JP Morgan: Back at the Silver Trough in March Deliveries

01 March 2017 — Wednesday


The gold price traded a dollar or so higher for most of the Far East trading session on their Tuesday, but began to sag a bit going into the London open — and by shortly before 10 a.m. GMT, it was down about 3 bucks.  It rallied from there until about 10:30 a.m. in New York — and chopped sideways for the next two hours or so.  Then a few minutes after 1 p.m. EST, it was sold sharply lower — and was back to its London low minutes after the COMEX close.  It was sold off a bit more after that going into the 5:00 p.m. close of trading.

The gold price traded well within a ten dollar price range yesterday, so I shan’t bother looking up the low and high ticks.

Gold was closed yesterday at $1,247.80 spot, down $4.30 from Monday.  Net volume was way up there at around 212,000 contracts.  But, it has become obvious that all this high volume really doesn’t matter much, as Ted says it’s not affecting open interest or futures contract positioning on the COMEX.

And here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  There was a bit of volume in the early going in Far East trading on their Tuesday morning, but fell back to fumes and vapours until around 22:30 p.m. Denver time on Tuesday night, which was 1:30 p.m. CST in Shanghai.  From that point, volume picked up noticeably, with the big volume starting around the COMEX open, which was 6:30 a.m. MST on the chart below.  The big volume spikes came on that engineered sell-off going into the COMEX close — and volume really never dropped off to background levels after that.

The vertical gray line is 10:00 p.m. Denver time, midnight in New York — and 1:00 p.m. China Standard Time [CST] the following afternoon in Shanghai—and don’t forget to add two hours for EST.  The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature is a must.

Silver was up about 8 cents by shortly after the London open yesterday morning, but was sold off to its low tick of the day, which came shortly before 10 a.m. GMT.  It began to rally at 11 a.m. GMT — and that was capped at its high tick, which came a few minutes before noon in New York.  It was all down hill from there until shortly after 4 p.m. in the thinly-traded after-hours market.

The low and high tick in this precious metal was recorded by the CME Group as $18.28 and $18.51 in the May contract, which is now the new front month for silver.  As Ted pointed out in his Saturday column — and again on the phone yesterday, the spread differential between March and May is huge at around 5 cents.  Last week it was 7 cents.

Silver finished the Tuesday session at $18.29 spot, up 5 cents from its Monday close.  Net volume was very decent at 55,000 contracts.

And here’s the 5-minute tick chart for silver, courtesy of Brad as well.  There was choppy, but quiet, volume from 1:30 p.m. China Standard Time onwards but, like gold, the real volume kicked in at the 06:30 a.m. Denver time COMEX open.  By 3 p.m. in New York/1 p.m. MST, volume was mostly back to background.

Like for the 5-minute tick chart for gold, the vertical gray line is 10:00 p.m. Denver time, midnight in New York — and 1:00 p.m. China Standard Time [CST] the following afternoon in Shanghai—and don’t forget to add two hours for EST.  The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature is a must as well.

The platinum price was slightly elevated in Far East trading yesterday — and was up 3 dollars at the Zurich open, but quietly sold off from there — and it’s spike low tick came moments before the COMEX open.  It’s high tick came shortly after the London p.m. gold fix — and by 10:30 it was headed lower.  It revisited its pre-COMEX open low tick around 4:30 p.m. EST — and rallied a dollar or so into the close from there.  Platinum finished down 4 bucks on the day at $1,022 spot.

Palladium traded a dollar or two higher in Far East trading as well, but that ended shortly before 2 p.m. Zurich time, with the spike low tick coming shortly after 2 p.m. EST in New York. It rallied off that low in very short order — and then chopped quietly sideways in what was left of the Tuesday trading session.  Palladium was closed at $768 spot, down 12 bucks from Monday’s close, but was down $15 at its low.

