The Fed’s Fischer Speaks…Silver and Gold Get Hit

29 March 2017 — Wednesday


The gold price didn’t do a lot until around 2 p.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday afternoon.  It was sold off a few dollars going into the London open — and then didn’t do much until around 11 a.m. GMT.  It rallied quietly from there until it ran into “all the usual suspects” at the 8:20 a.m. EDT COMEX open — and the price chopped quietly lower until minutes before 2 p.m.  At that point Fed Governor Fisher opened his mouth and said…bla, bla, bla, interest rates, bla, bla, bla — and that was enough for ‘da boyz’ to sell gold down to its low tick of the day, which came minutes before 3 p.m. in the thinly-traded after-hours market.  It crawled quietly higher into the close from there.

The high and low ticks certainly aren’t worth looking up.

Gold was closed in New York on Tuesday at $1,251.30 spot, down $2.50 on the day.  Net volume was on the lighter side at around 132,000 contracts.  Roll-over/switch volume out of April was very heavy.

The silver price followed gold’s pretty closely, with the low tick in that precious metal coming just before the London open.  It was down about a dime at that point, but cut that loss in half within an hour — and then the price didn’t do a thing until 1 p.m. GMT in London, which was twenty minutes before the COMEX open.  The saw-tooth pattern of the rally subsequent to the COMEX open was the obvious sign that it was not going unopposed.  The high tick of the day came right at the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close…Fisher did his interest rate thingy — and JPMorgan et al stepped on the silver price as well.  Then, also like gold, it crawled quietly higher into the close after that.

Silver traded within a 25 cent price range all day long on Wednesday, so I’ll pass on the low and highs on it as well.

Silver finished the Wednesday session in New York at $18.165 post, up 7.5 cents from Monday’s close.  Net volume was pretty heavy at a hair under 58,000 contracts.

Here’s the 5-minute tick silver chart courtesy of Brad Robertson — and I offer it with no comments.

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

The platinum price traded more or less sideways, but was up a few dollars by 2 p.m. CST.  The it sold off a bit going into the Zurich open at 9 a.m. CEST…Central European Summer Time.  It rallied very weakly into the COMEX open — and from that point onward, ‘da boyz’ were on top of the price, driving it down to its $947 low tick at 3 p.m. EDT.  Then, like silver and gold, it rallied into the 5:00 p.m. close.  Platinum was closed down another 13 bucks to $953 spot.

Palladium was down 6 dollars within the first two hours of trading, once it commenced at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Monday evening in New York.  It chopped sideways until the spike low tick was set minutes before the COMEX open.  It rallied until at, or just before, the London p.m. gold fix — and at that point, it was up 2 bucks on the day.  But even that tiny gain wasn’t allowed to stand — as ‘da boyz’ and their algos closed palladium at $790 spot, down 3 dollars on the day.

The dollar index closed very late on Monday afternoon in New York at 99.22 — and made it up to 99.34 just minutes before the London open on their Tuesday morning.  It then chopped sideways to lower going into the London p.m. gold fix — and its low tick of the day at that juncture was 99.12.  Then an hour later it began to ‘rally’ with some authority — and the 99.79 high tick was printed around 2:25 p.m. EDT.  It gave back about 10 basis points in the next hour, before chopping quietly sideways into the close.  The dollar index finished the Tuesday session at 99.68 — up 44 basis points on the day.

It’s interesting to note that despite the big 3.5-hour ‘rally’ in the dollar index, you would never have known it by looking at the precious metal charts, particularly silver and gold, as they were trading in a world of their own long before that dollar ‘rally’ began.   They would have obviously closed much higher on the day…with or without the head winds from the ‘gentle hands’ helping out the dollar index.  It took Fischer’s bla, bla, bla to do that — and even then, it’s a good bet that sell-offs in gold, silver and platinum just before 2 p.m. had nothing to do with ‘free market forces’.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index.  You can see that it ‘bounced’ off its Monday oversold condition yesterday — and it remains to be seen how it will perform from here…or be allowed to perform.  The dollar index is just another of many markets that the powers-that-be have total control over.

