke and when you say that, people roll their eyes. They go, “What do you mean China’s going broke? It’s the second largest economy in the world and it’s got the largest reserve position in the history of the world and it’s got a big trade surplus. I mean, what are you talking about?

Well, all those things are true. When I say they’re going broke I don’t mean that China’s going to disappear or the civilization’s going to collapse. What I mean is that they are running out of hard currency. They’re going to get to the point where they don’t have any money, or at least money that the world wants. Let me explain, Mike, exactly what I mean by that. Going back to the end of 2014, China had a reserve position of about four trillion dollars. That was the largest reserve position in the history of the world. Now, just for the listeners’ benefit, what is a reserve position? It’s actually very easy to understand.

This 31:12 minute audio interview [complete with full transcript] was posted on the Internet site last Friday — and it comes to us courtesy of Harold Jacobsen.  His comments on China and gold gold are certainly worth your while.  Another link to it is here.

South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping officially sunk, declared bankrupt

A South Korean court on Friday pulled the plug on Hanjin Shipping Co., declaring it bankrupt and ordering the liquidation of a company that has led the country’s shipping industry for the past four decades.

The bankruptcy comes five months after the company, which was once one of the largest container-shipping lines in the world, filed for court receivership under heavy debt.

A court-appointed caretaker will sell any remaining ships and other assets Hanjin still owns to pay off its creditors, said Choi Ung-young, a judge on the Seoul Central District Court.

The court closed the company’s rehabilitation proceedings earlier this month, saying liquidation would bring more value to creditors, with its major assets mostly sold off.

This Wall Street Journal story from last Thursday was picked up by the Internet site on the same day — and the above four paragraphs are all that they were allowed to ‘borrow’ from the WSJ article.  Brad Robertson sent it our way late yesterday morning Denver time — and another link to it is here.

North Korea’s Regime In Jeopardy After China Bans All Coal Imports

North Korea just lost a very big ally.

On Saturday, China said that it was suspending all imports of coal from North Korea as part of its effort to implement United Nations Security Council sanctions aimed at stopping the country’s nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile program. The ban, according to a statement posted on the website of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, takes effect on today and will last until the end of the year. While China will hardly suffer material adverse impacts, Chinese trade – and aid – have long been a vital economic crutch for North Korea, and the decision strips North Korea of one of its most important sources of foreign currency.

The ban comes six days after the North Korean test of a ballistic missile that the Security Council condemned as a violation of its resolutions that prohibited the country from developing and testing ballistic missile technology. In the test, – which took place during a dinner between Japan’s Prime Minister and Donald Trump – North Korea claimed that it had successfully launched a new type of nuclear-capable missile. It said its intermediate-range Pukguksong-2 missile used a solid-fuel technology that American experts say will make it harder to detect missile attacks from the North.

According to the NYT, China’s decision has the potential to cripple North Korea’s already moribund economy: coal accounts for 34-40{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of North Korean exports in the past several years, and almost all of it was shipped to China, according to South Korean government estimates. As Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul confirms, coal sales accounted for more than 50 percent of North Korea’s exports to China last year, and about a fifth of its total trade. China had previously bought coal under exemptions that allowed trade for “livelihood” purposes. China’s Ministry of Commerce didn’t respond to faxed questions outside office hours.

Of course they may have methods to replace the damage, but just by looking at the size of the loss, that’s a pretty big blow,” Yang said.

This longish story put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 10:48 p.m. on Sunday night EST — and it’s another Brad Robertson offering.  Another link to it is here.

Arizona bill would remove state tax on profit from sale of gold coins

Arguing that federal policies have made paper money “virtually worthless,” Arizona lawmakers are moving to allow residents to invest in gold coins and not have to pay state taxes on any profits they make when they sell them.

Legislation awaiting a final House vote would carve an exemption in existing laws that require people to report — and pay taxes — on capital gains. So, if you buy art, jewelry, or an antique car for $10,000 and sell if for $12,000, you owe the state tax on that $2,000 profit.

But Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, argues that’s not true if you’re buying U.S. gold coins. He said it’s simply exchanging one form of U.S. currency for another.

If you were to exchange four quarters for a dollar bill, that’s not a taxable event,” Finchem explained during House debate last week on his HB 2014.

This news item was posted on the Internet site nine days ago — and I found it in a GATA dispatch on Saturday.  Another link to it is here.

Investors worldwide could become plaintiffs in class-action suit in U.K. against bullion banks

Investors in nine countries have responded to the announcement two weeks ago that a British law firm, Leon Kaye Solicitors, is contemplating bringing a class-action lawsuit in the United Kingdom under that country’s Competition Act against bullion banks suspected of manipulating the gold and silver markets.

The firm wishes to remind investors that they could become plaintiffs in such a lawsuit even if they live outside the United Kingdom.

Of course, dear reader, this lawsuit will be no more successful than the ones that have gone before it if this law firm doesn’t go after JPMorgan et al at Ground Zero of the problem — and that’s the COMEX futures market and the CME Group.  And it’s almost a foregone conclusion that they won’t, as it’s a prima facie case if they went in that direction.  And pardon me for thinking so, but all these lawsuits seemed designed to fail before they’re out of the gate.  This short item was posted on the Internet site on Saturday — and another link to it is here.