The dollar index closed very late on Monday afternoon in New York at 101.15 — and made it up to the 101.23 mark shortly after trading began at 6:00 p.m. EST in New York on Monday evening.  It began to trend lower from there…but once it hit the 101.00 mark around 2:45 p.m. CST on their Tuesday afternoon, the usual ‘gentle hands’ showed up.  That ‘save’ lasted until 8:30 a.m. in London — and it began to chop lower from there.  The 100.78 low tick was set at 10:30 a.m. in New York — and began to ‘rally’ from there.  It really took off a minute or so before 4 p.m. EST — and its 101.40 high tick was set around 5:35 p.m.  It backed off a bit from there, closing at 101.36 — and up 21 basis points from Monday’s close.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart, which you can read into whatever you wish.  One thing is for sure — and that’s if those pesky ‘gentle hands’ didn’t keep showing up, the dollar index would crater.

The gold stocks opened up a bit, hitting their respective highs of the day around 10:20 a.m. EST.  Then they began to weaken almost right away — and headed lower big time once ‘da boyz’ began to lean on the price in the hour or so before the COMEX close.  Their respective lows came a minute or so after 3 p.m. EST, but they managed to eke out a tiny gain by the close, finishing up 0.1 percent.  Call it unchanged.

It was mostly the same for the silver equities, except their high ticks came with silver’s high tick — which was a couple of minutes before noon in New York.  After that they followed a very similar price path as their golden brethren.  They managed to close in the plus column yesterday, but only by 0.20 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 2 of the March Delivery Month showed that 23 gold and 480 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.  In gold, the two short/issuers were Morgan Stanley and ADM…with 12 and 11 contracts respectively — and the only long/stopper of note was Canada’s Scotiabank with 17.  In silver, the only two short/issuers that mattered were Scotiabank with 263 — and ABN Amro with 154 contracts out of its client account.  In very distant third spots was SG Americas with 29 contracts.  The three largest long stoppers [of 11 in total] were the same as they were on First Day Notice…JPMorgan with 397 contracts…294 for its own account, plus 103 for its clients — and Macquarie Futures with 41 contracts for its own account as well.  [Note: Macquarie Futures is a division of an Australian bank of the same name. – Ed]  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Tuesday trading session showed that gold open interest in March cratered by 517 contracts, leaving just 122 left, minus the 23 contracts mentioned above.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that only 1 gold contract was posted for delivery today, so that means that 517-1=516 March contract holders in gold departed the March contract.  Silver o.i. in March dropped by a chunky 3,034 contracts, leaving 4,265 still around, minus the 480 contracts mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 349 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 3,034-349=2,685 silver contract holders fled the March contract.

There’s still a lot of contracts open for March, but how many actual deliveries are made by the shorts to the longs, remains to be seen.  It’s obvious from the first two days of deliveries that JP Morgan is back at the silver trough once again — and whether it goes after the full 1,500 contracts allowed, or more, remains to be seen.  I know that Ted will have something to say about this in his mid-week commentary today — and I’ll steal what I think I can get away with.

Once again there were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV.

The folks over at the updated their website with the short positions in both SLV and GLD as of the close of trading on February 15 — and their numbers show increases in the short positions in both ETFs.  In SLV, the short position rose from 9,895,600 shares/troy ounces, to 12,738,000 shares/troy ounces, which is an increase of 28.7 percent.  In GLD, the short position increased from 563,510 troy ounces, up to 642,500 troy troy ounces, which works out to a rise of 14.0 percent.

The U.S. Mint had another sales report to end the month.  They reported selling 2,000 troy ounces of gold eagles — and 125,000 silver eagles.

For the month of February, the mint sold 27,500 troy ounces of gold eagles — 15,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and 1,215,000 silver eagles.  Not only has JP Morgan obviously fled the scene, but so has the public, as these numbers are pitiful.

There was no in/out movement in gold over at the COMEX-approved gold depositories on the U.S. east coast on Monday.

It was considerably busier in silver, as 1,389,742 troy ounces were received, but only 60,303 troy ounces were shipped out.  Of the ‘in’ activity, there was 1,179,414 troy ounces received at Canada’s Scotiabank — and the remainder…210,327 troy ounces…was received by JP Morgan.  All of the ‘out’ activity, such as it was, came from Scotiabank as well.  The link to that is here.

I would guess that all this silver that Scotiabank has been picking up in the last few days is to fill its March delivery obligations, as they’ve been one of the largest short/issuers in March so far.

JP Morgan’s COMEX silver stash is a hair under 91 million troy ounces — and will certainly be higher than that by the end of March.