The gold stock opened a hair above unchanged, but once the afternoon gold ‘fix’ was in, down they went.  Their respective low ticks came just before 3 p.m. EST — and they rallied weakly into the close.  The HUI finished down 3.07 percent.

It was mostly the same chart pattern for the silver equities, except their lows came shortly after 2 p.m. EDT.  They rallied a decent amount after that — and despite the positive close in silver, Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed lower by 1.63 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

The CME Preliminary Report showed that 10 gold and 30 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.  In gold, ADM issued all ten out of its client account — and Scotiabank picked up all of them for its own account.  In silver, the two short/issuers that mattered were ADM with 15 out of its client account — and Scotiabank with 14 out of its own account.  Citigroup stopped all 30 for its client account.  Based on the last two delivery days, it certainly appears that JP Morgan is done for the month.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that gold open interest in March dropped by 57 contracts, leaving 13 left, minus the 10 mentioned just above.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 51 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 57-51=6 contracts for March delivery in gold were closed out without delivery taking place.  Silver o.i. in March remained unchanged at 47 contracts still open, minus the 30 contracts mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 30 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, but there’s something not right about that number, or the 47 contract o.i. number, so I’ll wait for tomorrow’s Daily Delivery Report for some clarification.

After a decent deposit into GLD on Monday, there was a withdrawal yesterday, as an authorized participant removed 57,121 troy ounces.  And much to my surprise, there was a deposit in SLV yesterday, as an a.p. added 1,136,357 troy ounces.

It was another day with no sales report from the U.S. Mint.

There was some gold activity worth reporting at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Monday.  They reported receiving 68,824 troy ounces — and nothing was shipped out.  The bulk of the ‘in’ activity was at HSBC USA with 63,725 troy ounces — and the rest went into Brink’s, Inc.  A link to that is here.

There was 601,135 troy ounces of silver received — and all of that went into Canada’s Scotiabank — and only 20,120 troy ounces were shipped out.  The ‘out’ activity was at HSBC USA — and the link to all this is here.

It was a very busy day over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Monday.  They reported receiving 12,925 of them, plus they shipped out another 8,181.  All of this action was at Brink’s, Inc. as per usual — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

I don’t have all that many stories today, which suits me fine, as I’m miles behind schedule.


Manhattan Landlords Are Offering Massive Giveaways to Their Retail Clients

Manhattan landlords, who have seen retail occupancy plummet after boosting rents to record levels, are trying to avoid big price cuts. Instead, they’re writing checks for things like interior redesigns and moving expenses to keep storefronts from going empty.

Tenant-improvement allowances haven’t been typical in the Manhattan retail market. But now the concessions, which can pay for anything from lighting and displays to a complete overhaul, are becoming a key component in some new leases, particularly for large, flagship stores in high-profile areas, such as Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, according to Steve Soutendijk, an executive director at brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

We’re seeing tenant-improvement and concession packages that retail landlords never, ever contemplated before,” he said.

The sweeteners signal that the balance of power is tilting toward merchants in Manhattan after a relentless surge in rents during the past five years. Landlords facing rising vacancies are more willing to negotiate with retailers, who have gotten battered by the rapid rise of e-commerce and have shied away from committing to costly, long-term leases.

This Bloomberg news item, courtesy of Brad Robertson, was posted on their Internet site at 3:00 a.m. Denver time on Tuesday morning — and was updated about eight hours later.  Included in the ‘update’ was a change in headline…as it used to read “Manhattan landlords turn to retailer giveaways as stores go dark“.  Another link to it is here.

Jim Rogers: “This is all going to end very, very, very badly

There are three brief video clips featuring Jim.  They were posted on the Bloomberg Business website yesterday — and were subsequently picked up by the folks over at  In total, they run for about 7 minutes.  I thank Roy Stephens for pointing them out.

The Catastrophic Law That Mandates a Stock Market Crash — Mike Maloney

In this latest video, Mike Maloney uncovers the disaster-in-waiting that is the ERISA Act. It’s a law forcing the oldest of the baby boomer generation to start selling stocks today.

This 6:40 minute video presentation by Mike appeared on the website yesterday — and I thank Dan Rubock, his right-hand guy, for sending it our way.  I must admit that I haven’t had the time to watch it.