Jim Rickards and Alex Stanczyk — The Gold Chronicles, February 9, 2017

Topics Include:

* Golds role as an international alternative to the United States Dollar
* How financial warfare between sovereigns works
* Strategic view on changes to sovereign gold reserves
* China is slowly shortening the maturity structure of its US Treasuries and letting them run off the books versus   selling
* Analysis of projected Trump policies; deep dive into some of the inconsistencies and potential scenarios
*  Trump may be able influence the appointment of as many as 4 or 5 members of the FOMC
* Currency Wars are alive and well, new rounds of devaluation are starting
* Helicopter money and price inflation
* Are capital markets complex systems, and why it matters
* Why traditional models such are VaR are old science that may no longer apply to markets
* Specific criteria used in physics to identify a complex system
* Triffin’s Dilemma and gold

This 57:09 minute audio interview from February 9 showed up on the Internet site on Saturday — and my thanks to out to Harold Jacobsen for this second contribution to today’s column.  Another link to it is here.

Gold should be the new currency standard: Jim Rickards

Jim Rickards, editor of “Strategic Intelligence” and author of “The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites’ Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis,” tells BNN‘s Greg Bonnell currencies are not lottery tickets and gold could help to remove some of the volatility in the currency markets.

This 3:56 minute video interview with Jim showed up on the Internet site last Wednesday afternoon EST — and it’s definitely worth watching.  I thank Harold Jacobsen for this second offering in a row — and his third and final contribution to today’s column.  Another link to this video clip is here.

11 Stunning Visualizations of Gold Show Its Value and Rarity

Since ancient times, gold has served a very unique function in society.

Gold is extremely rare, impossible to create out of “thin air”, easily identifiable, malleable, and it does not tarnish. By nature of these properties, gold has been highly valued throughout history for every tiny ounce of weight. That’s why it’s been used by people for centuries as a monetary metal, a symbol of wealth, and a store of value.

With all that value coming from such a small package, sometimes it is hard to put gold’s immense worth into context.

The following 11 images help to capture this about gold, putting things into better perspective.

1. The U.S. median income, as a gold cube, easily fits in the palm of your hand.

This very interesting pictorial is a gold-related article that comes courtesy of John Lawton Jeffcoat III — and I thank him for pointing it out.  Another link to this worthwhile photo-essay is here.


For this photograph called “Dancing Octopus,” French diver Gabriel Barathieu was named Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017. It triumphed over 4,500 underwater images entered by photographers from 67 different countries. The photo of the hunting octopus was taken in a lagoon of the tiny island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean. Barathieu explains “I had to wait for a low spring tide when the water was just 30cm deep (1 foot) so that the octopus would fill the water column. I got as close as possible with a wide angle lens to create this image, which makes the octopus look huge.”  Click to Enlarge.


“Prices remained close to the highest levels since the December 20 lows — and the rise in gold and silver prices can hardly be called surprising given the extremely bullish COT market structure in place at the previous price lows. More surprising, however, is that while gold and silver advanced in a similar manner price wise, their respective market structures in COMEX futures positioning now differ radically. In a nutshell, since the most recent price lows, the COMEX silver market structure has deteriorated markedly, while gold’s market structure hasn’t indicated the slightest amount of managed money buying or commercial selling.”

“I can faintly recall instances in the past where the market structures in gold and silver parted ways temporarily, but none quite like now. The disparity in market structures currently is the thing I think about most. The just-released COT report underscored the disparity in spades and has to be considered the highlight for the [reporting] week.” — Silver analyst Ted Butler: 18 February 2017

With New York shut tight, not too much should be read into Monday’s price action.  Prices seemed to be on ‘care and maintenance’ mode for the most part.

Of course I don’t have any 6-month charts for you today — and even if I did, they wouldn’t show much.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I note that all four precious metals have been sold lower — and all of Monday’s gains, plus a bit more in each, have disappeared.  Gold is currently down $3.10 from Monday’s close, silver is back below $18 the ounce — and down 7 cents on the day.  Platinum is down 6 bucks — and palladium is lower by 2 dollars.

Net HFT volume, minus Monday’s, is around the 31,500 contract mark — and that number in silver, net of Monday’s volume as well, is about 7,500 contracts.

The dollar index began to head higher the moment that trading began at 6:00 p.m. EST on Monday evening in New York — and most of its current gains were in by around noon China Standard Time on their Tuesday — and it’s up 33 basis points as London opens.

Today, at the close of COMEX trading is the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report — and I shan’t hazard a guess as to what the numbers might show until tomorrow’s column.

And as I post today’s effort on the website at 4:05 a.m. EST…I see that all four precious metals were sold down a bit more during the first hour of trading in London and Zurich.  Gold is now down $4.40 the ounce, silver is down a dime from Monday’s close — and back below $18 spot, of course.  Platinum is lower by 10 dollars — and palladium by 4.

Net HFT gold volume, net of Monday, is now up to just about 38,000 contracts — and that number in silver is up to almost 8,900 contracts.  Roll-over/switch volume out of March is fairly decent.

The dollar index is up some more…sitting at 101.35 — and up 45 basis points.

With the futures market configuration in silver and gold what it is, I’m not even going to hazard a guess as to how their respective price patterns will unfold until this dichotomy is resolved.  It is, as Ted pointed out in his quote, virtually unprecedented, so it really is terra incognita from this point onward.

Place your bets — and let nothing surprise you in the days and weeks ahead.

And don’t say you weren’t warned.

See you tomorrow.


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