It was fairly busy over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depository in Hong Kong on their Monday.  They only received 94 of them, but shipped out a fairly hefty 5,331.  All of this action was at Brink’s, Inc. as per usual — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

Here are two charts that Nick Laird slid into my in-box shortly after 3 a.m. EST this morning — and they show U.S. Mint gold and silver coin sales updated with February’s data — and as you can see, they are terrible.  Ted Butler has something to say about that in the quote in The Wrap.  [Note that the gold coin sales include gold buffalo sales as well as well as gold eagles]  The click to enlarge feature helps with both charts.

I have an average number of stories for you today — and after a big plate full in Tuesday’s column, I’m sure you’re happy about that.  I know I am.


Target Plunges 12{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} After Missing Lowest EPS Estimate, Slashing Outlook

When we discussed yesterday Reuters report that Wal-Mart is now actively “price testing” its products, and squeezing vendors in a scramble to preserve market share while keeping margins relatively flat, we cautioned that this is the latest indication of what appears to be a pervasive “deflationary shock” among the retail industry which is caught in a vicious fight for market share. This morning’s results from Target validated this observation: moments ago the retail giant reported Q4 EPS of $1.45, missing both consensus ($1.51) and the lowest Wall Street estimate ($1.47), even as Q4 revenue came largely in line with expectations of $20.7 billion, suggesting that holiday spending was indeed far worse

The internals were just as messy, with Target reporting comp sales of -1.5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}, missing the -1.3{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} estimate, on gross margin of 26.9{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}

But the most troubling part of the release was the company’s disappointing guidance: Target now sees 1Q adj. EPS of 80c to $1.00, far below the consensus estimate $1.33, and also over 20{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} below the lowest firecast (range $1.26-$1.41). The bleeding is expected to continue on the back of a “Low-to-Mid Single Digit Decline” in comp store sales in both Q1 and the full year. Also, for the full year, Target sees adj. EPS of $3.80 to $4.20, wildly missing consensus of $5.34 (range $5.05-$5.60).

CEO Brian Cornell was rather downbeat: “Our fourth quarter results reflect the impact of rapidly-changing consumer behavior, which drove very strong digital growth but unexpected softness in our stores.”

This Zero Hedge story was posted on their website at 6:54 a.m. EST on Tuesday morning — and I thank Richard Saler for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.

Hershey is cutting 15{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of its workforce

The chocolate maker said in a statement Tuesday that the move is part of a multiyear program to improve profitability.

Hershey said it expects the program to incur pre-tax charges of $375 million to $425 million, and provide between $80 million and $100 million in benefits from the layoffs.

Our objective is to ensure that we always have the right level of innovation, marketing plans and consumer and customer expertise to drive net sales growth, especially in our North America confectionery and snacks business,” said Michele Buck, the incoming CEO.

Hershey’s shares fell by as much as 7{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} in after-hours trading following the announcement. Hershey plans to explain more to investors at a conference on March 1.

The above four paragraphs are all there is to this brief news item that showed up on the Internet site on Tuesday sometime — and it comes to us courtesy of Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl.  Another link to it is here.

Drained pension fund has retired New York union workers pinching pennies to survive, as doom looms for reserves across U.S.

In the backseat of his beat-up car, Tim Chmil stashes what he refers to as his new retirement fund — bags and bags of recyclable bottles and cans.

Every time he spots a bottle on the street, he bends down to pick it up.

Even if it’s just 5 cents, it’s money, and I need it,” the 71-year-old said.

It’s not the way the ex-trucker — a member of Teamsters Local 707 — expected to fund his senior years.

Chmil is one of roughly 4,000 retired Teamsters across New York State suffering a fate that could soon hit millions of working-class Americans — the loss of their union pensions.  Teamsters Local 707’s pension fund is the first to officially bottom out financially — which happened this month.

This sad story was posted on the Internet site very early on Sunday morning EST — and I found it embedded in a ZH story last night.  Another link to it is here.

The Sinking of the Lord Clive — Jeff Thomas

The image above is of the 18th-century home of friends in Colonia, Uruguay. Today, sitting on their back patio on the Rio de la Plata, I looked out at a small yellow buoy in the harbour that marks the final resting place of the Lord Clive, a large, 60-gun British warship from the 18th century.