House Committee Passes Bill to “Audit The Fed”

The Republican-controlled Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved a bill earlier today to allow for a congressional audit of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, a proposal Fed policymakers have opposed and likely faces a difficult path to final approval in the Senate.  Under the bill, the Fed’s monetary policy deliberations could be subject to outside review by the Government Accountability Office.

While similar bills have garnered some support from Democrats in the past, they uniformly spoke against the current proposal during a meeting of the House of Representatives suggesting the current iteration would face stronger resistance from an increasingly polarized environment in Washington D.C..

The House previously passed similar versions of this legislation twice before in 2012 and 2014, with dozens of Democrats joining nearly unanimous Republican support.  That said, those bills both died in the Senate and likely would have faced a Presidential veto from Obama had they survived anyway.

That said, Trump expressed interest in passing such legislation multiple times during the 2016 campaign cycle which means the 3rd time might just be the charm for Republicans.

This article was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 3:34 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon EDT — and it’s the second offering of the day from Brad Robertson.  Another link to it is here.

Oroville Dam: “A Day in the Life” — 27 March Update

DWR just turned the main spillway off as the Reservoir Elevation reaches 836′ (Mean Sea Level), the minimum level of the Main Spillway.

This 14:13 minute video was posted on the Internet site on Monday sometime — and I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to our attention.

Scottish parliament votes for second independence referendum

Nicola Sturgeon has won a key Holyrood vote on her plans for a second independence referendum, triggering accusations from U.K. ministers that her demands are premature.

Sturgeon won by a 10-vote majority after the Scottish Greens backed her proposals to formally request from the U.K. government the powers to stage a fresh independence vote at around the time Britain leaves the E.U., in spring 2019.

She is due to write to Theresa May later this week, asking for Westminster to hand Holyrood the temporary powers to stage the referendum under a section 30 order. She said she would avoid writing until the prime minister had invoked article 50 to trigger the Brexit process, which she is expected to do on Wednesday.

It is not my intention to do so confrontationally, instead I only seek sensible discussion,” Sturgeon told MSPs.

This news item was posted on Internet site at 6:34 p.m. BST [British Summer Time] on their Tuesday evening, which was 1:34 p.m. in Washington — EDT plus 5 hours.  It’s another contribution from Roy Stephens — and another link to it is here.

Lavrov Responds to U.S. Decision to Block Advance of Syrian Army

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented on Monday about the U.S.-led operation to block the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from marching on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa.

Responding to a journalist’s question about the development, Lavrov stated that Russia supports any international efforts to combat Islamic State, but warned the U.S. “to fight terror rather than gain geopolitical advantages in Syria“:

“[N]umerous uninvited players [are in Syria]: the US-led air force coalition, Turkish servicemen, and commandos from the United States and a number of European countries. All of this creates a rather motley picture, but we are confident (and have advocated this for a long time) that the main criterion should be our common concern in the fight against terrorism. […] So far, coordination leaves much to be desired. We have reason to believe that our partners, including the Americans, are beginning to realise the need for remedying this situation. Let us hope that all of us will be driven by the well-understood priority to fight terror rather than gain geopolitical advantages in Syria.

Lavrov seems to be keeping his cards close to his chest, but it’s clear that he’s less than thrilled about Washington’s posturing around Raqqa. It could be as simple as a “lack of coordination” — but let’s be honest: There’s very likely a lot more at play here. Any attempt by Washington to prevent Syrian forces from liberating their own country from Islamic State should be seen as extremely worrying.

According to a trusted Syria expert, preventing the SAA from taking Raqqa signals that Washington is quietly preparing to “Balkanize” Syria — an analysis that we agree with.

This news item showed up on the Internet site around 3:30 p.m. Moscow time on their Monday, which was 8:30 a.m. in Washington — EDT plus 7 hours.  It’s a must read for any serious student of the New Great Game — and it comes courtesy of ‘aurora’.  Another link to it is here.

Gold Slammed Below $1,250 After Fed Fischer ‘Dovish’ Comments

Confirming just two more rate hikes in 2017 and plenty of uncertainty and fear over productivity growth, a ‘dovish’ Stanley Fischer sparked an instant reaction in USD/JPY (spiked above 111) and Gold (slammed below $1,250) as stocks moved to the day’s highs and bond yields rose (30Y over 3.00{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e})…

Notably Fischer did his very best to say absolutely nothing. But did say the following which seemed enough to trigger the algos…


And the reaction… the Gold and USD/JPY ‘pairs’ trade converges…

Stocks bid (on FX carry and VIX slam) and bonds sold off…

This tiny 2-chart Zero Hedge piece was posted on their Internet site at 2:19 p.m. yesterday afternoon EDT — and I thank Richard Saler for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.

Top Turkish Banker Arrested at JFK Airport Over Massive Gold Money-Laundering Scheme

If Turkish president Erdogan needed one more reason to go ballistic in his daily comparisons of western leaders to Hilter and the Nazis, he got it this morning when a top executive at Halkbank, one of Turkey’s largest state-owned banks was arrested at JFK airport on charges of conspiring with an Iranian-Turkish financier who is awaiting trial for using his network of companies to circumvent Iranian sanctions.]

As first reported by Bloomberg, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, deputy CEO at Turkiye Halk Bankasi, was taken into U.S. custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Tuesday. He was detained on suspicion of conspiring to execute transactions on behalf of Iran. The arrest was made in connection with the pending prosecution of Reza Zarrab. The U.S. claims it has evidence that Zarrab paid millions of dollars in bribes to Turkish government officials and top executives at Halkbank, as it is commonly known, which allegedly helped Zarrab process the transactions.

Zarrab was a key figure in a 2013 scandal, in which Turkish prosecutors accused him of bribing the country’s cabinet ministers in a gold-trading operation worth at least $12 billion. We documented that particular fascinating incident in June 2014 in ‘Turkey’s “200 Tons Of Secret Gold” Trade With Iran: The Biggest, Most Bizarre Money Laundering Scheme Ever?

To be sure, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who personally benefited from the money, or rather gold, laundering scheme called the investigation a coup attempt, and all charges against Zarrab and members of his administration were eventually dropped.

This very worthwhile gold-related news item put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 2:19 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon EDT — and I thank Ellen Hoyt for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.

Russia, China Lay Groundwork For BRICS Transactions in Gold

As we reported last week, Moscow and Beijing took another step towards de-dollarization with the opening of a yuan clearing bank in Russia. And earlier this month Russia’s Central Bank opened its first-ever foreign branch in Beijing to allow for better communication between Russian and Chinese financial authorities.

According to an article published yesterday by Sputnik, progress made in promoting bilateral trade in yuan is the first step towards an even more ambitions plan — using gold to make transactions:

The clearing center is one of a range of measures the People’s Bank of China and the Russian Central Bank have been looking at to deepen their co-operation. […] One measure under consideration is the joint organization of trade in gold. In recent years, China and Russia have been the world’s most active buyers of the precious metal.

On a visit to China last year, deputy head of the Russian Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov said that the two countries want to facilitate more transactions in gold between the two countries.

This is another gold-related story that I found on the Internet site yesterday.  It was posted there yesterday afternoon Moscow time — which was early in the morning EDT.  I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us — and another link to it is here.

In broadcast to India, GATA secretary says free market in gold would enrich the country

In a broadcast from Singapore yesterday, CNBC‘s news channel affiliate in India, CNBC-TV18, gave GATA’s secretary/treasurer Chris Powell six minutes to assert that for the time being the gold price will be determined largely by surreptitious trading by central banks and that India’s government should stop fighting the desire of its people for golden money.

Powell argued that while India is a developing country, with an estimated 24,000 tonnes of the monetary metal in private and temple possession, it might become the richest country if gold was allowed to trade without central bank interference.

CNBC-TV18 has posted video of the interview at its internet site, — and another link to it is here.


The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature only works with the first photo — and the cartoon.


It was another day where the powers-that-be were all over the precious metal prices during the COMEX trading session.  The ‘rally’ in the dollar index starting a few minutes before the 11 a.m. EDT London close — and ending around 2:20 p.m. EDT in the thinly-traded after-hours market was a sideshow, as one would be hard pressed to find any correlation at all between it — and was going on in gold and silver et al.