In 1763, we British, already at war with Spain, decided to expand the venture to the New World. The Lord Clive arrived in Colonia, Uruguay, and began firing into the tiny town. With her heavy contingent of cannon, her captain was confident that he could do enough damage to make the Spanish inhabitants surrender. After extensive bombardment, the Spanish had still not raised the white flag; however, the crew of the Lord Clive had managed to set fire to their own ship. The crew abandoned ship.

Local accounts of the event have it that, swimming ashore, the English crew apologized for bombarding the town and asked for mercy. Not surprisingly, the Spanish killed them.

Of course, this is not the outcome that’s described in English history books. Although the defeat of the British on that day is acknowledged, the folly is not. Although historians will generally acknowledge a defeat, they’re often reluctant to mention any idiocy on the part of their own military. And so any English-language version of the story tells a different tale from the account above.

This is a great pity, as much can be learned from historical idiocy. Since it’s rarely taught, military leaders often make the same idiotic mistakes that their predecessors made.

This absolutely right-on-the-money must read commentary from Jeff showed up on the Internet site yesterday — and another link to it is here.

Today Swedes eat 6 million cream-filled buns in the most epic fika of the year — here’s why

Today is Fettisdagen in Sweden, which means Swedes collectively indulge in a traditional bun called semla.

The Semla has a unique standing in Swedes’ hearts and the fact that more than half of the population is eating one [today], creates a sense of belonging across the country,” said Martin Lundell, CEO at the trade association for Swedish pastry chefs and bakers.

The season for eating them has gradually extended beyond the day itself, fueling a multimillion krona business that provides Swedes with some 40 million buns each winter, according to Göteborgsposten.

About 5-6 million semlas will be consumed today in Sweden, meaning that more than half of Swedes accompany their fika with various forms of the semla, officially called “fettisdagsbullar” or Fat Tuesday buns.

The semla is made from three main components: cream, white cardamom-infused bun and almond paste. At workplaces around the country, four out of ten Swedes have been offered a semla today.

The photo is worth the trip — and I have a dozen on order with Patrik Ekdahl, who is picking them up at his local bakeshop today.  There’s a full day’s worth of calories in each one…mostly in the form of fat and sugar.  This ‘news’ item appeared on the Internet site yesterday as well — and you’ll gain weight just reading it!  Another link to it is here.

Former IMF Chief and Dozens of Former Bank Execs Just Got Sentenced to Jail

The unimaginable just happened in Spain: two former bank CEOs, Miguel Blesa (CEO of Caja Madrid) and Rodrigo Rato (CEO of Bankia) were just awarded prison sentences of six years and four-and-a-half years, respectively, for misappropriation of company funds.

Rato was also Managing Director of the IMF from 2004 to 2007. He was succeeded by another luminary, Dominique Strauss Kahn.

Now, the question on everyone’s mind is will Blesa and Rato actually serve the sentence (more on that later).

Dozens more former Caja Madrid senior executives, most of whom are closely connected to either, or both, of the country’s two main political parties and/or unions also face three to six years in prison. They were found guilty by Spain’s National High Court of misusing company credit cards. Those cards drained money directly from the scarce funds of Caja Madrid, which at the height of Spain’s banking crisis was merged with six other failed savings banks into Bankia, which shortly thereafter collapsed and ended up receiving the biggest bail out in Spanish history, costing taxpayers over €20 billion, to date.

I saw this story late last week — and don’t know why it didn’t make it into either my Saturday or Tuesday column, but here it is now.  It appeared on the Internet site last Thursday — and I thank my daughter Kathleen for bringing it to my attention — and now to yours.  Another link to it is here.

The Greek “Bank Jog” Is Back: Bank Deposits Tumble to Lowest Since 2001

It didn’t take much for the Greek bank run jog to return: with Greece once again stuck between an IMF rock and a Schauble hard case, and whispers that another bailout may be on the horizon, the local population took advantage of whatever capital controls loopholes they could find, and withdrew money from the local banking sector, which to this day remains on ECB life support, almost two years after the 3rd Greek bailout in the summer of 2015.

According to Greece central bank data, Greek private sector bank deposits declined in January for the second month in a row, driven by renewed concerns over the country’s never ending bailout. Business and household deposits fell by €1.63 billion, or 1.34{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} month-on-month to €119.75 billion ($126.8 billion), the lowest level since November 2001. The January outflow follows a “jog” of €3.4 billion in December, making the two-month drop the worst since the latest Greek bailout panic in July of 2015.

And as concerns about the Greek fate only grew in February, it is likely that the next month’s data will show another acceleration in outflows, especially since Greek non-performing loans remain at a staggering 70{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of total bank assets and continue to grow.

As Reuters further notes, starting in December, the Bank of Greece stopped counting deposits of €4.2 billion held in the Loans & Consignment Fund and another €2.1 billion in the Deposit Guarantee Fund (TEKE) as private sector deposits. The move followed a reclassification by the country’s statistics service ELSTAT, which groups the two institutions under the general government sector.

This is the Zero Hedge spin on a Reuters story from yesterday.  It showed up on the ZH website at 9:27 a.m. EST on Tuesday morning — and I thank Richard Saler for his second contribution of the day.  Another link to this article is here.

Lavrov vs. McCain: Is Russia an Enemy? — Patrick Buchanan

The founding fathers of the Munich Security Conference, said John McCain, would be “be alarmed by the turning away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism.”

McCain was followed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who called for a “post-West world order.” Russia has “immense potential” for that said Lavrov, “we’re open for that inasmuch as the U.S. is open.

Now McCain is not wrong. Nationalism is an idea whose time has come again. Those “old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism” do seem everywhere ascendant. But that is a reality we must recognize and deal with. Deploring it will not make it go away.

But what are these “universal values” McCain is talking about?

This commentary by Pat appeared on his Internet site on Monday — and it comes to us courtesy of Roy Stephens.  It’s certainly a must read, even if you’re not a serious student of the New Great Game — and another link to it is here.

Russia Tells Trump “Enough Talk,” Time to Team Up in Syria Fight

More than a month into the new U.S. administration, Russia’s getting impatient for President Donald Trump to make good on his promise to mount a joint fight against Islamic State, according to a senior defense official.

Enough talk about it,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said, referring to prospects of cooperation with the U.S. in Syria. Russian and U.S. defense officials at airbases in the Middle East “are exchanging information and this could be extended” to allow for joint operations, though no “there’ve been no concrete steps so far,” Fomin said in an interview in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Tuesday.

Fomin’s comments are among the most direct expressions of frustration with the Trump administration from a senior Russian official, as initial euphoria over prospects for cooperation has given way to greater caution. Trump repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin during the election campaign and said that he wants to cooperate with him in fighting terrorism. He’s also embroiled in a deepening row regarding alleged Kremlin interference in the election that led to the Feb. 13 ouster of Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

While there’ve been “constructive” talks between Russian and U.S. military chiefs, Russia wants a meeting “soon” between Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his U.S. counterpart James Mattis, Fomin said. “We’re ready for any format” of talks, he said.

This Bloomberg article put in an appearance on their Internet site at 8:57 a.m. Denver time on Tuesday morning — and my thanks goes out to Patrik Ekdahl for his third and final contribution to today’s column.  Another link to it is here.

Russia and China veto U.N. vote on Syria

This is the seventh occasion that Russia has wielded its veto on Syria’s behalf.

China also voted against the resolution, the sixth time China has voted against a Western sponsored resolution concerning Syria.

Russia’s and China’s votes against the resolution were widely predicted.  What would have alarmed the Western powers much more was that the resolution failed to gain support from some of the U.N. Security Council’s non permanent members.

According to Reuters, Bolivia joined Russia and China in voting against the resolution, whilst Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained.  As a result the resolution only received the bare nine votes it would have needed to be adopted if Russia and China had not vetoed it.

It would have been a major diplomatic defeat for the Western powers, and a serious humiliation for them, if a resolution they had jointly sponsored had failed to receive the necessary nine votes to be passed by the U.N. Security Council in the absence of a veto from one of the permanent members.  Since the USSR collapsed the Western powers – provided they are united – have always had a clear majority on the U.N. Security Council.  The Western powers will be alarmed that the vote this time was so close, and that their majority appears to have eroded.