But as I mentioned in yesterday’s column, with options and futures expiry, plus first day notice for delivery into the April gold contract upon us, nothing should be a surprise between now and the end of the week.  To add to this mix, it’s also the end of the first quarter on Friday as well, so that’s also something to keep an eye on.  There are a fair number of balls in the air right now.

However, I’m still somewhat surprised that JP Morgan et al didn’t press their obvious advantage yesterday, as that rapidly ‘rallying’ dollar index gave them perfect cover.  But it was obvious that they were just content to keep precious metal prices from blowing out to the upside, which they would have surely done, if allowed.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper, once again.  And because the lows in both silver and gold were carved out after the COMEX close, they don’t show up on the Tuesday dojis on these charts.  But they will tomorrow.  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 see that the gold price was sold down starting right at the 6:00 p.m. EDT open in New York on Tuesday evening, with the current low tick coming at precisely 10:00 a.m. CST [China Standard Time] on their Wednesday morning.  It traded flat for a few hours after that, but began to rally around 2 p.m.  However the moment it poked its nose above $1,250 spot, it was sold lower — and is currently down $1.50 an ounce.  Silver was under price pressure right from the get-go in New York yesterday evening as well, with the current low printed around 11:30 a.m. in Shanghai.  It has inched higher from there, but is still down 13 cents an ounce.  Platinum was sold lower by a few dollars at the N.Y. open — and has traded sideways since then.  It’s down 1 dollar.  Palladium rallied a few dollars as soon as trading began on Tuesday evening in New York, but that was summarily dealt with — and it’s been trading around unchanged all through Far East trading.  But in the last few minutes has ticked higher — and is up a dollar as Zurich opens.

Net HFT gold volume is barely 9,000 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume out of April and into June is very heavy.  I expect it to stay that way for the rest of the day.  Net HFT silver volume is just about 9,500 contracts, which is very decent.

The dollar index chopped quietly sideways right from the open in New York at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday evening, but starting around 12:50 p.m. in Shanghai, it began to head higher — and is now up 24 basis points as London opens.

Since yesterday, at the close of COMEX trading, was the cut-off for Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report…I’ll take a stab at what it might show based on the last five dojis in the gold and silver charts posted just above.  I would suspect that we’ll see some deterioration in gold, but not a lot, as no major moving averages were broken during the reporting week.  In silver, it could be ugly.  Not only was silver up about 65 cents during the reporting week, it also closed above its 50-day moving average for the second day in a row on Tuesday — and there may be some spillover from the prior reporting week as well.

Of course I reserve the right to be out to lunch by quite a bit on these ‘estimates’…but I draw more than a little comfort from the fact that Ted hasn’t been close lately, either.  But that’s certainly no fault of his, because under the hood in the Disaggregated Report, the Managed Money traders aren’t doing what they used to.  And, in some ways, that also applies to the two other categories — the Other Reportables and Nonreportable/small traders.

Ted has his mid-week commentary this afternoon — and I’ll be interested in seeing what he has to say on this subject, if anything — and I’ll ‘borrow’ it for my Friday missive.

And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I note that in the first hour of London trading, the gold price is still struggling to get above the $1,250 spot mark — and is down $1.20 the ounce currently.  Silver is trending higher — and is only down 8 cents now.  Platinum is up a dollar — and palladium is up 2 bucks.

Net HFT gold volume is approaching 11,000 contracts, which is no volume at all…but the roll-over/switch volume continues to build.  Net HFT volume in silver is now up to 11,300 contracts which is pretty heavy, all things considered.

The dollar index dipped a bit going into the London/Zurich opens, but is rallying once again — and is up 22 basis points, which is about how much it was up an hour earlier.

Today, by the close of COMEX trading, all the large traders in the futures market have to be out of the April contract, unless they’re standing for delivery — and the rest have to be out by the close of COMEX trading on Thursday.  I expect that today will be the heaviest volume day for gold, although yesterday’s volume was nothing to be sneezed at.

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


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