This story/commentary by Alex Mercouris showed up on Internet site on Tuesday afternoon sometime — and I thank Larry Galearis for sharing it with us.  It’s definitely worth reading, especially if you’re a serious student of the New Great Game — and another link to it is here.

Showdown in Indonesia brings world’s biggest gold mine to standstill

The American mining company Freeport-McMoRan has brought the world’s biggest gold mine, in the Indonesian province of West Papua, to a standstill. The corporation is butting heads with the Indonesian government over protectionist mining regulations. And now that Freeport has started to dismiss tens of thousands of workers, the local economy is poised to take a huge hit. In Mimika Regency, the West Papua province containing the Grasberg gold mine, 91 percent of the Gross Domestic Product is attributed to Freeport.

Freeport Indonesia abruptly stopped production on February 10 and laid off 10 percent of its foreign workers. It employs 32,000 people in Indonesia, about 12,000 of whom are full-time employees. The freeze was a reaction to a shakeup in Freeport’s 30-year contract with the Indonesian government, signed in 1991. Indonesia has tried to levy additional obligations from Freeport in an attempt to increase domestic revenue from its natural resources. Freeport retaliated last week by threatening to pursue arbitration and sue the government for damages.

Observers on the ground in Papua and from afar in Jakarta worry the shakeup will decimate the local economy and lead to violence in the historically unstable region. West Papua has long been a troubled territory in Indonesia and its independence movement has long been met with brutal military action.

This gold-related news story, filed from Jakarta, put in an appearance on the Internet site on Monday morning — and I found it in a GATA dispatch yesterday.  Another link to it is here.

China January gold imports from Hong Kong slide 40{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} on month to 32 metric tonnes; 2-year low

Chinese gold imports from Hong Kong totaled 32 mt in January, down 40{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} from December, data released by the Hong Kong Customs and Statistics showed Tuesday.

The figure is down marginally from 33 mt reported in January 2016.

Imports to the Chinese mainland totaled 771 mt in 2016, down from 861 mt in 2015.

When combined with imports from Switzerland to the Chinese mainland, using the most recent Swiss Federal Customs data, total gold imports into China for 2016 totaled 1,213 mt, up from 1,163 mt in 2015.

Gold imports to China via Hong Kong are no longer a proxy for China’s gold imports, but this story is written like it is.  It appeared on the Internet site at 12:07 a.m. GMT on Tuesday morning, which was 7:07 a.m. in New York — EST plus 5 hours.  I found it on the Sharps Pixley website — and another link to it is here.

Treasure hunters find Iron Age gold in farm field, earliest discovered in Britain

Intricate jewellery found buried in a Staffordshire field is the earliest example of Iron Age gold ever found in Britain.

The collection, made up of four twisted metal neckbands, called torcs, and a bracelet, was discovered by two metal detectorists just before Christmas.

Experts say they would have been owned by wealthy powerful women who probably moved from continental Europe to marry rich Iron Age chiefs.

The pair who discovered the find had swept the field 20 years earlier and uncovered nothing. But after abandoning a fishing trip to go treasure hunting they came across the horde, which could be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

This amazing must read story has a 1:38 minute video clip embedded that should be watched full screen to be appreciated.  Craftsmanship knows no boundaries of either time or place — and this 2,000 year old jewellery is certainly proof of that.  This news item was posted on the Internet site at 8:30 a.m. GMT on Tuesday morning — and it’s another story that I found on the Internet site.  Another link to it is here.



Unless there’s some unexpected surge in reported sales, this month’s sales of Silver (and Gold) Eagles from the U.S. Mint are so low as to be almost unbelievable. I would remind you that gold and silver prices have moved higher for the month and for the year to date, so the abysmally weak sales of coins stand out even more. Why are Eagle coin sales so low?

When I first concluded JPM was behind the surge in sales, many doubted my findings and some continue to do so to this day. Ironically, the sharp recent falloff in U.S. Mint (and Royal Canadian Mint) sales, at least to me, provides more proof that JP Morgan was the big (former) buyer. The mark of whether any premise or finding is valid lies in how it holds up to changes in circumstances along the way. By identifying that JP Morgan was the big buyer and not the retail public that created the probability that should JPM suddenly refrain from buying (as it is now doing), there must be a sudden and shocking decline in total sales, which has occurred.

For those who claimed it was strong retail demand all along and not JP Morgan behind the six years of record sales of newly issued silver coins from both mints, it would seem that they have the burden of proof to now explain the sudden falloff in sales. As I’ve contended all along, public behavior is broadly recognizable and there were no clear signs of strong retail demand away from the Mints’ record sales of coins. Since I claimed there was no big retail demand all along, just big demand by JPM, my explanation for the recent falloff in demand is that the bank stepped aside. It seems to me that those claiming it was strong retail demand all along and not JPMorgan now have the responsibility of explaining why retail demand suddenly changed. I’m not holding my breath waiting for those explanations.Silver analyst Ted Butler: 25 February 2017

It was another day where ‘da boyz’ used a ‘rally’ in the dollar index to take back most or all of the gains in the precious metals by the COMEX close.  However, at least the precious metal shares reacted in a more ‘normal’ manner to yesterday’s price action, but that’s cold comfort at the moment.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper once again — and there isn’t much to see, except for the fact that their respective prices are being held in place.

Gold still hasn’t managed to break above its 200-day moving average — and even through silver is above its by a hair, it’s current price action doesn’t indicate heavy Managed Money buying.  Even if there is heavy buying going on, the short buyers and long sellers of last resort aren’t allowing that fact to show up in their respective prices.  And when it does appear, they arrange for it all to go away by the end of the trading day.  The click to enlarge feature helps a bit with the first four charts.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I note that gold was sold lower shortly after trading began in New York at 6:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday evening.  It’s been in a bit of a recovery mode since 1 p.m. in Shanghai trading — and is currently down $2.70 an ounce.  The silver price got spiked lower starting at 9 a.m. CST on their Wednesday morning, but it recovered quickly — and was up 3 cents the ounce at one point, but got sold back down again and, like gold, has been in recovery mode since.  It’s currently sitting at unchanged.  Platinum got sold lower along with gold, but has recovered a lot of its earlier losses — and is down a dollar as the Zurich open approaches.  Palladium traded a few dollars or so higher throughout Far East trading on their Wednesday — and is up 3 bucks at the moment.

Net HFT volume in gold is absolutely monstrous at just over 80,000 contracts — and I must admit that I’m amazed by that figure.  I’m not sure what it’s all about, as there’s no roll-over/switch volume worthy of the name — and the price action doesn’t appear to warrant that kind of associated volume.  Net HFT volume in silver is sitting right at the 15,000 contract mark — and that price spike down did not penetrate, nor touch, its 200-day moving average, at least not that I could tell from the Kitco chart.

The dollar index rallied up to the 101.56 mark by 9:15 a.m. China Standard Time, but then fell back below 101.30 by around 10:25 a.m. over there.  It’s been in rally mode since — and its current 101.73 high tick came shortly after 3 p.m. CST.  It’s off that high by a bit — and up 29 basis points as London opens.

We certainly are living in interesting times — and I’m already wondering what will happen in New York this morning once COMEX trading starts.  I’m not sure how Trump’s State of the Union address will play out at that point or, more correctly, how it will be allowed to play out in the precious metals, the equity markets — and the currencies, as the New York session unfolds.

And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:03 a.m. EST, I see that the gold price continues to rally — and it’s only down only $1.30 after the first hour of trading in London.  Silver is now up 4 cents — and platinum and palladium are now up 1 dollar and 7 dollars respectively.

Net HFT gold volume is approaching 95,000 contracts.  If this is the Managed Money traders piling in on the long side, then it’s obvious that JPMorgan et al, as short buyers and long sellers or last resort, must be at battle stations currently.  Net HFT silver volume is sitting at 17,500 contracts, which is only up about 2,500 contracts from an hour ago.  I must admit that I’m astounded by this volume dichotomy — and I’ll be more than interested in what Ted has to say about it.

The dollar index continues to chop higher — and is up 34 basis points at the moment.

So place your bets — and let nothing surprise you, because nothing will surprise me when I check the charts after I roll out of bed later this morning.

See you tomorrow.


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